Unified Communications Featured Article

Cloud UC Going Strong

January 06, 2014

Traditional telephony and unified communications manufacturers continue to move into the hosted/cloud UC market, with many now offering their premises-based telephony solutions as a subscription-based service. (Click here for more on what’s behind this ongoing trend.)


A number of vendors are reporting positive financials from the cloud side of their business. In Mitel’s second quarter fiscal 2014 review, the company cited strong cloud sales with the installed cloud customer base growing 70 percent year-over-year to about 337,000 total cloud users.  Interactive Intelligence’s third quarter 2013 results indicated strong order growth, particularly in cloud-based orders that now represent 48 percent of the company’s total orders. ShoreTel’s latest quarterly report revealed a 32 percent increase in ShoreTel Sky cloud revenue year-over-year.

Encouraging financial reports from these vendors and others, coupled with analyst forecasts that indicate strong growth in the hosted/cloud UC market, make it certain that vendors will continue to invest heavily in hosted/cloud offers going forward.

Here, we look at some of the new hosted/cloud UC offers that entered the market throughout 2013.

ESI Enters the Cloud UC Market, Acquires Vintalk Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking Services

In January 2013, Estech Systems Inc. (ESI) (www.esi-estech.com) gained instant entry recently into the cloud UC market by acquiring Vintalk hosted PBX and SIP trunking services from San Diego-based Vinculum Communications (News - Alert). ESI began offering the SIP trunking service, along with audio conferencing, fax and disaster recovery services immediately and is currently beta testing the hosted PBX service in conjunction with its own line of SIP telephones (general availability has been rescheduled for first quarter 2014). (more…)

Digium Enters the Hosted UC Market with Switchvox (News - Alert) Cloud

In March 2013, Digium (www.digium.com) introduced a new option for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) called Switchvox Cloud, a hosted business telephony service designed as an alternative to purchasing an on-premises telephone system. Switchvox Cloud mirrors Digium's premises-based IP-PBX, Switchvox SMB, in features, functionality and built-in UC. All Switchvox SMB capabilities carry over into the new Switchvox Cloud service and are included with no additional fees. (more…)

Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) Unveils OpenTouch Suite for Cloud

In March 2013, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (http://enterprise.alcatel-lucent.com/) announced a new suite of cloud-based services for business enterprises called the OpenTouch Suite for Cloud. The suite includes three offers to be delivered via service providers, system integrators and channels: (1) OpenTouch Enterprise Cloud (for mid-to-large enterprises based on OpenTouch and OmniPCX Enterprise; available as of March 2013); (2) OpenTouch Office Cloud (for small and mid-sized businesses; available as of November 2013); and (3) OpenTouch Personal Cloud (to deliver applications as a service for any size enterprise; due out in first quarter 2014). (…more)

Avaya Collaborative Cloud Enables UC, CC and Video Services

In March 2013, Avaya (www.avaya.com) furthered its position in the cloud space with three new offers under the umbrella, the Collaborative Cloud, allowing cloud service providers (CSPs) to offer Avaya Unified Communications (UC), Contact Center (CC) and Video solutions as cloud-based services. Avaya has a pay-as-you-sell utility-based pricing model that lets CPS pay only for what customers actually use. The new cloud services include: (1) Avaya Cloud Enablement for Video (Avaya’s Radvision video conferencing portfolio of room, telepresence and personal video solutions available as cloud-based services); (2) Avaya Cloud Enablement for UC and CC (Avaya Aura-based UC and CC platforms available as cloud-based services); and (3) Avaya Managed Private Cloud for CC (private cloud contact center service for small and medium enterprises with 100-500 agents). (…more)

Interactive Intelligence Launches CaaS Small Center in U.S.

In March 2013, Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (www.inin.com) introduced a new cloud-based communications-as-a-service (CaaS) for small contact centers. CaaS Small Center is designed for small organizations with 10-50 contact center agents and is based on the company’s Customer Interaction Center (CIC) software for contact center and enterprise IP telephony. CaaS Small Center includes a subset of CIC contact center functionality with core features that are meant to keep the service affordable and simple to deploy. CaaS Small Center is available now in the U.S., with Canada to follow later in 2013. (…more)

NEC UNIVERGE Cloud Services: ‘All NEC’ from A-Z

In March 2013, NEC (www.necam.com) launched the NEC UNIVERGE Cloud Services or nUCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) in the U.S. market for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). The cloud service uses the company’s UNIVERGE 3C as the core software. NEC is unique in that it owns and manages the technology and transport from end-to-end and has designed its cloud service to be dealer-friendly so that channel partners can add the service to their portfolio without investing a lot of money. (…more)

Mitel Introduces Mitel AnyWare Cloud Contact Center Service

In April 2013, Mitel (www.mitel.com) introduced the Mitel AnyWare Cloud Contact Center service for small and mid-size businesses. Initially offered in the U.S., the new service is available to Mitel AnyWare hosted PBX/UC subscribers and provides customer service capabilities, including Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), real-time reporting and integration with CRM applications such as Salesforce.com, SugarCRM (News - Alert) and Microsoft Dynamics CRM; the service allows up to 100 participants (agents), including 10 supervisors. Mitel AnyWare Cloud Contact Center is fully managed by Mitel in data centers.

On the horizon… Zultys (News - Alert) MXvirtual Managed Service Offer

In November 2013, Zultys (www.zultys.com) announced it will introduce MXvirtual, a virtualized software-only version of the company’s MX IP phone system that allows the solution to co-reside with other applications on a single server running VMware vSphere technology. Large corporations can run MXvirtual on their existing VMware infrastructure, or authorized Zultys channel partners can act as managed service providers, hosting the solution in their own facility and offering the solution as a subscription-based service to end customers. MXvirtual is due out in early in 2014 with Zultys MX Release 9.0. (…more)




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Article comments powered by Disqus

Featured Whitepapers

Building A Business Case For Unified Communications

The hype surrounding any emerging technology often shrouds the private sector with mixed feelings, as decision-makers try to decipher whether new offerings will enhance operations, hinder productivity or introduce some bizarre mixture of the two.

Instant Cashflow Improvement and Rapid ROI with Unified Communications

The up-and-down economy of the past several years has highlighted the need to operate more effi ciently and cut costs wherever possible. In most situations, these two notions would seem contradictory, but a number of emerging technologies - cloud computing, virtualization and the bring-your-own-device movement among them - are helping companies accomplish these goals.

The Top Four Pitfalls of Unified Communications

Today's enterprise needs to be agile if decision-makers wish to remain competitive and relevant in the eyes of consumers. As more companies and customers around the world begin leveraging innovative devices like smartphones, tablets and next-generation laptops, the need to deploy unified communications grows alongside it. Neglecting to implement the technology may result in dire consequences that could spell the end of an organization.