Microsoft and Cisco were the biggest news, but there was lots more to give the industry a "busy signal" this week.
What a week for unified communications. Is it that unified communications is this hot, or is it the end-of-the-year news cycle rush? Whatever the cause, the result was a very busy week indeed. Here's a quick recap:
Cisco hosted its Collaboration Summit in Phoenix this week. Video was a major theme, exemplified with its announcement that all "collaboration endpoints" will be video enabled. Cisco believes (and wants) video to be the next voice. Some say this move was predictable, as Cisco's been promising/threatening it for quite sometime. Cisco is also bringing HD video to WebEx. Additionally, Cisco announced new desktop thin clients to better enable virtual desktops by VMware and Citrix. The Android-based Cius will also support desktop virtualization software (expected in March).
Mitel announced its Freedom Architecture, a comprehensive UC solution designed for maximum flexibility. Mitel's pitch is: Don't get stuck with an inflexible architecture. Since shifts occur in technology, attitudes, and customer requirements, Mitel believes its Freedom architecture offers a unique degree of valuable flexibility. Mitel's Freedom play lets users choose and adapt: SIP phone simplicity or proprietary phone features; Exchange, Notes, or a hosted email service; appliances, general purpose servers, VMware, or cloud; Blackberry's, Android, or iPhones. No Jitter: Krapf
Microsoft formally launched Lync Server 2010 in New York. This is a big release for Microsoft, declaring the "end of the PBX era". The event was kicked off with a flare [sic] by Bill Gates, who appeared via live interactive video feed (using Lync) to reaffirm his UC vision. Gurdeep Singh Pall, a Microsoft corporate Vice President, said Lync will help IT departments "enhance or eliminate their traditional PBX systems". Lync Server 2010 and Lync 2010, a desktop client, represent Microsoft's boldest and soundest play yet in delivering a comprehensive unified solution for enterprise communications, initially aimed at large enterprises. A large number of Microsoft partners released information about products, solutions, and services associated with Lync 2010.
Polycom was present at the Microsoft Lync launch, and CEO Andy Miller and Microsoft’s Pall discussed their shared vision for voice, video, and collaboration. The companies had previously announced mutual R&D and go-to-market activities for interoperable UC including software, hardware, networking and services. The big news from Polycom was that its HDX and Intelligent Core telepresence solutions are now interoperable with Microsoft Lync. Polycom Release
Avaya released IP Office Release 6.1. This new release enables installations to take place from just one DVD, and significantly reduces installation time. The upgrade also offers a new interface for Avaya one-X Portal, a web-based interface that lets users manage calls, instant messages, and e-mails. Avaya Release
HP announced a new line of HD visual collaboration products which are largely software based solutions and unrelated to its Halo private network products. HP Visual Collaboration desktops will be put to the test of reducing travel and carbon at the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference (COP16) in Cancun next month. UC Strategies
In other news:
Facebook Messages became available, which integrates text messages, FB chat/IM, and a new email offering. It is aimed mostly at teenagers and Millennials with Gmail addresses. Facebook is already the most popular destination on the web, increasingly used by business, and it’s attempting further expansion via unified communications. Also, Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, caused a few thousand tweets by sporting a new "unannounced" Android phone at the Web 2.0 conference. The phone is believed to be the Nexus S (Samsung/T-Mobile) featuring the upcoming release of Android (Gingerbread), a curved screen, and a new radio for Near Field Technology; expected in "a few weeks". Lastly, the federal government rolled out its new UC/video-conferencing incentive program via the TSA-sponsored "porno-shoots" at an airport near you.
A very active week, in telecom-speak best described with two words: "busy signal".
Dave Michels, principal of Verge1, is a regular contributor to No Jitter, as well as maintaining his own blog, Pin Drop Soup.