Author: Paul Desmond

Hosted, cloud-based services are all the rage, and the unified communications space is no exception. The research firm MarketsandMarkets expects the UC-as-a-Service market to grow from $13.10 billion in 2014 to $23.34 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of a healthy 12.2%.Historically, one of the big sticking points with any cloud-based service has been security. Those fears are abating somewhat of late, at least according to the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud report, mainly because companies are getting smarter and about how they provide security for cloud-based services. Securing Cloud-based UC Environments UC-based solutions, however, present some special challenges because they…

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Unified communications technology touches lots of different people in an organization, which is one of the reasons it can be so powerful – but also one of the reasons getting buy-in for implementation can be difficult. With so many different stakeholders who have to sign off, it can be tough to convince them all. But there are some strategies you can employ to convince the unimpressed (or the set-in-their-ways), including starting with applications that have an immediate return on investment (ROI), starting small and adding on over time, and by all means, making it simple to use. Shoot for UC…

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The overall global unified communications market is growing at a robust pace, thanks at least in part to the growth of cloud-based UC services.That’s the upshot from a number of different market research reports on the UC market. While varying on the exact figures somewhat, they all paint a rosy picture of the market in general – which should come as welcome news to any company embarking on a UC project or expanding an existing implementation. Global UC Market Size By the Numbers Let’s start with the overall numbers. Infonetics has the most aggressive outlook, expecting the market for VoIP…

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In a previous post we touched on the idea of SIP trunking and how it can save you significant money on carrier service costs while also aiding your unified communications efforts. Judging from the latest numbers from market watchers at Infonetics, it appears companies are getting the message. Infonetics says the global SIP trunking services market is on track to grow 35% in 2014, to $4.4 billion. When any market is growing at 35%, it should make folks stand up and take notice – and that is certainly the case with SIP trunking. “In North America, slightly more than 20% of the installed…

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Last week we wrote about the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), explaining how it’s a crucial underpinning of any Unified Communications (UC) rollout. In this post we’ll cover another crucial element, the Session Border Controller (SBC), which provides a number of important functions in a SIP-based network.First and foremost is security, says Mykola Konrad, VP of Cloud and Strategic Alliances for Sonus Networks, Inc. SIP networks generally replace time-division multiplexed (TDM) networks, which are inherently secure because they’re difficult for outsiders to tap into. SIP is a different story, because it is fundamentally an IP network and is thus subject to all the same…

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The latest wireless LAN specification, 802.11 ac, was finally ratified late last year and the industry is now gearing up for a “second wave” of 802.11ac gear that fully implements the standard. That should come as welcome news for any IT or network manager who has to build infrastructure to support their increasingly mobile workforce– which is to say, pretty much all of them. While you can already buy 802.11ac WLAN gear, it is likely based on draft versions of the standard and thus doesn’t take full advantage of all the spec has to offer. As PCWorld puts it: While some…

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Gartner recently published its 2014 Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications and the two biggest nuggets were Microsoft edging out Cisco to move to the top of the “leader” quadrant and Mitel moving from “visionary” to leader, in large part of the strength of its Aastra acquisition.Gartner gives Microsoft high marks for its work in turning Lync into a true UC platform, saying, “Lync offers a full suite of UC functionality that Microsoft continues to improve with each release.” As with other players, including IBM, Gartner likes when UC tools integrate with other business applications that employees use day-to-day, meaning the Office suite in Microsoft’s…

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In a previous post, we went through some of the advantages inherent in a hosted UC solution, including ease of deployment and maintenance, (usually) lower up-front costs and pay-as-you grow pricing. But virtually no IT decision is without some drawbacks and hosted UC is no different.First, a cloud-based solution will be far less customizable than a premise-based UC system. When you install your own UC system, you can pick and choose which components you want. (Of course then you have to integrate them yourself, a job that falls to the cloud provider under the hosted solution – one of the pros of…

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If you’re going to make the most of unified communications (UC), it’s helpful to understand one of the technologies that is crucial to making it work effectively: the Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP.  As its name implies, SIP is used to set up and terminate sessions, or conversations, in a UC environment. But it does far more than that, says Mykola Konrad, VP of Cloud and Strategic Alliances for Sonus Networks, Inc. Four Fundamental SIP Functions For starters, SIP handles four fundamental functions in a UC environment: Availability: SIP enables users to tell the UC system whether or not they’re…

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The market for unified communications solutions is expected to reach $75.81 billion by 2020, according to a recent study by Grand View Research, Inc., and cloud-based systems are poised to make up an increasing chunk of that total.As Digital Journal reports: On premise unified communication accounted for over 60% of the market in 2013. However, the cloud-based or hosted product segment is expected to rapidly gain share over the forecast period. This is mainly due to the high initial cost of installation, as well as additional maintenance cost associated with on premise solutions. Grand View Research summarizes the interest in cloud-based UC solutions nicely:…

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As companies look to implement unified communications solutions, it’s often the contact center that’s at the forefront of the technology. Just think of the very name – “contact” center – as opposed to the traditional “call” center. It makes sense because customer service reps are handling far more than phone calls these days. Indeed for years contact centers have been charged with communicating with customers by all sorts of means: phone, email, text messaging, chat and, increasingly, via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. And as customers continually use more mobile devices, mainly smart phones and tablets, they…

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