Unified Tech Migrates to the Cloud

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Unified communications -- which combines e-mail, IP telephony, chat and videoconferencing -- is still struggling to reach its potential. Now vendors are migrating the technology to the cloud and trying to reposition it as a service rather than a product, according to research firm InStat.

To make this happen, vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc., Broadsoft Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are working closely with providers of hosted voice-over-IP services, according to a recent InStat report.

"Several flavors of unified communications are emerging from the cloud," said In-Stat analyst Dave Lemelin, in a statement. Some versions feature a mix of customer-owned equipment and hosted services, targeting midsize businesses. There are also fully hosted offerings for small businesses.

Lemelin added that an emerging trend toward Session Initiation Protocol trunking -- now viewed as a cost-saver -- "will ultimately enable the interconnection of unified communications islands."

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