Special Report: Unified Communications

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The integration of multiple types of communication — including IP telephony, e-mail and instant messaging — into a unified and cohesive communication experience continues to grow. Smart phones, tablet PCs, video phones and audio conferencing bridges are among the fastest-growing devices being deployed for unified communications in early 2012.
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The need to transport large datasets between data centers is driving requirements for flexible yet secure WAN infrastructures. IDC says organizations that have upgraded data center networks and WANs to support virtualization and cloud services are on the right track, but they should also adopt a holistic approach to WAN expansion to handle big traffic in the future.
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More than other government agencies, the Defense Department has made unified communications a key element of plans to upgrade its enterprise IT to IP-based systems, which are vital to its goal of making sure all its servicemen and women get access to real-time mission-critical information, especially on the front lines.
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A growing number of government organizations are exploring Networx as a contract vehicle for tools ranging from IP-based communications to cloud services. The use of Networx for cloud-based UC services would allow agencies to reach employees and partners in more remote regions of the United States and overseas.
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Suggestions include focusing on the capabilities needed by different types of workers, based on their roles and communications requirements; thinking in terms of custom apps rather than commodity services; and striving to simplify current networks. By standardizing on IP-based infrastructures, agencies will reduce management burdens and associated costs.
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