By Carol Shottes, Converged Infrastructure Marketing Manager
Did you notice this week’s announcement? HP garnered top honors as the Microsoft 2012 Communication Market Acceleration Partner of the Year for Lync. This award recognizes the alliance partner who has demonstrated expertise in planning, deployment, management and support of Lync. HP Networking played a significant role in earning this award, with solutions tailored for Microsoft Lync—including HP Survivable Branch Communication zl Module powered by Microsoft Lync for branch offices – and the HP 4120 and 4110 IP Phones optimized for Microsoft Lync
It is HP Discover time. . . and that means getting acquainted and seeing the expansive breadth of HP products, solutions and expertise. I will be at the show June 5-7, get your “hands dirty” at the demos, share your challenges, debate ideas and get the inside scoop on technology from the experts at the business and technical sessions. I will be presenting a couple of technical sessions on UC&C jointly with Microsoft on Lync/Voice capabilities and with Polycom on enabling video collaboration. Come join me on Tuesday, June 5th at Venetian in Las Vegas at these deep dive technical sessions and ask your tough questions
What makes the HP Polycom Rich Media Communications solution unique? In this second of three blogs in my “Under the Hood” series, I will cover three more innovative technologies that deliver superior user experience and make it easy for IT to deploy video collaboration. Check out my earlier blog for the first of the “Under the Hood” series.
I'd like to point out that it wasn't a first date. We've been going out for 25 years (yes - the FrontLine partnership is that old). You mention PCs and printers; but we also have the largest market-share in servers and storage that power Microsoft products - which I'd hardly call the 'scraps'. Providing a platform for Microsoft OCS in the branch office helps to build the case for more HP infrastructure in the branch, and supports the sales of network, servers and storage in the data-center.
HP’s joint initiative with Microsoft spans multiple business units, and was reinforced for Unified Communications with the $180m announcement last year at Interop Vegas (Microsoft press release, NoJitter blog, video).
The other key theme I picked up from the show was the need to relate the technology to business value, and to integrate UC into real-business processes. HP, as the worlds 2nd biggest services company has a role to play here as well. (Check the discussion I had with Steve Grumann on HP's business value services)
You can read more about the areas of collaboration we demonstrated at VoiceCon on the HP Networking blog.
I agree with Dave's other points. Whilst desktop video is ready from a technology perspective; I don't believe that any large companies have started rolling it out in anger - due to concerns over network utilization. There were a couple of good quotes on the subject on a NoJitter post from Brian Riggs - “Use of video conferencing over OCS has resulted in such an increase in video conferencing that Stoneridge is now obligated to upgrade its network infrastructure” and from another customer - "We just threw buckets of bandwidth at everything."
Obviously I can't say anything about 3Com while the acquisition is still in progress.
In the past the IT technologies that supported voice, data and messaging tended to drive the need for multiple distinct silos. Telephony, video conferencing, and email were created and maintained by separate teams using distinct networks.
When VoIP and later Unified Communications started to make waves - many vendors jumped on board with best-in-class parts of the solution, or in some cases complete solutions often comprised of not-so-best-in-class pieces. This left organizations struggling to integrate voice and video from one vendor with presence and messaging from another. In some cases these integrations looked promising, but were lacking when it came to implementation and usage.
As with any technological revolution, the hype usually precedes mainstream deployments by a number of years. So is now the time for Unified Communications and Collaboration?
I would propose that there are three reasons why the answer to that question is yes - the demand, the technology and the services to implement it.
The demand for always-on efficient connectivity to our friends and colleagues is certainly here - with real-time, location based communications services built into every new smart phone, and throughout many web-based services. As we get used to these capabilities in our private lives, we come to expect the same sort of capabilities in the office.
The technology has come a long way in the last few years. Video conferencing has escaped the limitations of the small screen to deliver life-like HD telepresence. Initially created on private networks to ensure quality, it is now extending it's reaches out to desktop video conferencing with connectivity through to desktop-based systems such as Microsoft Office Communicator (as demonstrated by HP at Interop last year, and on show at VoiceCon in Orlando).
VoIP, presence and messaging capabilities have also come a long way with the latest releases of Microsoft Communicator, and close integration into Office 2010. As a user, I love the fact that I can now see the availability of my colleagues at a glance from my email system - and to get in touch with a single click. The fact that our latest selection of PCs have also been qualified for Microsoft Office Communicator "14" means that your users are ready for UC&C without the need to purchase extra equipment.
HP ProCurve Networking's Survivable Branch Communications zl module will allow you to deploy OCS services to a branch office that will continue to provide services, even if you lose the link to the main data-center. As a ProCurve ONE integrated module, it takes up no more space in the branch than a slot in a 5400zl or 8200zl series switch.
The third element to the puzzle is the need for services to help plan, deploy and maintain these systems. HP can take the lead on UC&C projects, managing everything from the upfront consulting, platforms, collaboration tools, integration and roll-out support to ongoing maintenance and support. Even before you've made the decision to take this path, HP's UC&C Business Value Consulting Services can help break up the implementation into smaller steps to determine the best route to UC&C; and can help develop ROI justifications.
If you think about where we were just three or five years ago vs what we have access to today, I think you'll agree with me that the time is now for Unified Communications.
Let me know what you think in the comments, or Visit us on stand 1023 at VoiceCon 2010 in Orlando.