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Cloud Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Martin Etmajer, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

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Virtualization: Article

Cloud UVC: Unified Virtual Collaboration

IaaS can also mean 'Innovation as a Service'

The Canadian government calling out for insights into the gaps in their R&D innovation strategy is timely and provides a context for the market opportunity for Telco Cloud Services.

Telcos can offer Cloud platforms that not only meet the core IT needs of governments but can also be aligned with these high-level strategic priorities.

Most notably and critically important in these difficult financial times, it can be positioned as economy-boosting 'Innovation Infrastructure', on a SaaS basis.

Unified Virtual Collaboration
One of the hottest application areas for Telco Cloud services is UCC - Unified Communications and Collaboration, referring to hosted versions of products like Microsoft's Lync.

This presents a huge market opportunity, with some predictions suggesting a whopping two thirds of large enterprise organizations will move to some form of Cloud-based Unified Comms.

In a previous blog I outlined how the Canadian Federal Government also has requirements for this type of service, 'Unified Cloud Collaboration', so they already have the baseline need established.

UCC can be enhanced to UVC, Unified Virtual Collaboration, through the addition of new software. Protosphere sits on top of Lync and provides a virtual world environment, something like SecondLife but a business version, intended for project and team meeting collaboration, utilizing the underlying Lync as the communications plumbing.

G-Cloud Innovation Infrastructure
This alone is undoubtably going to be hugely popular, and it can be further refined and positioned for government, by positioning it as an enabler of "Innovation Infrastructure", a utility service for enabling ecnomic growth initiatives.

In their 'Innovation Hub' white papers, Cisco introduces new concepts for how governments can stimulate and enable economic growth, through technology-enabled models, especially using these types of virtual collaboration applications and Web 2.0 social networking.

For example they suggest "the Startup Stop and Shop, a web space where video recordings of all entrepreneurs’ pitches are made available so that potential investors can search for opportunities at their own leisure. “Virtual Guardian Angels,” a mentorship program that connects those seeking and offering best business practices and advice, could provide yet another virtual experience."

The role of Cloud computing and how the technology can play a critical role in boosting digital innovation this way is demonstrated through the recent UK Digital Britain innovation policy.

The report outlined that the government is looking to improve service delivery and reduce costs through adoption of "Government cloud computing, the “G-Cloud”, and they also describe the enabling role it would play in making the nation itself more innovative.

"with Cloud building on next generation broadband with high definition video and also more revolutionary applications. These will include tele-presence, allowing for much more flexible working patterns, e-healthcare in the home and for small businesses the increasing benefits of access to cloud computing which substantially cuts costs and allows much more rapid product and service innovation."

This Unified Virtual Collaboration is exactly the type of innovation-enabling application.

Conclusion
The EU is funding Cloud software projects to equip European businesses with competitive advantage, but the much larger sources of financing that are also available are the budgets for governments in-house IT.

Whether it is used for in-house needs or as innovation stimulus is simply a matter of perspective and user access privileges.

What this principle demonstrates is that governments can merge them to concentrate their overall business value. The business benefits of Cloud computing is that it could be used for internal IT applications and as a platform for national innovation.

Cloud computing can be deployed as a platform for exactly this purpose, used not only for modernizing internal government processes but also for providing raw innovation capacity for the public and entrepreneurs, providing them services for use in key scenarios like new business product prototyping.

The same 'i-Cloud' could be used internally by government for improved collaboration, and externally by the public to create new products and services that boost the economy.

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The Cloud Best Practices Network is an expert community of leading Cloud pioneers. Follow our best practice blogs at http://CloudBestPractices.net

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