The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Approaching UCC and mobility

working together.GIFI was just in conversation with an individual about what should be the common concerns about organizations implementing Unified Communications and mobility.


The first thing I thought of is that these are both really environmental concerns for the individual and the organization. They are not really about technologies, although technologies definitely help address the requirements when they are identified. It is really the business requirements driving this forward though to make decisions faster or better. It can be about costs, but that misses the real opportunity.


So our discussion moved to who should be involved when addressing these areas. My first thought was to the business people who have problems that need to be solved. Then the enterprise architects who understand the current environment at a macro level and how the current business needs are addressed. And then the technical individuals who understand the capabilities of the new technologies. These people have to be flexible enough to think about the abundance of capabilities that are provided and how they address the shifting needs of the business. Who else should be involved?


When you think about these technologies and what they do… for most of mankind’s existence, we were only able to communicate with those we could physically meet and interact. Writing and printing allowed us to move on and share ideas across space and time, but only in one direction. Then first with the telegraph and then with the telephone we enabled bi-directional communications in real time. For about the last decade, we’ve had mobile and UCC and are still learning what we can do with their capabilities. We’re communicating now not just with people but with machines that have capabilities as well. We’re putting ‘smarts’ in more and more products and so our ability to act remotely and repeatedly is increasing.


UCC and mobile have a significant role to play but only when we start thinking of them less as a technology and more as a lever for greater business value generation.

Computer-based emotion recognition

smile at computer.pngEarlier this week I put out a post talking about things computers can do that were just not viewed as possible just a short time ago. This story from MIT about facial recognition by computers is another good example of advances that seem unlikely but may be nearer than we think.


I always find it interesting that we can underestimate advances in the short term (like these stories demonstrate) but can totally overestimate over the long hall (flying cars and lunar basis anyone?).


If this technique is combined with voice recognition or some other tactile feedback, I am sure computers could provide a much better “mood ring” that could be applied for many purposes. Just as long as it doesn’t become the emotional “Clippy”. I wonder how many would use it if there were an alternative communications path showing emotion as part of a UCC initiative -- that may be a bit too much like attaching a lie detector though.


For what applications would you add this capability??

Unified communications enabling new ways to work together

working together.GIFOne area I’ve started to have much more interest in lately is the underlying shifts to Information Technology within organizations based on the deployment of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC).UCC is a topic that has been talked about for almost a decade, but because of the downturn in the economy few organizations have actually taken advantage of the breadth of capabilities available.


UCC is likely to have quite an impact in the year ahead for a greater percentage of businesses. It is not about a single product or a single initiative, but more about a different way to interact between the business, its employees and even suppliers and customers. It is more than just deploying VoIP but instead looking at the breadth and capabilities of the devices and interfaces available to pull the organization together to address business needs in a more timely fashion. In the near future, you’ll see much greater use of the computing capabilities available to mine these various interactions (both text based as well as speech and video) and through the use of various context recognition techniques tagged so that it can be more effectively accessed. The security implications of the retention and tagging of this kind of material needs to be better understood within most organizations.


The use of more standardized UCC techniques will increase where the local needs can be met with a veneer of customization and integration, addressing the conflict between standardization and customization. Naturally the whole drive to BYOD will impact deployments and force even more flexibility into organizations IT planning.


There will be some big industry shifts in 2012, so IT organizations will need to keep tabs on what is going on and remain light on their feet, making adjustments along the way. Organizations who do not understand the fundamental nature of the shifts will likely end up with lower satisfaction of both their clients and their employees.


Where I’ll probably be focusing more attention on in the short term though is the benefits and methods for increased adoption.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation.