My blog post a few days ago about how using web cams, headsets, Microsoft Office LiveMeeting and Office Communications Server 2007 helped us to give everyone on the Community Team a richer experience during meetings got a number of emails and comments. Some of the feedback I got centered around How does this stuff work? and What's the impact on my network? Others wanted to know what the pieces you need to roll out to an organization of varying size - small, medium, and large - are. Among all of this was the question of what is possible and why would I, as an IT Pro, need to learn about Unified Communications. These are things I've been wondering about myself and. honestly, I am not an expert and don't have answers to all these questions.
One thing that I am pretty certain about is that, as IT Pros, we are going to have to learn how to incorporate Unified Communications into our environments. If you look at your high-speed internet connections at home along with your phone service, the carriers that provide both (whether ADSL, cable, or wireless) have already taken the step of converging their network infrastructures. For example, I have an ADSL connection at home and I also have a Bell Canada phone. The same pair of wires terminating at my home carries both my data and voice information. When they both reach the phone company they are now carried on the same infrastructure with elements like Quality of Service (QoS) added to ensure my voice conversation is not affected by large spikes in data. Voice over IP (VoIP) is used to send the voice data along with the regular IP traffic. One of the benefits to the phone company is not having to maintain separate infrastructures for voice and data and the associated cost savings. If this is being done by the big guys like the phone and cable companies, chances are it is something that will happen, or already is happening, in your organization.
So the question is how do you learn about Unified Communications, what it offers, what the impact for you, as an IT Pro, will be, and how to ensure you implement it to provide benefits to the organization? Like I said, I don't have the answers but I know someplace where you can start to get some of the answers, as well as free software to get you started - the Unified Communications Launch Tour.
The Unified Communications Launch Tour kicks off in Montreal on November 1 and then continues on to four other cities across Canada. I will be in each city along with key folks from Microsoft Canada who are knowledgeable in the technology and product set to show you what is possible and how to implement it in your environment. The goal of the Unified Communications Launch Tour is to provide you with answer to two key questions: What is possible with Unified Communications? and How can I implement it in my organization using our existing infrastructure?
For details on each of the four sessions go to the session abstracts page on the UC Launch site. To sign up for an event near you, click on the appropriate link below. See you there!!!
Nov. 1, 2007
Nov. 13, 2007
Nov. 20, 2007
Nov. 28, 2007
Dec. 4, 2007