The Definition Dance Moves from UC to Cloud Computing

One side-note at the recent VoiceCon Orlando show I found rather humorous.   It’s about definitions.  As you know, since birth, the UC world has been awash in wave after wave of definitional sparring.  Vendors have used definitions to differentiate their marketing approach.  Gigabytes on the internet’s servers have been squandered journaling jousts between various bloggers and article authors, each seeking to capture the dynamics of this dramatic departure in communications functionality.  Of course, we at know it’s very simple.  UC is “communications integrated to optimize business processes”. 

Therefore I sat, bemused, in the “Summit on Cloud Computing” session Thursday morning when the opening question was about definitions.  Eric Krapf asked the panel of network and CPE suppliers, “How does your organization define cloud computing?”  Here are some excerpts:

  • AT&T:  “So much diversity as to what it is…  Compelling way to deliver new services to customers… Managed infrastructure or SaaS delivered on a pay-per-use model…  But, we’re not defining it now.”
  • Avaya:  “Cloud computing is an evolution starting with Centrex, IP-Centrex, now hosted services…  A way to reduce costs and capex, and provide business agility.”
  • IBM:  “Platform as a service…  A way to deliver collaborative services… “ 
  • Verizon:   “Network based communication utility.   “Computing as a service platform” 
  • Cisco:  “Cloud computing takes multiple forms – Public telephony clouds; Enterprise clouds for virtualization; supporting applications, like presence… Infrastructure service…”
  • Analyst:  “SaaS… anything related to a computer in the public network”

I sense it’s going to be awhile before all of this gets resolved!  The torch is passed.  UC is now officially “old hat” and “Cloud Computing” is up for the next round of internecine definition battles. 

I’m really glad we can get on with implementing UC’s applications and realizing its benefits.  As David Leach of Siemens said a couple VoiceCons ago, “Let’s focus on what UC does, not what it is!” 

Perhaps the Cloud Computing suppliers won’t take too long to get there.

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