Step 5

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2007-11-13 Print this article Print

: Bring Outside In"> Step 5: Bring Outside In With end-to-end QOS on the network and system survivability in place, UC can bring many communications improvements for users within the network. The real challenge, however, will be to extend those improvements outside the company, bringing both customers and trusted partners into the mix. UC can provide savings against the current mode of communication, reducing expenditures on things such as one-time collaboration sessions or travel costs for in-person meetings and events.
Implementers need to weigh in advance how open their solution will be, as everything has to integrate properly and play well together. At the same time, implementers must maintain the flexibility to quickly add new applications and capacity to handle new business conditions or relationships.
All kinds of decisions made early in the planning process—such as what devices, operating systems, network types and applications will be supported—will have implications for the systems openness and flexibility. Therefore, it is critical to plan for extensibility from the start. To enable rich presence outside the corporate walls, federation will also be an ongoing concern for UC systems, opening up trust relationships between different organizations and networks. Implementers must construct a plan that puts in place the technical groundwork needed to connect and build trust relationships between different directories and to build a system of accountability and responsibility for securing, maintaining and updating those relationships on an ongoing basis. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) continues to gain steam as a way to initialize communications for converged networks. Because of its flexibility and near-universal adoption among vendors at this point, SIP will be a major component of any UC deployment. However, there are still irregularities among different vendors SIP implementations that could become a factor in integration between different companies. Security officials must also take care to ensure that perimeter security equipment correctly handles both SIP initialization traffic and the real-time transport protocols that carry the data payloads. Microsofts Karlinsky also thinks codecs will be important as UC crosses the corporate boundaries. By building these considerations into the planning phase of a UC deployment, implementers will provide the flexibility to reduce costs while generating new business opportunities and creating new competitive advantages. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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