Unified Communications Featured Article

TMCnet Unified Communications Week in Review

June 18, 2011

It was a good week for market forecasts (from Azleos Corporation), new systems and phones (Toshiba, AltiGen, Polycom, CoroWare ), software, SaaS and network services introductions (UniSys, Verizon and Tata ), contracts (INX, Inflow Communications ) and industry recognition (Mitel) .

The Azaleos Survey was an attention grabber. Noted in a feature by Mandira Srivastava, unified communications Contributor, the managed messaging, collaboration and unified communications company’s recent survey pointed out some interesting trends:

  • Of organizations not currently using a public cloud-based UC service, only 10 percent plan to deploy one within the next year, citing concerns over loss of customization, uptime, and security.
  • For the organizations that cannot or would not deploy public cloud-based UC services, 48 percent said they would deploy a private cloud as an alternative. And, one-third of the respondents said that they would choose Microsoft Office 365 as a public-cloud UC provider.
  • The survey also found that the majority of enterprises will continue to deploy UC (hosted Exchange e-mail, calendaring and scheduling, voice/telephony, presence, Web conferencing, etc.) in on-premise and/or private-cloud infrastructures over the next several years. Private cloud solutions are perceived to provide better protection from malware, as well as perimeter security and data integrity.

In systems and phone news, Toshiba’s introduction of single server IPedge Linux-based IP System is aimed at SMBs. It complements the company's existing Strata CIX converged telephony platform for the same market, but which supports TDM as well as IP phones given customer desires to carefully transition their installed base of systems, software and phones to all IP. The IPedge works with Toshiba’s IP5000-Series phones, including eight different models, with varying characteristics for particular business needs, and comes in the following models:

  • IPedge EM for 1,000 users per server, with dual hard drive and dual power supplies
  • IPedge EC for 200 users per server
  • IPedge EP for 40 users per server (due out later in the summer of 2011)

Call processing, voicemail and centralized management are built-in and part of the standard software, while unified messaging and UC client software reside on the system and are license-activated.

unified communications Contributor Anil Sharma covered San Jose, CA-based Altigen’s  launch of its IFusion Smartstation and its distribution agreement for it with Fremont, CA-based Fortune 500 company SYNNEX Corporation who services resellers and OEMs in multiple regions around the world with IT distribution, supply chain management, contract assembly and global business services.

The iFusion is an interesting new docking station that extends a traditional telephone handset and hands-free speakerphone to the iPhone. Instead of having to switch between a landline and mobile phone, the iFusion enables the iPhone to be used as the single business communications device enabling enterprise users take a bite out of their corporate communications with their Apple.

It took two of our editors to cover the news this week coming out of Polycom.  As Meenakshi Shankar, unified communications Contributor, reported on the InfoComm 2011 Conference and Expo in Orlando, Polycom announced several significant updates to the their UC Intelligent Core platform that will be available in Q3. They will assist with planning, designing, and implementation of the Polycom UC Intelligent Core solution for Polycom users and development partners.

In a separate feature on the announcement, Carrie Schmelkin, unified communications Web Editor, noted that the UC Intelligent Core platform is being promoted for its ability to use the cloud to establish "universal bridging," which supports a vast range of protocols including H.323, TIP, SIP, POTS/ISDN, and RTV, and is aimed at users looking to seamlessly and easily connect multiple organizations with “unprecedented” security, scale, reach, access, and availability with lower total cost of ownership. The UC Intelligent Core technology, also helps drive the broader adoption of video by natively integrating with everyday workflow tools such as Microsoft Lync and IBM (News - Alert) SameTime.

The other products introduced include:

  • Polycom® OTX™ 100 immersive telepresence solution — a single-screen immersive telepresence experience in a smaller package and more aggressive price point.
  • New Video Content Management Cloud-Based Offerings —the Polycom's Accordent® Media Management System™ (AMMS) v 4.5 and Accordent® Capture Station™ v 5.1, which automate many steps required to create, manage, and deliver video.
  • Polycom® SoundStructure® VoIP Interface — adds Polycom's SIP telephony features to the SoundStructure product family.

CoroWare was the subject of a feature by Jyothi Shanbhag, unified communications Contributor, highlighting availability and pricing of the CoroCall UCS Communications Server, a telephony, conferencing, and communications appliance. Aimed at SMBs, according to the company it offers a flexible range of Voice over IP (VoIP) PBX product line features and capabilities, and is compatible with standard SIP-based IP phones from Polycom, Cisco, Yealink (News - Alert) and Snoma. In related news, CoroWare announced pricing and availability of CoroCall Communications Cloud Service, a cloud-based Internet telephony, conferencing and communications service, expanding CoroWare's suite of unified collaboration products and services for businesses.

In software, SaaS and network services introductions our story by unified communications Contributor Rajani Baburajan, on UniSys’ addition of multiple value added services (VAS) that enable service providers to integrate voice-based services with social media channels on their Unisys VoiceSource Express (VSE) 400 Series platform is worth a read.  So is the item by Rahul Arora, unified communications Contributor, on the iLinc launch of a SaaS-based solution that supports simplification of virtual meetings on it iLinc11.1 release, at the same time it was announcing upgrades to its Learning Management System (LMS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integrations.

Featured this week also was Arc Solutions (News - Alert), as leasing provider of professional call handling solutions for Cisco (News - Alert) Unified Communications . unified communications Contributor Sujata Garud in her story about Arc’s latest release highlighted that Arc Premium 5.1.3 adds some impressive new options to improve operator efficiency and accuracy as the criticality of handling voice calls continues to be an end user priority inside of enterprises.

And, the focus is on telepresence in Anil Sharma, unified communications Contributor’s, item on the recent agreement between Verizon and Tata Communications enabling Verizon to leverage Tata Communications to enable meetings to take place between the company’s telepresence customers and any public or private telepresence room on the Tata Communications (News - Alert) Global Meeting Exchange.

In contracts news, upgrading to VoIP got the coverage from unified communications with items on INX winning a $6M UC contract to overhaul the Travis County, Texas system, and Inflow Communications using ShoreTel solutions to help Mt. Hood Meadow ski resort upgrade and link the resort’s ski property with the sales office in Portland, OR.

And finally, recognition of significant innovations and performance are not only good news but worth reporting. Case in point this week are the items:

Peter Bernstein is a technology industry veteran, having worked in multiple capacities with several of the industry's biggest brands, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Telcordia, HP, Siemens, Nortel, France Telecom, and others, and having served on the Advisory Boards of 15 technology startups. To read more of Peter's work, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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