Lawrence Byrd, Director of Unified Communications Architecture at Avaya kicked off the keynote schedule of the Communications Developer conference on Tuesday with a presentation entitled Unified Communications in a Web 2.0 World.
The gist of the speech was that developers will play a critical role in the future of communications, and in fact the developer community is the engine that runs the IP communications world.
Byrd threw about several definitions of "2.0," including one from Tim O'Reilly that defines the Web 2.0 phenomenon as "...networked apps that explicitly leverage network effects."
Byrd also used this definition from Harvard Business School's Andrew McAfee, "Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies and between companies and their partners and customers."
In any event the developer community should recognize this as an opportunity; an expanded playground to create ways of connecting these elements to deliver added value for their end customers.
"We've spent the last 20 years trying to connect the phone to the Web," said Byrd. "Connect the Web to the store. That is the definition of unified communications, connecting both the old and the new."
And as we move ahead we need to be sure that legacy applications and modern cutting edge applications work well together. That is how we add value. It has to work together. It has to be an integrated space, Byrd said.
In the 2.0 Life, we need to connect people and processes. These days, people are scattered about in their daily business lives. We connect virtually, we share info among branch offices, we're increasingly working from home or while we're mobile.
The communications functionality we seek needs to be similar across all these disparate environments.
Byrd told the audience, "...developers need to create solutions that have an impact on people and how they work in business."
"In this environment UC is creating a seamless way to get things done, giving users the tools they need to do their job," he added. "It all has to be integrated."
And one size will not fit all in the 2.0 world. People's roles are different and unified communications is about the right tools for the right job for the right people at the right time.
Developers need to create a set of tools that optimize a particular way of working for a particular group of employees.
Byrd suggested that there are three tools at the disposal of developers and that these three technologies make up the fabric of what developers need to leverage to create the next generation of communications applications.
These three tools are SIP, presence and SOA (service oriented architecture).
SIP needs to be seen as an application- and distance-connecting protocol, making applications work together in a more loosely coupled way.
Evolution is driving new kinds of communications. Video is everywhere driving new ways for people to communicate together. SIP is helping drive this transition.
SIP is the fundamental way how the enterprise gets connected, Byrd said. Applications in one place, people in another place...
All of this means that the SIP foundation in an enterprise needs to be solid, standard and secure.
We need to embed presence inside our applications to make them presence aware.
Knowing the presence of people and applications will help bring the right resources together tied together with business process, in order to solve the business challenge at hand.
One key takeaway from Byrd's speech is that developers need to use a software abstraction layer to be able to bring together existing presence engines to enable users to take advantage of it in a single way. Byrd called this intelligent presence aggregation.
"It's beyond sharing," he said. "It's combining and producing a single identity.
In software development key is to have a lower level abstraction layer that enables acceleration of business process by streamlining human interactions.
Developers need to bridge the gap between business process level and raw communications by leveraging such elements as SOA and Web services.
We need to have our communications development environment more horizontal, more shared, Byrd stressed. The concepts of IMS can be brought to bear in enterprise application development and developer methodology.
Thus SOA becomes the third layer of the developer fabric.
SOA, presence and SIP must work together in an integrated combined way that will allow developers to build a business application with the goal of delivering value internally to employees but more importantly impacting the customer experience.
Byrd gave the developer crowd the following advice:
· Innovate around the customer and user experiences;
· Apply your own industry expertise to address challenges; and
· Reuse as much as possible: Mashups are a great way of realizing this.
"The three fabric technologies are SIP, SOA and presence working together. Use platforms that bring these together to create applications that will solve the challenges you face," said Byrd in conclusion.