Unified Communications Submitted by Parminder Kaur
Unified communications (UC) is the integration of real-time communication services such as instant messaging (chat), presence information, telephony (including IP telephony), video conferencing, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, e-mail,SMS and fax). UC is not a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types. • UC also refers to a trend to offer Business process integration, i.e. to simplify and integrate all forms of communications in view to optimize business process and reduce the response time, manage flows, and eliminate device and media dependencies. • UC allows an individual to send a message on one medium and receive the same communication on another medium. For example, one can receive a voicemail message and choose to access it through e-mail or a cell phone. If the sender is online according to the presence information and currently accepts calls, the response can be sent immediately through text chat or video call. Otherwise, it may be sent as a non real-time message that can be accessed through a variety of media.
Unified Communications and CollaborationSimplify Working Together Pervasive capabilities for where and how people work
Who is it for? Unified communications is very useful for knowledge workers, information workers, and service workers alike, many of whom may cross the lines between the three sectors on a daily or hourly basis, depending on the task and the client. With an increasingly mobile workforce, businesses are rarely centralized in one location. Unified communications facilitates this on-the-go, always-available style of communication. With a completely hosted UC solution, communication is circular rather than linear. In other words, a user can determine the most efficient form of communication for each situation. A user can instant message, call, email, video chat, or use on-line collaboration within a single solution. No longer is a phone call just a phone call. Easily start a videoconference call with a coworker and have a question asked and answered in seconds rather than minutes
As the hosted IP communications market continues to grow, more service providers are integrating more capabilities to traditional hosted telecom solutions - including UC integration with the full suite of Microsoft products that allows for a truly hosted UC environment where an IP phone system fully integrates with your email, voicemail and OCS - all in one model. Alteva was the first hosted VoIP provider to provide a completely hosted UC platform powered by Broadsoft and Microsoft.
Affordable Communications System for Your Business For a business to communicate effectively with suppliers and customers in today’s competitive business environment, you need ready access to information, updated in real time. Businesses can collaborate more effectively and problem-solve like never before. The Cisco Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) is an all-in-one networking and communications solution that will enable you to do just that. This solution supports flexible deployment options, a wide array of IP phones, public switched telephone network (PSTN) interfaces, and Internet connectivity
Some of the specific features UC can bring to a business? A voice-enabled UC solution can quickly help organizations save money by reducing a variety of costs, including service fees and charges, travel expenses, messaging costs, telephony and audio conferencing charges, operation costs, communications system costs and disaster recovery capabilities. Additional benefits of Hosted UC include: Hosted or cloud-based solutions average a 75% reduction in startup expenses, management time by 90%, compared to an on-premise PBX system - bringing the cost of a new system from $2000/user down to $250-$350/user. Business Continuity: Direct access to redirect calls or relocate your entire business in the event of a storm or disaster Mitigate Technology Obsolescence - New features and functionality made available without costly upgrades, elimination of maintenance fees and costly moves, adds and changes.
Scalability: Easily add and remove users as your business expands and contracts to fit you business needs. • Consolidation: One vendor to manage and one bill to pay for Local, Long Distance, Exchange, OCS, SharePoint & Internet. • Improve Employees Efficiency and Customer Satisfaction: salespeople, remote workers and mobile executives can do business from any location and never miss a call or message. Features such as messaging and collaboration, answering your office phone from your cell phone, have voicemails show up as an emails, find me follow me, call accounting, etc. drastically improve productivity. • Call savings through utilisation of WAN links effectively
Jetstar upgrades unified communications platform Jetstar is upgrading its unified communications (UC) environment as part of a new whole-of-company approach towards technology and mobility Speaking at a media lunch in Sydney this week, Jetstar CIO, Stephen Tame, said the upgrade will affect Jetstar’s head offices and executives from December this year.
