Avaya Addresses SME, Mid- and Branch Markets with IP Office 9.0
Avaya (www.avaya.com) introduces new software for IP Office, evolving the communications platform as a good fit now for three market segments: the small and mid-size enterprise (SME), the mid-market and the branch market. The latest Release 9.0 software increases scale, supports virtualization technology and enables IP Office to function as an enterprise branch for Avaya Aura – all of which open up new opportunities and new markets to channel partners selling the IP Office solution. R9.0 also improves the collaborative features for mobile users and simplifies management.
IP Office was originally designed as an IP/hybrid platform for the small and mid-size business (SMB) market, handling up to 384 IP or TDM users. Avaya has steadily enhanced the platform, introducing Edition and User Profile packaging and new licensing, positioning IP Office as the company’s single forward-looking platform for SMBs by consolidating its own SMB platforms and the acquired Nortel SMB platforms (R5.0, R6.0 and R7.0). In the summer of 2012, Avaya expanded IP Office to the mid-market with the new IP Office Server Edition, running on a Linux-based server with support for 1,000 IP users in a single site or at up to 32 sites (R8.1). The latest release 9.0 continues the product’s reach into the mid-market with further scale (2,000 users in a single site or at up to 32 sites, per specific hardware configurations), and the new virtualization support sets the solution up to be a cloud/hosted service offering in the future.
Today, more than 350,000 Avaya IP Office systems are deployed worldwide.
- Increased Scale. IP Office Server Edition 9.0 can now scale to 2,000 solution users at a single site or at up to 32 sites; a specific hardware configuration is required to achieve this capacity, and some caveats apply. At minimum, the deployment for 2,000 users requires a Primary Server and a Secondary Server. Avaya recommends that the deployment include a Primary Server (750 users), a Secondary Server (750 users) and a third expansion server (500 users) or two IP Office 500 v2 appliances (250 users each). Per Avaya, to achieve full resilience, the sum of the users on the Primary Server and any other node should not exceed 1,500 users.
- Other capacities are also increased on the IP Office Server Edition. The built-in audio conference capacity now extends to 256 channels for ad-hoc and meet-me audio conferencing; one conference can include 256 participants (up from two conferences with 64 parties each in R8.1). IP Office Server Edition 9.0 also supports higher overall call capacity, more paging and hunt groups and increased messaging capacities.
- Enterprise Branch. IP Office now integrates Avaya’s B5800 Branch Gateway functionality, allowing IP Office to function as an enterprise branch within an Avaya Aura network. In a centralized model, Aura provides call control for the branch, while IP Office serves as a backup if connectivity to the headquarters’ system fails. In a distributed branch model, IP Office provides call control for the branch, and the IP Office branch location can use (share) Avaya Aura applications. The enterprise can mix and match centralized and distributed deployment models as needed depending on the requirements of specific branches.
- Virtualization Support. R9.0 introduces a virtualized software-only version of IP Office that allows IP Office to co-reside with other customer applications on a single customer-provided server running VMware vSphere technology. Virtualization technology allows the consolidation of multiple applications on a single platform for efficient use of hardware and computing resources that translates into in capital, operational and energy savings. Virtualization support also sets the solution up to be offered as a hosted/cloud service in the future. Such subscription-based services continue to gain in popularity, and all analyst forecasts indicate strong growth in the hosted/cloud market going forward. Avaya is actively working with partners and service providers to bring IP Office to the cloud though no availability date has been announced.
- Improved Collaboration. With R9.0, Avaya has enhanced a number of the IP Office collaborative applications, including multi-party meet-me audio conferencing using the Avaya Flare® Experience on an iPad or Windows PC or laptop (previously only point-to-point conferencing was possible). Also, the IP Office mobile client for iOS and Android devices (Avaya one-X® Mobile Preferred) now works in VoIP mode which means that user can make calls over WiFi/3G/4G networks. Previously, the client operated only in call-back mode whereby the IP Office system called the user back prior to connecting the call. Users can choose either method based on their voice/data plan and the quality of the data connection. R9.0 also enhances the Avaya IP Office Plugin for Microsoft Outlook and adds support for XMPP groups.
