Friday, November 19, 2010

Avaya Expands Business Collaboration for Small and Medium Enterprise Market

November 18, 2010 // Avaya

New Avaya IP Office Release 6.1 improves user experiences, drives cost-savings, and reduces software installation time by nearly 75%

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Avaya, Inc. today introduced the new version of Avaya IP Office—the company’s flagship communications solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Avaya IP Office Release 6.1 delivers a host of business collaboration and customer service enhancements that can improve ease-of-use and worker productivity for SME workers, and generate significant new efficiencies for businesses.
Avaya IP Office has been recognized for its total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits, delivering savings of approximately 25% in acquisition and ownership costs when compared with a competing vendor solution.1 The new version of Avaya IP Office expands upon its TCO strengths by enabling installation via a single DVD containing the open standards-based Linux® operating system (OS) and key communications applications. Formerly, the OS and IP Office applications had to be installed via several sources and multiple DVDs.
This new approach can cut down software installation times by as much as 75%,2 saving on labor costs while simplifying installation. Additionally, when compared to other OS environments, Linux does not require user licenses, driving further savings for Avaya IP Office users.
Other advancements introduced today include:
  • Flexible Avaya one-X™ Portal for IP Office: The solution’s dynamic Web-based desktop communications interface for remote, mobile and office workers features a newly-designed, customizable interface with drag and drop application gadgets. The solution—which lets users manage calls, instant messages and e-mails from one PC-based portal—is more flexible, allowing users to place gadgets (i.e. Directory, Call Log, etc.) wherever they want on their screen. Further customization includes ‘skins’ and branding with a business’ name.
  • Improved Contact Center Reporting: Now, an SME can gauge the success of a customer campaign through location-based business intelligence that analyzes the calls flowing into a contact center, and makes them viewable on a geographic map. This capability provides a visual report of the volume of customer interaction based on each customer’s location.
  • Expanded Video Options: Avaya IP Office expands upon its videoconferencing capabilities, going beyond Softphone-based video to now offer more advanced multi-point HD videoconferencing with up to 4 parties.3 Additionally, it enables video integration with selected third-party SIP phones.
  • Multi-site Management: SME owners can now manage multiple office sites using one consolidated interface and a single log-in. This lets users view and manage all of the key communications parameters (i.e. user rights, hunt groups) of multiple locations (up to 32).
Avaya is the worldwide leader in the SME market, with leadership in both revenue and line share.4 With Avaya IP Office 6.1, the company accelerates unified communications and contact center technologies in the SME market, helping SMEs compete more effectively, but in a cost-conscious manner. According to a recent survey,5 even as most SMEs (61%) believe technology is key to staying competitive, more than half (54%) believe cost-savings is the main driver for new technology adoption.
“Small and medium-sized businesses want the competitive edge that real-time communications can deliver,” said Alan Weckel, research director at Dell’Oro Group, “and they will seek out collaboration solutions that are easy and cost-effective to install, manage and use. Those who can deliver on these benefits will lead the next phase of communications in the SME space.”
True Textiles, Inc. Advances UC, Customer Service with Avaya IP Office
A company that is gaining the benefits of Avaya IP Office 6.1 is True Textiles, a commercial fabrics industry leader committed to delivering exceptional products through increasingly sustainable design and manufacturing processes. To ensure seamless communications throughout the company’s Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters and two manufacturing sites, True Textiles chose Avaya IP Office. With this solution, True Textiles can keep all employees well connected regardless of location—including home-based and mobile workers – using communications that makes economic sense.
Avaya IP Office also helps True Textiles excel in a competitive manufacturing market by providing everything from four-digit dialing to one-X Portal for IP Office. According to Scott Pellerito, network administrator for True Textiles, one-X Portal gives employees a convenient way to make calls, get voicemails and instant message, and he sees the application becoming a critical mobility tool for all employees.
“IP Office 6.1 lets us introduce new levels of capability and flexibility to employees in a way that is easily scalable,” said Pellerito. “With enhanced one-X Portal and call center reporting, we are well-positioned in mobility and customer service.” On a cost-savings level, Pellerito adds he is pleased to see a better way to manage multiple sites using a single view, and believes the single-DVD install could take thousands of dollars out of installation costs.
Avaya business partner CCI Telecom, Inc. which helped True Textiles install Avaya IP Office, agrees that the new single DVD with the Linux OS and key applications is a game changer.
“With this single-DVD install, we are seeing an even more flexible approach for customers that further reduces the time spent in labor and equipment to install IP Office,” said Bobby Stewart, co-founder and CTO/CIO from CC Telecom. “This improves TCO, and we are seeing about a seven to eight percent drop in costs due to software reductions. This is going be fantastic for customers and the business partner community.”
“Our vision is to bring all of the powerful collaboration capabilities of big business to the SME community – without the complexity,” said Anthony Bartolo, general manager, SME communications, Avaya. “With the latest release of Avaya IP Office, we are advancing on this vision, while introducing new levels of savings driven through advanced communications.”
Avaya IP Office Roadmap and Business Communication Manager 6.0
The company also completed significant elements of its Avaya IP Office roadmap, post the Avaya-Nortel Enterprise Systems (NES) merger. This includes interoperability between Avaya IP Office and the Business Communication Manager (BCM) platform (formerly NES’ SME offering) to mix and match in multi-site deployments. The newly Avaya branded BCM 6.0 introduces enhanced unified communications and collaboration capabilities for greater productivity and efficiency. This includes improved mobility for the ‘Find Me, Follow Me’ and conferencing applications, as well as the ability for BCM users to add teleworkers.

The Cisco Collaboration Partner Summit 2010 was a success

We just got back from the Cisco Collaboration Partner Summit 2010, It was an intimate gathering of Cisco’s leading worldwide collaboration partners, technology experts, and thought leaders.

Over the course of two days, we engaged in in-depth discussions around the latest technology and trends that are shaping the nature of work: how we work, who we work with, when we work, and where we work:

  • Pervasive video
  • Next-generation devices
  • Enterprise social software
  • Virtualization
  • Open development platforms
  • The cloud

We heard how Cisco is continuing to transform the collaboration marketplace with “The New Collaboration Experience,” one that enables you to build trust, accelerate decisions, and promote competitive differentiation for your customers.

We heard about new solutions to the Cisco portfolio, and new services, tools, and programs to increase awareness and profitability in this $38 billion dollar market.

