As an IT professional, you need to stay current on what the technology trends are and determine how your organization will address them.  What is trending with Unified Communications and Collaboration? What is the justification for rolling out the technology?  What are the risks?  Technology changes rapidly and you need to move like a ninja to assess, plan and deploy it.  Here are some top UC trends we are seeing at CDW.

BYOD anyone?

Whether or not you like it, it is happening in your organization.  It is being forced on you.  Employees are using their personal devices like iPads, Android tablets, and Smartphones on your infrastructure to do their jobs.  It’s a fallacy that only Gen-Ys are driving the demand.  Too many times do I see CEOs and CIOs walk into a meeting with a personal device, only to see raised eyebrows and worrisome looks on the faces of IT staff. Rather than fight the “bring your own device” phenomenon, spend your energy strategizing how IT can drive a flexible working culture and improve employee productivity and efficiency.  Some common themes you need to focus on when addressing BYOD:

  • Securing company data – Process management and regulatory compliances. Does the device support hardware and software encryption?  Will the device allow for provisioning profiles?  Is anti-virus software needed?
  • Device Management – Delivering applications that are locked down (like MDM) or not. Full or partial swiping of a device.
  • Resource planning – Wireless facilities, allocation of bandwidth, support staff
  • Virtual desktops – Does the IOS require a virtual desktop?  Are the applications secure?

CDW has the expertise to educate you on the technology options, discuss the challenges other companies have faced and overcome, and provide the engineering resources to deliver and support.

Embrace the BYOD challenge! Embrace CDW as your partner to help you rise to the challenge!

The Shift to Virtualization

Funny how technology comes full circle, but with a twist.  It went from mainframe to personal computing platforms to virtualization, where the intelligence is back at the core.  The evolution of virtualizing UC comes in two flavors:

  1. UC applications – In the past Cisco Unified Communications applications were deployed on independent hardware servers.   Rack space, heating and cooling, cabling, and the support costs for all those servers – there just had to be a better way to deploy Unified Communications.  And now there is.  Reduce the footprint, save on heating and cooling costs, save on Smartnets, and let your applications share resources on the computing platform.
  2. Clients –Delivering a virtual desktop to your end users is one thing, but tack on real time applications like voice and video, and it adds more complexity to the virtualization strategy, right?  Not necessarily.   If you have the right technology strategy, creating a new collaborative virtual workspace becomes a simple task.  Many organizations are going down this path now with Cisco VXE technology.  And some businesses are no longer deploying IP phones to their users.

CDW has a dedicated team specializing in server and client virtualization.  Let us help you with your shift.

From Romper Room “I see you”  to Business Video

I wonder if the producers of Romper Room knew they were projecting this future technology.

Video has many benefits, such as:

  • Visual cues – See who you are discussing business with, watch their body language, and share materials   A staffing company interviews potential candidates remotely.   The recruiter sends a link to the candidate.   Using video, the interview is recorded and catalogued, then distributed to the hiring company.
  • Productivity – Rather than waiting in airport lines or doing windshield time, hours can be used more effectively getting work done.  Collaborate, share presentations.
  • Quality of life – Reduced travel for employees.  A hospital uses video for on-call doctors.
  • Travel reduction – Save on travel expenses.  An engineering firm with resources in multiple time zones, uses video to collaborate on design.   Less time travelling, more time producing.
  • Being green – Gas emission reduction since you are not required to travel!

….and my favorite…

An oil and gas company deployed a business video solution because the executives “were embarrassed” (their words exactly), every time a partner wanted to collaborate over video, they couldn’t.  No business case needed to justify the cost. Not having video negatively reflected on their company.  If they couldn’t stay current with the technology trends and how their partners wanted to communicate, how could they stay current in their core competency?  In it went – expeditiously I might add.

Mad Chatter

Cisco Jabber is a hot topic.  It is a portfolio of UC and collaboration end clients:  soft clients for desktops and smart devices.  Depending on the end device, it can have slightly different functionality.  The important thing is it provides your employees with the ability to be agile, be seen and be productive regardless of the medium used.

Jabber for iPad is a very popular app.  I use it as a phone device, use the presence status of my co-workers to IM them before bringing them into a technical discussion when I am at a customer site,  Bringing experts into a meeting who cannot be there physically is impressive.  The picture is crisp and since there are two cameras in the iPad, I occasionally use it as a document camera.

This can be as simple as one video endpoint calling another video endpoint (point to point), or one video endpoint with multi-site licenses (Cisco term) that can call up to three other endpoints. Or it can be as elaborate as implementing a video infrastructure that can support simultaneous video conferences with numerous video endpoints.

CDW will assist you with the technology to address your business requirements.  Whether it is point to point, room-based or immersive, CDW has the expertise to deliver your video solution effectively.

SIP-t – what’s trending

SIP-trunks are delivered by the Carrier/Service Provider on a physical data circuit, such as a T1 or DS-3.  Voice goes over this data circuit.  Each conversation equates to one SIP session and phones are not required to support SIP protocol in order to take advantage of a SIP trunk.   Typically you would have a device that can normalize the SIP messages and act as a NAT firewall to protect your network, such as a Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE).

Key reasons why companies are moving to SIP trunks:

  • Remote locations.  When Service Providers or Carriers have a monopoly in a particular area, and cannot deliver PRIs or POTs lines because there are no facilities available.
  • Expedite delivery of facilities. The timeline to deliver the PRI is not reasonable and does not meet the company’s mandate.
  • Cost reduction. The ability to better utilize existing Internet/MPLS connections and avoid additional access lines.  This is especially true in areas of high access costs or areas where the TDM equipment needed would be cost prohibitive, such as a call center where you would require a DS3 and use a mux to break out the T1’.  With SIP trunks, you can use an existing Fast Ethernet line and bring in SIP trunks bypassing the higher access costs and high equipment costs.  The cost effectiveness is geared towards functionality that can be delivered by SIP trunk providers.
  • Resiliency.  The ability to have the Service Provider terminate the organization’s SIP trunks at two locations and automatically have the Standby take over should the Active router fail or become unreachable.  In a Cisco deployment, this utilizes Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP).  Visit this link for more details on HRSP technology:

CDW has access to over 70 Carrier and 600 data centers (domestic and international) partners to help you with selecting voice communications and data solutions and consistently saves clients 10–30% by being one of the largest direct agencies/brokers of telecommunication services in the world.

Whatever your initiatives are, bring CDW resources into the conversation, we will help you move like a ninja!