Monday, April 06, 2009

VoiceCon 2009 - Now that the dust has settled, and IBM and Microsoft

So what to make of VoiceCon 2009 Orlando?

There didn't seem to be the major announcements that we got in 2008 (see: "VoiceCon 2008 - IBM, Microsoft & Aspect ") but in some ways I think we saw events of more significance.

The first thing is that Microsoft are in this business and are in it seriously. Last year's announcements, while significant, suggested that partnering was the key to Microsoft getting into the voice business. This year the revolutionary aspects of Microsoft's arguments were much more explicit. I rather liked their key-note session. It made one or two very key points that as voice moves from a hardware based solution to a software centric solution, it changes dramatically and that this is the logical evolution of VoIP. I also liked the fact that their demo used a Mac running Safari to Microsoft compatibility. I'm not normally a fan of Microsoft, but I felt they did make the more insightful points. I remain dubious about their ability to execute, but then so were the TDM vendors about IP Telephony! The video is worth checking out:

IBM also did a good pitch, around their UC2 solution from Louts. I liked the blue screen of death April Fool's hoax, but otherwise I felt that they were showing an evolution of Lotus Sametime rather than the more radical changes that Microsoft had in their vision.

In short, I think this software-centric approach to voice is the vision of the future. Whether or not it will be delivered by Microsoft is open to debate, but this was a far more visionary view than the alliances of last year.

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