Thursday, June 30, 2011

3CX Sponsors Maltese Waterpolo Team

The unified communications provider 3CX, which makes an award-winning business phone system for Windows, is now sponsoring a Maltese waterpolo team.

In conjunction with its sister company Acunetix, a developer of website security scanning software, 3CX has signed a sponsorship deal with the Exiles Sports Club. The team will henceforth be known as the 3CX Exiles.

3CX and Acunetix are expanding an already large profile which sees 3CX used by renowned companies such as Lotus Formula One and Acunetix being chosen for security by NASA.

The sponsorship deal has allowed the Exiles waterpolo team to offer many of its best players permanent contracts. 3CX and Acunetix will also allow the Exiles to concentrate on youth development and getting more young people to play waterpolo.

The 3CX CEO Nick Galea said. “3CX and Acunetix are proud to sponsor the Exiles Sports Club. We have a long-standing presence in Malta and so plan to expand our operations and workforce on the island. We are pleased to show our commitment to Malta and its community by sponsoring this formidable sports club”.

Malta is just one of the many countries worldwide in which 3CX has offices.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Texas School Uses Unified Communications Solution

A Houston Texas School is switching to a unified communications solution to replace its outdated proprietary phone system.

There are more than 4,000 pupils at the YES Prep Public Schools and the staff have migrated to the new offering from Microsoft Lync Server to service their needs.

The main benefit will be cost savings across the board, typically only $3,000 dollars to install communications in one of their public schools compared with the $60,000 in costs that a PBX would incur.

Troy Neal, the director of IT engineering and support at YES Prep, said: “With the cost savings associated with deploying Lync instead of traditional PBXs, every school in the country should be doing this.”

He added: "No one here has a desk phone. We give all our staff $7 cheap headsets, and then if someone wants a handset, we purchase Polycom products."

And so along with Microsoft Lync and Aruba wireless gear, the school is offering its employees various Polycom phones including the CX300 desktop phone. That will allow new unified communications features such as videoconferencing.

That means that staff will be able to share data, make cheap Voice over Internet Protocol phone calls and message instantly. Because the system is secure and scalable it fits in with the need of the YES Public Prep Schools to expand significantly over the coming years.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Polycom and Microsoft Unified Communications

It is hardly surprising that Polycom Inc. is a unified communications market leader considering that the company picks up awards left, right and centre.

The latest honour bestowed on Polycom is the 2011 Microsoft Unified Communications Innovation Partner of the Year Award. The award will be handed out at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in July.

The award is recognizing Polycom’s powerful UC solutions, particularly in fields such as videoconferencing.

The Polycom CEO Andrew Miller “We are honoured to receive this award as it demonstrates our strong relationship with Microsoft. Together we are collaborating to deliver comprehensive and innovative UC solutions which are valuable to customers.”

Mr Miller went on to add that both Polycom and Microsoft unified communications are focused on being easy-to-use with a view to amplifying business efficiency and productivity.

Together their main target is Communications within Business Aspects and Processes (CEPB). The main tool for delivering this on Polycom’s part is their new UC Everywhere product. Meanwhile Microsoft has the market leading Microsoft Lync which is an all-round complete UC solution that offers enterprise voice, instant messaging and more.

Polycom and Microsoft have had a long strategic relationship but they took it to the next level in 2010 to capitalize on the booming Unified Communications market. Since they then have helped employees of various businesses and various sizes to collaborate quickly and effectively, whether they are in the office or working remotely. What is really attractive about their combined unified communications solutions is that there is a low Total Cost of Ownership.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Facebook Offers Social Inbox

Facebook will create a new unified communications platform where you can get all your correspondence into one inbox.

Known as the social inbox, it will store emails, voice messages from phones, chat messages and SMS, and is to be rolled out gradually over the next few months.
The Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the social inbox would unify communications by making them more "seamless, immediate, personal, simple and minimal."

He contends that many of the new generation of internet users don’t like email because it is too slow. Imagine that! If people increasingly find email too slow then the letter is definitely going to die out.

