Wednesday, March 23, 2011

IP Office 7.0 Now Out

IP Office 7.0 Has Now Been Released This new version has many new changes that will benefit your business.

What’s new with IP Office Release 7.0?

BCM and Norstar customers save 40% to 60%! Upgrade your BCM and Norstar to IP Office and preserve up to 60 percent of your original investment by migrating the most popular Nortel phone sets. It’s a powerful advantage!

  • IP Office 7.0 has Support for T7000 and M7000 series sets, Audio Conferencing Unit, and Digital Mobility Solutions
  • New Digital Expansion Modules (DS16a & DS30a) & TCM8 Base Card supports heritage Nortel sets

Lower Total Cost of Ownership.

  • Simplified installation speeds and reduces your installation costs and lowers their total cost of ownership
  • Streamlined management tools – built for the sub-20 employee segment, these new simplified tools reduce costs and improve efficiency
  • Improved Data Migration Tool minimizes the cost and time required for BCM /Norstar migrations.

Enhanced User-Experience. We’ve your experience with new paperless 9500 and 9600 color touch screen sets. Full duplex speakerphones (9600s), larger backlit LCD screens and color touch screen (in some 9600 series sets) enable you to offer the right phone to the right user.

  • New paperless digital phones 95xx series phones are easy to use and administer
  • More intuitive, feature rich interface for the 1100 and 1200 IP Series telephones
  • Introducing a new gadget for Avaya one-X® Portal for IP Office, designed for customer service agents. Avaya one-X® Portal for IP Office is included with Office Worker, Teleworker, and Power User solutions.

For the latest info on 7.0 release visit TRC Networks

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cisco Completes Acquisition of Pari Networks

SAN JOSE, Calif. – March 2, 2011 – Cisco today announced it has completed its acquisition of privately-held Pari Networks, a leading provider of network configuration and change management (NCCM) and compliance management solutions that will complement Cisco’s smart service capabilities. Based in Milpitas, Calif., with part of its employee base in Hyderabad, India, Pari Networks’ technology will integrate into Cisco’s smart services and help accelerate the ability of Cisco and its partners to manage the health and stability of customer networks through proactive, personalized services.

In addition to advanced technology, Pari Networks brings to Cisco an industry-leading team of engineers that will continue to build out and strengthen Cisco’s smart service capabilities. Cisco and its partners have been evolving service offerings from reactive to proactive by embedding smart service capabilities throughout professional and technical services.

Financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed. With the close of the acquisition, Pari Networks employees become part of Cisco’s Technical Services.


Jabra products connect you to just about everything

March 7, 2011 // By The Telecom Reseller

Cloud. SIP. Avaya. Cisco. Lync. If you were at Enterprise Connect last week, you were surrounded by the major OEM and solution providers and near ubiquitous buzz about SIP, Cloud and more. But whatever you are planning as the path of migration and development, the end point remains a constant requirement, even if the end point itself is radically changing.

In this podcast, Yves DuPuis, Jabra’s Vice President of Sales for North America walks us through Jabra’s product line, including several products hat were showcased at the show. We also learn about how headsets are increasingly a matter for enterprise purchase well beyond the traditional call/contact center requirements. With the rise of tablets, smartphones and the concurrent changes underway in delivery platforms, having the right headset or end point can make the difference on whether or not the user can fully experience the communication session being offered.

Polycom sees homes, small offices driving video

BANGALORE | Tue Mar 8, 2011 1:02pm EST

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Polycom Inc (PLCM.O), a U.S. video conferencing company, is looking to consumers and small businesses to help it win market share from rival Cisco's (CSCO.O) Tandberg unit, its CEO said.

Polycom has 41 percent of the integrated voice, video and web market, and picked up 2 points of market share from Cisco in the first half of 2010.

"Between now and 2014, we expect a consistent market share gain," Chief Executive Andy Miller told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Polycom's expected foray into the consumer market will take it head-to-head with Cisco, with the benefit of not requiring a standalone videoconferencing device.

The company is looking to provide its technology through set-top boxes, TV sets embedded with a camera or gaming consoles such as Microsoft's (MSFT.O) Xbox 360. It may also seek to attract consumers through mobile devices, such as tablets.