How it can help your business • Reduce Costs and Improve Business ResultsWith the economic crisis and unstable energy prices, corporations are taking a hard look at cutting costs, while maintaining their competitive edge by transforming ideas into value and delivering to their customers. Unified communications help organizations reduce operating costs of travel, telecom and IT, while enabling them to improve business outcomes in a more sustainable way. • Solution Components • Unified communications is a multi component system that is implemented on a company’s existing IP Network infrastructure. The components of a typical unified communications deployment include; • Components • IP Network An IP Network is a network of interconnected cables over which the Internet Protocol is run allowing devices connected to the network to communicate with each other IP Telephony Server An IP telephony server is an appliance that replaces the traditional PABX system but instead of dedicated copper wires connected to each device the server makes use of an IP network such as your local LAN or even the Internet, to send and receive data packets to the connected device. The data packets can contain pure data or they can just a likely contain snippets of the spoken voice which have been digitized so that it can be transmitted over the network Voice Mail Server A voicemail server is an appliance that store telephone messages. In legacy systems this device was usually limited in ways in which the end user could collect their messages. Primarily communications were over a voice network where users dialled a number to connect to their systems. Today this has changed and now messages can be collected from mobiles, email and even websites. Voicemail servers used in these solutions are typically Microsoft Exchange 2007 or Cisco Unity Web Conferencing Server Getting together with a bunch of your peers who are spread all over the world is in essence what a Web conferencing server facilitates. A typical a web conferencing server resides in a central location and combines desktop sharing and voice sessions from participating users. Cisco Meeting Place Express is typically the software running on the server and providing this functionality Presence Server A Presence server provides real-time reachabily information for any user on the server. You can see the users status (e.g. available, on the phone, in a meeting) and the best method to reach them (e.g. desk phone, mobile phone, email, instant messaging)IP Phones IP Phones look much like traditional analogue phones but have one important difference. Instead fo been plugged into a dedicated copper wire they can be connected to any IP network. This means that you are not limited by the availability of your office network but can use this anywhere that you have access to the Internet. It also means that only one type of cabling i.e. cat 5 or cat 6 is required in your offices
INNOVATION • My innovation is to install or apply Unified Communication in Hospitals and Small Business also.
For small business- VIRTUALISATION http://www.networkworld.com/reviews/2010/111110-virtual-office.html http://www.generation-e.com.au/solutions/platforms/virtualisation.html For Hospitals http://www.enersus.com.au/articles/enersus_news/mobileaccess_delivers_unified_communications_in_hospital/
THREATS • "Implementing UC creates new threats toward enterprise voice systems, such as data loss and fraud, as well as attacks against the underlying data network resources. Until now, network managers have primarily worried about these latter threats, such as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks that disrupt not only voice, but other application services, as well," • http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/67878
RISK ANALYSIS Security is a major concern for businesses in all areas of IT, and unified communications is no exception. Unified communications includes instant messaging (IM), the telephone, VoIP, web and audio conferencing, desktop video and other real time communications which can each present a company with serious security risks if proper security controls are not put in place.
Categories of Risk Broadly put, IT managers identified and rated 3 categories of threat in relation to unified communications: Theft of Service • This includes toll fraud, device theft and identity theft and implies the unauthorised use of services, such as conference bridges, or the theft of identity. Denial of Service • This includes denial of service (DoS) and disguised attacks. It implies a deliberate or accidental attack against services and applications that render them unusable for IT users. Privacy and Compliance • This focuses on interception of communications and impacts the confidentiality and challenges associated with conforming to corporate compliance policies and legislation. • Apart from the constant battle against unsolicited email (spam), the two biggest challenges identified by IT managers - to provide a reliable (not exposed to DoS) and secure (no exposure to identity theft) service to IT users. http://www.dimensiondata.com/Lists/Downloadable%20Content/SecureUC_129152174627818750.pdf
Strength Weakness • Requires new skill sets and training • Hard to establish initially due need to evaluate network support and availability • If not a new site lose on original investment • Interaction with other solutions proves difficult to move away from provider for application platform • Sometimes hard to match needs with available software and hardware capability • Difficult to integrate with third party products (IM, Video Conferencing, etc) • . • Standards based solution. • Strong commitment to Open Standards • Strong focus on partnerships with leading collaboration vendors • Strong collaboration/Web conferencing product with Meeting Exchange • Reduces overall energy consumption and ongoing costs • Simple upgrade path • Scalable solution • Easy growth path to new features • Interfaces with POTS (Plain Old Telephone Systems).
Threat Opportunity • Integrated solutions are partnership based and inflexible. • Lack of a standard is causing Industry to provide isolated solutions • • IBM is working with multiple voice • communications partners. • • Google is launching SaaS UC capabilities • (Gmail, Google Talk, etc.). • Clients’ perception that company is focused only on voice (voicemail, voice • conferencing, and voice over IP) may • remove company from consideration in some sales opportunities • Tremendous market interest in UC • Easier integration with third party vendors will assist with growth • (Development of integration standard is currently in draft) • Single Sign On capability will allow for better management and asset tracking • Capability to integrate with other companies will aid in business work-flow • Allows Security to be customised to follow the user rather than working in security zones
Communications Convergence Communications Convergence Occurs Integrated Communication Solutions IP Telephony Mobile/Remote Solutions Horizontally Integrated Communications Expanded VoIP Scenarios Common Directory Standards Based Communication Capabilities IM and Presence Web and Video Conferencing VoIP PBX Integration Integration with Applications Mobile Phones E-mail Voicemail Fax