Conversations with David

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.

Melanie Turek, Contributor

April 7, 2008

2 Min Read

I had a good call with IBM's David Marshak, who's official title is Senior Product Manager for Unified Communications and Collaboration, but who I like to think of as a UC guru--he has some of the best UC insights of anyone I know. Anyhow, we were talking about all the news out of VoiceCon, going over the big trends of the show, and a couple of thoughts bubbled up to the surface. For starters, David suggested that while all the noise around presence is good in the abstract (presence interoperability being a good thing and all), he was a bit worried that it was taking away from the real value of the technology, and from getting people to think about how and when it should be used. That got me thinking that when it comes to presence we can consider it from two points of view: strategic and tactical.The strategic stuff (changing business processes, supporting the virtual workplace, redesigning the contact center, etc.) is the cool stuff, and maybe that which will have the biggest impact. But the tactical issues (in this case, getting presence info shared across systems of various types and from various vendors) are necessary for the strategic benefits to be realized. And since the tactical stuff is easier to do (not negligable, but you can touch it and feel it and talk bits & bytes), it's probably going to get more immediate attention.David also mentioned that he was somewhat surprised by all the talk of video at VoiceCon this year, and he noted that people seem to come at it from two divergent positions: high end (telepresence, high-definition room systems, etc.) and low end (video on every PC, cell phone and PDA). I think the value of group video systems of all kinds is being realized more and more, and since the price points and quality are where they need to be, I expect to see continued growth in that area.But he and I both wonder how, when and even whether PC will be used by the masses. I do think that people will want to have it as an option for collaborative sessions, and therefor have it deployed on their desktops. But I doubt most of us will launch video calls with the ease and frequency of audio calls and IM sessions today. I mean, bottom line, why would we? Furthermore, as David noted, bandwidth concerns and issues around quality are top priorities for most IT managers today--and desktop video has yet to solve either one . (Although some companies are doing good work around both.)

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