Aastra 400 R2.1 SP1 Adds BluStar Video Collaboration Technology
Aastra (www.aastra.com) continues to report positive momentum and good traction for its Aastra 400 IP phone system for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that was originally launched on April 1, 2011 in Europe. Since its introduction, Aastra has expanded the product’s market reach, recently adding new sales channels in Colombia and Russia. Aastra 400 is already available in numerous European countries, as well as in Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.
To recap, Aastra 400 represents the next generation and evolution for some earlier SMB platforms acquired by Aastra in a series of mergers, including the 2003 acquisition of Ascom’s PBX System Division, the EADS Telecom PBX system division in 2005 (the U.S.-based Intecom became part of the Aastra group with this acquisition), DeTeWe Business in 2005 and the 2008 acquisition of the Ericsson Enterprise Communications Business. Aastra is helping its SMB customers, namely those with BusinessPhone, IntelliGate and MD-Evolution platforms, to make the transition to the Aastra 400 by enabling support for the digital telephones used with these earlier systems, as well as allowing convenient license transfers in specific countries for some systems.
The Aastra 400 IP appliance comes in three versions: Aastra 415 (4-12 users), Aastra 430 (to 50 users) and Aastra 470 (to 400 users) with expansion to 600 users in a fully transparent private network across 40 sites.
Aastra designed the Aastra 400 with built-in and licensed capabilities that are important to SMBs, including unified communications, mobility and transparent networking. Voicemail is included with simple license activation for additional capacity and e-voicemail that allows users to receive e-mail notifications of voicemail messages. Aastra’s OneBox or Microsoft Exchange UM server can be deployed for full unified messaging. An Auto Attendant (IVR) and a Fixed Mobile Convergence capability are also on-board and license-activated, and DECT requires only the appropriate number of base stations and handsets. Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) applications, such as presence, CTI and call center, reside on an optional blade server board (pre-installed on Aastra 470) or on an external server (Aastra 415/430).
BluStar Video Collaboration and Mobility
The latest Aastra 400 2.1 SP1 is an important release that focuses on multimedia communications and key trends, namely mobility (the Bring Your Own Device or BYOD trend) and the growing use of video. The new release embeds Aastra’s BluStar video technology in the core Aastra 400 software. Customers only need to purchase BluStar licenses as needed. Aastra plans to incorporate additional BluStar UCC components on the optional blade server board for the Aastra 470 in the future.
Users have several device options for accessing the BluStar video capability. Aastra’s BluStar 8000i personal video desktop phone can be provisioned as a native endpoint and currently supports 3-way video conferencing (more video participants in the future). For mobile or remote users, the BluStar client for Windows PCs and the mobile client for the Apple iPhone and iPad make it possible for users to choose the device that is most convenient for them and be able to collaborate with colleagues using video (2-way video initially; 3-way video later in 2012 for the Windows PC client). The Windows PC client also supports a plug-in option for integration with Microsoft Lync and IBM Sametime clients. Presence and instant messaging will be supported on the BluStar PC client in the next Aastra 400 release planned for 2013.
Aside from the BluStar technology, the new Aastra 400 software supports predefined settings meant to shorten installation time and training requirements for installers, WebAdmin Standard and Expert modes with graphical views that ease administration, callback and multiline keys on the Aastra 6700i phones and a pre-installed fax server on the optional blade server board (for Aastra 470) that lets users send and receive faxes via Microsoft Outlook.
Availability: Release 2.1 SP1 is available as of October 2012 for Aastra 400 as a free software upgrade for current customers with a valid software subscription; otherwise, a new software subscription license is required.
Alteva Innovation Center Signals Promising Future for Cloud UC
Amid the economic challenges and uncertainties many businesses and industries face today, the buzz of innovation around the maturing Hosted IP Telephony and Unified Communications (UC) market is refreshing and encouraging. Cloud UC services continue to break into a market long dominated by traditional premises-based IP-PBX, contact center, messaging and other on-site UC solutions. In fact, though forecasts differ slightly, the various market research firms all predict strong growth in the Cloud UC market. Infonetics Research projects that the number of seats for hosted business VoIP and UC services worldwide will more than double between 2012 and 2016. Research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan says the North American Hosted IP telephony installed base will reach 17.5 million users by 2018, representing 15% of the total business telephony user base.
