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Updated: July 8, 2010 16:49 IST

From workplace to workspace

D. Murali
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Title: Cisco Unifies Presence Fundamentals, Learning how to use Cisco Unified Presence Server and Client to Streamline Communication and improve business agility. Author: Brian Morgan, Shane Lisenbea Michael C. Popovich III.
The Hindu
Title: Cisco Unifies Presence Fundamentals, Learning how to use Cisco Unified Presence Server and Client to Streamline Communication and improve business agility. Author: Brian Morgan, Shane Lisenbea Michael C. Popovich III.

If you have been seeing UC around and wondering what it is, ‘Cisco Unified Presence Fundamentals’ by Brian Morgan, Shane Lisenbea and Michael C. Popovich III (www.ciscopress.com) should help.

UC (unified communications) is the integration of nonreal-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voicemail, email, short message service or SMS, and fax) with real-time communication services such as instant messaging (IM or chat), presence information, IP telephony, video conferencing, call control, and speech control, the book explains. “UC is not a single product but a set of products that provides a consistent unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.”

Making speech

Interestingly, the opening chapter provides some basic background information by tracing telephony history, and discussing private branch exchange (PBX) architecture, and IP-based call control. A nugget of legend is about the edge that Alexander Graham Bell had over Elisha Gray, whose patent for the telephone might have proved a workable solution. The edge was the simple knowledge of speech and linguistics.

“Bell’s mother was hearing impaired. His grandfather, father, and brother were all noted teachers of elocution and speech (what we know today as the study of linguistics). Bell and his father were largely responsible for what would become the International Phonetic Alphabet. Bell understood what it took to not only speak but to also make speech. Speech and speaking were the core of the family business.”

Fax facts

To the telephony of 1876, the digital side came about half-a-century later, in 1924, when Harry Nyquist, of Bell Labs, co-developed the first publicly available fax machines.

In 1927, he taught us that the number of pulses that could be put through a telegraph channel per unit time is limited to twice the bandwidth of the channel, the book informs. “This would later be adapted into the Nyquist-Shannon theorem that is the basis of nearly all telecommunications. A range of 0-4000 Hz would be sampled 8000 times per second in each channel. Each sample is 8 bits in size. The result of 8000 samples at 8 bits each comes out to 64,000 bps or what we know as a DS0.”

From TDM to IP

In the past about 15 years, a movement away from TDM (time division multiplexing) and toward IP (Internet Protocol) has erupted within the voice networking realm, the authors narrate. They note that the first real application of the idea of sending voice traffic across an IP network came in the form of ‘IP Trunking,’ that is, the IP network provided a mechanism to make it possible for traditional PBX network administrators to eliminate point-to-point tie lines and utilise the data infrastructure for passing voice traffic between PBXs within the enterprise.

“Voice traffic would be passed to the IP network via voice gateways (typically H.323 gateways). These gateways are simply routers with additional code built into their operating systems that enable the recognition and routing of voice traffic through the use of statically configured dial peers.”

User transition

Early telecommunications devices have evolved from rather large and awkward devices to the sleek, stylish, and highly portable smart devices we use today, the authors observe. They find that the trend to not leverage devices such as desktop phones, which force users to be in a static location, has been a key driver for the transition into a user requesting and sometimes demanding the flexibility of being connected anywhere, anyplace, or anytime.

“The traditional ‘workplace’ restricted workers to a desk – the now ‘workspace’ happens anywhere and anytime the request is made and in moments in time depending on where the worker is currently located…”

Recommended read for the communications specialists.

**

Tailpiece

“Incorporating into my GPS the anti-collision technology from the automobile world…”

“You are able to drive better?”

“No, I hope to steer clear of people with negative vibes!”

**

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