Last year, Cisco launched its "umi" home videoconferencing product, priced at $599 plus a $24.99 monthly service fee.

"It (umi) is an expensive product, an expensive service. It's not open, it doesn't communicate with other manufacturers and I don't think it's scalable," said Miller, a former Cisco sales chief and Tandberg CEO.

Polycom, which partners companies such as Microsoft, IBM (IBM.N) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N), will provide open-standard videoconferencing through tablets like Samsung Electronics' (005930.KS) Galaxy Tab with the application running in the tablet when it's shipped.

It doesn't expect revenue from this business this year, but it predicts "a growing business" in 2012.

Polycom is looking to tie up with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM.TO), Motorola (MSI.N), Nokia (NOK1V.HE), Apple (AAPL.O), Toshiba (6502.T) and some Chinese manufacturers by next year.

Privately-held rival Skype, which partners LG Electronics (066570.KS) and Panasonic (6752.T), also provides an Internet video service on home televisions.

"It's a great, free consumer product to talk to your relative. The question is: will that technology scale to SMBs?" Miller said, referring to the small- and medium-sized businesses he hopes will help drive sales to compliment existing bigger corporate clients.

"Some will buy from Skype, but there will be many concerned about security, interoperability and how it integrates into an existing platform like Microsoft's," said Miller.

"I think there's plenty of room for both."

Polycom increased its revenue by 26 percent last year, and that should grow by 19 percent this year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The so-called unified collaboration market -- of voice, video and web -- is a subset of the unified communications market that brings together real time instant messaging and videoconferencing with non-real time e-mail and text messaging.

Miller reckons the total addressable unified collaboration market, excluding digital telephony over the Internet, is worth about $5.2 billion.

Polycom's federal segment, part of its enterprise business, should also be boosted this year through a certification process that will allow it to bid for defense and intelligence projects.

"We don't expect a magic door to open, but we will be able to see significant material revenue upside in 2012," said Miller, adding the federal business is nearing double digits in terms of the percentage of total company revenue.

Shares of Pleasanton, California-based Polycom have almost doubled since mid-October.

(Reporting by Sayantani Ghosh, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

The Cloud…now closer than ever!

February 8, 2011 by Rick Scherer

Today VMware announced the intent to release vCloud Connector before the end of Q1 as a free download to it’s vSphere customers. So what is vCloud Connector you ask? Well, it is a huge leap forward in making the Hybrid Cloud concept a reality. vCloud Connector is a plug-in that you install into your vSphere Client, it will allow you to easily move your virtual machines from your local/trusted/secure datacenter (Private Cloud) to the dynamic/scalable/on-demand Public Cloud while never leaving the vSphere Client, in fact you can still manage those virtual machines that moved over!

VMware vCloud Datacenter Services are available now through US-based BlueLock, pan-European service provider Colt, and via beta from global service provider Verizon. VMware vCloud Datacenter partners Terremark (soon to be Verizon) and SingTel offer cloud services based on VMware technology today and are developing vCloud Datacenter services as well.

So there you have it people, The Cloud is now going to be closer than ever! Now with that said, wouldn’t you want to run your Private Cloud on the same architecture that the Public Cloud providers are using? Many companies are looking at Vblock powered solutions for their own Private Clouds because they know that a lot of the Public Cloud offerings being brought on-line are also running on Vblock technology. Learn more about it here.

To the cloud! (haha sorry, just had to do it…those new Microsoft ads just make me laugh because of how confused their making consumers - just like this guys wife in the commercial)

Polycom Looks to Expand In Consumer Video Market

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Telepresence provider Polycom (News - Alert) has its eyes on winning the video, voice and Web market share for consumers, and it is relying on small businesses and consumers to get there.

Polycom’s newest CEO, Andrew Miller has helped the company increase its presence in the industry at 41 percent in the last year, taking two of those points from Cisco (News - Alert), its known rival. According to Mercury News, Polycom expanded its employees, adding 537 new personnel in 2010 while increasing its annual sales by 26 percent. The company's stock price has also nearly doubled, giving Polycom a good standing chance against its competition.

Polycom is no longer going to be known for just its conference phones. The company plans to make its foray into consumer video through set-top boxes, television sets with embedded cameras and gaming consoles.