We also got answers to important questions, such as:

  • Where is the industry headed?
  • Where are the most important opportunities for my company?
  • What is the Cisco Collaboration strategy, and how can I best use it for success?
  • Which new tools, business models, and best practices will grow my business?
Keep checking the blog for more information about the new solutions

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Microsoft Launches Lync: "PBX Era is Over"


By Eric Krapf, Editor | Nov 17, 2010 | http://www.nojitter.com


After all the names--"Wave 14", "Communications Server 14," "Office Communications Server," what is Microsoft Lync, the company's third-generation UC platform--and what does it do?

The short answer, from corporate VP and UC leader Gurdeep Singh Pall: "One thing Lync does is, it replaces your PBX," Gurdeep told the audience at the Lync launch in New York today.

"The era of the PBX is over," he added.

To drive home the point, Microsoft brought in Bill Gates, who appeared on a video link from Seattle to declare Unified Communications "Probably the most important thing to happen to the office worker since the PC came along." Gates predicted that in the future, "When you see someone's desk in a movie, and you see that separate phone, you'll say, 'Wow, that's before this [UC] happened.'"

The centerpiece of the announcement show was a demo of the new Lync client, which adds icons for easier navigation and pictures of your contacts that can be pulled from the SharePoint database or from any other social network store.

Microsoft officials hammered at the theme of "social" using this as a kind of mantra repeated often throughout the demo. The other overarching theme was integration with all the other Microsoft products--Office, Exchange and SharePoint, with which Gurdeep said that Lync "fits like a glove."

The client itself features buttons at the top with icons for "People," "Activity," "Redial" (a loose rendering; I'll explain below); and the Softphone. Click on the People button and you get a fairly traditional buddy list, with the photos and the colored presence indicator--formerly the round "jellybean"--now rendered as a bar next to the photo.

Pressing the Activity button takes you to a view of your contacts according to their most recent status updates in SharePoint--this was another point at which the "social" theme was hammered home.

Redial is, in Gurdeep's words, "The Mother of All Redials," by which he meant that it's really a listing of each contact that, when a person is clicked on, opens up your recent history of all contacts with that person, in all media; Gurdeep's eloquent way of explaining it is that, "With one click I can re-hydrate that session" that might have been started and stopped at some time in the past.

Finally, when it comes to the softphone, what's new is what's old: A layout that mimics a touch-tone pad. "In the past, we shied away from a three-by-four dialpad; we thought it was a throwback," Gurdeep said. Customers, however, said they wanted it.

Beyond the basic client, Microsoft also demonstrated a conference session featuring video and whiteboarding. In a demo with Chris Capossela, senior VP in charge of Microsoft's Office division, Gurdeep showed a Lync meeting experience using the Polycom CX5000 360-degree video input device that started its life as the Microsoft Roundtable. The system displayed the active speaker in the main frame, although the relative sizes of the video and whiteboard frames could be dynamically adjusted, as could the contact list.

Video was probably the one weak spot of this launch program. In the opening conversation between Capossela and Gates, Gates's end of the video featured jumpy video and out-of-sync video and audio. For this kind of high-definition video over the open Internet, that's not unheard-of or a fatal flaw, but it does show that the state of the art is still not what it should be.

One final demo featured Capossela in a living room setting, showing that Lync can integrate with Microsoft Kinect, to, as Capossela put it, "integrate the family room with the board room," to allow for home working in different formats.

Chris Capossela closed by noting that Lync works today on PCs, Macs, browsers, and of course desk phones; and he said Microsoft is committed to releasing Lync on the iPhone and Windows mobile phone in 2011. Additionally, in a move that may be very significant, Lync online will be available in the suite of applications that Microsoft makes available when its cloud-based Office 365 service debuts next year.

Much of today's announcement consisted of features and messages that Microsoft has been telegraphing for close to a year. Seeing it live, and hearing customers like Marquette University describe implementations where they actually are replacing PBXs with Lync, makes Gurdeep Singh Pall's declaration of the death of the PBX seem like a statement of the inevitable, albeit not the near-term reality.

And as far as the Lync client is concerned, my own personal impression from the demos was that it's not as elegant or slick as the Avaya Flare Experience, but it seems just as functional and usable; the buttons letting you take a different cut on your contacts, whether by name or communications history, or current activity, seems like a logical way to make these colleagues accessible to the user.

Independent Tests Prove Polycom Telepresence Solutions Deliver No-Compromise HD Calls at Half the Bandwidth

Wainhouse Research tests validate Polycom’s claim of high-definition telepresence at up to 50 percent less bandwidth and no appreciable loss in call quality

PLEASANTON, Calif. - Nov 18, 2010 : Independent tests conducted by industry analyst firm Wainhouse Research validate that Polycom, Inc. [Nasdaq: PLCM], a global leader in unified communications, more than delivers on claims that Polycom telepresence solutions deliver high-definition (HD) telepresence calls at up to half the bandwidth of Cisco and other major competitors – and with no appreciable sacrifice in call quality.

The test results are detailed in a new white paper from Wainhouse Research (WR). Using four Polycom HDX® 8000 room telepresence systems, WR established parallel testing environments to compare the performance of Polycom's implementation of the H.264 High Profile standard to traditional H.264 Baseline Profile, a less advanced version of the H.264 video compression standard and the version used by most of today's H.264 telepresence and video conferencing systems. In half of the test calls, Polycom achieved bandwidth reductions of at least 50 percent, with two tests recording bandwidth savings of 65 and 67 percent.

"We were impressed by the ability to reduce call speed while maintaining video resolution and call quality via the use H.264 High Profile on Polycom HDX video endpoints," said Ira M. Weinstein, senior analyst and partner at Wainhouse Research, and a co-author of the white paper. "Throughout our tests, the Polycom systems delivered bandwidth savings without materially compromising call quality of a typical visual collaboration experience. Overall, Polycom's implementation of H.264 High Profile met – and in some ways exceeded – WR's performance expectations."

Some competitors have challenged Polycom's claims of no-compromise bandwidth reduction. To settle the issue, Polycom commissioned WR to independently evaluate its solutions.

"We had thoroughly tested various call scenarios in our own labs and were confident in our claims. We can understand why our competitors were skeptical. The ability to dramatically reduce bandwidth requirements without compromising quality of experience is a huge benefit for our customers," said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, Polycom chief development officer and general manager of unified communications products."We can put the arguments to rest now that a respected independent research firm has validated our results. Not only did we pass the testing – we exceeded expectations in many cases."

Polycom offers H.264 High Profile support across its room telepresence and immersive telepresence solutions, and within elements of the Polycom UC Intelligent Core infrastructure platform.

