IBM exec: Bad economy could be good for UC

IBM VP tells VoiceCon crowd that use of collaboration tools could get a lift.

The economy is driving business changes that unified communications can help address -- which means that end users might finally start using the collaboration tools that have been deployed in corporate networks for years, an IBM executive told VoiceCon San Francisco 2008 attendees Wednesday.

Bruce Morse, IBM's vice president of UC and collaboration, said tools that have been deployed separately need to be integrated and made simple to use.

"We need to shift the focus of unified communications from the back-end technology to the front end," he said, meaning that user interfaces need to be made simpler and more intuitive.

UC, when done right, can make it easier to find the right people to collaborate with in order to make smarter business decisions faster, Morse said. This can be done by incorporating communications into applications users are already familiar with rather than forcing them to learn new platforms. "We need to offer the same form of communications but inside the firewall," he said.

Businesses looking to promote UC should try to incorporate the useful aspects of social networking that employees are already familiar with from social networking sites but secure them for use in a corporate setting.

Technical consultants may be valuable to help piece together UC elements that customers have already bought from different vendors, Morse said. For instance he said that IBM's Sametime integrates with Microsoft's Sharepoint and Exchange, making it possible for customers to shop around for the vendor best suited to their needs.

Integration may be necessary because customers have legacy gear they can't rip out, so products based on accepted interfaces, operating systems and standards -- SIP, Eclipse, Linux, Windows -- are important. So is support for popular directories such as LDAP and Active Directory and codecs for voice and video, Morse said.

He rounded out his keynote with demonstrations of conferencing set up via Lotus Notes that used shared applications and presence to determine who was available, and drag-and-drop capabilities to bring new people into the conference.

The demonstration also showed how an instant-message chat could be used to find knowledgeable people to solve problems, and how to upgrade an IM conversation to an audio conference call with a mouse click.

On the cost-savings front, UC can reduce the need for travel so groups can work together, Morse said. It can also be used to cut telephony costs by reducing the need for calls.

Business customers are looking for ways to weather tight budgets and UC can help, Morse said. "The question is: How do you extract more business value from what they already have?"

A Microsoft speaker at the event also pushed the message of UC being a cost-saving technology.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags unified communications

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things


Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?