Facebook always has it ear to the ground for new trends and after discussion of a new Facebook phone this will integrate communications on another level.
Indeed while UC platforms like Microsoft Lync server allow you to access all these communications and more, the idea of a social inbox is one that they might like and take time to expand upon.

However there are many pitfalls for this product. First all of Facebook has gained a reputation for disregarding privacy, especially after the recent automatic tagging fiasco.

Secondly many people will ask whether they really need all their communications into one inbox. Will it save that much time or will it just be unnecessarily confusing?
Not that I use Facebook anymore, but I am a big fan of Gmail and even if I was a Facebook user I doubt I could be persuaded to switch provider.

Gmail provides an ideal way to deal with both business and personal correspondence whereas Facebook does not have that professional feel. I still think Facebook is great for social media purposes but having worked in an office where they decided on prospective employees by Facebooking them, I know that it is a dangerous tool.

Facebook may be right to embrace unified communications, but users will have to decide whether they trust Facebook to handle all of their correspondence.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fujitsu Creates Unified Communications Mobile App

The Japanese Computer hardware manufacturer Fujitsu has created a unified communications mobile app that allows users on the move to access instant messaging, videoconferencing and more.

The groundbreaking new product will be showcased at the CommunicAsia technology exposition in Singapore and is the result of a partnership between Fujitsu and Atmail.

The portal will allow interactive location based services to provide mobile communications through such mediums as social networking sites.

Subscribers get a single sign on which allows them to organize and access all their communications including VoIP and chat. They will have the use of all their contacts from one directory and the ability to use presence detection to tell who is available to communicate.

In combination these sorts of tools can provide firms with powerful marketing opportunities through precise targeting.
While Fujitsu is one of the largest companies in Asia, Atmail has more than 4,500 customers across 135 countries.

Mr Raj, the regional Vice President for Network Services in Fujitsu Asia, said: "We are privileged to partner Atmail exclusively for ASEAN service providers. The constant pursuit of innovation is in the DNA of both Fujitsu and Atmail. Our combination of technologies has allowed us to develop a platform that promises to improve the user communication experience.”

Google Chrome could Unify Communications

Microsoft may have purchased Skype, but Google is also taking its bid for domination of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to the next level.

The Google Chrome browser is a challenge to Internet Explorer which is supposed to provide a faster and smoother internet browsing experience.

Google has started to build a real-time open source project for audio and video into Chrome. The project is known as WebRTC.

In 2010 Google acquired an IP telephony company called GIPS with a view to eventually adding VoIP, instant messaging and videoconferencing to Gmail and Chrome.

Along with ‘call phones’ and Gmail chat, Google also has a voice service but it has not taken off in the way that the company would hope. Allowing easy access to VoIP through the Chrome browser would strip down one layer of accessibility, making the product more obviously desirable.

Google therefore has big plans for WebRTC, which it hopes will become the future of leisure communications and even business conferencing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Texas University Works on Emergency UC Solution

A Texas University has chosen an Avaya unified communications solution to deliver a nationwide emergency response system.

The Texas A&M University is developing a national Next Generation 9-1-1 emergency communications system and will do so with the support of the Avaya Aura platform.

Avaya Aura gives the right UC architecture to securely make emergency calls and utilize real-time communications like instant messaging, videoconferencing and VoIP. End-to-end Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) will also be utilized.

The university is making use of a $90 million federal grant
as provided by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. There is also a separate $6.6 million grant to build the U.S. Community Anchor Network broadband system and NG9-1-1 infrastructure.

The next step is interoperability testing in conjunction with research by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA).

Walt Magnussen, the Director of the Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center at Texas A&M, said: “With the Federal Communications Commission now taking an assertive leadership role an upgrade of America emergency services communications infrastructure is finally underway.

"As a leading Telecommunications research institution we are delighted to employ the Avaya Aura platform as an emergency unified communications solution.”

The development will mean that emergency response centers can track many different types of media communications, not just phone calls. That means that not only can alerts be processed faster, but contextual information can be transmitted to the right response centre.

For instance if a tornado is approaching a city in Texas, warning bells could be triggered by a tweet or SMS message from someone who has seen the threat materializing in real time.