Miller, a former Cisco sales chief and Tandberg (News - Alert) CEO, seems to think Cisco has it all wrong when it comes to the Umi, Cisco’s set-top box video conferencing system in the consumer market. Priced at $599, Miller touts it as “not scalable and not affordable.” With that in mind, he wants to take Polycom in a better direction, giving consumers a different choice when it comes to the video market.

“Our vision is to go to any platform without having to worry about what’s on the other end,” he said, as reported by Forbes.

With partners like Microsoft, IBM (News - Alert) and Hewlett-Packard, Polycom is planning a growing consumer business for 2012. Already the company provides videoconferencing on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, implemented as a Polycom app that allows the tablet to connect to the Polycom video conferencing systems. The app also connects to other third party telepresence and video conferencing platforms that use industry standard protocols.

With IBM and Microsoft (News - Alert), embedding Polycom’s technology into their products is just another way Polycom is able to reach the consumer market. The partner approach has helped Polycom increase its stock and gain market share.

Polycom won’t give up its place in the voice communications market, however.

“It will always be an aspect of our business. If you look at this triangular speaker phone, people still see that as our brand -- not only conference calling but also voice over IP technology. It's evolving, though,” said Miller to Mercury News.

Telepresence - Virtual PBX Survey Indicates SMBs Realize Cost Savings through Virtual Offices

By Arvind Arora, TMCnet Contributor

Virtual PBX, a provider of hosted phone and private branch exchange or PBX (News - Alert) services that enable enterprises to enhance the capabilities of their business telephony solutions at lower costs, has announced the findings of a recent study that shows how the owners and employees of small and medium-sized businesses or SMBs benefit from virtual offices.

The products offered by Virtual PBX include a range of solutions such as comprehensive set-ups including dial tone and VoIP phone, automated call answering and routing solutions that work with the existing land line, cell phone or VoIP phone of its customers.

Instead of buying and maintaining their own PBX hardware, customers of Virtual PBX can leverage its advanced features and responsiveness to concentrate upon serving their clients. The company also provides a backup phone service that helps the customers in continuing the business activities even during a disaster.

Over 600 representatives from SMBs participated within the survey; and comprised of chief executive officers, owners, partners, principals, directors and sales managers. They offered their insight about a number of topics such as frequency of virtual office use, perceived effectiveness in a virtual setting, virtual office costs and adoption of new technology within virtual business endeavors.

It was found in the study that enterprises expressed a number of reasons for the adoption of virtual offices. Sixty-one percent of the respondents cited employee flexibility, 54 percent citeed cost savings, while 42 percent said geographic distance of staff was the main reason for them to adopt virtual offices. Forty-one percent of them expressed that the desire to reduce commute time, cost and pollution compelled them to do the same.

The virtual workers who participated in the survey included a number of people who worked from home offices, coffee shops and other non-traditional locales as well.

Within the survey, it was found that over 60 percent of respondents work from a virtual office almost all the time, while 27 percent among them work outside the office for around two to 10 days every month. A considerable workforce of around 57 percent of the participants leverages a virtual office during any month, while approximately 59 percent respondents indicated that they are able to work from a virtual location in much more effective way in comparison to a traditional office.

Adoption of virtual offices also helps enterprises in realizing overall cost savings, and 43 percent of the SMB firms participating in the survey have said that they were able to save at least $1,000 every month in terms of rent, IT equipment, phone service and supplies. Eight percent of them have expressed they have saved more than $10,000 a month due to virtual offices.

In February 2011, Virtual PBX announced Virtual PBX Complete, tailored for companies who occasionally find themselves in a quandary. The product was billed as “everything a business needs to provide professional phone support for its customers, prospects and employees while eliminating the need to buy dial-tone service and other expensive options from traditional service providers.”

74% Of SMBs To Increase Cloud Software Spend

More than half of smaller firms plan to boost their 2011 budgets for collaboration software, according to Egnyte.

By Kevin Casey , InformationWeek

Nearly three in four (74%) small and midsize businesses (SMBs) will increase their spending on cloud-based software in 2011, according to a recent survey conducted by Egnyte.