Cloud UC provider Alteva (www.altevatel.com) was established in 2003 as one of the first Hosted Service Providers in the U.S. and now serves customers in more than a dozen countries, competing in the mid-market by providing hosted UC services to companies with 50 to 5,500 employees. Alteva’s growth in the market has been impressive with roughly 50% growth in both 2010 and 2011, and the company was recently ranked as the 9th largest hosted IP telephony and UC provider in North America by Frost & Sullivan. Alteva became an independent subsidiary of Warwick Valley Telephony Company in 2011, referred to now as WVT Communications Group.
Alteva’s growth is a testament to the bright future for hosted UC services. And, the company is clearly anticipating continued growth going forward, recently opening a state-of-the-art ‘Innovation Center’ in growing technology hub Philadelphia, PA. The new national headquarters is impressive in terms of the design which is meant to cultivate innovation, creativity and forward thinking. The office’s all-glass exterior gives passers-by a peek inside a company poised for the future. The open space design has no cubicles and no ceiling offices in order to maximize employee networking and teamwork. Perhaps most notable is Alteva’s focus on the customer. The new office includes hands-on ‘Experience Zones’ where customers and partners can actually see and try out the Alteva technology and UC capabilities.
The flagship Innovation Center triples Alteva’s office space (two other offices are also located in Philadelphia). Alteva plans to open similar centers, using this prototype, across the country.
The Alteva portfolio of hosted UC services is backed by two major corporations, BroadSoft and Microsoft. Current services include Hosted VoIP (Alteva utilizes the BroadSoft BroadWorks switch for call control), Hosted Microsoft Communication Services (e.g. Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging, Microsoft Office Communication Server (OCS) and SharePoint), a Fixed Mobile Convergence solution, Audio and Video Web Conferencing, Voice Applications for the desktop PC, Data Connectivity (including DSL, T1, DS3, Ethernet, Fiber and Wireless) and Data Backup. Alteva customers simply pay a monthly fee to utilize the desired hosted services. On-site, customers need only deploy a router and a third party standards-based IP telephone for each user such as those from Aastra, Cisco, Panasonic or Polycom.
As the Cloud UC market continues its upward trend, Alteva will be adding to its lineup of hosted services. The company introduced several new services in 2012, namely an online data backup service from MozyPro, a hosted call reporting and accounting service and Hosted SMB UC Bundles. More applications are on the way, and these will be based on customer feedback that surfaces from the Experience Zones located in Alteva’s new Innovation Center. Alteva plans to listen closely as they interact with customers and partners that come to “feel the cloud,” actually getting the chance to try out various UC capabilities. What better way to determine the new services to introduce next?
Cisco Expands Hosted Cloud Services, Adds Telepresence, Contact Center and UC
Cisco (www.cisco.com) will be adding some new services to its Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) in the fourth quarter of 2012, including telepresence, contact center and some new unified communications capabilities. HCS extends Cisco’s collaboration portfolio to a cloud environment, offering the portfolio as a subscriber-based service through Cisco partners which include service providers, systems integrators, wholesalers and resellers around the world. With HCS, end-user organizations pay a fixed monthly fee to utilize the hosted services for their communications in lieu of purchasing on-premises equipment and incurring the associated monthly telecom and data costs. This makes budgeting easy and also avoids getting locked into a particular solution for the long-term, among other benefits.
Cisco has been steadily adding new HCS partners around the world with 16 new HCS partners this year, bringing the total to 34. Cisco reports that many of the world's leading service providers have adopted the HCS solution, including Damovo, eLoyalty (a TeleTech company), Orange Business Services, NTT Communications, Telefonica and Vodafone that are combining their own capabilities with HCS to differentiate their service offering. Earlier in 2012, Sprint and Cisco announced a partnership to deliver a new, managed hosted unified communications (UC) bundle called Sprint Complete Collaboration aimed at mid-sized and large businesses. The bundle incorporates Cisco’s HCS for IP and video telephony, integrated messaging and collaboration and Sprint’s network-based mobile integration solution and SIP trunking.
New HCS Cloud Services
Release 9.0 due out in fourth quarter 2012 represents the next stage in the evolution of Cisco HCS. Several new collaborative services will be available to HCS customers, namely Cisco TelePresence, Customer Collaboration (contact center) and Unified Communications (UC), building upon the applications already offered with HCS: Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Mobility, Cisco WebEx Meetings, Cisco Jabber and Cisco Unified Presence.
