Thrupoint Aims for Greater UC Interoperability

Thrupoint at the Enterprise Connect event introduced the latest additions to its Thrupoint Fusion framework, designed to enable enterprises to leverage multiple UC platforms.

Thrupoint officials are looking to fix what they say is a broken model for unified communications, where there is little interoperability as the major players push to build up their platforms without giving enough thought to how they work with those from other vendors.

UC applications from traditional vendors, such as Cisco Systems and Avaya, work well within their own collaboration platforms, according to Sajeel Hussain, vice president of product marketing for Thrupoint, which makes UC applications than can run on multiple platforms. However, problems arise when users try to bring in outside applications.

€œWhen you start mixing it up, [the UC model] starts breaking down,€ Hussain said in an interview with week.

The introduction of the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) was expected to solve problems of interoperability. €œIt was supposed to be the great equalizer,€ he said. However, vendors€™ desire to work within their own platforms has tripped up that idea, leading to what Hussain said is €œso-so interoperability.€

Thrupoint is taking another approach, he said. Using its Thrupoint Application Server, the company through its Fusion framework offers a number of applications designed to manage UC applications across multiple platforms. Those applications include Fusion Mobility, Fusion Click2Connect and Fusion Creator.

At the Enterprise Connect 2012 show in Orlando, Fla., March 26, Thrupoint officials introduced a new application aimed at the burgeoning tablet market and a service broker product that offers session management capabilities between disparate UC platforms.

Thrupoint Fusion UC for tablets, including Apple€™s popular iPod, offers video collaboration, voice, instant messaging and presence capabilities on the devices. Through the app, businesses can offer secure client registration, communication transport and policies over how external and internal users interact. These are important features given the rising bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, where employees are looking to use their personal devices€”including smartphones and tablets€”at work, Hussain said.

Thrupoint Fusion Service Broker, which Hussain said offers session management 2.0 capabilities, provides greater interoperability between various UC platforms. The technology also lets users bring applications into a communication session at any point, as long as they meet predefined criteria. Businesses also can quickly deploy new services that bring together collaboration business processes, and work across various mobile and desktop devices.

Interoperability among UC platforms will continue to be crucial to enterprises, and vendors do not seem to be in enough of a hurry to address the issues, according to Gartner analyst Ken Agress. In a March 27 blog post, Agress said that the message he took away from a panel discussion among UC vendors at Enterprise Connect was that interoperability was difficult, and that the burden was going to be carried by resellers.

€œThis is ludicrous,€ Agress wrote. SIP was introduced in 2000, and a dozen years later, the discussion is still around how difficult interoperability is. He wrote:

"The trends in the market are toward greater and greater use of virtualized, software-based, cloud-enabled platforms for communications. Enterprises need the flexibility of these platforms to meet the growing demand for "bring your own device" approaches to mobility, leveraging cloud-based services effectively, and connecting directly to business partners, clients, suppliers or other third parties. But what the "Interoperability comes through your VAR" answer means is that we shouldn€™t expect significant developments that make such environments truly possible. Since each vendor€™s focus will be on their products, their clients, their services and their communications channels, how can an enterprise reasonably expect to connect to a carrier service, cloud provider or external entity that uses solutions from a different vendor?"