Over half -- 51% -- of SMBs, meanwhile, will bump up their budgets for collaboration software this year. Egnyte, which sells storage, backup, file sharing, and other Web-based services, polled 125 of its resellers on the 2011 spending plans of their SMB customers. The survey was conducted online earlier this year by Zoomerang.

Those rather rosy outlooks for the year ahead could turn even brighter: 44% of respondents to the collaboration software spending question said "I don't know," while just 6% answered a definitive "No." (Egnyte rounded up the final percentage breakdowns in its report, which results in a total of 101% for the collaboration question.)

To exploit the natural synergy of smartphones and tablets with the cloud, first nail down solid mobile and cloud strategies.

Cloud and Mobile Computing: Better Together

Likewise, only 2% of respondents said no when asked about spending increases on cloud-based software overall. Although it goes by many names -- Web-based, online, software as a service (SaaS) -- cloud, in this case, refers to software hosted off-site and online.

The survey's results come on the heels of Parallels' recent $8.6 billion valuation of today's overall SMB cloud market. That study, which included all hosted IT functions, projected an additional $13 billion of future growth for the SMB market. Other reports released earlier this year have signaled increased IT spending overall in the SMB sector.

The apparent loosening of the IT purse-strings at smaller companies could be the result of repeatedly delaying tech refreshes during the recent recession. Analysys Mason analyst Steve Hilton made note of that broader trend in a recent interview, saying: "The global economy is turned around, so in the developed markets of the world, small businesses are starting to see their businesses grow again." As a result, it would appear SMBs -- though always focused on costs and realizing quantifiable returns on their technology investments -- are ready to update.

A rather specific -- and just a bit leading -- question in Egnyte's survey asked: "What portion of your customers (SMBs) who operate virtual businesses or have remote workers and offices could benefit from cloud storage services?" A full 38% said "all of them." The poll also asked if hybrid cloud storage services are viable replacements for file servers at SMBs; 79% answered yes.

While the news would appear good for cloud providers that target smaller businesses, those that sell their products through third-party partners may need to temper their excitement somewhat. When asked if cloud computing vendors "adequately address the needs of resellers" today, 68% said no.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

IP Office Release 7.0

By Viper Communications

Avaya has announced that they will be releasing a new versions(7.0) of the IP 500V2 at the end of March. This new version has many new changes, most notably the ability to use Norstar phones on the IP office. The following modules are being introduced to work on the IP Office:

New Hardware:
TCM-88– Digital Station Base card. Plugs into the control unit, up to 4 can be used. Similar to the Digital 8 Base board that supports Avaya sets
DS16A– Expansion Units that supports 16 Digital Nortel sets (similar to DS16)
DS30A– Expansion Unit that supports 30 Digital Nortel Sets (similar to DS30)
These modules support the Norstar T7000 and M7000 series telephones and expansion modules. They also support the cordless T7406E as well as Digital Mobility Solution and the Norstar Digital Conferencing Unit. Please note this unit support Norstar series phones, not Meridian phones, like M2616 or M3904.

New Telephones available with Release 7
New IP Telephones
9608 – 4 interactive softkey buttons to provide up to 24 programmable buttons on screen
9621G – color touch-screen display. 10 “touch” buttons emulated a total of 24 buttons on screen
9641G – color touch-screen display a little bit bigger than the 9621G
BM12 – 12 button DSS that can emulate 36 buttons, max 3 modules can be added to 9608 and 9641G

New Digital Phones
9504 - 4 Line black and white backlit LCD Display
9508 – 3.8 Inch bland and white backlit LCD Display, full duplex speakerphone
BM12 – 12 button LCD DSS for 9500/9600

Other Notable Changes:
Quick Mode
This is basically how the Partner version comes up, simple GUI interface with 9 hyperlinks. Now you can have your IP Office MU-LAW come up in this simplified mode as well. This is recommended for 20 users or less only. The system will default in this mode, which makes the system operational out of the box. All phones will have two intercom buttons, a voicemail box, and line appearances. After the system boots up, it can be easily changed to standard mode, and will remain in that mode unless you change it.

