Monday, November 29, 2010
The National Information Technology Authority in Uganda (NITA-U) is looking for a Unified Communications Architect.
NITA-U is an established player in the Information and Communications Technology Sector within this beautiful African country.
It promotes, coordinates and monitors IT development within the context of national social and economic development.
A spokesman for the organisation said: “We are a facilitator of a knowledge-based, globally competitive Uganda where social transformation and economic development is supported through IT enabled services”.
The Government of Uganda is now looking to recruit key personnel over a three to five-year contract as long as they have the right experience and qualifications. Interested candidates are invited to submit their applications with contact details and three references. It is also helpful if they have a valid driving licence. Applications must be received before Friday, December 10, 2010.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
It seems that Zuckerberg and co are not content with the massive success of their social networking platform and plan to branch into e-mail as well.
The world was put on alert when the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that conventional e-mail was too slow and formal.
He said: The Facebook platform will be a Unified Communications messaging experience that includes email as one part of it. It is all about making communication simpler. This is the way that the future should work."
Of course this is part of a plan to give advertisers greater reach to more than 200 million Facebook users.
Along with friend-to-friend Unified Facebook messaging, Facebook email will provide a Unified Communications alternative to companies such as such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google.
The latter has already made life difficult for e-mail marketers by creating a priority inbox to get rid of unwanted messages. Similarly Facebook only wants its customers to have access to the e-mails which are most important to them.
While it will be difficult to marketers to get into priority inbox, if they do so they can reap the benefits of mailshot and social networking.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
VoIPtalk has now added 3CX to the PBX platforms that it supports.
While VoIPtalk has unofficially been supported on the 3CX forums for years, that interoperability has now been made official.
VoIPtalk will appear on the software application’s list of approved vendors, providing straightforward configuration and connection with one of the most well established VoIP networks in the UK.
Stephen Corrigan, the Channel Manager for 3CX said: “We are pleased to be working with VoIPtalk.
"The company has proven itself over a number of years as a leading UK ITSP which delivers exceptional service and support for UK reseller partners.
He added: "3CX employs rigorous interoperability tests to ensure complete compatibility, reliability and support, all designed to deliver a seamless experience to all our partners.”
3CX offers an award-winning Windows PBX solution. It gives an excellent unified Communications telephone system with one number, inbound and outbound calling. VoIPtalk is now a certified 3CX service.
3CX, maker of the award-winning VoIP phone for Windows, has now released the 3CXPhone for iPhone.
After getting the go-ahead from Apple, this UC Solution is available immediately via the Apple Appstore and can also be used on iPads and iTouches which run iOS 4.0 or above.
It works as a SIP client and allows customers to make and receive 3CX Phone System call by use of Wi-Fi or 3G Internet connectivity. Calls will work out cheaper than on an expensive wireless phone.
Using your existing extension credentials the 3CXPhone for iPhone can be used in combination with a deskphone. Therefore calls will ring both on your deskphone and iPhone.
3CXPhone for iPhone also works with SIP standard based PBXs andnumerous VoIP Providers.
It is easy to configure 3CXPhone for iPhone for use with 3CX Phone System so that extension settings are automatically provisioned.
3CXPhone for iPhone was tested in a limited beta program. You can contact 3CX with any feedback or questions.
The new unified communications product Microsoft Lync server will give SharePoint users many advantages.
Formerly known as Communications Server "14", Lync delivers presents information along with features like skills search to create a full social media experience in the office for ease of collaboration.
But in the Microsoft SharePoint Team blog, SharePoint general manager Eric Swift said that these features could be brought to SharePoint.
He said Lync with Sharepoint was advantageous to show which team members are available via presence icons, for advanced usage of SharePoint people search to find colleagues with certain skills, and posting meetings on SharePoint which have been recorded on Lync.
This also allows SharePoint teams to get a full file storage capacity while enhancing team building aspects.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The recently held Unified communications symposium in Sydney was always going to be entertaining given that Nick Jones identified UC as nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme.
Although the headline topic was available long ago we all wondered how he would back up such an outlandish claim.
The thrust of Jones' argument is that Unified communications solutions lack a clear business case and can not compete with consumer-driven technology.
