Some Observations on UC&C

By Peter Radizeski, TMCnet

Just back from the Genband Perspectives15 show. Here are some observations I have around unified communications and collaboration (aka UC&C).

We act like everyone is a Knowledge Worker. That is hardly the case.

We act like every worker is mobile. Again that is hardly the case. (Ask a secretary or a call center rep.)

Desk phones are NOT going away any time soon. If they were, Yealink and Polycom wouldn’t be at every single show showing off desk phones and their capabilities. Some desk phones will go away. Some.

The service provider and the Enterprise customer both want more user management – “providing all employees with the ability to manage everything themselves from anywhere, using any device.” Not really there yet except for pockets of features and a select few SPs that have built user friendly portals.

Training is needed. On-demand user training. Live training on how to get the most out of the UC&C platform – Annually.

In this blog, Suzanne points out 3 things:

  1. To the user UC should be as easy as Skype for Business (MS Lync).
  2. It is really about connected work.
  3. The story about UC has to change for more adoption.

Rich Tehrani examines Redbooth, which started life as Teambox and grew into a UC&C platform. Redbooth “think of ourselves as a single place workers can collaborate, get things done and have a persistent workplace with integrated, real-time communications tools tied to their work.”

UC&C Adoption is not enterprise wide, but one project or department at a time.

64% of people surveyed prefer text to calling when it comes to customer service.

More and more I am seeing texting to landlines available via a number of providers like Zipwhip, Voxox and OpenMarket. Why is text-to-landline not a standard offering from every UC player?

Wireless LANs and wired networks at work have to get MUCH better for UC&C to work and for people to just use softphones or cell phones..

Tele-workers have to put up with best effort broadband at home and in hotels. That makes cloud usage very difficult!!

VoIP usage is rising because (1) the PSTN is in sunset; (2) some ILECs don’t want to install copper any more (I’m talking to you AT&T and VZ!); and (3) service providers have been transitioning away from TDM for a few years now and default to VoIP (even on supposed PRI circuits which are just SIP Trunks with PRI signaling from the IAD).

It is … interesting … that NetworkWorld only talks about Broadview Networks’ MyOfficeSuite (in this article).

The buzz on WebRTC is loud and sustaining. Genband and OnSIP being just 2 cheerleaders. It isn’t a product. It is code that allows for real time comm inside a browser without plug-ins or a separate application.

Thought piece on SIP vs. WebRTC from OnSIP. [Full disclosure: OnSIP is not a client. They have been on panels of mine throughout the years. I know some of their people. I worked with them during my consulting project at Vidtel. But it is because they know how to use social media that I saw this article. ]

Many service providers in the UCaaS space predominantly sell voice replacement – SIP trunking or Hosted VoIP. Often, the benefits of the Hosted UC platform are never realized by the business. These SPs have to start getting it right. Mainly because Microsoft is coming – and IF (a really huge IF) Microsoft can get it right the way Dave Michels describes it – many UC players will fold shop.

Replacement selling is what we do. For Genband’s old Nortel business that is great. For other parts – like Nuiva (not the contraceptive) or fring – that is selling people on a vision of how business can be done better. That is Hard to Do! And delivering on it is even harder. Especially when most buyers are just looking for a replacement for their key system or current PBX.

The one thing I have to say about Genband is that they have several disparate silos – fring, VoWifi, SmartOffice, Nuvia, the Nortel PBX biz, the “softswitch” that Netfortris bought. Their customers don’t fit neatly into 3 categories. Not every customer is going to buy every service. Not every partner is going to sell every silo either.

Genband has the show elements down. Concert, snacks, food, gifts, demos, keynotes, great hotel (JW Marriott Grande Lakes). Not all their employees understand all the products or what exactly the benefits are – or why one would buy it. It took a couple of demos until I got past the whiz-bang WebRTC demo to actually what the product did, how it works and why my clients should look at buying it. Eduardo Cordero really knows his stuff, btw.

To be fair, Genband took on a lot of employees just weeks before the show, so there were a number of newbies. Lots of training to be done internally and externally to get the sales machine rolling.

It isn’t just Genband either. Many people in the UC&C space don’t have a firm grasp of the products and services that their company offers or how a business would benefit. Training is lacking. (I am available to do that training. Just call the office at 813-963-5884).