- Web Management. A new Web-based management tool is now available for IP Office Server Edition Linux-based servers and IP Office Standard Mode on IP500 v2 control units (previously, Web management was only available for IP Office Basic Edition).The new Web Manager for Server Edition consolidates the management and administration of multiple servers in a multi-site configuration (primary, secondary and expansion servers and application servers). Administrative capabilities include an intuitive menu structure, solution-wide back-up and restore, upgrades, moves, adds and changes and import/export functions. With the Web Manager for Standard Mode, the administrator can manage the user configuration, moves, adds and changes and import/export functions.
Avaya IP Office R9.0 also supports some new multi-site features (park, follow-me, hunt group, night service), new SIP trunk capabilities, 911 enhancements, new 96x1 phone firmware and more. In addition, R9.0 further streamlines and integrates the Automated On-Boarding process, part of the IP Office Support Services maintenance program that was introduced with R8.1.
Avaya IP Office 9.0 is generally available as of September 2013.
Cisco Collaboration Systems R10 Focuses on Making Collaboration Simple
Recently, Cisco (www.cisco.com) announced a number of new products and updates for its collaboration solutions under the umbrella Collaboration Systems Release 10, representing the next iteration of enhancements to Cisco’s unified communications, mobile and video technologies and the infrastructure behind these (previously Cisco combined these enhancements under the heading Cisco Unified Communications Systems Release x).
At the Cisco Collaboration Summit event in October, Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM Cisco Collaboration Technology Group, outlined Cisco’s going-forward strategy in just three words: Make Collaboration Simple. This includes a user experience that must be intuitive and delightful (an adjective that several industry leaders, including Microsoft and Unify, have been using to describe the ideal user experience). IT managers must find the collaborative technology to be easy to deploy, manage and run, and partners must find it simple to buy, sell, support and extend (add value). Cisco sees cloud/hosted services as the platform that will make this possible since any technical complexity can be hidden in the cloud, away from the end customer. Trollope added that there has been strong progress in Cisco’s subscription-based Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), citing a 179% increase in sales year-over-year with some 50 service providers and 100 resellers now offering HCS worldwide. Read about the HCS offer from one Cisco HCS partner, collab9, here.
Per Cisco, R10 brings hundreds of improvements. Below are some of the new products and updates that are currently shipping.
- Cisco Jabber Guest. This new application enables a business to create a ‘connect’ button on their website that will link a guest (customers or colleagues outside of a corporate organization) directly to a live support person (internal employee) using high definition and video via a Web browser or mobile device. Guests simply click on a link on a website or in an Instant Message to participate in a two-way video conversation and get immediate assistance; the connection will also allow data sharing. Watch a Jabber Guest video.
- Intelligent Proximity. Starting in November, users with a Cisco Android-based DX650 Smart Desk Phone can take advantage of this new capability that links or bridges their personal mobile device to their desktop phone. As the user approaches the desktop phone, the proximity bridging feature wirelessly syncs the mobile device using Bluetooth technology, allowing users to import contacts and call histories from their mobile phone to the DX650. Users can also move an active call from the mobile device to the DX650, and vice versa. The DX650 is the first Cisco endpoint to support Intelligent Proximity (additional devices will follow). Watch an Intelligent Proximity video.
- New Energy-efficient Phones. A new IP Phone 7800 Series for mid-market and enterprise organizations has power-saving features that may reduce energy costs by up to 60%, according to Cisco. The three new 7800 Series phones, the 2-line 7821 ($255 USD), the 4-line 7841 ($365 USD) and the 16-line 7861 ($395 USD), will replace Cisco’s earlier 6900 Series which is set for end-of-sale on July 30, 2014. Notable features include wideband audio on all paths (headset, handset, speakerphone), a power-saving option for off-hours (PoE Class 1 and Cisco's EnergyWise), Electronic Hookswitch (EHS) support for headsets and larger graphical, backlit displays (3.5" grayscale) with scrollable access to calling features and text-based XML applications; model 7841 also has Gigabit Ethernet support.
- Cisco TelePresence MX300 G2. Cisco has redesigned the Cisco TelePresence MX300 room-based endpoint for team collaboration (4-way multi-site). Per Cisco, the new version is a one-piece unit that is as ‘easy to install as a television’ with auto-provisioning and self-configuration capabilities for set-up in only minutes. The 55-inch display delivers video resolution of up to 1080p60, and a dual-display feature makes another screen available for simultaneous content sharing. The system comes with a 10-inch Cisco TelePresence Touch user interface for control.
