How gotto we wnere are we today, Where we are-gbing next.

BY CAROL DAUNT,TEARNTEL

virtualteamsto expandtheir reachand busrness activities. eCollaboration iools time.Technology enabled different havedeveloped has a yearsand rapidly recent in type of communication teamsofien mostof us haveusedthemin one of their with dispersed acrossseveral continents. The various forms virtual workspace notjustthe domain is of the largecorporation. Smalland medium Convergence and mobility are the sized businesses using are technology and future for eCollaboration tools. We've
THESTRATEGIC PATHTOCONVERGING COMMUNICATIONS

seenconvergence technologies of over the past felv years,but convergence of technology with peoplewill be ihe way of the future. l'd like to start looking forwardby lookingback.Whatwerethe developments broughtus to where that we are and where will ihey lead us in t h ef u t u r e ?

makingauthority provide or a knowledge decision All ihree of theseapproaches AT AND TECHNOLOGIES DIRECTIONS and may necessary for them to complete the for different algorithm callcontrol THE DESKTOP to the A varietyof forcesare comingtogether flow throuEh different reseller/integratortask at hand To maximise ability requires the abilityto to on the desktop,impactingthe future of channels the end user,but all threerely remainproductive hence with at and collaboration both on network services and infrastructure find and communicate others, conferencing by that are controlled the lT the concept of the Presenceengine. the per$onaland group level. Perhaps components put are Presence engines, simply, directory than is nothing moresignificant the entry department. serverson steroidsthat enableworkers of Cisco, Microsoft and lBl\l into the availability initiate and to All component a unified to find, determine space. of these Thenon-real{ime unified communications To wiih a1 havea Presence engine the communicationsarchitectureconsists communications colleagues. date companies than10million users more claims heart of their offeringand then a variety of unified messaging (asynchronous Microsoft Server (OCS) and self-developed voice, email,fax, video mail all made of Office Communications of partner-provided that morethan20 million and and IBM claims an through inboxor portal) applicationsthat enable the Presence available The seatshavebeendeployed. (documents files Sametime and conteni launchaudio,video and data asynchronous engineto are and or content worksin pointis that Presence availability boih point-to-point that represent archived sessions, collaboration for like in Because thesetechnology progress contained portals tVicrosoft here to stay as metaphors launching and multipoint. every lT departmentwill eRoom, etc.) collaboration; giantshavethe eyesand ears of SharePoint, Documentum industry Many ai some point needto concernitselfwith unified meant support professionals, are bringing teamcollaboration. they to lT platforms comprised policy, security, federation and other are to communicaiions the forefrontof the of the enalrling application Presence of surrounding capabilities issues centralised network architecture and of a blend of non-realtime indexing e n g r n e s . process. planning storage, (webhosting, documeni business filing)and realtime (or and hierarchical of One reasonfor the risingpopularity Amongtheseare capabilities. way to look at ihe develoPments user-facing) One instant is engines thattheyprovide are Presence todayis to look at alertsthat notifyuserswhen changes in occurring the market documents, access to others. The other capability communications madeto relevant informaiion, of the integration real{ime workersseek is ihe abilityto and or applications; singlesign-onfor entire knowledge wiih the enterprise infrastructure to how this will be delivered the enterprise application integration,and accessothersthroughcontentin a variety consider and basedon Presence technologies of ways,notsimply personalisation. eRoom are Some options mostlikely: Three end user. method of IM have added Presence,chat and web lM.Though willbe a primary c) aweb . Launching collaboration b) to using conferencing as session capabilities wellto further clicking a)call, schedule,launch a knowledge or conference videoconference, teamcollaboration. the lP PBX as the centralserverand promote will seek ways to workers increasingly handset computer or the lP telephone 'always-on' THEAGEOF CONVERGENCE achievewhat's breencalled as softphone the userinterface. yearisthefirstinwhichmorelaptops coliaboration. juryissiill concerning o Using a dedicatedcomputerprogram This out The PCs, whichreinforces howthiswillbe achieved it likely be will but that providesan willshipthandesktop for communications supporismixedmedia ihe entire concept of data and worker basedon mergingmediatypes, content, thai environment by Similarly, the end of 2006 archival into engines a toolsand Presence to mixed devices,possiblyover mixed mobility. cell and lP of PSTN, andmobile. therewillbe morethan2 billion phone variety formats approaches. including networks, is as Thisapproach known a collabroration subscribers worldwide. Remembering of Law,ihe valueof the universe and services All of the technologies portalor dashboard, also supports Metcalfe's and phones, and handhelds other discussed now front and centrein lT are shared workspacesfor PCs,mobile non-real-iime as exponentially theyare organisations. increases devices Over time they will require etc. control, document versatile. of greater ' Embedding and mind shareand largeramounts withina high- connected remain collaboration that beginsits The enterprise resources. level produciivitysoftware application takes on planningtoday will be better positioned The idea of convergence HR, or such as CRM, Purchasing, group fluciuating how to addressa constantly whenone considers meaning a Withthis approach, voice another accounting. while productivity. of servicesand user requirements maximise workers from knowledge directly is or videosession launched and fromtaskto also fosteringimprovedproductivity migrate workers such the withinthe higherapplication; user Typically for workenvironments knowledge task, projectto project,often interrupting enhanced applicatlon the has never to leave original with workers. their work io seek out colleagues or learna newprogram.
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WE'VEBEEN WHERE Voice, ';ideo ancl web conferencing deveiopedas definedservicesihat are by nowusedextensively mostbusinesses. phone(POTS), Voicewas via the standard ISDN webwaslP based. and video wasrria we Untilrecently, dealtwith eachof these a offering unique technoloEies as defined for set of benefits collaboration,

