The business of communications involves a lot of leap-frogging. A company comes up with something really clever and for a short while they hold bragging rights over their competitor’s products. I say “short while” because it never seems to take very long before those competitors have the same thing as well as something of their own that’s new and exciting. It’s what keeps me in this industry.
In no apparent order of importance, here is a small handful of some of the recent innovations that have made me sit up and take notice. Actually, innovations may be a little strong since nothing here is as important as inventing the wheel. Still, from my standpoint they are different enough to warrant attention.
Enterprise SBC Licensing: I was recently on a call with Genband discussing their Quantix Q10 and Q20 SBCs where I learned that they have the ability to pool session licenses which could then be shared amongst all of the Gendband SBCs in an enterprise. Currently, every other vendor requires you to license each box separately for the maximum number of sessions it will handle. Calls get rejected if you go over that number and you’ve wasted money if you are consistently below that number. With enterprise licensing you can figure out what you need for your enterprise as a whole and the SBCs can then pull licenses from that pool as they are needed. This allows for better disaster management and follow-the-sun trunking.
3G/4G Network Survivability: I was doing a comparison sheet of Microsoft Lync Survivable Branch Appliances (SBA) when I read that the AudioCodes Mediant 800 and 850 SBAs have the ability to use 3G and 4G as a WAN connection back to the main Lync servers. Now, while you wouldn’t want to do that under normal conditions, in the case of a disaster when 3G or 46 are your only networking options, that’s pretty cool and I don’t know of any other SBA that can do that. I would love to see that move into their larger products like the Mediant 1000.
New SIP Firmware for Nortel 11xx and 12xx telephones. It has been nearly four years since Avaya acquired Nortel and while some of the hoped for integration never materialized, it’s heartening to see that Avaya is still investing some time in updating traditional Nortel components. Case in point is the new SIP firmware load for the 11xx and 12xx IP telephones. While this new firmware doesn’t go as far as I would like to in terms of providing traditional Avaya red functionality on an Avaya blue device (e.g. no contact center agent functionality), it adds a significant number of new features. As a former Nortel employee it warms my heart knowing that there is still life in those old phones and they haven’t been relegated to expensive paper weights.
Microsoft and WebRTC: WebRTC alone is very exciting stuff, but I was happy to read that Microsoft has announced that it will soon support WebRTC for a plugin-less way to embed audio and video into an HTML5 browser. While not yet released, I hear that the code is done and general availability isn’t that far away. The exciting part here is that Microsoft chose to jump on the WebRTC bandwagon and not go its own way (which it has been known to do in the past).
Okay, so there really wasn’t anything earth shattering in the list, the point is that change is a constant and very few things sit still for too long. There are, of course, the things that I am not allowed to talk about just yet, but that too keeps my job interesting.