Building Blocks For
by Larry Hettick
Posted 8/06/2003; Published 6/2003
We’ve been hearing about convergence for a long, long time, and much of it has centered around specific technologies—switches, routers, PBXs, etc. But the long-term importance of convergence at the physical layer is that it enables convergence between communications applications, like voice calling, voice mail, email and instant messaging (IM), and business applications, like workgroup collaboration, customer relationship management (CRM) and other back-office functions.
So, for example, via a combination of “presence” and network integration, users need not be tied to a desktop PC to access email; instead, a text-to-speech application can serve notice that an urgent email has arrived, and it will be able to read that message to the user over a wireless or wireline phone. Or the user can convey to the network that he/she doesn’t want to be disturbed, and so incoming “email calls” can be routed to a personal digital assistant (PDA) and email server.
This shift has significant implications for the enterprise, but it won’t occur overnight. This article examines some of the key technology building blocks that will comprise a new “logical architectural” model, summarizes vendor progress and looks at three examples of how this evolution could change how an enterprise operates.
About the author:Larry Hettick is an independent analyst and consultant with 20 years’ experience in the communications industry. He currently covers the convergence market.
This article is reproduced by special arrangement with our partner, Business Communications Review.
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