VoIPNorm Ponders

This week as you may know from my previous post I am in New York on vacation. One of the many attractions I have had a chance to see in NY has been the Museum of Modern Art. This is my first time to NY and obviously to MoMA. Generally it was a pretty cool experience, I got to take in some interesting art and ponder at others.

The above shot was one of a couple of strange pieces but it certainly got my attention, not because of the way it looks but I nearly walked into it. I basically concluded anything to bizarre to comprehend must in some way be a sculpture of some part of the female antimony. Although I have no aptitude for art (if you can’t already tell) this piece reminds me of an RFC. If you guessed an RFC reminds me of a female body part you guessed wrong , what I meant was open to interpretation. Which brings me to my next point. The UC Interoperability Forum.

The UCIF is what I see as a critical junction in the embrace of UC in the enterprise. I think the UCIF is a requirement because RFC’s are so open. The unfortunate thing about the UCIF at the moment is that most companies that have joined out of the gate already have strong relationships (although some not directly to each other). Although this formally brings them altogether, which is a positive thing, there are some obvious missing names among them (don’t make me spell it out). Most interop issues are among competitors and at the moment there are some major UC competitors missing.

With such a large scope which encompasses UC, the UCIF has a noble charter that may be difficult to pull off. As companies like Cisco trying to drive their own protocols to be standards (telepresence) how the UCIF handles issues like these will be interesting to see. The UCIF may also be a great platform for vendors that want their protocols adopted as a standard. Although the UCIF has clearly stated that it is not in the business of creating standards, having a chance to have other companies in the UCIF adopt the protocol of another member could be seen as significant.

Just how effective the UCIF will be remains to be seen, but it is a positive step forward. Testing and certification against standards is something that IETF has really not addressed. The IETF is a casual organization which has no regulated testing procedures for vendors that implement any of the RFC’s it produces. How the UCIF will market their seal of RFC compliance will be interesting but it could be quite desirable in a market place that has no other way to tell if a vendor has implemented an RFC correctly.

Comments welcomed.



  1. Found this article which seems to give some reasons behind why some major vendors are missing. The part I find most interesting is in one vendors response, 'The UCIF structure and board leadership were formed before membership was offered to Cisco.' Which, if I was a major vendor looking to join, I would be looking at underlying motives as well. Hopefully they will get this worked out, as it could become a great beginning in interoperability.


  2. Thanks for pointing out that article. It sounds like they are looking for excuses not to join. Just because they weren’t invited to the party early enough they don’t want to take part is a pretty lame excuse. It’s only natural that partner companies would start something then invite everyone else to join just so it can get off the ground. I hope they change their mind but I have my doubts that Cisco will. Avaya on the other hand may be a little different. It makes sense for them to join especially if Cisco doesn’t. It would certainly look good in the eyes of their customers to take part when Cisco abstains.


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