The state of unified communications (UC) is anything but. Vendors have reasons not to offer interoperability, but often at the risk of losing customers because it is one issue that’s on top of many customers’ minds. Some major vendors are taking the first step to ease this pain by founding the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum (UCIF). Kudos to the founding members for initiating this: Microsoft, HP, Juniper Networks, Polycom, and Logitech (LifeSize). The organization aims to model after the WiFi Alliance in terms of establishing interoperability guidelines and certifications based on existing UC technology standards. The Forum doesn’t intend to create standards.
This is a step in the right direction for UC faithfuls. Obviously, the news would’ve been even better if Cisco was already a member. As of now, one cannot help but think this as a defense play against Cisco’s dominance, perhaps to eventually force Cisco to join the interoperability wagon. That depends highly on how well the Forum conducts its business because if it turns out that nobody cares for the “UCIF Certified” sticker, then there’s nothing to be gained for vendors to test their products for interoperability.