- Cisco Expressway. This new gateway technology, part of Cisco’s Collaboration Edge Architecture, makes it easier for mobile users to securely access Cisco collaboration applications directly from their mobile device, without having to launch an additional VPN client and without the need for device-level, registration, accounts and passwords. The secure firewall-traversal technology extends access to Cisco’s voice, IM, presence and video collaboration services to users outside the enterprise firewall. Expressway uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) and supports Cisco Jabber for smartphones, tablets, and desktops.
- Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 10. Cisco introduces a new version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM), the heart of Cisco Collaboration services that enables session and call control for voice, messaging, video, mobility, presence and instant messaging communications. V10.0 adds a number of new capabilities, including network-based call recording via any device (including Jabber clients), agent-selected video on hold and caller-specific audio on hold for contact centers, and integration with Cisco TelePresence Conductor for shared use of video resources across multiple clusters, among other new features. The new Cisco Prime Collaboration Standard Web-based management application is also now included with each CUCM installation (an Advanced version has more automation, diagnostics and reporting).
Fonality Looks to Simplify the SMB Phone Solution Purchase
Fonality (www.fonality.com) is making changes, introducing a new way to purchase Fonality solutions in a single pay-as-you-go pricing model that aims to remove the barriers typically associated with purchasing a business phone solution. The new per user, per month subscription-based pricing model is unique in that it applies to both hosted/cloud and on-premises deployments and is designed to eliminate upfront costs, complex installations, lengthy deployments and long-term contracts. Small and mid-size business (SMB) customers can bypass the typical business phone solution purchase and concentrate on what’s most important - integrating unified communications solutions that will streamline operations, make employees more productive and improve customer service, all of which lead to more business revenue.
In years past, Fonality’s product line has included a mix of on-premises and hosted/cloud communications solutions for SMBs with 10-250 employees. To meet varying small business and reseller needs, Fonality has offered two premises-based solutions: Fonality trixbox Pro IP-PBX sold as software-only, and PBXtra available on a pre-configured server. In 2010, Fonality began selling its business communications solution as a hosted/cloud service with two plan options, Connect and Connect+, aimed at smaller businesses in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Today, Fonality has more than 20,000 businesses using its products worldwide.
Now, to simplify its offer and reduce the complexity and confusion of multiple products and services, Fonality is considering ways to consolidate its many brands (Connect/Connect+, trixbox and PBXtra) in favor of a single brand that is easy for Fonality’s sales team to take to market and easy for end customers to understand and adopt. Fonality will reveal additional details about the simplified packaging and single brand in early 2014.
Starting now, however, Fonality is offering customers with more than 25 users a preview of this new pricing model. Fonality’s all-inclusive offer for SMBs will provide the financial benefits of a subscription-based model whether the end customer opts for an on-premises deployment or a hosted/cloud service. The bundle will include business phone features, unified communications capabilities and even contact center functionality - all for under $30 per user per month. Pricing is based on the number of users, so while the opening price point for 25 users is $30 per user per month, the introductory cost per user goes down linearly as the number of users grows beyond 25. Some more advanced or premium features will be available for an extra monthly fee, such as voicemail transcription, fax, mobile clients, screen share and multi-party video which is planned for general availability in early 2014.
There are some unique aspects to the Fonality offer that separate it from traditional telephony system vendors and from competing VoIP cloud service providers.
- Pay-as-you-go. First, as noted above, Fonality is offering subscription-based pricing for both hosted/cloud service and premises-based deployments. While paying a monthly fee is the norm for a hosted/cloud service, it is not common when purchasing an on-site telephony system that involves installing system equipment and related components. However, Fonality sees pay-as-you-go pricing as appealing to any business, regardless of the deployment model. For customers that opt for the on-premises deployment, the subscription also includes a high-capacity server with Fonality’s hybrid-hosted technology for administration – see more on this below.
- Phones are free. Fonality offers third party endpoints from Polycom or Yealink. Several entry-level phone models are included in the bundled price at no extra cost, giving customers a significant cost advantage versus competing subscription-based solutions that often charge separately for the end user phone. In addition, Fonality provides customers with unlimited voice service, support and hardware replacement as needed for the lifetime of the service.
- Administration in the cloud. Fonality’s patent-pending hybrid-hosted architecture takes the burden of administration away from the customer. With on-premises deployments, the server is located at the customer site, while the system’s control panel and configuration settings are stored with Fonality (a managed server) and accessed via a Web browser (fonality.com). Configuration settings are also proactively backed up off-site, so if the local appliance is disrupted, recovery is easy. Customers that opt to have the entire solution hosted in the cloud will also receive these proactive services, plus benefit from Fonality managing the hardware and network connections in the data center.
