Unify’s push comes at a time when interest in unified communications is ramping up, thanks to such trends as greater mobility, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) and the increased use of video. At the same time, young people who have been raised on consumer video communications tools like Skype and social media are entering the workplace expecting to be able to collaborate with the same kinds of tools. UC in the cloud also will have a growing impact on adoption of the technology, Rich Costello, senior research analyst of UC in IDC's Enterprise Communications Infrastructure unit, told eWEEK in April.
Reaction to Unify’s new brand and its plans with Project Ansible has been positive. Noting that Unify made its announcement the same day that Avaya introduced its Collaboration Environment—a platform for more easily developing UC apps—Irwin Lazar, an analyst with the Nemertes Research Group, said there is “a new dynamic in UC, the transition from a market focused around IP telephony to one focused on software.”
“Taken together, these announcements highlight the transformation of UC away from its voice-centric past to one where a variety of collaboration channels are brought together, integrated with business process applications, to enable collaboration in context, improving the value of UC, and the productivity of those who use it,” Lazar said in a post on the Nemertes blog.
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, said the new brand and Ansible are a good start, but urged Unify officials to focus on mobile and the cloud, to leverage Ansible to create an “easy-to-use, customizable workspace in which workers can bring in different applications, data and conversations,” and to ensure that the APIs and software-developer kits (SDKs) they release that enable programmers to build applications integrated with Ansible functionality can be used by developers with little or no telephony knowledge.
“Lots of UC vendors have this vision, but you still need [‘old phone guys’] to build the apps,” Kerravala wrote in a post on the No Jitter blog site. “Getting rid of this requirement will go a long way to making Unify appeal to a different audience.”
He also urged Unify officials to be aggressive when building out Ansible and other products.
“The final thing I would like to see from Unify is to see the company step on the gas and keep the pedal down,” Kerravala wrote, noting that “the old Siemens actually did see some of the market shifts coming but let others define the market. OpenScape is a great example of this, where the company launched the product and within a year was lost in the noise of a bunch of other UC products. … I'm hoping that next year at this time I'm sick of hearing about Ansible and Unify because that means the company got the product, vision, customer wins and whatever else out in front of this audience enough to make it top of mind.”