Stories by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

How size affects your view of unified comms

Europe's large enterprise and small-medium enterprises (SMEs) see the dilemmas and challenges of unified communications rather differently, according to a recent advisory report from Current Analysis, based on surveys and analysis of the European market.

IBM's top 5 predictions for unified communications: Desktop computers and phones will disappear

VoiceCon 2008 wrapped up in the US last week and the conference was jam-packed with news, announcements, and observable trends so we will spend the next several editions reviewing a few highlights. In his keynote address, Mike Rhodin, Lotus Software general manager gave five predictions about global unified communications and in a follow-up interview, Larry got the chance to find out how IBM will invest up to US$1 billion to help meet the changing business communications requirements.

The rise of SIP and IMS

Today we'll continue our retrospective on the past five years in the world of convergence, this time looking at what has evolved in the core network. When we started this newsletter five years ago, we defined one of the faces of convergence as "network convergence" - defining it as the integration of data and voice networks' transport and signaling infrastructures in a carrier's core network.

Court's clarification an important one

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling, in the case of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association vs. Brand X, that we believe will affirm how Internet services will be provided and who will be required (or not required) to provide them.

How much encryption is 'enough' for VoIP?

Whenever the topic of VoIP arises, security continues to be a burning issue. For some reason there is a perception that VoIP, whether transmitted over the Internet or not, is inherently unsecure. For that reason, there likewise seems to be a perceived need for end-to-end encryption of the conversation.

Telecom consolidation doesn't hurt competition

Last week, another big acquisition: Verizon announced it would acquire MCI for US$6.7 billion in cash and stock. As we noted when SBC announced its intent to acquire AT&T, some will cry out for the poor customers, suggesting competition is going to die. And as we said before, we don't buy the unwarranted crocodile tears. Today, we'd like to talk a little bit about why we maintain our position that competition is alive and well.

Managed services evolve

Managed services for voice and data are nothing new. For example, all Tier 1 carriers have long offered a managed "voice VPN," and the last five years have seen increased uptake on managed frame relay services and managed router services. But now service providers are expanding their managed services beyond the network layer into applications for both wireline and wireless environments.

You may already be a VoIP user, Part 1

We want to issue a warning to anyone who uses long-distance - especially those who believe voice over IP (VoIP) doesn't work: You may already be a VoIP user and not even know it. In fact, some industry sources suggest North American long-distance service providers are carrying nearly half of all long-distance voice traffic over IP.