- UC for every user. Fonality realizes that today’s workers need to communicate beyond the phone. For this reason, the company’s Heads Up Display (HUD) desktop client is included for every user at no additional cost, an advantage over competing services that typically charge extra for a desktop client. Users can conveniently manage all communications from a single interface, including phone calls, voicemail, unified messaging, directories, conferencing, call recording, presence status and group chat, plus take advantage of file sharing and video conferencing (coming in early 2014). A HUD mobile application provides a parallel experience on mobile devices.
- Built-in call center features. Good customer service is crucial to any business, and Fonality believes that allowing every user to be an agent will ensure that callers always receive the best care possible. Unlike most competing solutions that charge extra for Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) features, Fonality includes call center features as part of the bundled offer at no extra cost. Features like call queuing and routing options, reporting and real-time statistics, agent log on/off, barge and monitor and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration for screen pops of customer data are available to every user. Further, Fonality’s HUD application (desktop version included free) gives contact center managers a single portal to view important call center data such as queue activity, agent status, call types, call durations and the ability to record calls or join calls.
- Purchase with VoIP or without. With Fonality, businesses are buying a communication platform that allows employees to interact using voice and non-voice transactions. For premises-based deployments, the end customer can actually use another provider for voice services (such as Verizon), but still be part of a corporate network that utilizes Fonality technology for routing and unified communications functions like presence status information, instant messaging, faxing and more.
Look for some important announcements from Fonality later this year and into early 2014, including expanded unified communications functionality, additional CRM integration and new product branding that embodies the company’s unique pay-as-you-go pricing for all deployments.
Mitel and Aastra to Merge
Mitel (www.mitel.com) and Aastra (www.aastra.com) have announced a plan to merge, bringing together two market leaders in enterprise communications, each with well-respected product portfolios that target small to large businesses. The union creates a global customer base of 60 million end users in more than 100 countries and an estimated US$1.1 billion in combined revenue (roughly double the revenue of each company alone). The company will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada and will operate under the name Mitel, but will leverage the Aastra brand in select European markets where the Aastra name is well-known. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.
Company executives cite a ‘perfect geographic match’ in that Aastra has a strong presence in Europe, while Mitel is strong in North America and the UK. Mitel CEO Richard McBee sees the merger as “a unique opportunity to leap-frog the competition,” as the combined company will now have the top market share in Western Europe and rank third in North America. Channel partners will total 2,600.
In terms of key growth opportunities, the companies plan to maximize installed base upgrades, further the company’s position in the cloud services market and expand in the contact center space.
Both companies are experienced in the merger and acquisition process. In 2007, Mitel acquired telecommunications manufacturer Inter-Tel and its international subsidiaries, Swan Solutions and Lake Communications, and acquired contact center supplier prairieFyre in 2013. Aastra has made a series of major acquisitions over the past decade, including Ascom’s PBX System Division in 2003, 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 Ericsson Enterprise Communications Business in 2008.
In terms of product overlap, the company will review products and services “market by market” to determine which product lines will remain. Each has premises-based telephony solutions for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) and mid-size to larger organizations, as well as contact center and collaborative solutions and cloud-based unified communications offers.
For SMBs, Mitel sells the MiVoice Office premises-based telephony system in the U.S., Canada and the UK (formerly Mitel 5000 and originally developed by Inter-Tel). Mitel AnyWare was introduced in 2010 as a hosted PBX option for SMBs in the U.S. and Canada; call control is based on Mitel Communications Director or MCD, now called MiVoice Business.
Aastra has multiple SMB hardware platforms that have evolved from its various acquisitions, including the Aastra 400 sold outside of North America (an evolution of earlier Aastra BusinessPhone, IntelliGate and MD-Evolution systems), Aastra 700 sold globally (formerly MX-ONE Compact) and the Asterisk-based AastraLink Pro 160 designed for small businesses in North America. Aastra 800 is a software-based version of the OpenCom PBX for the SMB market in EMEA.