New Cisco HCS 9.0 services include:
- TelePresence - The Cisco TelePresence Exchange (CTX) System is an integrated telepresence and video service-creation platform that allows service providers and partners to create and manage secure, cloud-based, hosted and managed video collaboration services. With CTX, partners can centrally manage globally distributed deployments and effectively concentrate network traffic within regions to reduce the total network cost. That is, partners avoid making separate infrastructure investments for each customer. Notable features include one-button-to-push provisioning, pre-packaged multimedia meet-me conferencing, support for multi-point and point-to-point calls across enterprise and service provider boundaries, interoperability with traditional video systems, active meeting management controls, multilingual IVR, policy and resource management.
- Contact Center – The new HCS contact center service is designed for companies with up to 1,000 knowledge workers or agents. It is based on Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise and Cisco Customer Voice Portal with all hardware, software and data center components handled by the service provider. Notable features include intelligent contact routing (Cisco Precision Routing), outbound support, multisite support, at-home agents, self-service, optional automatic speech recognition, text-to-speech, CTI, Cisco Finesse desktop software for agents and supervisors, Web 2.0-based reporting, Cisco Contact Center Domain Manager for multi-customer management and third party integration for customized solutions and database integration.
- Unified Communications - Cisco is adding some of the UC capabilities recently announced for Cisco Unified Communications Manager 9.0 to the HCS cloud suite such as “Extend and Connect,” a new feature for Cisco Unified Communications Manager that works with Cisco Jabber to bring third-party phones into the Cisco UC environment, as well as Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) that offers seamless mobile service between enterprise and service provider mobile networks.
Availability: The new Cisco HCS services are targeted for global availability in 4Q2012 (based on coverage areas of partners and service providers). These innovations are part of Cisco CloudVerse, a set of solutions for building, managing and connecting public, private and hybrid clouds. A new Cisco WebEx Meetings Server is also targeted for global availability in 4Q2012 (see the Quick Takes below for more detail).
Cisco Updates UC300 Series, Adds Support for Gigabit Ethernet IP Phones
Cisco (www.cisco.com) adds some new capabilities to its Unified Communications 300 Series (UC300), part of the company’s Foundational Unified Communications (UC) offering designed to provide basic or foundational UC features for very small businesses. UC300 is an all-in-one unit with a small space requirement that reduces complexity, eases deployment and management and sells at a price attractive to small businesses.
Cisco’s UC320W is the first (and currently the only) hardware platform in the UC300 Series. UC320W is an IP-based communications system that supports 2-24 users at a single site and enables traditional telephony (can be configured in a Key or PBX mode), but also has integrated voicemail and automated attendant, a built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless access point, a 4-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port.
Since its introduction in February 2011, the Cisco UC320W firmware has had several updates with improvements to administration, call processing and the user experience, as well as language, dial plan and tone support for additional countries.
The latest release (UC320W V2.3.2) adds support for two new Cisco SPA 500 Series IP phones, the 1-line SPA512G and the 4-line SPA514G. The new models are similar to the earlier SPA502G and SPA504G IP phones, but add a 2-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and an Electronic Hook Switch (EHS) for Plantronics headsets which allows users to answer and end calls using a button on the headset. Cisco UC320W now supports a total of seven SPA500 models, as well as two entry-level SPA 300 IP phones.
All Cisco SPA Series phones have dual protocol support, utilizing Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) with the Cisco UC300 Series (and third-party call controllers), or using Cisco’s Smart Phone Control Protocol (SPCP) with the Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series (UC500) which is also designed for smaller businesses, but is part of the company’s Advanced UC offering that supports video, applications integration and enhanced security and mobility.
Additional new functionality comes from customer requests and focuses on ease-of use. Enhanced Caller ID Directory Mapping is a new capability that can display a directory name for incoming calls. Return Call without Edit Dial lets users more easily place calls from their phone's Call History list to external users. Other new features facilitate troubleshooting and administration.
Availability: Cisco UC320W R2.3.2 is generally available as of September 2012; current customers with a software subscription contract can download the new software for free. The system is sold in selected countries in the North American, EMEA, APAC and CALA regions and lists for $US995, including the hardware, software and licenses for 24 users, as well as a one-year hardware warranty and 90 days of software support which can be extended for three years with Cisco’s Small Business Support Service. www.cisco.com
Samsung OfficeServ V4.60 Addresses Business Productivity, Cost Reduction
Samsung (www.samsung.com) OfficeServ V4.60 is the system’s latest software release and introduces some new system and end-user features to address employee productivity, system security and flexibility and to help with cost reduction. V4.60 includes over 20 new features and four new hardware expansion cards designed to help small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) better meet today’s mobility and collaborative needs using all modes of communication, including voice, video, mobile, instant messaging and presence. Additionally, as businesses continue to face significant economic challenges, the software adds support for some new capabilities that require fewer system resources and less maintenance, reducing costs.
