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Global Communications Leaders Form Industry Alliance To Deliver Unified Communications Interoperability
May 19, 2010 | Howard Lichtman
HP, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Logitech / LifeSize and Polycom Establish Forum,
Invite Industry Stakeholders to Join Collaborative Ecosystem
SAN RAMON, Calif., May 19, 2010 - Citing the need to fully leverage customers' investments in communications systems and unite their global organizations, five global technology companies today joined to form the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF), an alliance dedicated to enabling standards-based, inter-vendor unified communications (UC) interoperability. HP, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Logitech / LifeSize, and Polycom, seek to unify the vibrant but fragmented UC ecosystem through this shared mission. The founding members are joined by a growing roster of member companies including Acme Packet, Aspect, AudioCodes, Broadcom, BroadSoft, Brocade, ClearOne, Jabra, Plantronics, RADVISION, Siemens Enterprise Communications, and Teliris.
The UCIF is the first and only entity working across all unified communications modalities to deliver interoperability based on existing standards. Many enterprises are ready to deploy UC solutions but interoperability concerns have slowed implementation. UCIF-certified products will help reduce implementation risk and complexity and, as a result, grow the worldwide market to meet its potential. According to a February 2009 report, Forrester forecasts that the market for UC within enterprises in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific will reach $14.5 billion in 2015. (Market Overview: Sizing Unified Communications,Forrester Research, Inc., Feb. 5, 2009).
Forrester, in an independent research report, outlined some practical imperatives for Unified Communications solutions: "Don't assume firms will invest in interesting or unique technology unless it specifically helps them improve business processes and results. Build the foundation for value statements and capabilities firmly in today's workplace and processes - with a vision of the future and a migration path forward for capabilities like interoperability or video." (Seven Myths About Unified Communications and Collaboration, Forrester Research, Inc., March 23, 2010)
To address these challenges, the UCIF will identify common customer scenarios and leverage existing industry standards to resolve the interoperability issues that have stalled broad adoption and deployment of higher-productivity communications. The UCIF benefits member companies as well. Now, with a multi-lateral testing resource, UCIF members can dramatically reduce the costs and complexities associated with ad hoc interoperability testing. Ultimately, this means interoperable UC solutions will reach customers more quickly.
"It is important for all businesses to prepare and architect their communications environments in a more unified and services-oriented manner. And one of the most significant factors impeding UC adoption today is the lack of interoperability assurance for customers between their existing and pending communications and networking investments and purchases," said Jonathan Edwards, research analyst, Unified Communications, IDC. "Having these industry leaders come together to form the UCIF with the common goal of improving the interoperability of existing protocols will ideally simplify the purchase, migration and deployment process for customers, and I applaud them for their efforts."
The UCIF will develop verifiable interoperability testing and certification of UC products to ease customer integration and increase adoption. The UCIF will focus its initial interoperability efforts on managing the escalating diversity of video and telepresence solutions. Guided by customer feedback, the forum will place specific emphasis on signaling planes, video codecs and protocols, endpoint configurations, and firewall traversal technologies, thereby facilitating broader video adoption and communication across multiple organizations and between platforms.
UCIF membership is open to hardware and software solution providers, service providers and network operators. For more information or to join the UCIF, visit www.ucif.org.
About the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum
The Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF) is a non-profit alliance of worldwide communications technology leaders working together to realize the potential of unified communications (UC) by increasing efficiency, decreasing implementation costs and improving the interoperability experience for UC customers. The UCIF's vision is to enable interoperability of standards-based UC hardware and software across enterprises, service providers, and consumer clouds, as a means of generating incremental business opportunity for all stakeholders in the ecosystem and of increasing the business use of UC technologies and services. The UCIF creates and tests interoperability profiles, implementation guidelines and best practices for interoperability between UC products and existing communications and business applications. Visit www.ucif.org to learn more.
###© 2010 Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF or UCI FORUM). All rights reserved. The UCIF logo, UCIF and UCI FORUM are trademarks and/or service marks of the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
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