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What the Switch Announcements Mean for Communications
I asked Zeus how he sees the Cisco and Juniper announcements relating to IP communications:
Nexus is a key piece of Cisco's road to being an IT vendor. If we belive that VoIP will eventually be an IT purchase then this helps with that. Also, if an enterprise were looking to build a network that had PBX reliability, Nexus is the first Ethernet switch with non stop operations in mind, so you could argue it brings PBX reliability to the enterprise network.
History has shown us that Cisco's grip on the networking department contributed greatly to its success in voice communications, so the tighter that grip becomes on IT as a whole, the more you'd have to think Cisco becomes the safe choice for (for lack of a better term) the IP-PBX function--even though, architecturally, Cisco isn't one of the companies promoting big honking datacenter-based softswitches (Siemens is most the most prominent advocate of this approach).
I also think that Zeus's last point is pretty important. I've long advocated the idea that "bringing PBX reliability to the enterprise network" has to be the long-term goal of convergence. In fact, if communications is going to be embedded in business applications, I don't see how enterprises can avoid raising the bar on performance in this way.
For the past several years at VoiceCon, we've been running a session called "The Company As Contact Center." Since this has been a contact-center-focused session, the emphasis has been on ways in which the technology will enable enterprise employees who aren't contact center staffers to interact with those CSRs and with the customers themselves.
But there's also another sense in which the company may have to be like the contact center, and that is in the stringency of the communications demands. So if one of the things we're looking to do with Unified Communications is spread the benefits of CTI/UC to the wider enterprise via the flexibility, simplicity and relative economy of IP, that will need to be supported by a bullet-proof infrastructure.