He said that the technology had no clear definition but rather was a bundle of things a vendor wants to sell you.
He added: "Another major drawback of unified communications is a fragmented industry with no single vendor leading the charge. Unified communications is out of date and will always be out of date. Consumerisation wins, it always wins. Look at all the cool stuff going on in the consumer space.”
Pointing to the examples of Twitter and Skype, Jones said that UC was a dinosaur in comparison. For UC to compete it needed to offer micro-blogging services at the very least.
"SMS and MMS can’t be unified, so you can’t unify everything you need to unify.”
Monday, November 22, 2010
Unison claims to have created the world's first free enterprise-grade unified communications software.
The application will allow SMEs and SMBs around the world to have a cheap alternative to expensive products by Google and Microsoft.
Sponsor-supported Unison offers Linux and Windows-based software can be installed for free and does not require a licence. It acts as an alternative to traditional software such as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes which is very costly to run.
Furthermore Unison claims that its software is superior to those legacy solutions and it integrates calenders, email, telephony, contacts and instant messaging into a single client on one server.
All the while Unison is totally secure behind a firewall as opposed to SaaS-only hosted solutions like Google Apps. That means that the user company is not forced to host vital data with third party.
Michael Choupak, the CEO of Unison Technologies, said: “This is a new era for the unified communications industry. As the first sponsor-supported free business software, our product is a direct challenge to the traditional model of overpriced software.
He added: "Unison gives companies the combined power of applications such as Cisco PBX and Microsoft Exchange at no cost.”
Unison includes the Linux-based Unison Server which powers all text and voice communication for an organization, and Unison Desktop a Windows or Linux-based desktop client that provides employees with all communication within an application, including e- mail and telephony.
It is believed that Unison will be particularly popular in developing countries as the single server is expected to cut operating costs drastically.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Juniper Networks IP networking has now been classified as interoperable with Microsoft Lync Server 2010.
Lync Server is a Unified Communications solution
which offers features such as instant messaging, presence, video conferencing and more.
Juniper Networks IP networking makes these features run smoother so that inter-office and remote communication is more efficient, including VoIP calling. Furthermore their solutions are secure and scalable while offering a low TCO.
Kirk Gregersen, the senior director of product management at Microsoft Lync, said: "Microsoft is committed to offering a connected user experience that makes communication collaborative, engaging while being accessible from anywhere."
He added: "Juniper products help Lync customers take advantage of IM, presence and video-conferencing as well as enterprise voice through a single end user interface."
The Juniper SRX Series Services Gateways Branch and Data Center), M and MX Series Routersand EX Series Ethernet Switches are now all certified.
Therefore Lync customers can noww expect a high quality of experience where video, voice, and messaging are designated by customer piority.
Juniper provides ultra-high performance with minimized delay by processing media using customized ASICs and dedicated packet-forwarding cores. You can also enforce bandwidth utilization so priority packets are not lost.
Friday, November 19, 2010
A report by the Dell’Oro Group has shown that the unified communications market has grown by seven per cent in the third quarter in 2010.
Other analysts are also optimistic with Forrester Research predicting that the overall UC solutions market will be worth 14.5 billion dollars by 2015.
They put the success down to the actions of the main vendors Microsoft, Cisco and Avaya in aggressively expanding their unified communications portfolios.
Along with Aastra, Alcatel-Lucent, Mitel, NEC, Shoretel and Siemens they have accounted for more than 80 per cent of IP line shipments in the third quarter.
In addition Hewlett Packard and Cisco have made significant forays into IP video offerings.
The report showed the strongest UC growth since 2008, which is no surprise at Microsoft alone has just released the eagerly awaited Microsoft Lync 2010 UC product. It also showed that success in the American market is making up for slow growth in Europe.
Alan Weckel, the director of the Dell’Oro Group, said: “Despite pockets of weakness reappearing, we believe that the Unified Communications market will expand significantly in 2010.
"This is because existing vendors continue to invest and expand their software offerings, especially as Microsoft begins to actively push Lync 2010.”
