[CSG Winter 2011] Unified Communications Workshop – part 1.

Mike Pickett (Brown)

What is UC?

Multiple devices, platforms, time-span, products
Will affect workflow, ability to integrate with lots of devices
“UC is integration of real-time and non-real-time devices across platforms”
Brown engaged – WTC Consulting – Phil Beilman

Why care? Allows business process integration, to simplify and integrate all forms of communications to optimize business processes, reduce the response time, manage flows.

Survey Results – 2 campuses are on the way to eliminating desktop phones.
Illinois – have about 18 months to go.

Bill Clebsch – at Stanford they’re finding that people think they want the soft phone, but after two or three days of using it they find they don’t.

Iowa – deployed OCS for presence and IM across campus, and people like it. 150 people on OCS voice, paired with unified messaging. UM has been the killer app.

Greg J – 4 dimensions to communications we need to unify – voice, text (becoming one), documents, video. Many-to-many video is a big unsolved problem. We’re not going to control any of these, so moving towards understanding how to move forward with these in ways that allow people to collaborate is important.

Shel asks “can we embrace mediocrity at the institutional level, because the innovation is going to happen around us?”

Tom Barton – thinking about the global use as we extend our campuses is important.

Klara – How far do we go in supporting mobility in the hospitals?

Jim Phelps – thinking about how we migrate the store of rich streams as systems transition is important.

Ken Klingenstein – there’s a level of indirection we can provide in this space, and that is our business.

Two Expert Views:

Vern Elliot – Gartner
– cellular providers don’t take direction from universities, they take it from 16 year olds
– it’s all about the network
– Big driver – things are moving to commodity hw, TCIP-IP
– h.323 is becoming dominant
– communications are becoming integrated with apps
– sonsumerization
– on demand, cloud-based
– desk phone will have a diminishing role for at least 10 years.
– don’t get tied into a single vendor – not a good time to make a big bet if you can avoid it
– need a vision / strategy to resolve organizational issues over 3-5 years.
– cell phones are leading the convergence
– Google doesn’t have an enterprise approach yet
– MS Lync option is getting pretty impressive

WTC – Phillip Beitleman
– Reinvest in wire as you adopt a wireless strategy
– Harden the entire network – most eggs will be in this basket
– carrier neutral distributed antenna systems
– figure out actual costs across all IT services so funding can be mapped
– put together formal, structured plans across technology map and across multiple years – identify future funding strategies
– take longer planning cycles – 10 years for infrastructure
– don’t throw things away
UC doesn’t usually end up saving money in the near term because of complexity.
– rate models need to evolve to include telephony, network, and IT services
– WiMax as lost the battle – LTE will win

Directories are important.

Charlie – we only need phone numbers because of the legacy systems. If we all had SIP systems we’d use our network IDs.

Klara – voice is an immediate mode of communication (just one step down from video), and there will always be a role for it. Different population segments communicate differently, and we will have to support all of them.

Elazar – let’s move the risk of technology changes from us to the carriers.

Shel – if we endorse a solution, then we need to be the advocate for our users with that service.

Andy – people want a number as an enterprise identity. The carriers have ways to have multiple numbers on a single device – UMich is doing this in a pilot, where they put a UMich number on people’s individual cell phones.

Bill – Want some people to reach you by your institutional identity. We have three separate identities now – a network ID, an email address, and a phone number. Can we go to one? Security of research information is very important – how do we protect that? Only we can answer those questions.

Tracy – some of the reasons people don’t want to give up their devices aren’t yet supported in the new models. Where will people forgive convenience for mobility, and where not? When we think about remote locations, we need higher fidelity and bandwidth – will we find mobile ways for that?

Ken – metadata is (as always) important – where’s the metadata that says what was in that videoconference? Where’s integrated search?

Shel – we’re in a purgatory period – most voice mail just says “hi it’s me – call me.”

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