Answering Fred Knight’s “Where’s the Beef?” Question

In the June 19, 2008 VoiceCon UC eWeekly (a weekly newsletter jointly sponsored by VoiceCon and, Fred Knight asked the question, “Where’s the Beef?”

At first, I thought that Fred was losing faith on the directions for UC. But after reading his newsletter a couple of times, I decided Fred was basically raising a challenge, one of his most important roles across both the entire communications industry, especially as Co-Chair of VoiceCon. Fred had seen a very skeptical article in NetworkWorld, entitled, “Enterprises baffled by Unified Communications, survey finds.”

Fred’s challenge is to “prove” that Unified Communications is real, is understood by the customers, and has real value. So, I took his challenge and did my homework on the NetworkWorld article. My conclusion is that Forrester Research is off-target on this one – either they asked confusing questions in their survey or they tried to make UC-related conclusions from a survey that was really a “general purpopse survey on networking plans,” rather than on UC specifically.

But the homework of studying the NetworkWorld article did prove that UC is alive and well. The article links to an excellent definition of UC and to a survey based on that definition, in 800 telecom managers were very clear on the benefits of and reasons for UC. It also shows that audio and web conferencing (i.e. collaboratively sharing and discussing information) is the leading UC application at over 40% adoption, somewhat ahead of video conferencing and well ahead of IP PBX.

Anyway, I found plenty of beef, even to the extent that UC applications seem to be pulling VoIP rather than the other way around. If you’d like to read more, take a look a the entire post on

So, thanks, Fred, for the challenge. Improves all of our games, and the team likes to win!

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