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Keeping Track of the UC Forest--and the Trees

The Unified Communications market is advancing quickly these days. Many new trees are being planted in the UC terrain and some of the giant older trees are being reshaped, pruned, and even harvested. In the process, the forest itself is changing shape and moving to cover new ground. Let's get up into satellite orbit and take a look at the forest!

Whoa! From up here we see that telephony is not a forest, it's a grove adjacent to many other groves. Look, over there is a whole new grove of Instant Messaging trees; looks like a lot of new growth, for sure. And the sizable e-mail grove continues to thrive, too.

New extensions are coming out of all three of those groves with some new video trees. Looks like you can start in any grove and have a video experience added to your phone call (Cisco, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens, and many more); to your desktop session (Microsoft's newly named Lync (nee OCS), IBM Sametime, and more); or even to your IM session (from the other groves as well as from massive new consumer groves such as Skype, Microsoft Live, AOL IM, Google and more. Some parts of the groves are connecting into the long-standing grove of room video systems, which has been growing, too, with Polycom, LifeSize, and Tandberg (over there, in the Cisco grove).

Everywhere we look, we’re also seeing some sort of new vine-like growth, creating sort of a canopy or "air cover" over all the groves, sort of a new airborne forest. Yep, it's mobility. Lots of BlackBerrys on those vines, for sure, plus a burst of new growth bearing Apples, along with older vines full of Nokias, and some new shoots bearing Androids. All these new blossoms seem to be adding new features and beneficial crops to the older trees, seeming to give them new life. Some of the mobility devices are even blooming in the video groves, with people watching WebEx meetings, YouTube videos, and whole TV series on them. Yep, that's true, and the smart foresters in the older groves are weaving those mobility vines, such as the RIM Mobile Voice System, into their trees, making their ecosystem as attractive as possible to us occupants of the communications woods.

Some of the vines have bigger blossoms and fruit, called tablets. The PC trees that grow mostly in the desktop groves have had tablets for a long time, but the Apple vines seem to suddenly have a whole new crop of them. And, now that the Apple iPad looks so attractive, some trees in the telephony groves are popping out a few of their own. Look, there's the bud of a Cisco Cius that should bloom by about November. Oh, and there's a new bud on the Avaya trees that is expected to pop out sometime later this year. Those tablets are a little bigger than the mobility devices, so not sure if all the forest denizens will be ditching their mobile devices for a tablet--we'll see.

One more thing we notice is that the older voice communications trees are changing. Many of the older TDM branches have been lopped off and new SIP branches are being grafted on. In some places, whole new SIP trees are being cultivated, like over in the Aastra or Siemens or Asterisk groves. Those SIP branches and trees don’t have quite the same type of phones on them, but the SIP branches seem to intertwine more easily with the other trees--something about standards providing a more compatible DNA in our evolving forest.

Pretty interesting how the forest is evolving and changing. Some of the foresters want to claim the whole forest as their own--we’ve heard a couple of them bragging about how they now own the whole "collaboration" forest by connecting their new tablets up to the other groves through the mobility vines. But, from our view, we can see that this is a tree-centric view, not a forest perspective.

The exciting thing, as we come back down to the ground, is that we see all the denizens of the forest are having more fun and being much more efficient. It seems that both business processes (UC-B) and personal productivity (UC-U) are being optimized by this new integration communications into daily workflow and personal communications.

Looks like the UC forest is a busy place, and a nice place to thrive. See you there.