Solving UCC Federation: How Three Firms Got It Done

Author: David Mario Smith
Date: December 31, 2013
Topic: Mobile
Research Note Number: 2013-54

Issue: What trends are impacting collaboration in the enterprise?
Issue: What collaboration technologies and architectures should enterprises leverage?

Summary: To improve communication across B-to-B real-time collaboration platforms,  planners should investigate a UCC federation clearinghouse service to enable presence federation and cross-platform collaboration.

Within unified communication and collaboration (UCC) circles, cross-platform IM, presence and overall UCC interoperability has been an ongoing problem that has yet to be dealt with by technology providers. It is the proverbial elephant in the room. While open standards such as XMPP and SIP exist, UCC vendors have not embraced them all in the same way. Instead, they have created proprietary extensions to open standards that then cease to be open when implemented. In this report, we look at three firms that solved the interoperability issue with a UCC federation service from NextPlane.

What Is Federation?

We define UCC federation as connecting two or more disparate UCC platforms for multi-modal communication among users. At the heart of this connection is presence federation, which lets users share presence information from different platforms.

UCC federation is one of the best ways to bridge disparate presence-based UCC platforms so that users in separate organizations can interact and communicate with each other. The issue arose because consumer IM and presence platforms like AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger were being used rampantly in enterprises, even though they are not interoperable. As enterprises began to invest in enterprise IM and presence systems like IBM Sametime and Microsoft Live Communications Server (now called Lync), the issue became interoperability among a mix of consumer IM services and enterprise IM platforms.

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