What Is UC Federation?

I find myself in discussions that come down to what are we talking about when we refer to “UC Federation” is so I thought I would write down my definition so I can refer others to see how I define it. (and how I came to the definition)

Communication and trust between different organizations and UC platforms as if you were on the same platform  while each organization maintains control of internal affairs. Instant Message and presence modes of communication presumed with additional modes a possibility.

Some of My Rationale

Since in “UC federation” we are using the word “federation” I references the Oxford and Random House:

a group of states with a central government but independence in internal affairs –Oxford

the formation of a political unity, with a central government, by a number of separate states, each of which retains control of its own internal affairs –Random House

I have burrowed from the the Oxford Dictionary in the area of “maintaining internal control” which I think is very core to UC federation.  But using “Federation” could be problematic because of the aspect of “centralized control”. It is not defined this strong in all dictionaries and UC Vendors often talk about UC Federation in the absence of “centralized control”. But I would like your input:

survey tool

Other definition:
UC Strategies: Click Here


  1. Here is a problem with "as if you were on the same platform": Supposing my system allows for contact specific presence and two of my contacts, B and C are another system that allows for only a single global presence. I set different Presence values for B and C. What information would they see?

  2. NextPlane’s UC Exchange processes nearly a billion federated presence, chat, voice and video messages per month for close to 300,000 users across 300+ unique domains. As a result, we have become the de facto authority on UC federation. Also, UC customers, way past debating definitions, have become tired of waiting for their UC vendors to address interoperability challenges. While UC vendors are debating about how to achieve the lowest common denominator for basic presence and chat interoperability, their customers are joining UC Exchange - the fastest growing community of federation-ready organizations. For those who want to move past the esoteric vendor debate, I suggest visiting the NextPlane website

    1. @marriana

      On "Nextplane numbers": Very interesting to hear about NextPlane's usages! Impressive. (And since nextplane is the de-facto authority on UC federation...i will bow low and never utter my thoughts on the subject again. :-P)

      On "Debating": As vendors dialog we need to be able to point to what we mean by words we use. That was the effort of this blog. If one vendor says they do "zero federation" and others say "we do it by the thousands" it leads to a lot of confusion when they are not answering the same question because they do not agree on word meanings.

      Finally I think that NextPlane is doing very interesting work. If I'm doing my math correct this is approximately 2% of Lync domains currently known about in the directory. And this is not counting federation to Skype, LiveMessenger, Gmail, AOL, many XMPP products and more out there.

      UC Federation is certainly at an interesting time! Thanks again for your thoughts.


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