in on drop as low as half a cent collaboration the road,intothe field, conferencing is per minuie according ElliotGold of the air and out to sea.Mobility the new to The office no longer exists Thereis still a vast rangeof expectation. TeleSpan. four prices in Australia with serviceprotriders between wails. preferring offervalue-add as to services But I ve beento several recently calls. conferences to opposed cheapunsupported down. delegates is wherewireless accessallowed the direction definitely Video conferencing hardware has to continue krusiness usual. as Numerous in plummeted price both overseas and delegates hunched in sat overlapiops the here.This, too, will coniinueand you'll semi-darkness iapping theirkeyboards at to providing services doing goodnessknows whatl A quick has value-add Voice conferencing continued bea seevendors growth cheap to get your business. are also scan from the back of the room showed it Systems iooli:ecause s accessible. features getting lt and and reliable. now offersvarious smaller cheaper sub-$5,000 that manywere checking emails. oihers lrkeQ&A and poliingthat make a large for compactsystems. on weregoingliveto wetrsites topicsjust The call more nranageable. conference mpniinncrl h\/ sncaktrrs while a few were hasbeenin the reservationand uptake VolPis becomingmainstrearn free postingliveto theirblogsto let the rest largest can launcha servicessuch as Skype are constantly of the world know what gems of wisdom whereanyone less service notice. their offeringsand this will werebeing call expanding conference at a moment's given. drive service providerstowards creative has consistenlly bundlingdeals. Alreadywe'rreseen the Video conferencing airports Any time spentin international gas and o{ under-delivered has only become bundling telephony, and electrlcity alsoreinforces importance wrreless the of mcre widely used in the past two years in someinsiances. lt's business operations. to our everyday to becameeasier use and as equipment on to commonplace see wearytravellers Fvenihoughthereare Convergence: Voice, web and videcr theairport costs decreased. the service undertaking wireless installed, many of conferencing have convergedand one of thousands systems worktheywouldhavebeendoinghadthey 1p them are used infrequently. general, doesn'texpectto be usingthreediffereni not been delayed flightchanges and by Video and/or systems. iraining howto usevideoconferencing, serviceproviders on flight On cancellations. a recentoverseas to whichbuttons conferencing said goodbye ISDN has if givenat all,was around inJlight, so service I was offered wireless a to to pushand verylittieon how to use the andyou'dbe hard-pressed buyan ISDN from now we can coniinueto collaborate you systemioday.(lf someoneis offering ef technology fectively. an airline seat. lP one, check their credentialsl) is the callscheaper and started slowly but standarcj thisis making Web conferencing W G WHERE E'RE OING Dual-stream more has l]ecomethe tool of choicefor many andapplications varied. is Convergence the lvay oi ihe future are no\^/ organisations that it combinesvoice andcollaboration the norm, - convergenceof technologiesand haveseenvoiceRecentdevelopments of andvideowitha myriad otherinteractive people.Presence technology crept onto integratedinto web features. Like voice conferencing, and video-over-lP abouitwo yearsago and will the horizon way. in services are available conferencing a more mainstream reservation-less we everyihing do. Mobility beenthere,but soonpermeate has and thesehaveireentakenup by smaller The capability always in to qualityof will continue be the direction which of have was seldomused because while companies organisations, larger person we ail move.The 2417connected lhe and rnanage services serviceissues* the standardphone for optedto install a is becoming reality I'm sureyou know Th^.^ 1r. 'v u ir c o rn v E hrq l lu g o n | t, h a u 5 r p { 6 c a r ^ n l u u . roa r dlc r r | | lvl I vr I ra Prvril rn-nou$e. providers someof themif you'renot oneyourself. wekrconferencing now severai operatingin Australiawho use VolP to WE ARE WHERE TECHNOLOGY qualiiy, lrut PRESENCE varyintheir These voice. Three recent trends have determined deliver Presencetechnologyis a type of and today: expectdevelopments improvements with eCollaboration where we are ii to that application makes possible locate plummetingprices; convergence; and device wherever a peoplecan be and identify computing sf Mobility: Hundreds mobility. seen every day around the metropolis, it mightbe,as soonas the userconnects The devicemight be a Plummetingprices: The USAhas seen glued to laptopsand connectedta ihe to the network. 'on' via fixed desktopcomputeror a handheld ',vebconferencing Others are constantly prices plummetto 3c internet. device. )> > is us \l/ireless allowing to take mokiile and voice theirPDAs. per minutefor 'lite services'
