Unified Communications Nation

Nov 25 2009   8:25PM GMT

A war of words? Unified communications vs. collaboration

Jessica Scarpati Jessica Scarpati Profile: Jessica Scarpati

Is the term “unified communications” already dated? Don Van Doren over at Unified Communications Strategies notes Cisco seems to be pushing lately for “collaboration,” and while it’s fortunately less of a mouthful, the UC terminology war is only confusing enterprises.

Pulling no punches, he lays into vendors for soiling UC’s good name:

First, UC has come to be associated with the voice and voice-substitute (e.g., IM) components of communications. This emphasis has been especially prevalent from the legacy telephony equipment suppliers, many of whom tend to see things through a voice filter. In my opinion, voice will increasingly be augmented by other forms of unified communications, which can offer deliver better information more rapidly or accurately.

Meanwhile, he adds, confusing customers does no one any favors:

The risk is that when there is confusion, people tend either to sit on their wallets, or to reflexively purchase tried-and-true, like-for-like functionality. The impact is that too many enterprises will delay the realization of the compelling benefits that UC can enable by failing to grasp the impact of the industry changes that are underway.

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