The OfficeServ 7000 IP-PBX family includes five platforms suitable for the very small office and SMBs:
- OfficeServ 7030 (a compact KSU serving the low-end of the market; up to 20 users)
- OfficeServ 7100 (a pre-configured, single cabinet for small offices; up to 32 users)
- OfficeServ 7200S (a single cabinet version of the 7200 system; up to 64 users)
- OfficeServ 7200 (a two-cabinet system that scales to 120 users)
- OfficeServ 7400 (a three-cabinet system for SMBs; up to 480 users)
Up to 99 OfficeServ systems (or earlier Samsung iDCS systems) can be networked to handle growing multi-site customers. All of the Samsung OfficServ systems support the same telephones, soft phones and wireless devices. There are also some advanced capabilities for smaller businesses, including built-in mobility features (OfficeServ Connect and Mobile Extension or MOBEX) and unified communications (OfficeServ Communicator Basic and Professional) with video calling, instant messaging and presence.
Samsung’s newest SMT-iSeries VoIP phone portfolio offers five models for entry-level, mid-range and advanced user needs. The high-end SMT-i5243 has a 4.3-inch color display, a visual phone book (Caller ID with photo), a USB port for connecting a memory stick, Web camera or Bluetooth device and an XML browser; users can download images and ringtones and access Samsung’s OfficeServ Messenger for instant messaging.
What’s New with V4.60?
The latest OfficeServ V4.60 software includes over 20 new features and four new hardware expansion cards and builds on previous releases that added features for mobile workers, namely OfficeServ Connect for simultaneous ringing (to five other numbers) and Mobile Extension or MOBEX for assigning an extension to a cell phone, home phone or other phone number outside the OfficeServ System. The OfficeServ Communicator productivity application for Windows PC-based calling, including video calling, enables presence and instant messaging, white-boarding and file sharing capabilities when combined with Samsung’s OfficeServ Messenger server application.
Here are some of the latest features:
- MOBEX Enhancements – V4.60 enhances the MOBEX feature with several new capabilities, including MOBEX Callback (to receive a system callback when placing an outbound call on their mobile phone), MOBEX Scheduling (to set three time periods defining when the simultaneous ring feature is on or off) and MOBEX Call Type (to define which incoming call types are permitted to ring the alternate devices).
- Presence Awareness – The new built-in Presence Awareness feature builds on the system’s existing Programmed Messages capability that allows a user to display pre-defined messages on the phone display. Now, the user can define ‘actions’ along with the programmed message. For example, the user can set the display message to read “On Vacation,” and at the same time, activate Forward All to Voicemail to send any incoming calls directly to voicemail.
- Conference Card Enhancements – In 2010, Samsung introduced a Meet-Me Conference Card for OfficeServ 7200 and 7400 platforms (24 conference channels per card). V4.60 adds new features, including an add-to-calendar attachment for email invitations, a system-wide instruction template, 17 prompt languages (previously English only) and automatic daylight savings time adjustments.
- Emergency 911 Conference Feature – The system now monitors and tracks 911 calls, ensuring that resources are available to route the call by automatically dropping active calls if needed; three predefined monitoring stations can be set to ring and conference in when a 911 call alert is detected.
- Multicast Paging – The system adds support for paging to SMT-i Series IP phones via multicast data packets, using only one Media Gateway Interface (MGI) channel to reduce the load on the data network during a page and reduce other required system resources such as cards and licenses.
The new version also supports multiple SIP Service Providers. Up to four SIP carriers can be registered simultaneously, allowing the customer to use different carriers such as for local, domestic long distance and international calls; customers can choose the carrier based on lowest cost. Several new SIP trunking features are supported, including Fax-over-IP, Caller ID blocking, SIP Trunk Error Alarms and more. Finally, new system hardware includes three new station cards and a redesigned 20-port voicemail card, the SVMi-20i, with internal MGI channels for IP phones, SIP trunks and other IP devices and license expansion.
