IR Dabbles with UC Visualization
New Live Canvas module enables custom views of UC and contact center environments, annotated with live performance data.
Like an abstract painting, a UC or contact center environment looks different depending on who's doing the looking. The CIO views it one way, and the network operations center (NOC) manager another... and a flat architectural depiction doesn't do much in the way of enhancing either view.
UC management vendor IR has a different vision in mind. Via the new Live Canvas module for IR's Prognosis performance management software, the company is offering users the ability to create visualizations that show customizable perspectives of an organization's UC and contact center systems, applications, and infrastructure components, as well as the dependencies among them. And, since not everybody is always sitting in front of a desktop monitor, Live Canvas visualizations are viewable on smartphones, tablets, wall-mounted screens, and other displays via any HTML5-compatible browser.
"Live Canvas is a way to look at your unique UC or contact center environment the way you perceive it, and not the way it's technically architected," John Dunne, chief solutions officer at IR, told me in a recent interview.
With a vendor modeling tool, your typical view would be along the lines of the PBX connected to the gateway, and the trunks on that gateway. But maybe that physical view isn't really all that meaningful to you; maybe all you really care about is a logical grouping of some trunks. Live Canvas gives you the ability to create that type of view -- the one that makes sense for only your organization -- and to augment it with real-time performance data and alerts from Prognosis, Dunne explained.
"It's your data, your way," he added.
IR considers Live Canvas the next level of visualizations it has long enabled via the screen mashup capability supported in Prognosis, Dunne said. With this feature, you might cut a voice network from one screen and paste into a screen showing the gateway network and -- presto! -- you now have a mashup of the two. Live Canvas then turns that mashup into an active monitoring dashboard, he said.
IR offers the Live Canvas module in the latest iteration of its Prognosis software, version 10.5. It's been helping select customers create Live Canvas views since January, leading up to the full launch earlier this month, Dunne said.
Enterprises could conceivably create the Live Canvas visualizations on their own, Dunne said, but annotating diagrams with the performance data would require them to know a bit more "Prognosis speak" than typical. Dragging a PBX icon onto the diagram might be easy enough, but providing instructions via the Prognosis query language... well, not so much, he added.
Over time IR will create some self-training modules for Live Canvas, but for now it is "very hands-on," Dunne said, adding that Live Canvas experts spend about a week with an organization and create between one and three Live Canvas views.
A typical starting point is a diagram a company already has mocked up to represent its UC or contact center environment, Dunne said. The IR team will help tidy that up, and create the desired drill-down views. If your environment comprises 100 gateways, chances are you only really care about 10 of those -- five primary outbound and five primary inbound devices. "Once you're able to view your UC environment in that context, everything gets easier to diagnose," Dunne said. "Just follow the red [alerts] and you can drill down to the root cause in rapid time."
Live Canvas provides positive feedback for an organization, as well, Dunne added. It's not just a blank alert board, but one that will show the health of a UC or contact center environment, too. I would probably prefer a Kandinsky, but a nice Live Canvas wallboard display could help brighten up a dreary lobby.