Unified Communication and Integration in Unified Communication Infrastructures
At the end of 2010, 25 staff members will work in teams which will be spread over several locations. Tomorrow's challenges are distance leadership, team building and team control as well as the loud call for an efficient communication solution. Only in this way can companies make further gains in efficiency. Not all potential is held back throughout the company as superfluous, but is added according to need. Companies note that with the steady rise in the division of labour the classic ways of communication and cooperation are no longer suitable. At present, attempts are being made to achieve additional profits by further increasing times of availability (Blackberry, Push-mail, etc.). This is already being strained to the limit. In a few years, time zones will lose importance. What has already happened in the international financial sector will also affect other companies. Companies will work non-stop. When work is over in one time zone, a second time zone will take over. This demands completely new methods and instruments of cooperation. Video conferences force people into structured work, bridge distances and allow new communication scenarios.
High quality video - visual communication in high definition - is the concentrate and the backbone which is going to form the basis of cooperation in the future.
More and more people have been talking about Unified Communication (UC) for quite some time. What is Unified Communication?
Unified Communication brings together different communication services in team members' direct field of activity in one client. This is complemented by common infrastructural services for these tools. At the same time, an outstanding feature is a service which reports on the availability of other communication partners. UC should ensure that the services within a company are comprehensively and consistently used. UC is responsible, in principle, for all synchronized services - which include all services that use video.
A UC Client has the following tasks: planning and coordinating meetings (announcing and confirming the schedule), managing and dismantling video-based meetings, providing further information and functionality during a video conference, calling the conference management module.
The best known suppliers of UC software suites are Microsoft with its Microsoft Office Communication Server (MC OCS) and Cisco with its Unified product groups. The solutions by IBM, Siemens, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent should also be mentioned.
One principal task nowadays is the integration of HD video conference terminals and HD video conference infrastructure with existing UC solutions. In principle, the SIP registrar of existing UC solutions (such as MS OCS R2 or Disco) or SIP trunking is used, and the video conference terminals (LifeSize, Tandberg, Polycom) and the corresponding infrastructure (such as, for example, HD MCU - HD video bridging services and gateways) are registered on the SIP registrar, e.g. the OCS. This must be supported by the video conference terminals and the infrastructure through their firmware. Thereafter, the terminals and the MCU appear in the UC environment buddy list and can be called upon by local software clients.
Generally, all LifeSize, Tandberg and Polycom systems can be integrated into a UC environment, e.g. MS and Cisco. On the following pages we provide you with specific information about how this can be solved.