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MANUFACTURER John Restrick CTO, Webex Devices Cisco Buying services and equipment from a single vendor can give a company significant advantages in integration, support and security. The real world is a messy place, though. When companies plan to focus on a single vendor, it is important to evaluate the vendor on its openness. Companies should pick a vendor with a comprehensive strategy to handle interoperability and integration. Moving to a single vendor is hard. First, most companies have an existing deployment of hardware and services that will require interoperability and integration. A

flash cut is rarely an option. For example, if a company changes its room videoconferencing strategy, it does not want to throw out its current investment immediately. Second, even after successfully depreciating and sun-setting previous products, change keeps happening. The company might buy, be bought by or merge with another company that made different choices, meaning the process would have to be repeated. Third, just as a company decided at one point to change to use a single vendor, it might decide to adopt a new vendor in the future due to the changing technology landscape, or because of business

MANUFACTURER Tim Root VP of Product Management Poly The modern video communications industry is changing at a pace that makes the adoption of smartphones look slow. There is a collision of markets underway, with the epicenter of the explosion being video communications. Since the beginning of this


IT/AV Report

industry, video was an island in the world of telephony equipment/ services, used mostly by large enterprises. Many firms utilized a parallel strategy for video, consisting of infrastructure/ management/endpoint all in parallel, supporting video experiences (typi-

or commercial needs. A platform without strong interoperability and integration capabilities creates lock-in. Transitioning to a new vendor would be slow, difficult and costly. Openness does not make these transitions free, but it does make them much easier. Companies also have to communicate with their customers, vendors and partners, without requiring them to choose the same vendor that they did. Modern meeting services make this much easier by allowing anyone with a link to the meeting to join from a PC or smartphone. This still leaves the issue of creating an excellent meeting experience when rooms are involved. As long as their room systems have the capability to communicate using standard protocols—like session initiation protocol (SIP)

or H.323—they should be able to join most meeting services without having to purchase a separate interop service. Although these examples focus on video, the points above are helpful in thinking about IT deployments more broadly. This is not to underplay the value that close integration of equipment and services from a single vendor brings; just remember that future needs, deployments and investments will naturally evolve. The aim may be a single solution, but the reality will often be transition. Companies will also find a particular workload or niche important enough that they will choose best of breed for that piece of the solution. To keep up with fastchanging technologies and business environments, it’s critical to have a strategy that enables you to integrate other solutions.

cally in a small number of dedicated rooms within the company). My, but what a decade or so can do! Web conferencing started driving hosted-communication services for inter- and intra-company meetings. Solutions like Webex and GoToMeeting started driving millions of minutes of meetings, typically focused on audio and presentations. The technology to make these meetings work started to expand and video was added, but only as a desktop-fo-

cused add-on. Not many users would turn on the camera. The on-premise video leaders started to notice that the audioonly market was being pressured by this new, richer experience. By the mid-2000s, more than a few were offering UC solutions for their enterprise customer base that included IM, audio, video, content-sharing, presence, etc. These richer platforms started to change the way that internal employees used (continued on page 41)

Profile for Sound & Communications

IT/AV Report Fall 2019  

What the future holds for unified communications and collaboration is featured in our fall edition of IT/AV Report.

IT/AV Report Fall 2019  

What the future holds for unified communications and collaboration is featured in our fall edition of IT/AV Report.