Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Collaboration is a mindset

This week, Gartner issued a press release in support of their recent PPM and IT Governance Summit entitled "5 collaboration myths." Number one myth on their list? "The right tools will make us collaborative."

Perhaps this sounds heretical from someone working for Avaya, especially as we significantly increase focus on collaboration technologies and solutions, but I wholeheartedly agree with Gartner's statement.

A couple of months ago, I took part in some Avaya leadership training, and we spent a good bit of time discussing corporate norms and behaviors that had the potential to limit our success. A lot of this dialog centered around increasing the value and effectiveness of collaboration across Avaya organizations, our customers and our channels.

You've undoubtedly heard the adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink."

Most businesses should have a similar saying -- "You can provide collaboration tools, but you cannot make 'em collaborate."

Effective collaboration (and the key word here is "effective") requires more than just putting powerful, intuitive tools in the hands of your users and customers. It requires a mindset to commit oneself to exploiting the benefits of these tools, and doing so consistently and with purpose.

As an example, I have a peer who refuses to use instant messaging tools, viewing them as intrusive. This individual doesn't want to be bothered by ad-hoc, distracting messages from anyone and everyone, demanding instant attention to their questions and interruptions.

I can understand that. But there are times, particularly when we are on a conference call with customers, channel partners, or peers, that instant messaging and multi-party chat capabilities can be a powerful back-channel, testing proposals and verifying facts before speaking publicly.

The fact that my peer is simply unwilling to use the collaboration tools put in front of them under any circumstances, simply because there are certain circumstances (many circumstances, perhaps) where they find the tool to be less than ideal, means the overall collaboration experience in which they participate is certainly less than ideal. And, in turn, that makes everyone involved in the collaboration effort less effective.

Gartner explains that "Technology can make it easier to collaboration when applications mirror a more intuitive, fluid work style, but selecting a tool without addressing the roles, processes, metrics and the organization's workplace climate is putting the cart before the horse."

Or, as I said at our leadership team discussion, "Collaboration is a mindset, not a toolset."

So as your organization considers the metrics and KPI's you'll use you measure the value of investments in collaboration technologies, take time to also assess your organizations mental fortitude and attitude to make collaboration itself work effectively. It could make a major impact to your ROI calculations.

Microsoft Patents VoIP and Skype Wiretapping

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Microsoft was recently granted a patent for a technology called Legal Intercept, which apparently enables Microsoft to secretly intercept, monitor and record Skype calls. I'm skeptical. Many Skype calls are peer-to-peer (P2P) with the packets traveling across different router hops. There's no way to predict exactly where the packets are going.

Of course, if you know the target user's ISP, a government entity could put a packet capture device at the ISP where all the user's traffic goes first. However, Skype uses 256 bit AES encryption, which is very difficult to crack. So simply capturing the packets doesn't seem like a feasible way to wiretap Skype. Unless Microsoft's patent involves remotely turning off the encryption within the Skype client, I just don't see how this would work. Of course, this would be classified as a "back door", which Skype users won't be happy about.

According to Computer World, Microsoft's patent application for Legal Intercept was filed in 2009, which is before Microsoft's $8.5 billion acquisition of Skype. The patent was apparently granted last week. The abstract description of the patent doesn't really explain how exactly Microsoft intercepts peer-to-peer Skype traffic, but perhaps this patent only covers when Skype calls touch the PSTN? Here's what the abstract says:

Aspects of the subject matter described herein relate to silently recording communications. In aspects, data associated with a request to establish a communication is modified to cause the communication to be established via a path that includes a recording agent. Modification may include, for example, adding, changing, and/or deleting data within the data. The data as modified is then passed to a protocol entity that uses the data to establish a communication session. Because of the way in which the data has been modified, the protocol entity selects a path that includes the recording agent. The recording agent is then able to silently record the communication.

Later in the patent application it mentions Skype and reads:

As mentioned previously, traditional techniques for silently recording telephone communication may not work correctly with VoIP and other network-based communication technology. As used hereafter, the term VoIP is used to refer to standard VoIP as well as any other form of packet-based communication that may be used to transmit audio over a wireless and/or wired network. For example, VoIP may include audio messages transmitted via gaming systems, instant messaging protocols that transmit audio, Skype and Skype-like applications, meeting software, video conferencing software, and the like.

