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A UC Perspective on Cisco Acquisition of Tandberg

Lots of good analysis here on No Jitter last week, on the proposed Cisco acquisition of Tandberg, from an industry structure perspective. Here are a few more thoughts on the implications for Unified Communications (UC), as "communications integrated to optimize business processes."Business has a wonderful Darwinian aspect to it, as proven over and over every day. Like water flowing downhill, business will find the shortest and most efficient path for almost anything. Why make a call when an e-mail will do? Why have a meeting when a collaborative workspace, blog or persistent chat will do? Why waste time finding someone, when their presence is "away" or "offline?" Why make customers use a call center if they can do the job on a website?

The same is already true and will continue to be true for video communications. Sometimes a method wins, as in "Why get on an airplane, when Telepresence will do?" Heck, carving out 10% of the $120 billion in annual US airline revenues is a good business proposition. Or, why not use video training for many types of courses, rather than building more classrooms and transporting students to them?

Yet sometimes a method loses out, as in "Why use video to discuss a spreadsheet when a desktop sharing conference (worksheet with VoIP) will do just fine at less than half the infrastructure cost?" Or, "Why produce video data sheets (visit for examples on almost all product pages) when the user (such as yours truly) really wants a PDF for reference, and reading is so much faster than listening?"

Of course, the job of the Unified Communications industry--suppliers, analysts, consultants, enterprise IT/Communications managers, and publishers--is to chart those shortest paths. Likely, with their strengthened position in video, Cisco will seek to apply video for every communication from every desktop (if you've got a brand new hammer, then look for nails, right?). That's great and will stimulate new propositions for the Darwinian process. So let's get started on the video component of the UC "optimization" process. You can see a few ideas on this with my post, "...from a UC Viewpoint," at I'll look forward to reading yours, too.