There’s a big psychological effect when a federal agency with the reputation and clout – and intriguing network architecture – of the National Institutes of Health strikes a blow for Unified Communications.
The NIH recently issued a major request for information (RFI) regarding UC tools and products, and it made some headlines in the trade newsletters and sites. Justifiably so, because the NIH – although it isn’t one of the largest federal entities – it is a respected organization, and a very diverse one architecturally.
There are 27 different institutes and centers that make up the NIH, and as might be expected with such an organization, it uses a mix of vendors and technologies. With differing needs among each of the institutes, that poses quite a UC challenge, which NIH realizes.
“While recognizing that no one technology would be appropriate (at this time) … we are looking for Unified Communications technologies that would work well within this diverse environment and be able to integrate well with a wide variety of legacy systems,” the RFI stated.
Specifically, NIH has its eye on voice and telephony solutions, voice, video, and web conferencing, and email, voice mail, and unified messaging.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out for NIH. But in the meantime, its interest gives UC a psychological boost at the federal level. There is a misperception that the federal government is a laggard on the technology curve (sure, some agencies are, but many others are trailblazers and early adopters). So when NIH gives a shout-out, if you will, to UC, it carries a lot of weight.