Unified Communications AFCEA – Atlanta November 17, 2011
Today’s Agenda • UC Overview & Definition • Technologies • Benefits & Drivers • ROI • Challenges & Limitations • Players • UC in the Military
UC Defined • UC is the integration of real-time communications services such as: • IM • Presence information • Telephony (especially VoIP) • Video Conferencing • Data sharing (e.g. Interactive White Boards) • Call control • Speech recognition With non real-time communication services such as unified messaging – integrated voicemail, e-mail, SMS, and fax. • UC is an evolving set of technologies that automates and unifies human and device communications in a common context and experience
UC Key Features • Softphones • UC servers & clients • Dual mode handsets (WiFi & Cellular) • Heavy focus on: • Telecommunication voice systems and services • Data communication networks • Mobile communication services • Videoconferencing technology • Telepresence services
Presence and the ability to transition across modalities are key UC capabilities
Unified Communications Example • http://www.business.att.com/enterprise/Portfolio/unified-communications/
UC Benefits • 1. Collaboration. Unified communications (UC) enables coworkers, business partners, and clients can come together and collaborate. UC is often referred to as unified communications and collaboration, which indicates its role in facilitating virtual teamwork. • 2. Communication. UC enhances business communications by bringing all available devices and modalities under one roof and the ability to seamlessly transition among modalities. With a click of a mouse, an instant message (IM) exchange can be escalated into a phone call or conference call • 3. Access. Because UC operates across all communications devices, users enjoy unprecedented remote access to the system and with unified messaging ensures all messages can be made available in the formats preferred by users. • 4. Business process integration. UC promotes continuity across business processes. Access to business process applications —ERP, CRM, SCM and other data management and reporting utilities is possible through the UC interface. • 5. Presence. The real-time presence interface allows you to view the availability of all other users and their communication preferences. Subject matter experts can be brought to the table on demand.
What is Driving UC Evolution? • Optimizing business processes • Enhancing human communications by: • Reducing communication latency • Response time • Managing flows • Eliminating device and media dependencies • Device and modality preferences of today’s mobile workforce • SIP and its extensions
Unified Communications Example • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=WMrRCALO2KM
UC ROI • Enterprise-class UC is an investment that can improve productivity and availability, save money, and increase user and customer satisfaction. • The typical UC rollout entails an expensive upgrade of older systems and the deployment of new software and hardware. • Many UC products are complex to deploy and require organizational changes and extensive product customization and integration. • A UC system can cut traditional telephony costs; with IP, long-distance maintenance and support costs can be reduced by as much as 25%. Costs for adds, moves, and changes may also drop. • Intangible UC benefits are harder to define. The greatest returns come from improved communication which can result in enhanced customer service and revenue acceleration, faster sales closing, and invoices being sent out sooner.
Major UC Players • AT&T • Avaya • Cisco • Interactive Intelligence • Microsoft • Mitel • NEC • Shore Tel • Siemans • UC market is expected to eclipse $4.2B by 2014.
UC Challenges • UC Components Must Efficiently Work Together At: • Communication channel level • SIP and H.323 have emerged as important standards at this level • Intra-Vendor Level • Different channels (modalities) must work together efficiently within each vendor’s solution set • Inter-Vendor Level • From customer perspective, UC systems from different vendors should work together • Especially important when dealing with acquisitions
UC Limitations • Lack of Internationally Recognized Standards • No umbrella for unified communications exists • Currently, UC is not a clearly defined product category; it is more of a set of vendor-specific product descriptions • Vendor server-side platforms often include a proprietary client that used to access the system data and communications. • These clients vary widely and may include IP and cell phones, desktop applications or even tablets. • The server typically communicates with the client through a set of encrypted protocols.
UC Security Issues • The top potential security threats include voice spam (AKA spit), toll fraud, DoS attacks and eavesdropping or interception. • Spit, made possible by VoIP, is essentially a junk phone call to any phone. • Because it’s IP, spit can take the form of mass junk phone calls. • For example, flooding voice mail boxes (and potentially e-mail inboxes and SMS repositories thanks to UC-enabled voice-to-text settings) and constant ringing of phones. It’s enough to cripple a business.
UC and the Military • UC is consistent with GIG vision of “everything over IP” network that supports voice, VTC, and other synchronous communications to ride over the same network that carries e-mail and other data communications services. • Some enclaves have deployed the required upgrades needed to support UC, but making such services span the full breadth and depth of the military may take years to achieve. • UC deployment is consistent with C4ISR vision and roadmaps • Roadmaps WIN-T Increments 2 and 3 include UC-like capabilities. • COPF’ deep collaboration capabilities could be extended UC
UC Deployment: Military Drivers • Simplifying equipment requirements • One of the reasons DISA initiated VOIP support on SIPRnet was to simplify equipment requirements for deployed users. • Saving money • If you don’t have everything over IP, you’re requiring the deployable team to take extra equipment, such as IP-to-serial converters • Every additional piece of equipment is an additional expense and increases logistical costs • Enhanced communications and improved capabilities for multimode communication and collaboration • Jabber chat is part of battle command communications and is helping to satisfy immediate tactical needs • Presence detection is a key capability that makes it easier for an officer dealing with a crisis to identify, locate, and contact relevant experts, make command and control decisions, and issue orders. • Reduced administrative, maintenance, and technical training costs (as TDM is phased out and replaced by IP)
UC in the Military: Special Challenges • Ruggedized end points • Secure presence • Client device authentication • Incorporating tactical push-to-talk technologies • DOD-wide UC • JTF UC issues • Resilient UC infrastructures
UC and the Military: Special Opportunities • Logistics • Telemedicine • Tactical support for the Warfighter • Train as You Fight • COPF • Emergency/crisis first responder management
Major Players in Military UC • Avaya • Cisco • Lync (Microsoft) • PacStar
Recommended Readings • http://www.sans.org/reading_room/whitepapers/telephone/unified-communications-technologies_972 • http://defensesystems.com/articles/2009/07/08/cover-story-military-communications.aspx • http://fcw.com/Articles/2009/07/08/Military-communications-collaboration.aspx?Page=1
Atlanta – AFCEA, November 2011 ExTRASliDes
Unified Communications Interoperability Forum • http://www.ucif.org/