Availability: Samsung OfficeServ V4.60 software is available as of 1Q2012 worldwide; the software is free of charge and upgraded for end users by Samsung dealers. www.samsungbcs.com
Verizon Introduces Virtual Communications Express Cloud UC Service for SMBs
Verizon (www.verizonbusiness.com) is offering a new hosted phone service for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) called Virtual Communications Express, a business-grade phone service for voice communications and integration with Google Apps for multimedia capabilities. Modern businesses are looking to enhance productivity and improve their competitive edge with new technologies and unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) functionality that will enable employees to easily connect with colleagues and customers anytime and from anywhere. The new Virtual Communications Express service, launched on October 10, 2012 nationwide, supports any size business, but is most effective for businesses with under 125 employees, according to Verizon.
The key to the new hosted offer is simplicity. Verizon has designed and packaged Virtual Communications Express to be “simple to buy, simple to implement, simple to administer, simple to use.” This simplicity is absolutely necessary to smaller businesses that require reliable phone service, but may not have the capital to invest in on-site phone system equipment or may not have the technical resources or IT expertise necessary for installation and on-going maintenance.
Hosted or Cloud UC services like Verizon’s Virtual Communications Express are gaining popularity as a way to eliminate the hassle and cost of deploying an office phone system. Start-up is quick. It is easy to add new users as growth occurs and simple to subscribe to new services as these become available. A hosted service can also address redundancy and disaster recovery with servers co-located at the Service Provider site or remotely located within the Service Provider network. So, in lieu of an on-premises telephone system and the associated monthly telecom, data costs and perhaps even IT personnel, customers simply pay a predictable monthly fee to utilize the hosted service for all of their communications needs.
- Virtual Communications Express utilizes Broadsoft technology for call control and includes standard PBX features such as auto attendant, music on hold, hunt groups, 3-way conferencing, call forward, hold and transfer. But, there is also more advanced functionality important to today’s workers who are on-the-go and often away from their desks, namely simultaneous ringing of alternate phones (a desktop phone, a mobile phone or a home phone) and Office Anywhere, a standard feature that forwards incoming calls to an alternate device (i.e. a mobile or home phone) and displays the user’s office extension in the Caller ID when outgoing calls are made. Visual voicemail lets users conveniently receive their voice messages in e-mail inbox.
- Customers can subscribe to Google Apps (purchased separately from Google) to add UC functionality, namely click-to-call from Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar. Google Apps users can view and manage presence status information and send instant messages to other Google Apps users. Video chats from a Gmail inbox are also possible, including sharing and editing documents in real-time.
- Three desktop phone models and one conference unit from Polycom are currently available for rent or purchase, keeping the offer uncomplicated and free from too many choices. Users can choose the 2-line SoundPoint IP 335 phone for cubicles, lobbies or breakrooms, the 3-line SoundPoint IP 450 for office workers with medium call volumes or the 6-line large-screen SoundPoint 650 IP for executives and attendants. The SoundStation IP 6000 conference phone is suitable for midsize conference rooms. All of the devices feature Polycom’s HD Voice technology. A mobile client is planned for early 2013.
- Web-based Administrator and User Portals are straightforward and allow users to easily configure and manage phones, employees, features from a Web browser.
- The level of support is a critical differentiator in cloud UC services. The new Virtual Communications Express service is backed by Verizon’s IT Help Desk for 24x7 support, including unlimited help desk calls and on-site visits (Basic, Advanced and Premier support levels are available). An on-premises appliance or ‘probe’ (from BroadSoft) is deployed at every customer site and provides data to Verizon for diagnostics and problem-solving remotely. Additionally, Verizon’s carrier-grade, fully redundant network provides stability and reliability
Availability: Verizon Virtual Communications Express is available as of October 10, 2012 nationwide and includes unlimited domestic local and long distance calling. Two pricing models are offered. An out-of-the-box, all-inclusive offer aimed at very small businesses is $35 per user, or larger organizations that want to buy stations and trunks in varying quantities for efficiency will pay about $18-$20 per user. www.verizonbusiness.com
Aastra (www.aastra.com) and Internet2 (www.internet2.edu) add Aastra’s Clearspan Unified Messaging as a voicemail-only option for Internet2 members, including universities and colleges in the United States. Previously, the Internet2 NET+SIP services included Clearspan Unified Messaging in conjunction with Aastra’s Clearspan IP-PBX for hosted PBX services, but now campuses can opt for voicemail and unified messaging as a standalone hosted service to complement an on-site phone system already in place. Aastra explains that some educational institutions are not yet ready to move all of their communications to the cloud, but would like to take advantage of a hosted service for voicemail. Clearspan Unified Messaging supports traditional voicemail features, plus some advanced features like voicemail-to-email and fax messaging.
