CompTIA Announces Convergence Initiatives

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CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, has announced it will work with several leaders in the convergent technologies market this year to promote growth in that field in commercial and consumer environments. New measures will include developing best practices tools for providers of convergent technology solutions, and skills development and certification programs for professionals working with convergent technologies.


“CompTIA is currently working with leaders in the convergent technologies market to identify the types of skills that would be most relevant for a convergence certification,” said Brian McCarthy, chief operating officer at CompTIA. “Our preliminary discussions suggest that this certification may combine baseline knowledge on convergent technologies coupled with multiple specialty tracks for specific areas such as wireless, voice, data, storage and security. Voice and data cross-training will be a key element of the certification. Some of the potential baseline skills would include knowledge of telephony (trunks, stations, hunt group provisioning, key/PBX), internetworking (i.e., LAN/WAN), structured cabling and voice-over-IP (including security, quality of service, design, network administrations, phones and standards). At a higher level, a convergence certification might also address solutions such as unified messaging, Web chat, rules-based call handling and other applications that promote productivity and efficiency.”


McCarthy added that the recent growth in the telecommunications field was the due to the cost savings and productivity increases it can bring to workforce performance. “Thousands of enterprises have already replaced traditional telephony equipment with VoIP networks and other converged applications,” he said. “Businesses of all sizes want new technology that helps them reduce costs, improve productivity or both. Converged applications will allow them to do both, but enterprises have been hesitant to wholeheartedly embrace them because of fears about reliability. Voice and data communications are obviously critical to an operation of any size, and any disruption to service is certain to affect a business’s bottom line. Now, VoIP and other converged applications have proven their reliability and performance in both the demanding telecom service provider market and in the equally demanding arena of business communications.


“We believe a workforce trained and certified in the technologies in use today will benefit the entire industry,” McCarthy said. “The original equipment manufacturer can be assured that its product or solution will be installed right the first time. It also will reduce the time and money manufacturers must spend training their channel partners on these solutions. A vendor-neutral certification would identify those professionals who have core competencies in convergent technologies. That means manufacturers would have to spend less time in teaching the basics of convergence and more time in product-specific training. A vendor-neutral certification as a measurement of baseline skills could prepare candidates for more advanced, vendor-specific certifications.”


In addition to certification, skills development and industry best practices for convergence, CompTIA will work to keep the government, specifically Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), from regulating VoIP and related services. “CompTIA has long advocated that the Internet should be free from needless regulation,” McCarthy said. “The Internet prospered in large part because of little or no government regulation. We believe policymakers must establish policies that encourage continued growth of the Internet—not smother innovation, investment, productivity enhancement, cultural enrichment and education. Policymakers should resist the temptation to impose Industrial Age regulations on our global and information-based economy. CompTIA is fundamentally opposed to regulating the Internet as a telecommunication services. If this were to occur, IT companies of all sizes would incur substantial business costs associated with regulatory compliance. Most concerning is the very limited social benefit that would result from imposing telecommunications regulations on the Internet.”


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