The Evolution and Future of Call Control
The changes that we will see over the next 3 to 7 years will have a significant impact on our industry and help reshape the landscape.
Over the years, many vendors in the communications space have viewed call control as the crown jewels of the telecommunications market. I have never really understood why the PBX vendors thought this was so special. A look at history shows many vendors developing their own call control and entering the market: ROLM, Mitel, and Cisco (via acquisition of Selsius) come to mind.
When Microsoft entered the UC market, they went out of their way to let everyone know they were not trying to replace the PBX. However, that is not to say they were not trying to replace call control. Microsoft saw the need for real-time voice communications, but not necessarily with all the features and complexity associated with a traditional PBX. Microsoft has added more features with each new release, but nothing compared to the hundreds of features associated with a traditional PBX.
For a number of reasons, IBM elected to avoid call control initially, and later provided Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) to link their Sametime UC offering with a customer's existing PBX or IP-PBX. The development team at IBM believes call control, as we know it today (i.e., as part of an IP PBX) will change over time and therefore was not a necessary part of their unified communications and collaboration offering. Unfortunately, IBM's competitors were able to convince enterprise customers that the first step in deploying a UC solution was to buy a new PBX, and IBM paid a big price: They did not get a seat at the table; they were not asked to bid on many UC opportunities.
In many ways I agree with IBM's development team, but I think they were off by 10 years. So to give this subject the discussion it deserves, my colleagues at UCStrategies and I have decided that we need to make the evolution of call control an agenda item at our next UC Summit.
UC Summit 2013 is being held again at the Estancia Hotel in La Jolla California, April 28–May 1, 2013. Like Enterprise Connect Orlando 2013 (at which the UCStrategies team will once again have a significant role), the UC Summit continues to evolve along with the market--but our audience is much different and is by invitation only to the top UC solution integrators (VARs, SI's, resellers, etc.) and end user consultants.
We have several objectives for the UC Summit. We want to provide a venue where the attendees can network and share lessons learned and best practices with each other, and where they can meet with all the leading UC vendors in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Another objective is to help educate the attendees on technology and market trends that will impact our industry in the next 12 to 36 months. For most attendees, the UC Summit was the first place they were introduced to communications integrated to optimize business processes, cloud, social business, analytics, and this past year we introduced them to WebRTC.
And now at the UC Summit 2013 we will be discussing the evolution of call control and the impact it will have on our industry and the UC Summit attendees. Nearly all of them consult on or sell call control solutions. The changes that we will see over the next 3 to 7 years will have a significant impact on our industry and help reshape the landscape. Every market segment will be affected, from the telecom reseller who sold voice solutions for years, to the VAR that looks at voice as just another type of data.
Over the next few months I will write additional articles on the subject including the future of Skype and Lync, and the battle brewing between Microsoft and Google.
Let me know your thoughts. Send me a message [email protected]