Hewlett-Packard is banking on alliances as the unified communications market hits its stride and Web 2.0 technologies become ingrained into voice services and other data networks within the enterprise.

Unified communications is the convergence of voice, data, instant messaging and presence technologies. It is one of the broadest terms that we come across but it is providing context as collaboration services and mobile technologies leverage the social Web.

For example, the ability to use Twitter to trigger voice mail is an example of how traditional communications systems are adapting to the advent of Web 2.0 technologies.

HP is seeking to gain on Cisco in the networking market by focusing on unified communications through interoperability efforts and alliances. It sees Web 2.0 technologies as messaging systems that can go to any device through any network.

In terms of alliances, HP and Avaya have entered into a three-year partnership. HP will sell Avaya's Unffied Communications solutions, including Avaya's Aura plarform. Avaya is the leading vendor in the VOIP market. Avaya Aura launched last year. it provides the control of voice, video, messaging, presence and Web applications.

HP also has partnerships with Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft to provide networking and unified communications.

HP's is forming these alliances with multiple partners as the enterprise market opens and the capabilities for using Facebook, Twitter and other services become ways to communicate through voice networks.

That is coupled with the deeper use of collaboration and mobile technologies.

According to IDC, the number of mobile workers worldwide will reach almost 1.2 billion. That's in large part due to the migration to unified communications.

The collaboration space is also expected to boom. But there's a catch. There are few, if any, collaboration standards. That can make any integration a process that requires matching vendors capabilities. Plug and play is still pretty much a concept.

As Mike Vizard points out:

"Right now, the few standards that exist in the collaboration space are built mostly around existing messaging protocols and growing industry support for SIP. But not all vendors implement even these standards equally well, and the providers of online services are notorious for providing APIs with limited data-sharing capabilities. That means that IT services companies in this space such as IBM, Avaya and Siemens, which will shortly demonstrate some interoperability between its unified communications platform and Twitter, are being asked to do the heavy lifting by building custom connectors between services."

That's in large part why a company like HP needs to form alliances. Customers need to know the networking vendors they pick can make the connection to Web 2.0 services.