Interop was a big topic at both Enterprise Connect and the UC Summit.
Here’s the painful fact about commitment to standards–it’s only a starting point ,and effectively it’s just rhetoric without additional effort of alignment. Simply stated, standards are not enough. SIP, for example, has a high degree of variation in implementation. Vendors and carriers are still manually testing/approving supported partnerships because the standards leave too much to the imagination. Of the thousands of SIP providers, major vendors only support a handful or two, as the certification process is too cumbersome and expensive. As a result, standards-compliant systems can be totally incompatible with one another.
UC changes the interop story from a comedy of errors to a tragedy. Communications is busting-out of the confines of voice. New devices, applications, and capabilities are creating far wider interoperability challenges: presence, phone status, conferencing, collaboration, video, mobile phones, etc., all expected to seamlessly work together. Vendor component oper-ability (inter-what?) is a challenge in itself. An interesting character in this story is the UCIF (UC Interoperability Forum), but it isn’t yet clear if it is to be the protagonist or martyr.
Read The Rest at NoJitter. Operation Interop
From April 11 through April 15, 2011, the 28th bi-annual SIPit testing event, organized by the SIP Forum, will be held in Huntsville, Alabama at the Jackson Conference Center. Digium is hosting the event, with additional sponsorship from Polycom, Inc. (See More).
These testing events are both an indication of progress and the abysmal failure of the industry. The fact is interoperability, particularly with SIP is a disaster. The specification is so loose that fully compliant providers and equipment can be totally incompatible. As a result, it is up to individual service providers and manufacturers to manually test for compatibility which is highly inefficient and expensive. So much so that most manufacturers have a relatively short list of approved/supported partners. For example, Microsoft Lync can only officially be connected to 12 SIP service providers.
To speed up this ridiculous process, they have these orgies where everyone can show up and party til they drop – such as SIPit. They are billed as an example of industry interoperability, but they are actually a result of the absence of it.
Conversely, T1s or Analog compatibility is done with testing equipment in labs. A simple test that each provider and equipment maker can perform to verify compatibility. This is is the way most things are done in other industries. Can you imagine DVD players having to certify against each movie studio or each USB device having to certify against every PC or USB cable host?
UC Strategies: Waiting for Open UC
UCIF White Paper: UC: Driving the Next Step to Interoperability