So the patent application points to the unique challenges of recording VoIP conversations, but doesn't explain how Microsoft solves these challenges. Also, in reading the entire patent, it isn't Skype specific, but mentions any VoIP offering. Perhaps this patent only involves capturing VoIP when it touches the PSTN, which is much easier to wiretap than P2P Skype calls with 256-bit AES encryption. But there are already patents and techniques going back decades for wiretapping calls that touch the PSTN. I just don't get it. The patent application mentions diagrams and images, which would have been helpful, but they wouldn't load for me. If anyone else has any insights, post a comment.

U.S. House of Representatives Approves Skype for Video Calls

Looks like the U.S. House of Representatives is adopting Skype to lower costs. According to Skype's Big Blog:
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Administration announced that they will open up the world of Skype communications to Members of Congress and their staff. Now, Members of Congress can reduce travel time and related costs while increasing and improving communications, transparency, and government accountability through the experience of Skype video calling. Skype enables lawmakers to hold meetings with their constituents who are unable to travel to the Congressional office, participate in virtual town hall meetings when the Member is not in her District, and build relationships and collaborate more effectively with other Members on important legislative efforts.

Skype's engineers worked closely with the Congressional network security team to ensure that Skype is used safely for official business.
That's great that Congress is looking to save costs by leveraging Skype. Of course, I wonder if U.S. Representatives will now avoid contentious in-person town hall meetings like the raucous town hall meetings during the Obamacare debate. Some legislators even called constituents who voiced their disagreement with the healthcare plan "unAmerican". Do we really want our representatives hiding behind a webcam?

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of our government using Skype to improve communication with constituents. Just as long as townhall meetings aren't replaced with a computer monitor in the center of the room. What's next? Instead of 435 Representatives sitting in Congress, we'll see 435 computer monitors running Skype with Representatives working remotely? I can picture it now...
skype-house-of-representatives.jpg
And of course you know once Congress starts using Skype and sees how it easy it is to conduct business, they'll want the ability to work from their home district and use Skype. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing, considering the corrupting influence Washington D.C. seems to have on politicians. Perhaps if they stay closer to home more often they'll actually listen to what the American people want.

12 ways the cloud changes everything

4 IDC analysts offer their tips for how enterprises can best prepare for cloud computing

By Julie Bort, Network World

Despite fears over reliability and security, enterprises are slowly but steadily moving their applications to the cloud, and the migration is going to change those companies in profound ways.

Some 80% of new enterprise apps will be developed for the cloud in 2011, and in the past year, adoption has moved into the "early majority" phase, says Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst for IDC.

TIPS: 7 deadly sins of cloud security

Gens was part of a four-analyst panel that discussed the promises and gotchas of the cloud Monday at the Cloud Leadership Forum conference in Santa Clara, Calif. Each IDC analyst offered his thoughts on how enterprises can prepare for what they viewed as a massively disruptive technology.

Together, they offered 12 observations:

1. The cloud is the third platform. Mainframe was the first platform, which in its heyday offered enterprises about 2,000 applications. Client/server came next, leading to the PC revolution, where the number of applications grew to the tens of thousands. Today, the cloud has enabled the work-anywhere mentality. It will create tens of millions of applications and spawn an explosion of new services, including mobile apps, social technology and analytics/big data (which gives rise to uses like smart grids and e-government), says Gens.

2. Infrastructure vendors will create a fourth leg beyond servers, storage and networks, and this leg will be known as "shared cache." The impact of server virtualization is just beginning, says Rick Villers, IDC analyst and vice president of storage systems. IT wants to rid itself of silos and move to "converged IT." Virtualization is one step in the infrastructure architecture of that process, but there will soon come a day when IT is designing for 100 virtual machines per physical server instead of today's eight to 20 VMs. When it comes to recovering data, performance, high availability and scaling, our current IT architecture won't cut it. Data centers need to have this shared cache space, faster than shared disk/storage, where VMs are kept.

3. Bring your own license. IT executives say that software enterprise agreements are a barrier to cloud adoption. The enterprise software companies that survive the transition to cloud computing will adapt their licenses so that software can be accessed from multiple locations at a single cost to users, says Robert Mahowald, IDC research vice president for SaaS and cloud services. For instance, a user may access SQL Server from on premises, from Amazon and from Windows Azure (first look), all at a single cost. The choice of open source licenses for new software will also factor into which app IT chooses when it moves from data center to hybrid to cloud. Not all enterprise vendors are onboard with the idea yet, but some, such as Microsoft, are moving in this direction. As of July 1, Microsoft's Software Assurance customers will be able to use their current license agreements to move server applications from internal data centers to cloud computing services in what Microsoft calls "license mobility."