For enterprises, Mitel Communications Director (MCD), recently rebranded as MiVoice Business, represents the company’s flagship call control software and a single software stream that can run on a selection of hardware platforms, either the Mitel 3300 Communications Platform (ICP) hardware (AX, CXi, MXe Base, MXe Expanded Controllers or MXe Server) or on an industry-standard server such as from Oracle Sun, HP or IBM. A virtualized solution, Virtual MCD (vMCD), consolidates voice and non-voice (data) applications on a single VMware vSphere platform. The platform functions in single site or in distributed or hosted environments, targeting companies with as few as 10 employees to 5,000 using the Mitel MXe Server and can support very large organizations with as many as 65,000 employees by clustering controllers/servers.
The Aastra 5000 IP telephony software, primarily sold in EMEA, is based on open standards and the Linux operating system and targets large, multi-site enterprises, scaling from 500 to 150,000 users (15,000 per server) across 2,000 sites. Aastra 5000 also supports virtualization technology from VMware, and Service Providers can offer the solution as a managed service. Aastra’s Clearspan hosted IP-PBX is based on the BroadSoft platform and targets large enterprises in North America. Recently, the U.S. Post Office announced a very large migration, replacing aging phone equipment across 30,000 locations with Aastra Clearspan to be managed by XO Communications.
Mitel and Aastra also have a series of advanced contact center and collaboration solutions that continue to evolve per current trends. Over time, as with all mergers, product integrations and evolutions will reflect the best of each manufacturer, while ensuring investment protection for existing customers. Stay tuned.
Zultys Introduces MXvirtual VMware-ready Virtual Appliance
Unified Communications (UC) solution provider Zultys (www.zultys.com) is introducing 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.
Virtualization technology allows the consolidation of multiple applications on a single platform for efficient use of hardware and computing resources that translates into in capital, operational and energy savings. Virtualization support also makes it possible to offer the solution as a hosted service and will give Zultys’ customers an alternative to installing and maintaining a phone system on-site since Zultys channel partners can manage the solution for them. Hosted or managed solutions are appealing, not only for budgetary reasons (reduced capital expenses, installation and energy savings, predictable per-user monthly fees and fewer IT personnel required), but also for disaster recovery via automatic failover to redundant servers that allows communications to continue during outages. Multi-site and growing organizations, in particular, appreciate the scalability of an on-demand, pay-per-user model and how quickly new locations can be up and running.
Zultys is well-known for its all-in-one MX30 and MX250 IP PBX SIP- and Linux-based appliances that target small to mid-size businesses. Capabilities like voicemail and call center are standard features, and other collaborative functions are built-in and easily license-activated as needed, including unified messaging, meet-me conferencing and the company’s MXIE UC client application for desktops and mobile devices. Additional applications can be added optionally. The MXvirtual software will have this same feature set and can be part of a company-wide MXnetwork that includes both physical MX systems and MXvirtual deployments, networking up to 128 systems or instances and 10,000 users as a single system.
To be specific, MXvirtual requires access to two cores in the VMware virtualized server, as well as RAM and hard drive memory. Two cores will support up to 1,000 users on a single instance, or up to 1,000 users spread over many independent instances. With access to adequate hardware resources, MXvirtual can even scale to 10,000 users on a single instance. Customers can implement server-level high-availability and take advantage of Zultys’ MXnetwork redundancy feature that designates another MX to take over in an emergency situation. The backup MX can be another MXvirtual or a physical MX system.
Zultys expects the managed deployments will appeal to businesses with 20-200 users or so that desire a more robust, UC solution without the burden of purchasing and maintaining equipment on-site. Larger user groups that choose to run MXvirtual on their existing VMware infrastructure will generally start at 300 users and grow to 1,200 and beyond; as noted, MXvirtual can scale as high as 10,000 users.
Though the primary focus of R9.0 is virtualization, there will be some other new capabilities, including user and administrative enhancements for the MXIE UC client, and improvements to network failover and the integrated outbound dialer application. Zultys MX will also support integration with Microsoft Exchange over the Web.
Zultys Release 9.0 and the MXvirtual VMware-ready virtual appliance are expected to become generally available in early first quarter 2014. Zultys Channel Partners will be able to select from several pricing models, including a standard one-time purchase right- to-use model and a managed service model with licensing billed on a monthly basis; partners can offer a bundle of capabilities priced per user or can customize a configuration based on specific user requirements.
