What challenges does one face when integrating video into unified communications (UC) and building an overall integrated UC architecture?
You might assume that the biggest challenge when trying to integrate video into UC and build an overall integrated UC architecture would be a technological hurdle. This actually is not the case. The problem is almost always organizational. Difficulties arise when trying to get the workers responsible for different applications to come together around a common vision and roadmap.
It is vital to build a team in which all members are willing to merge their thinking and figure out how to get different applications and platforms to play together. It's also important to figure out who are the "winners and losers" within the technology, meaning if certain vendors aren't able to integrate with other vendors, it's probably best to stay away from them. Put some thought into requirements, too, and then go out and talk to businesses. This allows you to uncover what is driving interest in technologies like video and how companies can use this information to solve business challenges.
Organizations should engage early and often with business units in order to get them to support the integration efforts that they are undertaking. It's also a good idea to start all these initiatives together so that video plans do not conflict with what's going on in other applications.
For example, it's important to make decisions such as not to deploy a video application from "Vendor X" that has no ability to interface with other UC applications. This is done through assessing vendors. The next step is implementation. Looking at where it makes sense to implement, what processes can be fixed and improved, and what applications can be easily integrated with little disruption. Figure out how to extend these services out to business applications, along with how to manage things like video quality. You don't want to sacrifice quality as you extend video into other applications.
For more information, read more expert advice on alternative uses for video.
This was first published in April 2013