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Issue of August 2006 
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Interface

“Unified communications go beyond IP telephony”

Laurent Philonenko, Vice-President and General Manager, Customer Contact Business Unit, Cisco, on the unified communications concept

How would you define unified communications as opposed to VoIP?

‘Unified’ is the key word here and it goes beyond telephony. In the past you used to hear people talking about VoIP and cheaper telephone calls over the Internet. We would prefer to call it IP telephony.

IP telephony covers call management, scalability, and installation according to your services, which one expects from enterprise class management. This is as opposed to just making cheap phone calls over the Internet.

In what respect does unified communication go beyond VoIP?

Well it is all about bringing enterprise class variety of solutions to the VoIP space. Unified communications go beyond telephony over the Internet.

It is about how to harmonise messaging, video conferencing, and contact centre management. One of the essential factors and goals of unified solutions is to decrease costs incurred by customers. This will also include simplification of the business processes.

Does it help to reduce costs and simplify business processes?

That can be achieved only if we design systems from the beginning based on customer needs and demand rather than patching an existing product or solution. It also means tie-ups with partners and resellers who could offer better customer support 24x7 and options like financing and not limit it to deployment.

This is why we recently announced two acquisitions that will help unified communication business solutions leap to the next level. These two companies will help converge various enterprise-wide processes with business communications. That means integration and convergence of IT solutions like SAP, and Oracle or contact centre solutions.

—Dominic K

 
     
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