NextPlane: Federation The Future Of Unified Communications

While unified communications vendors are still stuck in solving interoperability, their customers have moved on to federation, increasingly wanting to build collaborative communities around their UC environments, said Farzin Shahidi, CEO, NextPlane. The company’s flagship product, UC Exchange, is called the first real-time collaborative business community for UC platforms with a searchable directory of federation-ready organizations. The cloud-based service enables companies with disparate unified communications systems to connect without additional hardware or software required.

“Last month, we had over 200,000 federated end users, over 300 unique corporate domains and close to a billion messages,” he said. “We see a big trend towards what we call collaborative business communities: chat, voice, video, video conferencing and enhanced presence.”

According to a recent report, Unified Communications as-a-service (UCaaS) is a rapidly growing market and generates a lot of interest in the enterprise as well as in developer communities. UCaaS will be one of the key enabling factors that will drive the market for unified communication. Furthermore, cloud based access is making unified communication available for a wider range of organizations and end users. The shift from on-premises to cloud based unified communication model will be the key driver for unified communication to grow in the future. Major players are Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Alcatel-Lucent, Siemens enterprise communications, Mitel, CSC, Panterra networks, Interactive intelligence and NEC.

“When evaluating UCC (Unified Communications and Collaboration) options, optimizing employee interaction is the top goal for U.S. enterprises,” said David Lemelin, Director of Custom Research at Current Analysis, earlier this year. U.S. enterprises are more likely to allow employees to use non-company-sanctioned UCC solutions than their counterparts in Europe. This is particularly the case with IM/presence solutions where 21% of U.S. businesses allow non-sanctioned use versus 9% among European respondents, according to Lemelin.

Last month an InformationWeek survey found that 68% of respondents say their companies have either deployed UC or plan to do so within 24 months. Almost two thirds, 61%, say audioconferencing is the most critical component of a UC deployment, WHILE 42% see an untrained user base as the top barrier to full adoption of a deployed unified communications system.

“Technology is inherently complex… and certainly that’s true with unified communications,” said Rob Owyang, Director, Solutions Marketing, HP Networking. While vendors and service providers tried to make things simpler with the likes of the Internet and instant messaging, things actually got more complicated, he said. “It’s not only complicated on the users side, but also on the IT management side.”

Real-time collaboration, and collaborative business communities that bring together employees, partners and customers is the big trend, said Shahidi. Once UC is available within an organization, they want to reach out to their entire ecosystems, he said.

NextPlane facilitates this federated traffic, but it is just scratching the surface, he said. “Our value is not only our technology, but the network effect. The more companies that become members and subscribe, the more value to anybody who subscribes. What we’re trying to do is build this directory of all these companies that want to communicate real time, collaborate with their ecosystems.”



Author: Steve Wexler

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