Unified Communications allows companies to increase productivity while saving costs at the same time. This is because it gives one platform to email, SMS, IM, chat and much more.
Meanwhile Lync also offers features such as presence and skills search. At the launch Bill Gates said that the move to a software-driven UC platform was the most important thing to happen to the office since the PC.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Facebook has branched into Unified Communications with their new Messages platform which allows real-time communications from a computer or mobile device.
Downloading the app allows conversations to be carried out in a number of ways including chat, messages or email. Users simply just have to type in their friend's name and select how they want to communicate.
Joel Seligstein wrote on the Facebook blog: "We wanted to make this more like a conversation. Therefore there are no subject lines, no cc, no bcc, and you can send a message by simply hitting the Enter key."
The app has the ultimate unified communications benefit of offering one inbox so that you can group correspondence by folders.
Yet Messages aims to be a social media service rather than just another e-mail service.
However Facebook is offering its 500 million members the chance to create a @facebook.com email address. Users will of course have privacy settings on all features.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Today Microsoft is launching its premier Unified Communications product - Lync Server 2010.
The wait has been long with several months spent talking about communications server 14 and wondering what the real name of this presence, skills search and overall UC product would be.
Already thousands of enterprises have got in on the act by purchasing licences for Lync with millions more likely to have joined them by the end of 2011.
By that time Microsoft has said that it will be releasing a cloud-based version of Lync in Microsoft Office 365 suite as well.
Lync 2010 will increase desktop productivity and collaboration by allowing workers to see who is present with the option to 'click-to-communicate'. This can be through the media of voice, instant messaging, video, chat or web desktop sharing. It is all done on a secure connection.
Lync can be used in office with Microsoft Outlook and Office or remotely on mobile devices such as smartphones. Furthermore Lync can be embedded directly into applications. The advantage of VoIP leads to low calling costs. The benefit of video is that you can conference from remote locations.
Meanwhile Lync can be integrated into various business processes to aid distribution, sales and other business facets. For instance the skills search allows Lync to be used for specific jobs and conferencing allows communication with anyone anywhere.
The main advantage of Lync is that it can be deployed without having to upgrade your entire communications infrastructure. It can work with, or independently of, the PBX.
Lync can also be integrated with SharePoint or be used as an Enterprise IP PBX.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Unified Communications solutions have the potential to help people in the Third World by giving them access to better medical care.
An article in the Financial Times considered the effect that video conferencing could have on individuals as well as enterprises.
Neeraj Gill, the managing director of Polycom in India, said that Unified Communications solutions could bridge distances for individuals just as effectively as in the business world.
He said: “Just imagine an individual in a rural area of India who does not have access to very good healthcare facilities. Then imagine if they could be treated remotely by competent doctors through telepresence solutions."
Gill has worked in various parts of Asia for the last 20 years. He is responsible for guiding Polycom business strategy for the region and branching into key markets. He believes that Unified Communications uptake is still lagging behind on the subcontinent because lack of broadband penetration means there is not sufficiently high bandwidth for UC.
It is hoped that more broadband wireless access and 3G roll-outs will take place across India to enable high definition video conferencing and telepresence solutions.
He added: "As 3G and broadband wireless access networks are rolled out in India, it will help bridge the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots'.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Unified Communications solutions have long been touted as saviours for businesses in terms of enhanced productivity and cost savings.
Yet these benefits can also serve a higher purpose. After all making our energy reliance more eco-friendly is based on getting more power for less output. UC solutions are an ideal way to go green.
They are now being used to coordinate operations on wind turbines as these massive structures are usually located in out-of-the-way areas.
The companies Teo and Bergelectric are now equipping wind turbines in Washington, USA, with a fibre-optic system and a unified communications platform.
They will give the turbines Internet access and VoIP telephones that have Enhanced 911 technology as part of the Harvest Wind Project. Therefore workers on the turbines can communicate quickly and very in the event of any problems.
Part of the challenge is to keep the system running in spite of the high voltage which goes through turbines. Yet the system can ensure communication from offices in the city and turbines, or from turbine to turbine.
Jason Hayes of Bergelectric said: “By equipping each turbine with IP connection points and a E911-enabled phone for various devices such as computers, cameras and sensors, we are increasing safety and efficiency.
