SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Eric Krapf
Eric Krapf is General Manager and Program Co-Chair for Enterprise Connect, the leading conference/exhibition and online events brand in the...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Eric Krapf | November 28, 2014 |

 
   

The 500 Features of Dr. PBX

The 500 Features of Dr. PBX In the next-gen world of software-driven communications, a feature becomes an API and a platform's value is derived from its ability to integrate with lots of things.

In the next-gen world of software-driven communications, a feature becomes an API and a platform's value is derived from its ability to integrate with lots of things.

(For non-Dr. Seuss nerds, title explained here)

Over the past few weeks, the Enterprise Connect/No Jitter content team has been trying to figure out how the emerging developments regarding software, platforms, APIs, cloud and collaboration and shake out for the enterprise. (Once we get that done, we'll move on to curing cancer and explaining how Justin Bieber got famous.) I'll say right up front that I think this is futures kind of stuff--but I do think it's a future that we need to understand.

Maybe this is an oversimplification, but Enterprise Connect GM/No Jitter Publisher Fred Knight and I were kicking around this analogy:

The mantra in the PBX world was always "500 features"--every PBX had 500 features, and each vendor had to have them all, because somebody somewhere wanted each of them. Because the PBX was a static hardware platform, you had to give all 500 features to all your customers. What's more, you could never take away a feature.

What if, when we talk about a "feature" in next-gen software-driven communications, the functional equivalent from a development and deployment perspective is an API? For one thing, the job of a communications vendor then becomes to build a platform--probably residing in the cloud--whose value is derived from how many other things with which it integrates.

This notion came up in a discussion I had with Matthew Cutler, director of customer development and strategy for Cisco, at last week's Cisco Collaboration Summit 2014. We were discussing the longer-term vision for the just-announced Project Squared, and the fact that there's currently one announced integration partner for the Cisco Collaboration Cloud that supports Squared. That partner is Box, and that partnership provides Squared with... a feature. The feature is the ability to see content--especially large, unwieldy files like a presentation--in line within the Squared interface, rather than having to download the file to your device.

So it makes sense that the next step is for Cisco to create a multitude of relationships similar to the Box partnership, with the aim of finding the partners that can help enable a multitude of features. Then someone--maybe an enterprise architect, maybe a VAR, SI, or other partner--composes a service for the enterprise drawing upon just the elements needed for what the service needs to do. And maybe this composer crafts one service for one department or division, and a different service for a department with different needs, etc. It's as if, in the old days, you could implement a different PBX for each department, with only the functionality that department needed, plus a whole lot more functionality that your particular PBX couldn't provide but maybe another vendor's could.

The vendor in this scenario does what Cisco had been talking about last week when it talked about Project Squared: It provides the security, the integration capability and maybe some standard set of baseline features and functions.

To me, this all makes a satisfying story. What I don't know is whether it actually matches up with a way that enterprises will ever want (or be able) to deploy communications and collaboration. I don't know how we get from here--PBX world--to there--software communications/collaboration world. But I think the conversation is starting, and we'll be carrying it on at Enterprise Connect Orlando next March.

Follow Eric Krapf and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
@nojitter
@EricHKrapf
Eric Krapf on Google+





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.