The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted the importance of unified communications for businesses and their growing role in the technology sector. Joel Schectman notes that there is great potential for making communications faster and easier. This is part of the unified interoperability trend that integrates real-time and non-real time communications and information services to exchange information better.
Unified communications is defined by the need for more efficiency, simplicity and speed. It relies on a set of products that deliver a nearly identical user experience across multiple devices or media types. It focuses on creating seamless communication between businesses and among workers as information is shared. It also includes identifying presence “a tool that allows employees to see if colleagues are available before messaging them,” and another growing interpretation is coming from the enterprise software market. Unified or Uniform Interoperability (UI) is providing the capability to inter-communicate and exchange processing uniformly across different application functions, data and operating infrastructures to allow the creation of reports, applications and operating models without the need for traditional data and systems integration costs and time.
The genesis of UI was the within the telecommunications industry with the growing number of communication endpoints such IM, video and voice. The Unified Communications Interoperability Forum, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 2010 by several communication technology vendors. Its goal is to improve interoperability across multiple systems and unified communications. The founding members of the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum include Microsoft, HP, Logitech and Polycom. AMD, Intel, Sony and other companies have joined the forum as it focuses on establishing guidelines and making components of new systems work together.
At its core, unified communications relies on integrating mobile technology, computers, video conferences, instant messages and other features into products that can be used by multiple users to instantly share information. In a recent announcement, the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum revealed that a new scalable video coding specification has been created for interoperability among different video conferencing solutions, and the board of directors has approved this specification. With more than 40 organizations across the globe, the forum continues to grow and expand its goal of unifying communications.
The Wall Street Journal notes that unified communications are making progress in the business world. The previous issues of integration are slowly being resolved as more companies are making tools and products that are compatible. Philipp Karcher mentions that “we are seeing an upswing as companies are taking the plunge and using more UC collaboration tools beyond just basic IM.”
This concept, design philosophy and value of UI, is now expanding beyond telecommunications to enable interoperability between the elements of data, software, business assets and technology within financial, health care and the general global enterprise market. Establishing a unified interoperability framework between diverse and distributed components is enabling radical improvement in the cost and time to market reports, applications and operating models. This type of interoperability is fast becoming the alternative to traditional centralization and “big data” trends in offering more cost efficient products.
For example, one new entrant in the enterprise software market, Pneuron Corp., has taken a unique approach to processing interoperability and the creation of global business models. Pneuron has developed its namesake, “Pneuron,” a lightweight and configurable mini-application which creates uniformly interoperable services from a wide range of underlying systems, data sources and technology. Pneuron offers a broad library of pneurons to engage a specific asset class, and they are interconnected to form a distributed network that is deployed across an enterprise environment. By decomposing complex problems into a set of interoperable services, designers now have the flexibility to rapidly reconfigure individual pneuron behavior through properties or change the behavior of the overall network by reconnecting pneurons at the solution level. With the technical details of the underlying system hidden, designers enjoy rapid changes since interoperability specifics are already encoded within the pneuron’s implementation.
This approach has great appeal for businesses incorporating new sources of data, responding to dynamic market forces and striving to reuse existing investments in an age of limited capital budgets.