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Convergence and open source solutions the next big things in UC

What's next for unified communications(UC)? Expert Matt Brunk sees convergence and open source UC solutions on the horizon as the next big things in UC and enterprise communications.

I know unified communications (UC) is the hot topic of the moment, but is there any indication of "what's next"? How can/will UC vendors build on to or re-imagine their UC systems in the next few years?
I think one of the greatest opportunities that we will experience in our lifetimes will be the convergence effort. Software will play a big role here and so will cloud computing. I ask others, "When will I get my Star Trek communicator badge?" Many smile but let me say upfront, I'm not kidding. We will see natural progressions of convergence and this includes a folding or migration of business processes and simplification. This "process" isn't revolutionary, but it is evolutionary. We are now, for example, seeing advancements and great challenges in wireless, yet we still have a long way to go before we get to my communicator badge.

Coupled with convergence is the environmental movement for "greening" IT, sustainability and zero carbon arguments. UC is very powerful in that it can deliver key benefits to move us ahead by doing what businesses demand and doing it better, faster, cheaper and simpler. I see a huge migration path of opportunities and they won't be purely economic. The social and environmental impacts will, I think, be revolutionary.

As for the vendors, they are all now scrambling, building and partnering in an effort to "get there first" in terms of UC innovation, and only the test of time will determine who's in the running and who's failing. UC is a menu item for many vendors whether it's an OEM solution or not. The common denominators are Cisco, IBM and Microsoft. Keep an eye on them and then watch closely for open source solutions.

As far as the future of technology in general is concerned, I read recently that a target goal for some in IT is to eliminate the computer keyboard. Let me get you to ponder this: What if that actually happens?

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