System Capacities
Quick Mode Supports up to 100 phones (Nortel or 98 Avaya digital) and 72 trunks (not simultaneously) Curiously, it is only “recommended” for 20 users or less, but you do have the option.
The ETR phone capacity has not changed, still only (18) Partner 18D telephones supported.
Embedded Voicemail – comes as a 2 port 15 hour. It is now expandable to 4 ports 20 hours, and 6 port 25 hours. Each expansion does have cost associated with it.

Editor’s Opinion
I’ll be the first to admit, I was skeptical. When Avaya first purchased Nortel, they hinted of their long term plans of Norstar phones working on Avaya IP Office systems, like one happy family. Given Nortel's history of not playing well with others, I was hesitant. I was sure there was going to be some sort limitation, similar to the Partner “mode” of IP Office. But lo and behold, Avaya has announced that Release 7 will be available at the end of March (not that behind schedule surprisingly). It seems that the Norstar phones will work like legitimate digital telephones on the IP Office. Now, of course they have their own station modules, but they work side by side with the other digital modules. I would not recommend being a “guinea pig” on the new version, but hey, you never know. We are eager to get the new modules on the test bench, and will keep you informed as to our opinion on the new version.

The purpose of these new modules is to give existing Norstar customers a migration path for future growth on the IP Office. Norstar’s ICS family was discontinued soon after Avaya purchased Nortel last year. The Nortel BCM is still a current product, but with the new integration, I question how long the product will stay available. Avaya has mentioned that they are not selling new T7316e’s to go with the IP Office, which is not a good signal. It had been rumored in the beginning that the BCM product was actually going to be the survivor of the IP products, and they were just going to re-brand the BCM as the IP Office. That does not seem to be the case, as the Avaya manager, although it has gone through some changes, does still seem to be the interface that will be used moving forward. It had been rumored that the Element Manger interface was found to be superior, but for whatever reason, it does not seem like Avaya adopted this interface.

I think that the “Quick Mode” of the IP Office is actually the most exciting announcement of the Release 7. It has the simplicity of the Partner Mode, without the limitations. Now you can have a less experienced technician set up the majority of the phone system without going through the more confusing standard mode. When it’s time to set up an IP Extension, switch modes, program, and switch back. I can see how this ease of programming will appeal to a wide variety of customers familiar with the ACS/ICS family. I’m always a bit hesitant how a product will work until I see it in action, but this is very promising for small/medium installers. It will make installing IP Office's a lot less intimidating. I’m really looking forward to it. I think this change will almost eliminate the need for the Partner versions, unless you are re-using Partner telephones. And even in that scenario, you are still limited to the 18 Partner telephones.

Although the new release is scheduled for the last week of March, we are already seeing that the new Norstar compatible modules will not be available until April. Based on past experience, I wouldn’t expect to see this product until at least May. As always, we will keep you up to date with the availability.

Stay tuned…….

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cisco Announces Unified Communications Platforms for Small and Mid-sized Businesses and New Sales Productivity Initiatives

NEW ORLEANS – Cisco Partner Summit – March 2, 2011 – Cisco today announced two new purpose-built unified communications solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. These new Cisco® Unified Communications offerings provide customers in these distinct market segments with complete, affordable, business-class collaboration systems to help drive productivity and profitability.

Cisco also announced a new global sales productivity initiative called Cisco Partner Advisor, with agents available to give Select and Registered partners immediate and personalized sales support to accelerate sales and make it easier to do business with Cisco. In addition, Cisco is providing channel partners with more ways to offer complete collaboration solutions for small and mid-sized customers by extending Cisco WebEx® Meeting Center to its partners.