The benefits also extend to Polycom's telepresence solutions for Microsoft Lync Server 2010, as well as Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). Polycom H.264 High Profile is supported on Polycom HDX systems that use Microsoft Lync and Office Communications Edge servers between federated partners. This allows an organization to easily and securely connect via telepresence with customers and partners leveraging Microsoft infrastructure.

WR's new white paper, titled "Evaluation: Polycom's Implementation of H.264 High Profile -- WR Investigates Polycom's Claim of No-Compromise Performance Using up to 50% Less Bandwidth," is available free of charge at www.polycom.com/highprofile.

About Wainhouse Research
Wainhouse Research provides insight and intelligence into the global markets for audio, web (data), and video conferencing, real-time Unified Communications, enterprise streaming and webcasting, and enterprise social networking. The company publishes public and private studies, speaks at industry events and private company events, and provides strategic consulting to both industry vendors and end user organizations. Wainhouse Research conferences in the US and Europe provide a forum for the industry to discuss critical issues for industry growth. For more information please visit www.wainhouse.com.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Juniper looks to one-up Cisco again in core routing

At 4Tbps per half rack, Juniper claims new T4000 is 2X Cisco's CRS-3
By Jim Duffy, Network World
November 15, 2010 12:07 AM ET

Juniper Networks this week will take its turn claiming innovation leadership in Internet core routing by unveiling its next-generation platform.

Cisco, Juniper play years of leapfrog in the Internet core

The Juniper T4000 boasts an industry leading 240Gbps per slot capacity, good for 4Tbps per half-rack chassis – a device optimized to handle booming video and other traffic on service provider networks.

The new router is based on the 250Gbps per slot ASICs Juniper unveiled in February, right when Cisco announced its latest generation, "forever changing the Internet" CRS-3 core router.

Juniper's T4000 is the company's attempt to marginalize those claims. But then, Cisco will be back eventually to stake another temporary technological leadership claim in core routing, and the process will repeat itself. Indeed, Juniper and Cisco have been playing leapfrog in Internet core routing advances since 1998.

At 8Tbps per rack, Juniper claims the T4000 has double the port density of Cisco and other competing platforms. The router features over 2 billion packet/sec of forwarding performance, and can support 192 10G Ethernet, 16 100G Ethernet and 48 40G Ethernet wire-speed ports per system.

By contrast, Cisco's 16-slot CRS-3 is a full rack system with 4.48Tbps switching capacity and 140G per slot.

Also, Brocade just unveiled a 32-port 100G wire-speed Ethernet router that features a 15.36Tbps backplane and 480Gbps half-slot capacity, and forwarding performance of 4.8 billion packet/sec for IPv6. But Brocade has yet to make much of a dent in the worldwide core router market, where market watcher Dell'oro finds Cisco, Juniper and Huawei accounting for 97% of total.)

Cisco says the T4000 is a response to its CRS-3, which has 30 customers and $50 million in revenue booked.

"It's their response to us," says Mike Capuano, Cisco's director of service provider marketing. "They already announced the 250Gbps chipset. The CRS-3 is current shipping (whereas the T4000 won't ship until the second half of 2011). They wanted to get the news out early to slow that (CRS-3 momentum) down."

Slow is a word not to be associated with the T4000 or the T series as a whole, according to Juniper. Overall, the new router can support up to 384 oversubscribed 10G Ethernet ports per system; and Verizon and Internet2 have already deployed Juniper's 100G Ethernet interfaces on the T series routers. (Watch Evolution of the router.)
Video driving router capacity race

Driving the need for such capacity and performance, especially at 100G, is video. Two-thirds of consumer traffic on networks will soon include some form of video, Juniper says. Cisco says that 90% of Internet traffic will be video by 2014.

Using 100G, a 90-minute HDTV movie can be transmitted in one second, Juniper says. The technology also enables intelligent processing of video flows, fast channel change and retransmission to improve quality, the company says.
Internet2 is using 100G to accelerate the processing of terabytes of data for scientific research. In one such project, 100G will be used to transfer data between the twin telescopes of the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii and the Chilean Andes, allowing astronomers in both hemispheres to share data simultaneously.



Juniper Networks this week will take its turn claiming innovation leadership in Internet core routing by unveiling its next-generation platform.

Cisco, Juniper play years of leapfrog in the Internet core

The Juniper T4000 boasts an industry leading 240Gbps per slot capacity, good for 4Tbps per half-rack chassis – a device optimized to handle booming video and other traffic on service provider networks.

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But Tom Nolle, president of consultancy CIMI Corp., believes the T4000 is better positioned for metropolitan network applications than core. He says the router's footprint, density, and power and cooling requirements are suited for intra-metro routing where traffic originates and terminates in the same metro.

"This is a strong product for mobile broadband," Nolle says, where it can route closer to the subscriber and reduce backhaul requirements. "But I don't think they really positioned this for the 'metro Internet.'"

Indeed, core seems to be the target for the T4000. In the future, Juniper says it will upgrade its TX Matrix Plus router interconnect to be able to cluster four T4000s into a 16Tbps system, and also to cluster a mix of T4000s with the current generation core T1600 routers. The T1600 and previous generation T640 routers can be upgraded to the T4000 without service interruption, Juniper says.

Juniper says it has more than 6,000 T series systems deployed including over 1,100 T1600s. Two hundred and seventy-five of them are in multichassis clusters, including 50 in a TX Matrix Plus and 225 linked through the previous generation TX Matrix interconnect.

Juniper will demonstrate the new system at this week's Supercomputing 2010 show. There, the company will demonstrate 100G Ethernet edge-to-core routing capabilities between the T4000 and the Juniper MX240 edge router. Ixia testers will pump Ethernet packets into both the T4000 and MX240 at 100G, while the T4000 and MX240 will swap packets back and forth over 10 aggregated 10G Ethernet links.

The aggregated 10G links are intended to show how service providers running 10G at the edge to the core can achieve 100G performance, Juniper officials said.

The T4000 will be available in the second half of 2011. Juniper did not disclose per port or system pricing.

Avaya Expands Business Collaboration for Small and Medium Enterprise Market

(Market Wire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 11/15/10 -- Avaya, Inc. today introduced the new version of Avaya IP Office -- the company's flagship communications solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Avaya IP Office Release 6.1 delivers a host of business collaboration and customer service enhancements that can improve ease-of-use and worker productivity for SME workers, and generate significant new efficiencies for businesses.



Avaya IP Office has been recognized for its total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits, delivering savings of approximately 25% in acquisition and ownership costs when compared with a competing vendor solution.(1) The new version of Avaya IP Office expands upon its TCO strengths by enabling installation via a single DVD containing the open standards-based Linux operating system (OS) and key communications applications. Formerly, the OS and IP Office applications had to be installed via several sources and multiple DVDs.

