Unified Communications Federation: The Need of the Hour

Unfolding the need for Unified Communications Federation

UC Federation is becoming the communication solution of choice not just for high-flying enterprises with shrinking travel budgets, but for Small Medium Businesses as well. Adoption of unified communications federation in enterprises is accelerating. More and more enterprises are embracing the need for software-powered communications beyond their network boundaries, to facilitate communication and collaboration anytime, anywhere among colleagues, vendors and customers around the globe.

As enterprises deploy unified communications applications for services such as voice, video, presence, instant messaging, conferencing, calendaring, directory, identity, and address book, the enablement of real-time collaboration across enterprises and domains demands solutions that are high-performance, interoperable, policy-regulated, and secure.

Insights into UC Federation

Federation is about establishing Interoperability and establishing trust across two or more UC platforms. This allows end-users from different enterprises to work together as if they were served by the same UC platform, using shared presence information, instant messaging and other features, such as multi-part chat and web-based conferencing.  .

Inter-domain Federation is secure, policy-regulated collaboration between multiple enterprises or public domains that enables the exchange of messaging and presence information between users. Federation is achieved by mediating between services or across a large number of proprietary or standards-based protocols. These domains may be in separate enterprises or represent sub-domains within the same enterprise.

Federation allows enterprises to federate between existing disparate unified UC platforms with other enterprises to create a new collaborative environment enabling seamless exchange of voice, data, video and presence across users. The solution delivers policy management, policy regulation, data model, security, presence sharing, instant messaging, voice & video calls, data transfer and many more between any public and private/enterprise domains across heterogeneous networks. Below is the federation architecture which enables cross platform communication integrating access across private and public networks.

Federation addressees the challenges of an “inter-enterprise” communication delivering the following features,

  • Presence integration across PSTN/PLMN/IP networks enabling users’ presence to be reflected across these multiple modes of communication.
  • Presence sharing across diverse Enterprise, Public UC platforms viz. Microsoft Lync, IBM Sametime, CISCO Jabber, Google and Yahoo.
  • Voice, Video Federation: Peer-to-peer, multi-party voice and video calls, and ad hoc conferences across diverse and disparate UC platforms.
  • Data Federation – File, Screen, Whiteboard sharing across Enterprise, Public UC platforms:
  • Centralized Policy control and Data Model delivering policy management capabilities for the enterprise through a configurable data model.
  • Secure policy controlled federation across enterprises enabling the user to seamlessly exchange relevant data with other users by monitoring the policies tied up with a corresponding user across enterprises.
  • Automatic sensing of activities enabling the presence system to gather information about the user’s status and distribute the information.

Benefits

UC Federation delivers a wide range of benefits to enterprises including,

  • Interoperability: Collaboration and Communication across multiple devices be it IP-telephony, IM solutions within or across network boundaries can be delivered by interoperability delivered by federation.
  • Presence Obfuscation: Enterprises can secure information sharing – rich presence including location awareness, rich media chat, shared calendar and enterprise directory across corporate boundaries. For example, imagine an employee named Chris, whose colleagues know that he has a mobile phone, an IP phone, an email account and a text-messaging device. With federation in presence, his colleagues and customers across multiple enterprises know how best to reach Chris at a particular time.
  • Integration with public platforms: With more and more public networking sites becoming popular the need for a platform to get these integrated with their daily life is becoming a necessity. Google, Yahoo and MSN are a few to mention having millions of users connected and exchanging instant messages. “Socification” is the next big thing in UC, and federation delivers the the need to integrate social and business platforms.

Conclusion

The success of a UC Federation is dependent on multiple factors, an open federation platform so as to facilitate integration of multiple communication devices with ease, enterprises defining communication management policies for non-issue collaboration across corporate boundaries and bridging the gap between enterprise and social networking communities.

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