In recent news:
8x8 (www.8x8.com) is expanding internationally, recently signing an agreement with European data center operator Interxion and announcing it will acquire UK-based cloud UC provider Voicenet Solutions. 8x8 cloud services are now available in the U.S., Canada and the UK, with plans to add Hong Kong and South America in the near future. 8x8 recently posted record revenue for its second quarter of fiscal 2014 with revenue from business customers up 25% year-over-year and growing interest from mid-market customers with international presence. In other news, 8x8 has sold its dedicated server hosting business to The IRC Company, Inc. (dba Black Lotus Communications) and, going forward, will focus on core, cloud-based business service offerings.
Avaya (www.avaya.com) announces Avaya Aura Collaboration Environment 2.0, an evolution of the company’s application development platform for Aura contact center and unified communications solutions. New capabilities include a single SDK with familiar interfaces and a snap-in approach among other improvements (requires Avaya Aura R6.2 Feature Pack 3). A new “Collaboratory” cloud development lab is available for developers to easily build and test applications on a virtual instance of the Avaya Aura platform. Avaya Aura Collaboratory is available on a monthly subscription basis, or developers can build their own lab for unlimited use. Avaya also introduces the new cloud-based Avaya Messaging Service for secure text and picture messaging among enterprise DID users; the service is generally available in the North American market and priced per user.
Avaya (www.avaya.com) has acquired an OEM partner, ITNavigator, an Israeli-based provider of cloud-based contact center related solutions, including social media, reporting and management software. ITNavigator has been the OEM provider of Avaya Contact Center Control Manager, and now as a wholly owned subsidiary, its software assets will further enhance and augment Avaya’s cloud and premises-based collaborative solutions.
Avaya (www.avaya.com) introduces new software for IP Office, increasing scale, supporting virtualization technology and enabling IP Office to function as an enterprise branch for Avaya Aura – all of which open up new opportunities and new markets to channel partners selling the IP Office solution. See related write-up “Avaya Addresses SME, Mid- and Branch Markets with IP Office 9.0” for details.
Cisco (www.cisco.com) announced a number of new products and updates for its collaboration solutions under the umbrella Collaboration Systems Release 10, representing the next iteration of enhancements to Cisco’s unified communications, mobile and video technologies and the infrastructure behind these. See related write-up “Cisco Collaboration Systems R10 Focuses on Making Collaboration Simple” for more details.
Cisco (www.cisco.com) expands the server options for its Business Edition 6000 virtualized telephony platform designed for mid-market organizations with up to 1,000 users. Release 9.1 introduces a new high-density Cisco UCS C220 HD server that supports eight unified communications (UC) applications and one provisioning application simultaneously. The previous medium-density server, still available, handles four UC applications and one provisioning application concurrently. Additionally, customers can choose from a wider range of co-resident applications, including Cisco-approved third party applications (maximum of three per server or six per deployment).
CoreDial (www.coredial.com), a PA-based hosted PBX and VoIP solutions provider, has re-branded its hosted UC platform for MSPs, Interconnects and Carriers as “SwitchConnex” to reflect that the software enables more than just voice communications (it was previously called VoiceAxis). CoreDial uses a channel-centric business model whereby reseller partners offer the CoreDial hosted services to SMBs and service providers in the Mid-Atlantic and other regions of the U.S. through a private label program. CoreDial currently has 200 partners throughout the United States.
Fonality (www.fonality.com) introduces a new single pay-as-you-go pricing model for both hosted/cloud and on-premises deployments. See related write-up above “Fonality Looks to Simplify the SMB Phone Solution Purchase.” The company also recently expanded its phone options for SMBs, now offering four Yealink (www.yealink.com) SIP phones, namely the T20P desktop IP phone, the T32G executive IP phone, the T38G for attendants and the W52P wireless handset.
Genesys (www.genesyslab.com) continues a 2013 acquisition spree, acquiring long-time partner Echopass (www.echopass.com), a provider of cloud-based contact center solutions to large enterprises. The Echopass platform has incorporated Genesys software since 2000 and is capable of serving large multi-site enterprises with complex contact center environments. With Echopass, Genesys can now provide cloud and premises-based contact center solutions to any size business - small and mid-size businesses, mid-market organizations and larger enterprises. Earlier in 2013, Genesys acquired UTOPY (workforce optimization solutions and customer interaction analytics), Angel.com (cloud-based self-service contact center applications) and SoundBite Communication (cloud-based collections, payments and mobile marketing applications and enterprise customer service solutions).