This new approach can cut down software installation times by as much as 75%(2), saving on labor costs while simplifying installation. Additionally, when compared to other OS environments, Linux does not require user licenses, driving further savings for Avaya IP Office users.

Other advancements introduced today include: Flexible Avaya one-X? Portal for IP Office: The solution's dynamic Web-based desktop communications interface for remote, mobile and office workers features a newly-designed, customizable interface with drag and drop application gadgets. The solution -- which lets users manage calls, instant messages and e-mails from one PC-based portal -- is more flexible, allowing users to place gadgets (i.e. Directory, Call Log, etc.) wherever they want on their screen. Further customization includes 'skins' and branding with a business' name. Improved Contact Center Reporting: Now, an SME can gauge the success of a customer campaign through location-based business intelligence that analyzes the calls flowing into a contact center, and makes them viewable on a geographic map. This capability provides a visual report of the volume of customer interaction based on each customer's location. Expanded Video Options: Avaya IP Office expands upon its videoconferencing capabilities, going beyond Softphone-based video to now offer more advanced multi-point HD videoconferencing with up to 4 parties(3). Additionally, it enables video integration with selected third-party SIP phones. Multi-site Management: SME owners can now manage multiple office sites using one consolidated interface and a single log-in. This lets users view and manage all of the key communications parameters (i.e. user rights, hunt groups) of multiple locations (up to 32).

Avaya is the worldwide leader in the SME market, with leadership in both revenue and line share.(4) With Avaya IP Office 6.1, the company accelerates unified communications and contact center technologies in the SME market, helping SMEs compete more effectively, but in a cost-conscious manner. According to a recent survey(5), even as most SMEs (61%) believe technology is key to staying competitive, more than half (54%) believe cost-savings is the main driver for new technology adoption.

"Small and medium-sized businesses want the competitive edge that real-time communications can deliver," said Alan Weckel, research director at Dell'Oro Group, "and they will seek out collaboration solutions that are easy and cost-effective to install, manage and use. Those who can deliver on these benefits will lead the next phase of communications in the SME space." True Textiles, Inc. Advances UC, Customer Service with Avaya IP OfficeA company that is gaining the benefits of Avaya IP Office 6.1 is True Textiles, a commercial fabrics industry leader committed to delivering exceptional products through increasingly sustainable design and manufacturing processes. To ensure seamless communications throughout the company's Grand Rapids, Michigan headquarters and two manufacturing sites, True Textiles chose Avaya IP Office. With this solution, True Textiles can keep all employees well connected regardless of location -- including home-based and mobile workers -- using communications that makes economic sense.

Avaya IP Office also helps True Textiles excel in a competitive manufacturing market by providing everything from four-digit dialing to one-X Portal for IP Office. According to Scott Pellerito, network administrator for True Textiles, one-X Portal gives employees a convenient way to make calls, get voicemails and instant message, and he sees the application becoming a critical mobility tool for all employees.

"IP Office 6.1 lets us introduce new levels of capability and flexibility to employees in a way that is easily scalable," said Pellerito. "With enhanced one-X Portal and call center reporting, we are well-positioned in mobility and customer service." On a cost-savings level, Pellerito adds he is pleased to see a better way to manage multiple sites using a single view, and believes the single-DVD install could take thousands of dollars out of installation costs.

Avaya business partner CCI Telecom, Inc. which helped True Textiles install Avaya IP Office, agrees that the new single DVD with the Linux OS and key applications is a game changer.

"With this single-DVD install, we are seeing an even more flexible approach for customers that further reduces the time spent in labor and equipment to install IP Office," said Bobby Stewart, co-founder and CTO/CIO from CC Telecom. "This improves TCO, and we are seeing about a seven to eight percent drop in costs due to software reductions. This is going be fantastic for customers and the business partner community." "Our vision is to bring all of the powerful collaboration capabilities of big business to the SME community -- without the complexity," said Anthony Bartolo, general manager, SME communications, Avaya. "With the latest release of Avaya IP Office, we are advancing on this vision, while introducing new levels of savings driven through advanced communications." Avaya IP Office Roadmap and Business Communication Manager 6.0 The company also completed significant elements of its Avaya IP Office roadmap, post the Avaya-Nortel Enterprise Systems (NES) merger. This includes interoperability between Avaya IP Office and the Business Communication Manager (BCM) platform (formerly NES' SME offering) to mix and match in multi-site deployments. The newly Avaya branded BCM 6.0 introduces enhanced unified communications and collaboration capabilities for greater productivity and efficiency. This includes improved mobility for the 'Find Me, Follow Me' and conferencing applications, as well as the ability for BCM users to add teleworkers.

About Avaya Avaya is a global leader in enterprise communications systems. The company provides unified communications, contact centers, data solutions and related services directly and through its channel partners to leading businesses and organizations around the world. Enterprises of all sizes depend on Avaya for state-of-the-art communications that improve efficiency, collaboration, customer service and competitiveness. For more information, please visit www.avaya.com.

Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipate," "believe," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "might," "plan," "potential," "predict," "should" or "will" or other similar terminology. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections. While we believe these expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections are reasonable, such forward looking statements are only predictions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. These and other important factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Some of the key factors that could cause actual results to differ from our expectations include: our ability to develop and sell advanced communications products and services, including unified communications, contact center and data solutions; our ability to develop our indirect sales channel; economic conditions and the willingness of enterprises to make capital investments; the market for advanced communications products and services, including unified communications solutions; our ability to remain competitive in the markets we serve; our ability to manage our supply chain and logistics functions; the ability to protect our intellectual property and avoid claims of infringement; our ability to effectively integrate acquired businesses into ours; our ability to maintain adequate security over our information systems; environmental, health and safety laws, regulations, costs and other liabilities; the ability to retain and attract key employees; risks relating to the transaction of business internationally; pension and post-retirement healthcare and life insurance liabilities; and liquidity and our access to capital markets. We caution you that the foregoing list of important factors may not contain all of the material factors that are important to you. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, please refer to Avaya's filings with the SEC that are available at www.sec.gov. Avaya disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Avaya IP Office v6.1 Launches

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here: http://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keating/avaya/avaya-inc-today-introduced-the.asp.

avaya-one-x-portal-ip-office-v61.jpg
Avaya, Inc. today released Avaya IP Office Release 6.1. Avaya IP Office is the company’s flagship communications solution for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The new version delivers a host of business collaboration and customer service enhancements that can improve ease-of-use and worker productivity for SME workers, while introducing significant new efficiencies for businesses. I had a conference call and demo with Avaya executives to find out what would be in the latest version of IP Office.