"Our workers will now be able to contact technical support and access electronic work instructions, as well as manuals and diagrams. This eliminates the need to utilize a radio-to-home middleman or have a time-consuming up-and-down process.”
Friday, November 12, 2010
A survey undertaken in North America has overwhelmingly shown that companies need to adapt their processes to accommodate unified communications solutions.
More than 100 small to medium-sized enterprises in Canada and the US were asked about adopting unified communications and 96% replied in the affirmative.
The Infonetics Research report was conducted to find out about the uptake on these single platform systems which merge email, presence, enterprise voice and instant messaging among other features.
It was also designed to find out why companies take up UC. Respondents explained that first of all Unified Communications is a natural technological progression from such advances as social networking and video conferencing. Secondly it seems that by adopting unified communications companies can simplify their business model and enhance productivity.
Meanwhile the Unified Communications magazine revealed its excellence award winners.
Company / Product
ADTRAN - NetVanta UC Solution Suite
Apparent Networks - PathView Cloud
Brocade Communications Systems - Unified Communications from Brocade
Clarus Systems - Clarus Migration Certification Service
Cypress Communications - C4 IP
Digium, Inc. Switchvox - SMB 4.5
Esna Technologies - Telephony Office-LinX (TOL)
Gale Technologies - GaleForce
LifeSize - LifeSize Room 200
NEC Corporation of America - UC for Enterprise
Sipera Systems Sipera - UC-Sec security appliance
Talari Networks Mercury - APN Appliance Family
Varolii Corporation - Varolii Customer Service and Loyalty
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
A company is expanding its Unified Communications services across North America.
Windstream will now offer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), data and Internet services to 100 new cities within the US states of Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Windstream is offering VoIP and data bundles so that consumers and enterprises can get high quality voice over high-speed Internet.
Don Perkins, the VP of business marketing for Windstream, said: “Windstream develops advanced unified communications solutions that improve customer efficiency and allow companies to focus on their core businesses. This fully-managed service allows tremendous flexibility.”
The technology aims to maximise bandwidth capacity, which in turn allows better quality VoIP. That promises fast download for such features as Find Me/Follow Me and Click to Dial.
Windstream also aims for ease-of-use by allowing integration with the existing unified communications business systems rather than replacing them. The company does all the installation and updates so that enterprises do not have to worry about this aspect of things. That also saves on initial outlay spending and running maintenance costs.
The main benefits are low cost Internet calling both locally and internationally which increases productivity and gives customers one point of contact.
Polycom is stepping up plans for delivery of its Unified Communications solutions in order to bring voice and video to consumers and enterprise customers.
The company has put the final touches to the standards-based H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) system which will be at the centre of the Polycom Unified Communications product portfolio.
The high-quality video and audio system will be compatible with mobile, SMB, and consumer networks no matter what bandwidth they are on. That will make it a cost-saving alternative for businesses and the technology can be integrated with their existing systems rather than acting as a replacement. The idea is to help customers to get the most from their existing unified communications investments while improving their ROI.
UCStrategies expert David Yedwab said: "Polycom is stepping up its competition with its major video competitor Cisco/Tandberg in several ways.
"The company is looking to be innovative by getting video onto Android Tablets with Samsung. But in some ways they are playing catch up as many other companies have already adopted the H 264.SVC."
Many industry insiders see this move as significant in that it aims to change a Polycom business model which is already highly profitable. By broadening their portfolio to include a wide range of customers, Polycom’s new product initiatives and relationships with Microsoft and Broadsoft will help maintain its position as a market leader.
At the same time Polycom’s ability to work with a wide range of IP PBX suppliers will allow it to deploy services across various locations.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Here's a nice piece about Unified Communications etiquette. It rang pretty true with me in a world where people never even reply to emails anymore, let alone send letters.
The gist of the article is that we may need to form some new groundrules when Unified Communications allows people to be constantly available and contactable.
Therefore the amazing presence skills search feature which is part of products like Lync 2010 should be respected. Just because someone's presence status is "available" doesn't necessarily mean they have time to communicate.