IT professionals such as Steve Turner, director of information technology at Amherst Securities Group in Austin, Texas, applaud the concept. "New models for licensing in the cloud are a good a idea and needed. Microsoft and other companies are making that transition. Not all vendors will."

4. The business will view IT's role as the "internal app store." The role of IT will shift from building custom apps and customizing large apps toward offering users a smorgasbord of services, accessible on any device, through clouds public and private. IT will need to reorient itself around the "IT services" concept, says Dave McNally, IT executive adviser for IDC. This movement began with the SOA idea some years back, but as SOA never completely succeeded with many enterprise application vendors, the cloud will progress the idea of IT as a collection of services once again.

5. Public clouds will become more important than private clouds, says Gens. "A lot of IT executives I talk to are thinking, 'How can I deploy cloud in my comfort zone, which is in my data center?' That is looking the wrong way," he says. Instead, IT executives need to be looking at this third platform for the new qualities it offers, not simply to re-create what the business is already doing on a potentially cheaper platform.

6. Clouds are big source for big data. A small number of cloud services of the Google, Amazon or iTunes ilk are gobbling up a large chunk of the storage capacity sold -- or 9.8 exabytes of hard drive capacity, says Villars. They have begun to realize that the data stored there is valuable information about consumers. Analytics companies are sprouting up to do everything from analyzing information on Twitter, to providing custom analytics for specialty retailers, all farming the data individuals are posting to the cloud. This holds compliance implications for enterprises, but also gives IT staffs the chance to lead the charge on researching their own companies' customers and markets.

7. IT organizations will become cloud services brokers. As part of the new self-image IT will take on as the enterprise app store, IT will become the master of all cloud services agreements. Rather than business units going around IT to hire SaaS services, IT will find and bundle cloud services for business, says Mahowald. IT will also perform asset management services that manage all IT resources used by the business, in-house, hybrid and via the cloud. This will also require more interaction and monitoring of vendors beyond the annual check-in, true-up or contract negotiation. IT organizations are providing the infrastructure that needs to service the business.

8. The cloud disrupts and potentially scares off the traditional IT workforce. "If we believe change is coming, a company needs to prepare its workforce," advises McNally. "How will the cloud impact the people?" IT workers fear that the cloud will commoditize IT work, and that cloud works hand-in-hand with outsourcing. This could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Students entering IT careers want to pursue careers where they can make a difference and may not feel that enterprise IT jobs offers that prospect. This could create a skills gap that encourages outsourcing.

9. One-third of your key vendors will become "wiki-trivia," says Gens. On the right track are vendors that are right now embracing cloud, looking to deploy their own cloud services, and modifying their license agreements to bring their customers to the cloud. Vendors holding onto the old way of doing things will become the next Wang or DEC, which failed to see, understand and adapt to the PC revolution wrought by the rise of client/server technologies. Adds Turner, "I agree with the idea that we are at a big line in the road similar to where client/server was. We need to pay attention to which vendor adopts cloud and which does not."

10. When it comes to the public cloud, vertical specialization will prevail. In the last wave, companies digitized their processes. Now, some of them see value in offering these processes as new cloud services for their industries, says Villers. He offers the example of Technicolor, which began life as a video post-production service that fixed colors and sound after a movie was edited and before it was replicated and sent to movie theaters. Because Technicolor digitized its methodology, it was able to offer cloud voice and video services.

11. You can't avoid the personal cloud. End users already are building their own personal clouds, typically accessed through mobile devices like smartphones, says Mahowald. These clouds are important to the users and the model by which they will want to receive the enterprise app store apps. With desktop virtualization, mobile applications and SaaS, IT can adapt to users' expectations. Ultimately, end users are building their personal cloud to be a mix of their business apps and their personal apps. IT can't stop that train and shouldn't try to, even for compliance reasons. Much like the PC revolution, the people most successful at this next-generation, cloud-based IT will be the ones who know how to balance the enterprises' needs with the users' work styles.

12. Cloud services foster innovation. The rapid adoption of cloud is another opportunity for the CIOs, network executives and the whole IT team to lead the business into faster, more economical IT tools. From the view of clouds in the year 2011, it looks like resistance is futile.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ISI Solution Now Rated Avaya Compliant



Infortel Select 8.1 Telecom Reporting Application Is Compatible With Key Avaya IP Telephony Solutions; Helps Businesses Monitor and Manage Telecom Expenses and Networks

SCHAUMBURG, IL–(Marketwire – Jun 13, 2011) – ISI Telemanagement Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of Telecom Expense Management products and services, today announced that its Infortel® Select 8.1 Telecom Reporting application is compliant with key Internet Protocol (IP) telephony solutions from Avaya, a global leader in business collaboration systems, software and services.