What's new?

The new Avaya IP Office now has an easy single DVD bootable install running Linux and comes with key applications already installed. Previously, a business partner had to install the OS and IP Office applications from several sources via multiple DVDs. They claim you can install an office <20>

The web-based Avaya one-X Portal for IP Office was redesigned and features a customizable interface with ‘drag and drop’ application “gadgets”. The application which lets users manage calls, IMs and e-mails from one PC-based portal now allows users to place gadgets (i.e. Directory, Call Log, etc.) wherever they want on their screen. Further customization includes ‘skins’ and branding with the SME’s business name.

avaya-ip-office-reports.jpg
Avaya IP office v6.1 sports improved Contact Center reporting. It analyzes all calls flowing and makes them viewable on a geographic map. This provides a visual report of the volume of customer interaction according to their location. Another new contact center feature is forced state, where a supervisor can force an agent to become available if for example they notice their status has been set to unavailable for too long or there is a huge spike in call volume.

V6.1 offers expanded video options. It now supports advanced multi-point HD videoconferencing with up to 4 parties (requires the Avaya 1040 Video Conferencing System). Additionally, it enables video integration with selected third-party SIP phones, including the Polycom VVX and the Grandstream GVX3140.

Another feature they touted was its "Multi-site Management". SMEs can manage multiple office sites using one consolidated interface. This requires a single log-in to view and manage communications parameters (i.e. user rights, hunt groups) of multiple locations (up to 32 sites), which is another TCO improvement

Avaya IP Office Roadmap Progress

The company also completed significant elements of its Avaya IP Office roadmap, post the Avaya-Nortel Enterprise Systems (NES) merger. This includes interoperability with NES platforms and phones, including the Business Communications Manager (formerly NES’ SME offering) and CS1000 systems, and the BCM 1100 and 1200 series IP desk phones. With a lot of legacy Nortel IP phones out there, this is a huge selling point for Avaya. An Avaya-branded release of Business Communications Manager (version 6.0) features new remote and mobility capabilities and Web-based conferencing optons.

Cisco Apps for the iPhone and Cisco Apps for the iPhone and iPad

Lots of cool apps for your iPhone and iPad

By jheary on Sun, 11/14/10 - 11:54pm.

Cisco has been embracing Apple's mobile devices this year. Cisco has released all sorts of different applications designed to run on the Apple iPhone and iPad. Everything from SSLVPN clients to full featured softphone apps have hit the app store with more sure to come. Here is a quick look at the different apps Cisco is offering, all of which are FREE by the way. Very nice!

• Cisco AnyConnect – SSLVPN client that works with Cisco's ASA or IOS VPN headend devices. This app allows you to connect via an encrypted tunnel back to your corporate environment. It works on any Apple iOS 4.1 or 4.2 device. Once 4.2 is released it will be supported on the iPad.

Here is a look at the major features listed:
- Automatically adapts its tunneling to the most efficient method possible based on network constraints, using TLS and DTLS
- DTLS provides an optimized connection for TCP-based application access and latency-sensitive traffic, such as VoIP traffic
- Network roaming capability allows connectivity to resume seamlessly after IP address change, loss of connectivity, or device standby
- Wide Range of Authentication Options: RADIUS, RSA SecurID, Active Directory/Kerberos, Digital Certificates, LDAP, multifactor authentication
- Supports certificate deployment using Apple iOS and AnyConnect integrated SCEP
- Compatible with Apple iOS Connect On Demand VPN capability for automatic VPN connections when required by an application
- Policies can be preconfigured or configured locally, and can be automatically updated from the VPN headend
- Access to internal IPv4 and IPv6 network resources
- Administrator-controlled split / full tunneling network access policy

• Cisco Global Internet Speed Test – This piece of software allows you to test your network speed over either Wi-Fi or 3G/Edge. It will then show you your previous test results and compare your results with others just like speedtest.net does. It has a map view that shows you the speeds other iPhones around you are getting as well. It works on any Apple iOS device with 3.x or later code. Good app to whip out when you think you are having a slow network connection.





• Cisco WebEx Meeting Center – This app rocks and I use it almost daily. It allows you to join a WebEx meeting and see any shared content, chat with others, see who is speaking and who has joined the meeting, you can even pass the ball to make someone else the presenter. You can have webex call your cell number and multi-tasking is supported as well. You can even schedule WebEx meetings via the app.



• Cisco Mobile 8 – This app works with a corporate Unified Communication Manager to give you a full featured IP softphone experience. This includes the ability to place, receive and manage voice calls. It is like a corporate version of the popular Skype app. The app can only make calls using wi-fi but does have a hand-off mechanism to transfer the call to your normal iPhone. You can even bring up your iPhone VPN back to corporate then fire up Mobile 8 to make calls.


• Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator - This app is similar to the Mobile 8 app but has some more features. It supports making voice calls, getting visual voicemails, joining meetings, and single number reach. A cool feature called mobile privacy lets you make calls in your iPhone but have them appear like they came from your desk phone. You can receive calls in the same way as well.


• Cisco Mobile Supervisor – This app works as an extension of the Cisco Supervisor Desktop software that is part of the Cisco Unified Contact Center Express software. It allows contact center supervisors to view agent status, call queues and change agent status. You can even setup alerts for calls in queue exceeds. Now supervisors don't have to be tied to their desk PC anymore.


• Cisco – This general application provides you with several Cisco specific tasks all bundled up in a single pane of glass. The Cisco application for iPhone allows you to:
- Get the latest news and promotional offers.
- Find events and Cisco partners in your area.
- Search for content.
- Play our latest videos or podcasts.
- Receive current security alerts, advisories and responses.
- Find a local phone number for Cisco support.
- Save search results on your iPhone.


• Cisco SIO To Go - This security focused app allows you to receive threat outbreak alerts, Cisco security podcasts and blogs, Cisco product press releases and risk reports. Another cool feature is the ability to lookup the reputation score (IP address credit score) of any URL or IP address. It even tells you the reputation of the top traffic sites on the Internet.




• Cisco M-Learning Viewer – Offers a bunch of video learning content for the Cisco CCNA and CCENT topic areas. Some topic examples are OSI Model, Routing Essentials and TCP/IP Architecture. The app is free but the content is $4.99 per module. You can also purchase flash cards for testing yourself.