Likewise, if someone says they are unavailable don't hassle them anyway. A good procedure to follow is to give a head's up, letting your colleague know the discussion topic before they engage so they can manage their time appropriately.
In this new world of status, you should remember to put yours up. Just as you would set your email to 'out of office', put your status as busy if you don't have time to talk. It will save other people a lot of bother.
Also having more than one instant messaging conversation at a time is a recipe for disaster - you have been warned. It is best to keep IM brief with the option of going on to conference call if something needs to be expanded. Acronyms and capital letters should be avoided as the latter is "the IM equivalent of shouting".
In terms of Unified communications etiquette for conferencing start with a roll call to establish who is present. Be aware of any outside sounds that may affect your call - having the TV on in the background may not make you look very professional. Again don't multi task. If you are Tweeting at the same time as talking your output will be affected.
Finally remember manners maketh man (or woman)!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Microsoft has teamed up with F5 to deliver load balancing and full deployment
of Lync Server 2010.
Lync is the recently released Microsoft Unified Communications platform which delivers enterprise voice, instant messaging, presence and web conferencing among other benefits. These easy-to-use capabilities are available on a PC, from your browser, or even a mobile device.
F5 makes all these features scalable so that they are always available. Therefore colleagues can communicate quickly to collaborate, which saves time and money.
F5 uses a load balancing unified communications solution. This has an advantage over hardware or software based load-balancing such as DNS load balancing or round-robin DNS. F makes it easier to tell not just whether the server is responding, but whether the response is the one that you want.
On the other hand the F5 solution for Lync Server 2010 uses BIG-IP with an advanced application delivery controller (ADC). This allows intelligent load-balancing and health monitoring. It claims to be the best option for achieving consistent availability and scalability for Lync Server both at the server and site level.
According to SYS-Con media: "BIG-IP can offload SSL and TLS functionality, simplifying the scalability by centralizing certificate management and improving performance by leveraging purpose-built, custom hardware acceleration to perform the mathematically intense computations required to support cryptography."
The product aims to ensure that there is always the necessary quality and speed to offer real-time communications via Lync Server 2010.
Friday, November 5, 2010
A new report on the VoIP market in China has just been released.
It gives an overview of supply and demand for Voice over internet Protocol technology in this huge Asian country.
The China Sourcing Report: VoIP Products 2010 shows that VOIP exports from China are increasing. This will be interesting news for CEOs in the industry, whether they are seeking to invest in these technologies or even if see them as competition to their own offerings.
China suppliers are taking advantage of the tough economic times in the West to present small and medium sized enterpises with cost saving alternatives to their current business models. More companies in Europe and America are similarly switching to cost saving VoIP channels to reduce their expenditures.
Mobile and wireless VoIP markets are particularly strong and 100% global growth of the industry is predicted each year leading up to 2014.
The report covers the key VoIP devices manufactured in China by the 15 main suppliers. That includes routers, IP phones, gateways and PBXs with both wired and wireless VoIP analysed. As well as in-depth profiles there are colour pictures of all the latest Chinese VoIP products available.
The unified communications solutions and VoIP market will make 4.8 billion dollars in revenue over the next five years due to a flood of new products.
So says the UC analyst ABI research which has been evaluating the role and worth of IP communications.
Dan Shey, the director of ABI Research practice, said: “Hosted VoIP is a safe investment because even in an uncertain economy it offers business flexibility."
ABI compiled Enterprise Communications Market Data to assess the integrated unified communications suite market. That includes hosted and on-premise VoIP which has seen a significant increase in demand recently as companies look to cut costs and make it easier for colleagues to collaborate.
ABI predicts that PBX vendors will ship 35 million IP lines by the end of this year. IP telephony shipments including hybrid lines are growing exponentially as companies see the benefits of unified communications.
Rather than being slowed by the recession the poor economy is expected to play a part in the uptake of UC as companies can cut down on communications expenses and travel costs.
It is believed that hosted IP PBX services will finish 2010 with a 15.3 percent increase in revenue to 3.4 billion dollars globally.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
You can now take part in trending Unified Communications discussions by logging on to a live global web broadcast conducted by Polycom heavyweights.
