There's no doubt about it - the way we communicate is changing. The advent of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile phones has left us all with at least three different phone numbers (work, home and mobile), multiple email addresses, online profiles and instant messenger clients.
And then there's the effect next-generation Web, broadband connectivity and mobility has had on the way we conduct business. Not to mention the convergence of traditional communications with data-based IT, the launch of voice over IP and real-time telepresence and video conferencing.
With all these different modes of connecting to each other, it's no wonder the concept of unifi ed communications is becoming such an attractive one to the cor-porate community.
According to industry analysts, it's still early days for unified communications take-up, but the concept is already being warmly accepted by Australian corporates. The team over at Gartner claims take-off will really ramp up from 2010 as organisations start to see the real-life benefits UC can bring in enabling their communications and business processes.
This ARN Market Guide focuses on the unified communications landscape and looks at the approach being taken by the two goliaths of the industry: Microsoft and Cisco.
Cisco's network-based play and Microsoft's software one are setting the stage for a major showdown on how UC can be deployed and which technology platform will better serve the needs of corporate users.
Our head-to-head with these polar opposites outlines their respective views on providing unified communications, as well as their expert insight on the competitive landscape and how UC is changing how we do business.
As with any major technology shift, issues around standards and interoperability are expected to present challenges for those working in this field. While Cisco and Microsoft have stressed the need for strategic partnerships and co-opetition, knowing whether to take a hardware or software approach for UC is going to be crucial for integrators going forward.
Alongside the vendor round-up, we've included a case study to show how unified communications is helping Australian recruitment firm, Springboard Recruitment, better manage staff time and improve productivity through a more cohesive communications system and IT infrastructure.
There's also tips and tricks and product information in the guide to help channel players maximise their opportunity in this burgeoning market.