Cisco-IBM Unified Communications

At VoiceCon, IBM and Cisco elaborated on their plans to work together on unified communications. The collaboration was first announced at Lotusphere in January.

Key points are:

  • The two firms will promote a standard API set for access to unified communications.
  • The API set comes from IBM Lotus, and is called "UC2" or "UC squared."
  • The API will allow ISVs to write applications that work with many different types of communications channels, without having to write product-specific code.
  • The API set is built in a superset of Eclipse (an open source development platform), called Expeditor.
  • The API set will be put on many different types of devices. Current plans include Windows, various Linux flavors, and Macintosh. Mobile platforms include Symbian, Windows Mobile, and RIM BlackBerry.
  • Use of the API set and its runtime will be very inexpensive, so as to encourage ISVs.
  • Cisco will make its UC offerings work with the platform.
  • Cisco will gradually rewrite its UC offerings, so they are based on the platform.

The APIs have a lot going for them. Developers would prefer to go the easy path of a Microsoft-supplied solution. However, it's unclear that Microsoft will deliver a rich API set that is seriously multiplatform, rather than just Windows and Windows Mobile. And many major vendors have already invested in the Lotus API.

Further announcements about the Cisco/IBM UC collaboration will follow at other industry events during 2007.

... David Ferris

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