Cisco’s Parvesh Sethi kicked off the keynote session on Thursday morning with a presentation entitled “Developing Innovative UC Applications.”
As vice president, Advanced Services at Cisco, Sethi is responsible for developing and driving professional services competency in key technology areas for both Service Provider and Enterprise market segments.
As many of the prior speakers at the event, Sethi believes that communications is indeed an exciting place for developers to be plying their trade. He told the audience that there are many advances taking place within communications space right now, and that there is a tremendous opportunity for developers in today’s application landscape.
He cited several examples of how the worlds of modern application development and communications are colliding. He also listed a couple of interesting acquisitions that are illustrative of these merging philosophies:
- Microsoft’s purchase of TellMe, and
- Cisco’s own acquisition of WebEx.
Sethi discussed how the evolution of applications and the fact that enterprises have gone “boundaryless” mean that more features are moving into the network fabric. Increasingly today’s most successful companies are those that have taken advantage of, and leveraged the power of the network to aid in delivering their solutions. He cited examples such as Flickr, YouTube, and Joost.
Sethi also noted that convergence is moving to application layer. First we experienced convergence at the transport layer, as evidenced by the success of VoIP. Next came integration and convergence at the services layer (referring to IP telephony). Now we are on the verge of convergence in the application layer, and thus the huge opportunity to develop applications for the unified communications space.
Customers are leveraging the capabilities of today’s IP phones, but there is much more going on, and the potential is tremendous. Increasingly people are leveraging the investments they made in their networks and the investment they have made in their back office business applications.
Sethi touched on several development challenges facing today’s application developers. Among those, he cited reduction of complexity, integration of varied development environments and the need to support the application lifecycle.
He talked a bit about how Cisco’s own design philosophy is being applied to UC applications.
- Virtualization: any time, anywhere; any device
- Security: identity protection viruses, etc…
- Simplicity: ease of use/installation
- Openness: everything speaks a common language; open platforms, enabling mashups, other unique value adds.
Of great importance, he said, was the consideration of an open development environment. The benefits of open standards, open source, and the creation and fostering of a developer ecosystem are critical.
Developers who want to take advantage of the opportunity to develop for UC need to embrace a holistic view of the UC landscape, paying close attention to all the layers, such as infrastructure, media control, end points, and applications.
An open standards framework is transforming business processes, Sethi said, and pointed to the increased proliferation of extensible clients; seamless application integration; and the abstraction of media control as examples.
This creates the opportunity to tie communications innovation into business processes to come up with new and innovative productivity-increasing applications.
According to Sethi, UC is the ultimate business process enabler, but for all the wonderful things to happen, we as a community, need an effective, flexible, collaborative open platform upon which to build applications.
The development community will drive innovative leading edge apps for UC, he told the crowd. Sethi urged the developers to take advantage of the opportunities before them to create applications.
“The only limit,” he said, “is your own imagination.”