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They Had Questions; We've Got Answers
A few weeks back, I moderated a VoiceCon Webinar sponsored by Mitel, on the topic of "Unified Communications for the Real World." These webinars have a Q&A period, and there are always tons of questions that we don't have time for. The session participants are usually good enough to follow up off-line with the attendees who posed these questions, but the folks at Mitel were kind enough to suggest that we share their answers to some of the webinar questions with our No Jitter audience. You can go to the webinar link above to see and hear a replay of the entire session, and here's some "after the show" Q&A.
A few weeks back, I moderated a VoiceCon Webinar sponsored by Mitel, on the topic of "Unified Communications for the Real World." These webinars have a Q&A period, and there are always tons of questions that we don't have time for. The session participants are usually good enough to follow up off-line with the attendees who posed these questions, but the folks at Mitel were kind enough to suggest that we share their answers to some of the webinar questions with our No Jitter audience. You can go to the webinar link above to see and hear a replay of the entire session, and here's some "after the show" Q&A.The answers are from Mitel:
Q: What are the major secuirty risks associated with UC?
A: Risks are associated with; eavesdropping on calls/sessions, impersonation of identity or application on the network, denial of service attacks, security breach of management interfaces or unsecure access to personal/system data or information. If implemented with best practises and care in vendor selection, security risks can be minimized. Care must be taken with multi-vendor application integration and use of open public applications for business communications or info sharing.
Q: We hear a lot about FMC for several years. The carriers seem reluctant to support anything that threatens their cell minutes. What is happening here?
A: FMC = Fixed Mobile Convergence, or the integration of business telephony (fixed) with public mobile devices. In some cases FMC is driving more minutes (more traffic), in other aspects it provides opportunity to reduce minutes (intelligent handoff to private systems). The trend is to bridge capabilities for individuals between the public and private domains, indpendant of device or location, and within a secure fashion. FMC solutions can be implemented today independant of carrier and device. Capabilities are also being embraced by the mobile device vendors, such as accommodating applets to extend private connectivity and services to the device supported with a GUI.
Q: Do you see UC becoming available to small (4-25 employees) or even single person, home office professionals who work with other like home office professionals?
A: Yes. Look for UC products packaged and simply integrated for small business. There is no limitation for UC capabilities and applications being extended to remote/home workers or mobile staff. This is definitely available today and an ongoing trend. Applying UC to single person professionals, and perhaps extending to communities of interest is another trend emerging, predominantly available argualby to some degree today from public service providers and portals. Look for more in this area in the future.
Q: Does the implementation of UC require any major "forklift" upgrades needed for the network infrastructure?
A: In general, network infrastructure within businesses is much more advanced and ready for VOIP/UC than it was in the infancy of VOIP in the early part of this decade. We do not see as much cost/upgrade impact as in the past. Standard rule of thumb is managed, switched ethernet, with QOS, and with enough bandwidth between locations to handle the extra load. There are other aspects of network design that needs to be considered as well, such as latency, IP address management, etc. It is important to benchmark and assess your network along with the implementation of UC in the organization. This is an ongoing best practise. The good news is there are quite alot of good toolsets and industry expertise to draw on to monitor and manage networks for this.
Q: Is it fair to say that customers planning UC, but first deploying IPT, should make sure they build the directory on LDAP integration rather than to retrofit?
A: Correct. LDAP is universally supported, however there are other directory integration mechanisms as well.
Q: Where does social computing fit into this [UC]?
A: Much like the evolution of public instant messaging or chat that has invaded common business usage (and now is a standard feature on most UC systems), the next wave of public social networking is emerging. Initially the public providers like Facebook are being used within business circles. Elements of this will be incorporated into UC solutions, and certainly transform peer collaboration and information sharing within business. The key will be to support the positive impact this can have, but implemented within business per the security and privacy needs required.