The company wants to give listeners and insight into its vision for unified communications solutions and an idea of which direction the industry is taking.
Polycom is a global leader which offers unified communications solutions at the forefront of video, telepresence and voice technology. Polycom solutions are built on open standards.
"Delivering on the Promise of Unified Communications" will feature Polycom CTO Joe Burton and the CEO Andrew Miller. After they have given a short talk they will take a question and answer session. The whole process will be moderated by Lane Cooper from Computerworld magazine.
The live broadcast takes place on November 8. You can either catch the morning session from 7AM-8AM or listen in the evening from 6PM-7PM PACIFIC STANDARD TIME.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The car company Daimler has struck a deal with the Microsoft Corporation to use its Unified Communications solutions.
Daimler AG is now converting 180,000 computer workstations to make use of Unified Communications benefits such as email, enterprise voice and instant messaging.
It is unclear what technology Daimler was using in the past but it will now have collaboration products such as Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft Office 2010and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 across its worldwide operations.
This suite of services will help Daimler and transition to cloud computing. Therefore Daimler employees can make use of features such as web conferencing to enhance productivity and cut costs.
According to On Windows: "The new platform delivers a high degree of scalability and standardisation, allowing rapid communication with partners, while also taking into account the need to protect intellectual property. The news platform added: "This will be provided on a private cloud."
Daimler is one of the oldest British car manufacturers. Like many automobile makers Daimler has struggled during the worldwide recession but the company recently secured more than 7 billion dollars of credit from a string of international banks. This money will go partly towards updating the technology systems of Daimler, including implementing the Unified Communications solutions.
Microsoft has recently released its cutting-edge UC product, Lync Server 2010, which combines collaboration features such as presence and skills search. They make it easier for colleagues to communicate and work remotely from the office if necessary.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
As Unified Communications Solutions grow as an industry and a trend, more and more uses are found for this integrated technology.
There are numerous benefits to having one platform for your communications such as instant messaging, fax, email and enterprise voice.
Unified Communications Solutions can save businesses time and money, however when you apply them to the healthcare industry they can save lives.
AT&T is now one of a few companies which are using Unified Communications to improve patient safety.
Therefore medical staff including doctors and nurses can communicate quickly and efficiently to solve a crisis. UC is also a reliable way to help organise all of the patient information which needs to be considered to form a diagnosis.
Imagine for instance that the doctor needs to perform a radical surgery which is largely untested. If research told him that the only successful surgery had been conducted in a hospital in Tokyo, it would be cost-effective to use the web conferencing facility to contact the relevant professional for guidance. In this way real-time communication can be invaluable.
It is not only the patients that will feel safer and healthier, stakeholders in the healthcare industry can now collaborate quickly by streamlining their decision-making process.
Monday, November 1, 2010
As we come towards the end of the year, No Jitter has come up with a very smart blog on the top Unified Communications deals of the decade.
There have been some huge deals to sort through but they have made an unusual choice for number one. NEC decided to buy Sphere for a song and make it the centrepiece of their Unified Communications strategy via the Sphericall product. It only set them back a relatively meagre 42 million dollars!
In second place the Gores Group acquired Siemens Enterprise for free even though they had been willing to invest $275 million in SEN. They now have a controlling stake of the German parent company Siemens AG. The deal was available after sections of Siemens were left hanging by the formation of Nokia Siemens. Not only has the Gores Group done a clever piece of business but it is right at the front of Unified Communications innovation. There are even rumours that it may try to acquire Polycom.
In third place is the $145 million deal that Cisco arranged to purchase Selsius. Their most eye-catching addition is the synergy of Selsius Multimedia Manager 1 with Cisco Call Manager.
Another heavy-hitter Avaya picked up a bargain when they acquired Ubiquity. In hindsight this $144 million deal was an excellent price to pay for being at the forefront of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology. Avaya was then able to create its SIP Session Manager.
And finally Microsoft used Teleo technology for VOIP on its pre-OCS IM/presence systems to bring about Live Communications Server. Details of the deal were not disclosed but whatever the price paid, it was sure be a drop in the ocean for a giant like Microsoft.