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Unified Communications: Research Trends & the Resistance to Interoperate

Irwin Lazar of Nemertes Research will present the company's research on Unified Communications at Interop New York.

Clark Bucker of TechnologyAdvice spoke with Irwin Lazar, vice president and service director of Nemertes Research and a longtime Interop supporter, about Microsoft's disruption of the UC space, the need for seamless access to applications for users, and three key trends happening right now in the communications industry.

Nemertes Research discovered that Microsoft is challenging incumbent PBX founders like Cisco and Avaya in the UC field and even seeking to overtake video vendors. Lazar related that many companies, despite having some Microsoft infrastructure, weren't ready to move so quickly to a different platform, even if it was built by Microsoft.

Consequently, businesses are facing the question, "Can I build a user-friendly environment with seamless access to applications?" Unfortunately, Lazar sees more competition than cooperation in the UC field, meaning that integrating various platforms, whether desktop or mobile, becomes challenging if not impossible.

Lazar spoke about his ideal UC world:

    I would love to be able to preserve my investment in iP2F, walk around my investment in UC platform, and always know that those two vendors will interoperate and [have] open standards [where] I can give all my users the seamless experience that would allow them to use voice from one vendor, web conferencing from the second vendor, instant messaging from the third, and video from the fourth and make that work together.

The reality is that's not where the vendors want to be right now.

These are a few of the issues Lazar will cover in his Interop session.

As an analyst company conducting primary, qualitative research by actually talking to real people in end-user organizations about their experiences, Nemertes Research publishes an annual benchmark (subscription required) that identifies current insights and trends.

Lazar points to three trends shaping the UC industry right now:

  • A consolidation of UC vendors
  • A move away from a hardware model to a software model, i.e. mobile replacing desktop
  • Increased cloud offerings across the UC spectrum, including medium and large businesses

When it comes to what makes Nemertes Research successful, he describes three main areas:

  • Working directly with end users on technology valuation, piloting, testing, training, and support
  • Deploying mobile tools (vs. desktop)
  • Relying on management services for implementation

For a full report on Nemertes Research's recent findings on Unified Communications, visit Nemertes.com. An annual subscription is required to access its research. Lazar will present many of his company's findings at Interop New York, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 during his session, UC Federation. Register today.

Clark Buckner is a content marketer and new media strategist podcasting about technology and entrepreneurship at TechnologyAdvice.com. He enjoys the tech conference scene and discovering innovative ways to create new opportunities from emerging technologies. View Full Bio

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