• Cisco Events – The apps name doesn't really describe the app IMHO. This app is a social networking app that lets you check-in your location and share it with others in your network. You can right reviews of the place your at and find out where your network of friends are currently checked-in. The Locals button shows you all those people that are near you. This would be useful during conferences like networkers or blackhat (if you are ok with people tracking you that is ☺)

So what apps would you like to see in the app store from Cisco? I'd like to see a mobile Cisco Security Manager App myself. For more info on any of the above apps check out the apple app store.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

How adding VoIP services can make your business competitive

Service providers have identified the delivery of voice and data services to the Small to Medium Business (SMB) market as a way to build on their current investment in residential services and create new sources of revenue. Commercial customers seeking alternatives to traditional telecom providers are a fertile market for operators who can offer direct business lines, hosted, “Centrex-like” business features, and/or T1/E1 trunking to support premises-based PBXs or IP PBXs.

Although service providers may have hardened their networks in conjunction with the introduction of broadband services, meeting the needs of business customers requires clearing substantially higher hurdles. Operation, Sales and Support strategies and procedures need to address a fundamental difference between the residential and the business markets: While quality and reliability of service are important to residential customers, they are absolutely vital to the bottom lines of business customers.

In addition, businesses require a greater breadth of features that serve the internal business communications and project a professional image to the customer. Examples of these features include Unified Messaging; Auto-Attendant; Multi-Party Audio Conferencing and Video Conferencing and others. For service providers, the ability to package, promote, provision, host and ensure the reliable availability of these features that help the SMB project a much bigger image represents significant technical and operational challenges.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Competition Drives VoIP Revenue Growth; UC Infrastructure Market Will Reach $4.8 Billion by 2015, Says ABI Research

NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--

According to new data from ABI Research, enterprises are ramping up their investments in VoIP technologies, both on customer premises equipment and hosted VoIP. VoIP technologies are part of enterprise communications products and services that include fixed mobile convergence (FMC), contact center, IP/TDM PBX, messaging, and conferencing and collaboration. The integrated unified communications (UC) suites market, which was adversely affected by the economy, is also poised to see some consistent growth to reach revenues of $4.8 billion by 2015.

IP PBX vendors are expected to ship just over 35 million IP lines (including native IP and hybrid lines) worldwide during 2010. IP telephony shipments will continue to see robust growth throughout the forecast period as enterprise communications systems converge on the IP platform.

However overall VoIP revenue growth is also due to a brisk competitive environment between CPE vendors and hosted VoIP service providers. Both camps are using product differentiation, attractive pricing, and improved customer service to win and keep customers.

Hosted VoIP services are buoyed by an additional set of drivers including the slow economic recovery, employee mobilization, and a more distributed workforce. This especially applies to the North American market.

Senior analyst Subha Rama says, "Even large businesses that traditionally shied away from hosted services for mission-critical communications are deploying hybrid models, experimenting ith hosted services in smaller doses."

Practice director Dan Shey points out that, "Hosted VoIP is a 'safe investment' and offers flexibility for businesses in a slow, uncertain economic recovery. Consequently, hosted IP PBX services are expected to finish the year with a 15.3% increase in revenue to $3.4 billion, worldwide. Besides North America, Asia-Pacific will also be aggressive with hosted VoIP deployments."

ABI Research's Enterprise Communications Market Data (http://www.abiresearch.com/research/1006227) provides worldwide and regional shipment, ASP and revenue forecasts for the VoIP market including premises-based telephony, hosted business VoIP services, VoIP integrated access and SIP trunking. It also includes forecasts for other unified communications technologies in the categories of fixed-mobile convergence, contact centers, messaging, and conferencing and collaboration. Further segmentation is provided for both vertical and size of business markets.

It forms part of the firm's Enterprise Communications Research Service (http://www.abiresearch.com/products/service/Enterprise_Communications_Research_Service).

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research's worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 30+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.

Will Video Calls Finally Take Off?

Ever wonder why video calls haven’t taken off? It might.

That’s the considered opinion of FOX News’s John R. Quain, who pronounces himself “enamored with video calling - or videoconferencing, as the business folks know it - for nearly two decades.”



With everything so cumbersome and expensive twenty years ago he says, “okay, I can understand why it wasn’t happening then,” but today, with smartphones and broadband Internet, services like Skype thrive, so could this be video’s time to shine?

Asus has just upgraded its standalone Skype videophone, Quain says, noting that, “the Asus Videophone Touch AiGuru SV1T, which looks like a little television, has a 7-inch touchscreen, a built-in microphone and speaker, and connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable. Expected to cost about $300, it makes video calls nearly as easy as making a phone call.”

Much of the optimism is, in fact, depending on Skype's vast user base, Quain says. “Samsung's UN46C7000, for example, is a $2,000 46-inch LCD set that's ready for Skype out of the box. It works only with a special $240 camera, however, the FreeTalk Skype Camera. Panasonic has also Skype-enabled several of its latest HDTVs, including the 50-inch Panasonic TCP50VT25, a $2,360 plasma set. But it too needs a special $170 video camera to make a video call.”

How do these work? In some preliminary tests, with similar television systems, “I found the effect interesting -- but also chilling,” Quain admits. “The picture can be a bit blurry at times, but the idea of seeing distant relatives sitting in their dens in another country on a big-screen TV was appealing.

On the other hand, it was also unnerving to realize that people who were gazing into my living room could see how messy my home is -- and what toys my daughter was playing with (shouldn't she be doing her homework?).”

This, of course, is precisely the reason there hasn’t really been much of a concerted cry for video: We usually don’t want the other person to see us, what we’re wearing -- or not wearing.

Still, Cisco “isn't worried about the privacy aspect,” Quain says: “The company is poised to introduce its own video-calling device for the home this week, according to The Wall Street Journal.”

Google Loses Government Contract to Microsoft, Sues US Dept. of Interior

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

In the latest round of “sue, sue, I sue you,” Google filed a lawsuit Friday against the U.S. Department of the Interior. At issue is the Interior’s decision to purchase Microsoft e-mail and collaboration software for 88,000 employees, apparently without seriously considering similar products from other companies.



Google claims that the Interior Department’s request for quotes (RFQ) process for selecting a communications solution was unduly restrictive of competition because it required that the system be integrated with Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite.

In the RFQ, Google claims, “the DOI restricted the candidates to using the Microsoft suite only,” Ars Technica reporter Casey Johnston said in a Monday report. “The problem is that such a restriction is akin to putting money directly in Microsoft's pocket, as the contract can't be completed without Microsoft taking part at some point.”

The Interior Department’s defense, according to Google’s 37-page filing, is that the Microsoft suite provides features, including consolidated e-mail and enhanced security, not available from other vendors. Google countered this claim by saying Microsoft’s products suffer from downtime issues and Google Apps are a suitable alternative, Johnston reported.