Grandstream Networks (www.grandstream.com) introduces the GXV3610 HD weatherproof, indoor/outdoor camera for business and residential security installations. The new dome HD IP camera features an advanced ISP (Image Sensor Processor), auto-exposure/auto-white-balance algorithm and a high quality lens to ensure video quality in a wide range of light environments. Additional features include 2-way audio and video streaming to mobile phones and video phones, and management with Grandstream’s GSurf_Pro free video management software that controls up to 36 cameras simultaneously. List price is US $319.
Interactive Intelligence (www.inin.com) releases the Interaction Supervisor iPad Edition. The new client for iPad or iPad mini mobile devices provides contact center managers with mobile access to real-time statistics, analytics and alerts, as well as an agent locator display – all of which helps supervisors who are on-the-go to effectively handle issues and improve the customer experience. Interaction Supervisor iPad Edition is part of the company's Customer Interaction Center (CIC) all-in-one IP communications software suite.
Mitel (www.mitel.com) and Aastra (www.aastra.com) have announced a plan to merge, creating a global customer base of 60 million end users in more than 100 countries and nearly doubling the stand-alone revenue of each company. See related write-up "Mitel and Aastra to Merge" for more details. In other news, Mitel has introduced new, competitive pricing for its MiVoice Office SMB phone system (formerly Mitel 5000) with a reduced price MiVoice Office Digital Bundle and a reduced price MiVoice Office IP Bundle.
NEC (www.necam.com) launches Cisco’s subscription-based Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) in Australia to meet demands of its Cisco-centric customer base. NEC will be one of six Cisco collaboration partners in Australia and will offer the service through NEC's direct channel, deploying and managing the solution in the NEC Cloud. NEC’s own cloud UC service, UNIVERGE Cloud Services or nUCaaS, was officially launched last March and is currently available in the United States.
OAISYS (www.oaisys.com) updates its Talkument and Tracer Call Recording solutions. Version 7.4 targets cloud service providers with new multi-instance support and customizable branding. In addition, integrations with platforms from partners Avaya (IP Office), Mitel (Secure Recording Connector) and ShoreTel (TAPI application) are enhanced for improved call recording capabilities.
RingCentral (www.ringcentral.com) is expanding coverage and now offering its RingCentral Office hosted business phone system in the UK; the service is already offered in the U.S. and Canada. RingCentral posted positive third quarter 2013 financials, including a 42% increase in revenue and a 69% increase in RingCentral Office annualized exit monthly recurring subscriptions year-over-year.
Siemens Enterprise Communications has rebranded and is now called Unify (www.unify.com) with the tagline ‘Harmonize Your Enterprise.’ The company has also accelerated the timeline for its ProjectAnsible collaboration platform, indicating that initial customer trials will begin in January 2014 with expected general availability scheduled for July 2014; the first version (cloud-based) will support four communication channels simultaneously – voice, video, text and remote screen sharing.
snom (www.snom.com) has introduced a new extended 2-year warranty as a standard warranty for its 3xx/7xx/8xx desktop VoIP phones, an advantage over competing SIP-based phones that typically are warranted for only one year. The snom extended warranty applies to snom phones purchased after July 1, 2013. In other news, snom’s desktop VoIP phones and SIP paging adapter have been certified to work with Clarity Telemanagement’s hosted VoIP service.
Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Telecommunication Systems Division (www.telecom.toshiba.com) extends its Value Plus warranty to cover its IPedge IP phone business system, now offering a two-, three- or five-year manufacturer’s warranty. The company also offers a seven-year warranty for earlier Strata CIX business phone systems and Toshiba’s IP5000 series telephones. The extended warranties are among the longest in the industry.
Vonage Holdings Corporation (www.vonage.com) has acquired Vocalocity (www.vocalocity.com), a provider of cloud-based communication services to small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) in the U.S. and Canada. Vocalocity generally serves companies with 20 or fewer employees and reports 21,000 customers as of its most recent quarter. The companies cite several synergies, including the use of SIP-based VoIP technology and network operations. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Zultys (www.zultys.com) is introducing MXvirtual, a virtualized software-only version of the company’s MX IP phone system that will be available to large corporations that can run MXvirtual on their existing VMware infrastructure, or authorized Zultys channel partners that can to offer the solution as a subscription-based service to end customers. See related write-up “Zultys Introduces MXvirtual VMware-ready Virtual Appliance” for more detail.
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