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October 2011 – Prepared by Zeus Kerravala

The value proposition of unified communications (UC) is multifaceted. It has the potential to raise corporate productivity to new levels, streamline business processes and dramatically lower the cost of communications. Deploying UC should be among the top initiatives for all companies, large and small. However, despite the hype and strong marketing push from solution providers, UC has yet to see the accelerated growth that signals the technology has moved out of the early-adopter phase into the mainstream.

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations that choose to deploy UC is the difficulty getting multivendor solutions to interoperate so the user experience is seamless. Interoperability has remained a challenge for the following reasons:

  • The set of features in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) that powers UC is relatively small compared to the overall set of features available in legacy platforms. To fill the gaps, solution providers have added features through propriety extensions to the protocol.

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