Unified Communications Featured Article

Siemens' Hummel Says Making Mobility the Default Could Help Drive UC Forward

October 03, 2012

The term unified communications (UC) has become tainted in the past decade, as the industry has grappled to address a rapidly changing communications environment and appeal to businesses with integrated solutions that are at the same time fun and productive to use. Chris Hummel, chief commercial officer with Siemens Enterprise Communications, dissected this issue this afternoon in his ITEXPO Austin address.

“For whatever reason, it’s really hard,” said Hummel. “It’s really hard.”

But despite all the challenges of UC, he said, Siemens continues its work to crack that nut, and provide businesses with seamless and joyous integrated communications experiences.

The promise of UC today is to unify and harmonize communication channels, business processes, the mobile workforce and the user experience, he said, to enable efficiency, savings, agility, mobility, productivity, collaboration, a great customer experience and competitive advantage.

Part of the problem with getting UC off the ground, however, is that the different pieces of UC have been built as separate stovepipes, and that much of money in the industry comes from selling all the separate stovepipes and then tying them all together into what are often incomplete offerings that have significant integration and interoperability challenges.

Hummel went on to say that there are four compounding factors in the world that are creating unmet demand for UC. That includes the fact that work is mobile and distributed; consumer devices lead; joy of use is expected; and conversations are multi-modal and global. He added that, historically, everybody in the industry has been chasing the idea of ports – or, how many enterprise phone lines they can capture.

But the Ethernet port has triumphed over the phone port, he said, so IT won the IT/telco war.

The success of companies like Siemens will therefore not be about an individual connection. Rather it’ll be about delivering “information-based value” that delivers more context and supports the “anywhere worker.”

“Where we are today is we are focused on unifying the platform, unifying the customer experience” among devices and OS platforms, he said.

“We have to provide mobility as the norm, not a mobility adjunct,” he added, noting the Siemens is swapping out the chips in its desktop devices to be mobile chips. Making mobility the default will address the new work environment and allow for a user experience that is consistent across the desktop phone, the smartphone and the tablet.

Siemens also is focused on allowing people and businesses to use tools any way they want and to embed those tools in existing work processes, activities and applications, said Hummel.

“Watch this space, because I feel like this is where the industry has to go,” he concluded.

To find out more about Chris Hummel, Chief Commercial Officer and Siemens, visit the company at ITEXPO Austin 2012. Happening now at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. For more information on ITEXPO Austin 2012 click here.

Edited by Braden Becker