Avaya (www.avaya.com) announces a new real-time collaboration solution for crisis management that combines the latest version of the Avaya Notification Solution (ANS) with an Avaya conferencing solution - Avaya Aura Conferencing 7.0, Radvision Scopia videoconferencing or Avaya Meeting Exchange – to bring dispersed teams together quickly to coordinate and communicate during a crisis. Combined, the capabilities include meet-me conferencing, audio and Web collaboration, sending alerts via audio, text, e-mail, instant message or digital signage, triggering automated messages, updating social media sites, ‘barging in’ to active phone conversations, polling and targeted messaging.
Cisco (www.cisco.com) is introducing the new Cisco WebEx Meetings Server targeted for global availability in fourth quarter 2012. The new server is an on-premises audio, video, and web conferencing platform for customers that require the security and privacy of a “behind-the-firewall conferencing solution” located in their own data center (a private cloud deployment). Users will have the same WebEx experience as the current public cloud service with WebEx clients for PCs, Mac computers, iPhone and iPad mobile devices. The new solution is virtualized software designed for Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) x86 Servers and VMware 5.0.
CounterPath (www.counterpath.com) addresses the challenges of management, support and security around the growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work trend by combining the company’s Bria Softphone with its cloud-hosted Client Configuration Server in order to simplify distribution and management of Bria applications across multiple devices. With CCS, IT managers can set up softphones, handle adds, moves and changes and receive notifications of upgrades from the hosted CCS service. Bria is a SIP-based multimedia softphone and productivity application that enables unified communications such as VoIP and video calls, presence and messaging from a desktop PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) or mobile device (Apple iOS or Android).
Fonality (www.fonality.com) is beta testing the new Fonality Web Client that incorporates the functionality of the company’s Heads-up Display (HUD) and HUD Mobile applications in a Web-based client accessible from the Web browser of a PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet device (Apple iOS or Android). The Web Client has a subset of HUD features, including a complete set of call handling and contact center features, but also adds a community dashboard with the ability to group information based on individual contacts and conversations, as well as desktop screen sharing, file sharing and voicemail transcription among other features. The Fonality Web Client targets small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) and is expected to be generally available in early 2013.
Grandstream Networks (www.grandstream.com) introduces several new SIP-based phones, including the GXP2200 Enterprise Application Phone, a new smart HD desktop phone based on the Android operating system and featuring a color, touch-screen display with access to third party applications such as Skype, Google Voice, Microsoft Lync, YouTube, FaceBook and Twitter (available in November 2012 for US$239). Grandstream also introduces the very affordable, single-line GXP1160 and GXP1165 SIP phones with some advanced features such as XML programmable soft keys, automated personal information service (e.g., local weather) and more, but priced at only US$55 for GXP1160 and US$59 forGXP1165 with dual 10/100Mbps network ports and integrated PoE.
Interactive Intelligence (www.inin.com) updates its Interaction Dialer predictive dialer software used by contact centers, telemarketing firms, collection companies and other organizations to execute outbound dialing campaigns. The latest version 4.0 has a redesigned user interface, enhances multi-campaign dialing and extends reporting for more in-depth campaign analysis. Interaction Dialer is an add-on application to the company’s Customer Interaction Center (CIC) software-based IP PBX solution.
Noble Systems (www.noblesys.com) updates its supervisor and agent interfaces, including the Noble Harmony Web-based supervisor interface for remote and mobile contact center management accessible via desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets; new v.3 features include enhanced security settings and management tools, more scheduling options and personalization of the user interface with agent photos and customized layouts. Noble’s Composer X agent desktop application available with Noble’s unified contact center platform or a third-party ACD gives agents the option of a Web or WinForm user interface, adds new design tools, enhances security and screen recording and improves workflow management features. Noble has also been acquiring new technologies, purchasing the contact center assets from ALI Solutions, Inc. (formerly Austin Logistics) and acquiring Stratasoft, Inc., a hosted and premises-based contact center technology provider.