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morecommon. The handheld devicewill factorwillalways the mostimportant. be supersede collection separate a pieces of of hardware. Everyone aboutto join the PEOPLE is AND CONNECTEDNESS earlyadoptersin havingone devicethat No matter howgoodthetechnology, it's includes: onlyas goodastheperson using People it. need to know how to use technology o Mobile hone p effectively. one thingto lre ableto turn lt's programs " Computing it on and pushthe rightbuitons it'squite * Email anotherto use the technology achieve to * Contacts your desired outcomes.Organisations list that implemeni new technology any need 6 Diary to surround with a iraining ii programme . Group - stillandvideo * Camera chat and supportservices that enable people * Whiteboard e And goodness collaboration knowswhateise! to makeinformed decisions aboutwhich * Application sharing technology use and how to use it to OVERTHE HORIZON effectively. The beauty of eCollaboration * Desktop sharing Justoverthe horizon in a storenear technologies that they can be used to and is * Voice overlP you soon will be wearabletechnology. deliverthe training. So introduce them * Video andvoice conferencing iools The clunky wearablecomputerof ten wiselyand use them to achievegreat years ago nas becomea realitythrough collaboratjon justa poorapproximation not to into Presence technology ailowyou to the ability weaveelectronics fabric. of the realthing. will is woven connectdirectly you One suchdevice an MP3player from the document are workingon to any colleagues who intoa jackei,withthe jacketbuttonsbeing lt's stepto the are available. They may be at their desk, the controls. only a srnall vest that allows you to in a caf6, on the road or in one of ihose eCollaboration in conferencesI attended recently.Your connectto colleagues anotherplace presence technology tellyou whether andtimezonel will they are available text, voice or video by Expectto see largewallsthat are video and whetherthey can collaborate that at These viriual corridors rnoment time.Lookfor bigmoves this conferencing. in in are alreadyinstalled some workplaces in (Seeour articleon arenafrom Microsoft. to connect colleagues and encourage the gaps lretween reallimecollaboration collaboration through senseof beingin a and communication page72) on the $ameroom.Ai the otherend of the scale will brethe watch videoconference Amongotherpossibilities, usersof the unit. allowingyou to stay in contact technology could thefuture in autornaticallywherever you are. sei up an rmpromptu conference by call parties soonas they connecting Lhe all as In olher areas. tangible interfaces were detected to be available. Privacy are being developed that dispense with issues be addressed allowing high the need for a mouseand non-intuitive wiil by a degreeof user-defined control,allowing menusso that peoplecan interface with peopie eelect to conditions whichthey devices a morenatural in in way.All of these wouldbe detectable. developmenis,no matter how bizarre they seem,will have an impaci on our People increasingly froma variety collaboration communication the will work and in of locations teleworking become workplace and will and al home.But the people
THESTRATEGIC PATHTOCONVERGING COMMUNICATIONS

This simulatesthe regular office by you allowing to seewhenyourco-workers areavailable as if iheywerein the same reom, even if they are locatedon the othersideof the world.Youcan alsosee by what means you can communicate with them. Depending what system on you are using,this could involve several kinds of synchronouscommunication toolssuchas: * Instant messaging

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