UC in the sky with dialers

Hello again!  It’s been a while since my last post and lots has happened in between.  I won’t go into detail except to say I’ve been flirting with twitter and facebook and sadly still can’t get away from that old relic known as e-mail.

Back to this post.  I’ve been thinking about Unified Communications and Cloud services in fact UCaaS to be specific.

As we all know, UC is a collection of communication tools that historically were siloed.  The telephone, Email, Voice Mail, IM, Video Conferencing and so on.  In the last couple of years and more so this year, we have seen a massive increase in Software as a Service…services targetted at the Enterprise with some very tempting benefits.  Some have made the move successfully whilst others need time to build trust to embrace the concept.  This is particularly true in the finance sector where concerns about security and location of data referenced against local regulations makes it all the more difficult to entertain a move from on-premise to the cloud.  I’m sure this will change over time as richer and more secure services become available and of course the economies of scale kick in and make it a no brainer.

Email and IM in the cloud is nothing new, as consumers, we have been doing it for years, but what about the other services that make up the UC pie? Well this is where I get to the point of this post.  Moving telephony into the cloud… telephony as a service. Nothing new except the providers in the market today are not the traditional Telco.

Look at Cisco, Microsoft, Google and many others who want to provide UCaaS.  To provide 100% UC aren’t they going to have to provide a dialer in the sky? Today, out of the three I mention Cisco are the only one capable of providing on premise Telephony integration into their Saas (WebEx Mail/Connect), but that’s obvious as they are incumbant for Enterprise telephony.  What if an Enterprise wanted to move their PBX off premise and integrate it into their cloud based Email, IM etc?  Will the current big name UCaaS… service providers become Telcos and be regulated as such?

Will Cisco, Microsoft, Google etc now be competing with the likes of BT, Verizon, Singtel, France Telecom and so on?

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Calm down dear, it’s only commercial.

I recently suffered a hard drive failure on a machine I’ve had for about two years. It was an IBM laptop running Windows XP with Office and a bunch of other applications that I really can’t remember now. I haven’t lost my memory, it’s just that I haven’t used the applications installed on the laptop for some time. The reason for that is I began migrate myself from the desktop to the web, or from private to public or from 1.0 to 2.0.

My documents, photos, music are now all stored in a cloud somewhere accessible anywhere, anytime.

So suffering a hard disk crash wasn’t the life crippling experience it used to be. In fact, a couple of set backs I can think of was thinking about what capacity drive to purchase and of course the lengthy delay of rebuilding the OS and subsequent security patches.

Let’s face it, I really only need a browser nowadays to communicate and collaborate and of course I have a few choices.

It did cross my mind to move away from a Microsoft environment on the laptop and look to Ubuntu or even attempt to install Apple’s OS X (Leopard) instead. In fact as I write this (on my Powerbook) I’ve decided to go for it and enter the twilight-zone… OS X via a Thinkpad!

Anyway, the point of my post. I guess I’m ‘hip‘ as they say. I can survive in a world of software as a service and even in a non Microsoft world.

I’ll let you know how I get on with this challenge.