Polycom (www.polycom.com) introduces a series of new video endpoints and solutions that feature the company’s new User Experience (UX) with 20+ new user innovations and features, including a completely redesigned User Interface and lifelike HD image quality (up to 1080p60 resolution), patent-pending Polycom SmartPairing technology and Polycom video, content sharing and audio features. There are new solutions geared toward mid-market budgets, including the RealPresence Collaboration Server 800s, Virtual Edition; the RealPresence Group 300 for huddle rooms; and updates to RealPresence Desktop 2.0 software for Windows and Macs and RealPresence Mobile 2.0 for smartphones and tablets. Additionally, Polycom extends its current video solutions with new desktop and room-based options, including the RealPresence Group Series (300, 500 and 700) for rooms and the RealPresence VisualEdge executive desktop system.
Polycom (www.polycom.com) introduces a new business media phone, the Polycom VVX 600 with a tap-and-swipe capability like that of a mobile device, as well as built-in Bluetooth headset integration and an optional 720p HD video camera for face-to-face video (the video camera is also available for the earlier VVX 500 media phone). The new phone will be available in select countries worldwide at the end of November for US$479; the VVX video camera is due out by the end of December and priced at US$129.
Polycom (www.polycom.com) plans to roll out (1Q2013) the Polycom RealPresence CloudAXIS Suite, a software extension of the Polycom RealPresence Platform for private and public cloud deployments (enterprise and partner/service provider editions available). CloudAXIS will enable secure, enterprise-grade video collaboration to any business (B2B) or consumer (B2C). Polycom customers will be able to easily add anyone on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk or other business video applications to their video conferences from a browser.
Salesforce.com (www.salesforce.com) introduces two new cloud services, Salesforce Identity (available in 2013) and the Salesforce Touch Platform (available now) to help address the social networking and mobility demands in today’s enterprises. The Salesforce Identity service allows users to access all enterprise applications via a single log-in, eliminating the frustration for both users and IT managers around the use of multiple log-ins. The Salesforce Touch Platform supports native, HTML5 and hybrid application development so that developers can create consumer-like mobile applications for enterprise users. Other cloud services already available in the Salesforce Platform are also updated, including Force.com, Heroku, Site.com, Database.com, Chatter, Chatter Communities and AppExchange.
Siemens Enterprise Communications (www.siemensenterprise.com) has launched a new campaign and vision around teams and productivity called amplifyTEAMS. The company identifies five core pillars necessary for successful teaming: Vibrant Conversations, Thought Trails, Be Seamless, Focus and Go Beyond. Forthcoming solutions will encompass these concepts, including a new Apple iPad application with mobile video due out by end of 2012 which will enable "vibrant conversations." There is also new branding for the Siemens Enterprise product portfolio: OpenScape Enterprise (HiPath 4000 and Openscape Voice fall under this umbrella) and OpenScape Business (HiPath 3000 and OpenScape Office SMB platforms fall under this umbrella).
snom (www.snom.com) rounds out its 7xx series IP phone portfolio with the new, entry-level 710 VoIP phone that is designed to blend performance and value. All snom 7xx series phones are ergonomically designed and support wideband audio for HD voice quality, an advanced audio system and a friendly, menu-driven user interface for easy access to the core telephony features. The snom 710 features a four-line black and white display, four SIP identities, context-sensitive and programmable keys, a 1,000-entry address book, Power over Ethernet support and dual Ethernet connections. MSRP is $119 US.
Vidyo (www.vidyo.com) announces a series of new solutions, including a new low-cost Executive Desktop System that delivers almost twice the resolution of traditional telepresence screens (shipping December 2012 for $750) and the new Web-browser-based 1440 system that allows customers to video conference with anyone on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk or other business video applications with a telepresence-quality experience; no special software or hardware is required. Vidyo also introduces a multi-protocol media server that supports H.264 AVC, H.264 SVC, H.263, H.323 and SIP protocols (a virtualized version for VMware environments will ship in 1Q2013). Vidyo is partnering with Samsung to design a next generation scalable HEVC codec that requires half the bit rate of the H.264 SVC (higher quality video over narrow bandwidth networks).
Yealink (www.yealink.com) releases new V70 firmware for its T3x series SIP-based phones that have Gigabit support and large color display for viewing call lists, phone directories and caller information. Both the T32G and T38G models incorporate pixel resolution that presents details that are both vivid in color and comfortable to human vision. The new V70 functionality includes an XML browser for customization of data on the phone display such as stock market reports and weather updates, as well as a new unified auto-provision template common across Yealink phone series, T2X, T3X and VP530, to simplify deployment and administration.
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