Google claims that the Interior Department’s RFQ process violates the Competition Contracting Act, the New York Times said. As a result, Google was shut out of a contract worth $59.3 million.

Google claims that it’s not filing the lawsuit solely for its own benefit, but also to potentially save Americans money, Washington Post reporter Cecilia Kang noted Monday.

“Here, a fair and open process could save U.S. taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and result in better services,” the Washington Post report quoted a Google spokesperson as saying. “We’re asking the Department of Interior to allow for a true competition when selecting its technology providers.”

On balance, it would seem that Google comes out ahead in its arguments, but for one thing: the company, which began hawking its wares to the Interior Department back in 2009, didn’t obtain accreditation necessary to be considered an interested party until this past July.

Whether or not the accreditation issue ends up being Google’s Achilles’ heel, remains to be seen. Stay tuned.


Mae Kowalke is a TMCnet contributor. She is Manager of Stories at Neundorfer, Inc., a cleantech company in Northeast Ohio. She has more than 10 years experience in journalism, marketing and communications, and has a passion for new tech gadgets. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Survey: Cloud Solutions Are Better Than Their On-Premises Counterparts

Majority of Cloud Adopters Report Cloud Solutions Are Better Than Their On-Premises Counterparts, According to Appirio’s State of the Public Cloud Survey

New Survey of Cloud Adopters Addresses Misconceptions, IT’s Role in Cloud Adoption and Highlights Emerging Opportunities and Challenges

SAN MATEO, CA–(Marketwire – October 27, 2010) – Appirio, a cloud solution provider, issued results from its first State of the Public Cloud Survey, providing new insight into adoption trends, market misconceptions and the emerging challenges and opportunities for adopters of public cloud applications and platforms. Rather than another general market survey on cloud computing, this survey targeted more than 150 IT decision makers at mid-to-large sized companies that had already implemented at least one of the leading SaaS applications or cloud platforms. Conducted by a third-party firm, the survey uncovered valuable insights from companies that have already begun their move to the cloud.

“Companies leading the charge on cloud computing can teach the broader market a lot about what’s real, what’s hype and what to expect when you move more of your IT to the cloud,” said Chris Barbin, CEO of Appirio. ”Cloud computing is a highly valuable but disruptive technology, and the enterprises that will be most successful with the transition are those who can learn from the experience of others and look beyond the challenges of today.”

Adopters Bullish on the Cloud’s Impact, Address Top Cloud Misconceptions
Appirio’s survey results show that experienced cloud adopters see public cloud solutions as a significant improvement from their traditional on-premises counterparts, and cite the cloud’s positive and strategic impact on their business and IT organization:

  • More than 60% of cloud adopters say cloud solutions are better than on-premises in terms of availability, total cost of ownership, ease-of-integration, ease-of-deployment and time-to-value.
  • 83% agreed that cloud solutions have helped them respond faster to the needs of their business.
  • 29% strongly agreed that cloud solutions have changed the way they run their business.
  • Nearly 40% say future cloud adoption will be part of an overall business transformation, 65% say it will be part of an IT transformation.

Given the positive experience of cloud adopters, it may not be surprising to see that adopters label many of the most common fears about cloud solutions as “misconceptions.” Twenty-eight percent of survey respondents say that cloud security is the number one misconception about cloud solutions, with integration challenges (15%) and lock-in (13%) coming in a distant second and third choice. More than 35% of respondents said IT leadership is the primary driver of cloud misconceptions, more than triple the number who called out traditional vendors (10%) or media and analysts (6%) as the driver.

Future for Cloud Adoption Looks Bright, IT Playing a Greater Role
Cloud adopters are more aggressive in their near-term and long-term adoption plans than what general market data indicates. Today, 22% of cloud adopters said they had more than 50% of their IT in the public cloud; and 68% expect to have the majority of their IT in the public cloud within three years. While nearly every analyst group predicts tremendous growth for cloud computing in the next three years, they’re typically much more conservative about how much of IT moves to the public cloud in that timeframe.

IT has often been portrayed as on the sidelines when it comes to cloud adoption, with business leaders using cloud applications as a way to get around IT. However, cloud adopters paint a much different picture:

  • 70% of cloud adopters say IT was a driver in the decision-making process to move to the cloud, and nearly 80% expect IT will be a driver in the future.
  • 70% agree that cloud solutions have “changed the role of IT within the business — IT is now seen as a true business enabler,” and 40% strongly agree with this statement.

New Challenges Emerge for Cloud Adopters
Security, compliance and manageability remain priorities for improving cloud applications, just as they continue to be priorities for existing, on-premises IT solutions. However, a new set of challenges are beginning to emerge with cloud adopters, including cloud-to-cloud integration, bringing information to mobile devices, and reducing SaaS silos. More than 73% of respondents selected each of these three areas as an important or very important priority. Overall, more than 65% of respondents said enhancing their cloud applications was a high or essential priority in the context of their broader objectives. Only 3% rated it a low or non-priority.

A free copy of Appirio’s State of the Public Cloud report, including full data and commentary, can be downloaded at http://thecloud.appirio.com/StateofthePublicCloudWhitepaper1.html. Additionally, an infographic laying out the key highlights is available at http://appirio.com/company/images/survey.gif. Appirio has also created a short video about the survey, which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQXK7COcf6A.

Visit www.appirio.com

New Polycom Video Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime Helps Businesses Drive Greater Results

October 27, 2010

Polycom Telepresence Integration With IBM Lotus Sametime Allows Users to Easily Connect and Collaborate


PLEASANTON, CA–(Marketwire – October 27, 2010) – Polycom, Inc. (NASDAQ: PLCM), a global leader in unified communications, today announced availability of the Polycom Unified Collaboration Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime, a new, integrated telepresence and desktop video collaboration solution for IBM Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC2) environments that enables users to easily connect and collaborate. This enhanced collaboration helps organizations improve productivity, accelerate decision making and lower costs by reducing the need to travel.

The end-to-end solution combines IBM’s feature-rich Lotus Sametime platform with the scalable, redundant and standards-based Polycom UC Intelligent Core visual communication platform and Polycom personal and room telepresence solutions. Polycom, and its certified partners and integrators, including IBM Global Services, offer supporting services to help customers plan for, deploy and manage the integrated offering.

“Video conferencing has long been a core element of any unified communications and collaboration solution,” said Sandesh Bhat, vice president of web and collaboration development, IBM. “As video moves beyond the executive suite, Polycom’s new integration with IBM Sametime will make it easy for organizations to leverage these capabilities to eliminate travel, protect the environment and drive significant cost savings for their enterprises.”

