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AT&T UC Federation Connects Business Teams in Real Time Across Different Networks

January 23, 2015

There are four immutable and irresistible “Cs” that are driving all aspects of real time communications. They are all inter-related and are: Connectivity, Compatibility (aka interoperability), Community and Collaboration.  A great example of this is the announcement from AT&T of the launch of AT&T UC Federation. The service allows suppliers, partners and customers to communicate in real time across different networks.

As AT&T points out in its unveiling of the service, despite the now decade-old promise of unified communications (UC), interoperability of various systems and solutions have made easy-to-use and seamless collaboration problematic.  What AT&T UC Federation is designed to do is enable internal and external teams to collaborate freely across supported UC platforms. The goal is simple, enabling employees to benefit from being able to instant message and view the online presence of other users as if they are all on the same UC platform.

AT&T UC Federation, created in AT&T Labs, ends a “Tower of Babel” challenge that has vexed the UC community for years and held back wider spread adoption.  It does so by supporting a range of UC platforms, including Microsoft Lync and Cisco Jabber.  As AT&T explains, with the new capabilities organizations can have the flexibility and security to: connect to supported UC platforms of partners, suppliers and vendors; control which organizations can communicate at the company, group or user level; allow communication methods (like instant messaging) and block others (such as online presence); and give customers the flexibility to grow and coexist without being limited to a single UC platform, as well as help support seamless collaboration when a company switches to a new communications platform.

"Companies that try to set up UC platforms on their own can face challenges when creating scalable, secure connectivity that meets compliance and support requirements," said Vishy Gopalakrishnan, AVP Big Data and Advanced Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. "UC Federation from AT&T provides tools to help overcome this challenge by removing the hassle and allowing business teams to connect easily and over a highly securely platform."

Source (News - Alert): AT&T (click to enlarge)

Sonus, a leader in communications, has deployed and trialed AT&T UC Federation. The company is in the process of a full service rollout.

"With AT&T UC Federation, our sales team can connect with key contacts on the spot, in less time than an email would take," said Michael Swade, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Sonus. "It makes collaboration easy, and it truly functions as if each user is communicating on the same platform. We can IM and check presence all within a secure connection."

This is just the first step in what AT&T says are plans to extend UC Federation beyond IM and presence to include calendar integration and video and voice capabilities later this year, and additional UC platforms may also be supported in the future.

Finally, as now is common practice in all cloud-based service offerings, AT&T is offering a free 90-day trial for UC Federation for up to 25 users.

There has never really been doubt about the business value of real time collaboration. The challenge has always been that aside from the issues for large organizations of standardizing and supporting only one UC solution for intra-organization use, the seeming inability of the industry to make UC universally useful for inter-organization communications has been an impediment to adoption.  In short, a tip of the hat to AT&T for breaking down UC islands of communications and leveraging the real value of those four “Cs” mentioned at the top and adding the need for FEDERATION (albeit not alliteration friendly since it is not a “C”) to the list.    

Edited by Alisen Downey

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