Announcement Highlights

  • New Unified Communications System for Small Business – The Cisco Unified Communications 300 Series is a complete collaboration system delivering everything a company with two to 24 users needs for business-class networking and voice communications. This easy-to-use, affordable solution lets a small business take advantage of IP telephony to reduce phone costs, boost employee productivity, and create a more collaborative company. It includes built-in data and wireless support, along with features such as voicemail and automated attendant. Three-year, zero percent financing is available from Cisco Capital® in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom for the Cisco UC300 Series through the end of July, 2011.
  • New Unified Communications System for Mid-Sized Businesses - The Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000 is an economical unified communications platform designed for growing mid-sized businesses, and supports a capacity of 300 users across 10 sites. The system is quick for a trained Cisco partner to set up, and easy-to-use, with an intuitive user interface, helping these customers to save time and money, and helping our channel partners to optimize their implementation, support, and maintenance practices.
    The Cisco Unified CM Business Edition 3000 offers essential features like voice mail, conferencing, the ability to park or hold calls, auto attendant, and standard mobility features like single number reach, extension mobility, and tele-worker support to connect business calls and voice mail messages to employees anywhere they choose to work. The Cisco Unified SIP Phone 3905 is an affordable, IP-based phone that integrates with the Cisco Unified CM Business Edition 3000 to address the need for uncomplicated voice communications for mid-sized businesses. It included fixed keys for redial, transfer, hold and resume, speakerphone, volume toggle, and a PC switch port to reduce cabling installation requirements.
  • New Partner Sales Support InitiativeCisco Partner Advisor is an innovative sales coverage and support initiative for Cisco small business and mid-market partners that provides immediate, personalized sales support via click-to-chat or phone. Initially delivered through two global centers in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Lisbon, Portugal, Cisco support personnel are waiting to help new partners get started with Cisco and provide assistance to partners for deal support, programs and tools. Over the next few months, Partner Advisor will continue to roll out in Europe, Emerging Markets, Asia Pacific and Canada, and support will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Korean. With this sophisticated sales support offering, Cisco is investing in people and technology to provide sales coverage for more than 24,000 Cisco Select and Registered partners selling to small and mid-market customers around the world.
  • Partner Offering for Cisco WebEx - Cisco is introducing a partner-led model for Cisco WebEx Meeting Center designed specifically for partners that sell to small businesses. Cisco WebEx Meeting Center lets end users share applications, presentations, documents, or a PC desktop in real time and work with teams around the world without the time and expense of travel. By selling Cisco WebEx Meeting Center, partners can offer more complete collaboration solutions while helping customers use web conferencing to accelerate productivity and drive business growth. Partners can learn more about selling WebEx Meeting Center at

Supporting Quotes

  • Matthew Hurley, senior vice president, small business market, Bell; a Canadian service provider partner:
  • "Bell is demonstrating our continued commitment to providing cost-effective communication solutions to small and medium businesses. The Cisco UC320W, designed for small businesses, has all of the features and functionality a customer needs, it is simple to set-up and use, affordable, and built for growing businesses."

  • Reza Khorramian, vice president of sales, Business Communications Solutions; a Cisco certified small business and advanced unified communications partner:
  • "After a brief introduction and training on the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000, we installed it with a live network connection to the public telephone network. Setup was very straightforward and simple, especially compared with other PBX systems we have installed. There were no issues getting the system installed and adding and changing users and features. Installation did not require in-depth network training and we were able to get the system successfully making calls in less than an hour."

  • Mark Wang, manager, Easier Way, an information system architecture designer and Cisco Unified Communications customer:
  • "Cisco Unified Communications Manager Business Edition 3000 is a very easy-to-use IP communications system for handling all our essential collaboration needs. The management interface in the optional Chinese language is very simple and uncomplicated, which allowed the system to be set up very quickly. We were pleased that our business experienced minimal disruption during the switch over."

  • Barry O'Sullivan, senior vice president , Voice Technology Group, Cisco:
  • "Building on our industry-leadership in the enterprise collaboration market, Cisco is delivering innovative, unified communications solutions that are tailor-made for the unique characteristics of small and mid-market business partners and the customers they serve."

  • Ian Pennell, senior vice president, Small Business Technology Group and co-chair, Small Business Council, Cisco:
  • "Cisco continues to be 100 percent committed to giving our partners and the customers they serve the easy-to-use technology innovation they need to succeed. Our partners and customers have told us they want simple unified communications solutions to help them stay ahead of their competition. Cisco is ready to meet that need."

  • Andrew Sage, vice president of worldwide Small Business Sales, Cisco:
  • "Our partners are the center of our business at Cisco, and we will do whatever we can to help them succeed. Our new Cisco Partner Advisor initiative uses both people and technology to help our small and mid-market business partners to begin or continue working with Cisco to get the immediate sales and programs help they need."