“Unified communications and collaboration is about making it easy for people to find, connect and collaborate with others,” said Joseph Burton, chief strategy and technology officer, Polycom. “Polycom’s integration with the IBM UC2 environment puts our powerful, productivity enhancing video collaboration tools just one-click away within the Lotus applications that millions of people use every day. This extends the value of customers’ UC investments and drives greater ROI.”

Enhances Familiar Lotus Sametime User Experience with Click-to-Call Telepresence
The Polycom Unified Collaboration Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime allows users to “Click-to-Call” and “Click-to-Conference” telepresence, video, voice and unified (combined voice and video) conferencing from presence-enabled contacts within IBM Lotus Sametime. In addition, Lotus Sametime Web conferencing users can launch Instant Meetings with voice and video conferences, or include a voice or video conference as part of a scheduled web conference.

“Integrating voice and video communications within the IBM UC environment will help customers drive a more collaborative culture by enhancing the interaction between locations while also reducing travel costs,” said Cindy Borovick, vice president of Enterprise Communications, International Data Corporation (IDC). “Customers will benefit by Polycom and IBM working together because it will provide a more seamless experience for end users and IT managers, along with better investment protection.”

Supports Existing Polycom and IBM Investments for Rapid ROI
Polycom Unified Collaboration Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime supports Lotus Sametime Release 8.5.1, and provides seamless call routing between the Lotus applications and Polycom room and personal telepresence systems and desktop and conference room video conferencing systems for video calls and unified (voice and video) conferences. To extend collaboration opportunities and help customers drive a fast return on investment (ROI), the solution is interoperable with the broad ecosystem of standards-based telepresence and video conferencing systems in use today.

Simplifies Deployment and Management
The Polycom Unified Collaboration Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime provides a comprehensive solution that is easy to deploy and manage. Polycom’s integration with the Lotus Sametime server does not change the user interface, which results in minimal user training requirements. The Polycom Converged Management Application (CMA) allows IT administrators to centrally provision and manage Polycom video networks and systems within their UC network.

Converged Communications Services from IBM
IBM Global Technology Services (GTS) provides services for converged communications world-wide, including service offerings for Lotus products and the integration of Lotus products with Polycom solutions. IBM Converged Communications Services for desktop video enable the integration and deployment of complex UC solutions, including providing support for the Polycom solutions’ integration to Lotus Sametime 8.5.1. In addition, IBM GTS provides strategy, network assessments, design and implementation services which can be utilized to plan and deploy UC and Polycom-based collaboration solutions.

High-Growth Market Opportunity for Channel Partners
The market for enterprise UC solutions is growing rapidly, and represents a significant growth opportunity for qualified channel partners. According to Forrester Research, the Enterprise UC worldwide market size will grow from $3.75 billion in 2010 to $14.5 billion in 20151.

“Customers evaluating voice and video collaboration tools increasingly require that those tools integrate with their unified communications environments,” said Ted Thompson, vice president of technology at HB Communications, Inc. “Polycom and IBM have delivered a great solution that puts those tools within the familiar Lotus Sametime applications and interface. Polycom systems are all standards-based and their UC Intelligent Core platform can scale as use grows and as applications evolve. This provides a great migration path for customers as they move toward truly unified communications and collaboration. We are pleased to be among the first partners to offer this solution to customers.”

Polycom’s integration efforts with IBM supports the Polycom Open Collaboration Network strategy, providing an open and interoperable collaboration solution that gives customers greater flexibility and investment protection for their UC environment.

Availability:
The Polycom Unified Collaboration Solution for IBM Lotus Sametime is now available through certified Polycom channel partners. More information is available at www.polycom.com/IBM.

Tour the Avaya Solutions and Energy Lab

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of an extensive tour of the Avaya Solutions and Energy Lab at our site in Billerica, Massachusetts. This lab came into Avaya via the Nortel acquisition and has been doing pretty incredible, impressive and innovative work for 2+ years.

My guide for the tour was the leader of the lab, John Bongiorno. John and his team of Solution Architects built out the lab with a really practical goal, to diligently replicate actual deployments that were going into customers' locations and businesses. As he puts it, "the best way to test is to build out completely." Sounds simple, right?

But think about the number of variables and the uniqueness in each business' operations. So, they took several existing and challenging deployments and modeled what gear went into to service actual customer needs and built from there in the lab environment. Then, because the deployments are in the lab setting, the highly capable team John leads is able to stress test the solution. As a result, they are able to project where issue might arise and proactively adapt to mitigate the issues and take steps to prevent whatever issue might happen in our customer's live, vital and essential communication networks.

The gear that in the lab included hundreds of phones, workstations loaded with typical business software, the data core and the phone core. All are built to spec and upgraded only as recommended by Avaya and the other software/hardware vendors, such as Microsoft. In the past, when there a issue came up the team submitted it via the normal customer support/services process, so that it was classified as any other customer request, all to ensure accuracy with the lab mantra of modeling actual customer deployments.

Through some pretty sophisticated and heavy duty hardware, the team is then able to mirror out the load from the physical hardware in-house to mimic much larger solutions, in effect virtualization in reverse. With this mirroring, all of the typical locations for a customer can be incorporated into the build, from the central office/campus all the way to a small branch location. As a result, they have over 50 scenarios in play up in Billerica.

One last super cool feature of the lab is its ability to be managed entirely via remote service delivery. In fact, John lives about 3 hours away in Connecticut (which made me even more appreciative of his drive into the lab for the tour). His team has been spread all over the country, and they are able to get into the testing scenarios and manipulate all of the variables to test the myriad of combinations outlines above. Pretty cool, and the ability to do that remotely is also a green benefit in my book, abating travel and commuting.

The Energy Lab
The last really cool thing that John showed me was the Avaya Energy Lab, which is part of the larger solutions lab. This lab was the location where the testing was conducted for the recently announced Tolly Test Report, Avaya 9600 Series Voice over IP Phones: Energy Consumption Evaluation versus Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series.

The testing was actually the impetus for my visit to the lab and it was very cool to see how the team had set up the lab environment. Basically each of the IP phones was staged in an area of the lab where they were isolated, monitored and measured. The testing included the backend of the solution as well, which are also measured and monitored. For the testing, the Avaya team wrote protocols that ensured stable environments and impartiality throughout, which were then reviewed by Tolly.

All in all, I was so impressed with this facility and hope that my post here has given you a little flavor of that experience. A big thanks to Bongi.

Posted 29 Oct 2010 at 01:12 PM