Infortel® Select 8.1 helps businesses monitor and manage their telecom usage across the entire enterprise. The application now is compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with Avaya Aura® Communication Manager 6.0.1.

“We are proud to be compliant with the latest Avaya Aura Communication Manager 6.0.1 technology. ISI’s many Avaya-based customers can now feel confident they will be able to continue to use the reliable Call Management and Telecom Reporting tools with the newest technology platforms from Avaya,” said Irwin Friedman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for ISI.

ISI Telemanagement Solutions is a member of the Avaya DevConnect program — an initiative to develop, market and sell innovative third-party products that interoperate with Avaya technology and extend the value of a company’s investment in its network.

As a Gold member of the program, ISI is eligible to submit products for compatibility testing by the Avaya Solution Interoperability and Test Lab. There, a team of Avaya engineers develops a comprehensive test plan for each application to verify whether it is Avaya compliant. Doing so ensures businesses can confidently add best-in-class capabilities to their network without having to replace their existing infrastructure — speeding deployment of new applications and reducing both network complexity and implementation costs.

“By offering compliance testing to the many innovative companies like ISI who are members of our DevConnect program, Avaya promotes interoperable solutions that help businesses unleash powerful new possibilities,”said Eric Rossman, vice president, Developer Relations, Avaya. “As a result, Avaya customers are able to connect employees and customers to information from wherever they are, over whatever device they have available — getting more out of their multivendor network and delivering new value to their bottom line.”

www.isi-info.com

Telepresence No Longer Just for the Board Room – New Cisco Value-Priced Endpoint Makes Widespread Enterprise Adoption More Affordable

Enhances "Any to Any" Interoperability; Makes Telepresence Conferencing Easier, Smarter and More Cost Effective to Deploy


ORLANDO, Fla. - June 14, 2011 - Cisco today introduced a number of new telepresence products and enhancements as part of its collaboration portfolio designed to give customers new ways to simply, quickly and cost effectively scale telepresence throughout their organizations. The advancements also enhance "any-to-any" interoperability between Cisco TelePresence® endpoints and any standards-based devices, and make the telepresence experience even more intuitive with user-friendly features and capabilities.

Cisco TelePresence MX200

New Cisco TelePresence MX200 endpoint


Today's announcements, combined with Cisco's previously announced medianet architecture, advances Cisco's objective to unlock the power of video for its customers. Cisco is making video easier to use, helping customers rapidly deploy video everywhere, and putting people back in the center of collaboration.

The "Telepresence Everywhere" Endpoint

To complement its portfolio of TelePresence offerings ranging from immersive systems to desktop solutions to PC and Mac software clients such as Movi, Cisco is introducing the Cisco TelePresence MX200. The MX200 is ideal for team meetings or personal offices and priced so that customers can telepresence-enable many rooms in their organization. The endpoint is easy to set up with auto-provisioning and can be up and running in as little as 15 minutes. The MX200 has a list price of $21,600 with pricing flexibility to the customer based on volume purchase agreements. The endpoint is scheduled to be available globally in July.

Intelligent Conferencing Increases TelePresence Usage

As more customers realize the benefits of telepresence, the desire to engage in more multiparty conferences often grows as do requests to meet "on the fly." While this behavior is great for collaboration, it can be problematic for administrators. How do they ensure that they always have enough conferencing ports to accommodate these requests? If there are not enough ports available, these meetings can be put in jeopardy. To solve this problem, Cisco is introducing the Cisco TelePresence Conductor. The Cisco TelePresence Conductor simplifies and scales multi-party conferencing by intelligently assigning meetings to the most appropriate conferencing unit for the best possible experience. It also can automatically divert conferences to another unit should the power go down. Additionally, TelePresence Conductor enables customers to provide their employees with virtual meeting room "ID" numbers. Employees can provide these numbers to others and meet impromptu, which can help dramatically increase productivity. The Cisco TelePresence Conductor scales from small businesses to large enterprises. Anticipated global availability for the TelePresence Conductor is late second half of 2011.

Delivering Any-To-Any Calling with Standards-Based Interoperability

Cisco is fully committed to open, standards-based connectivity which extends any-to-any video calling to colleagues, partners, and customers, regardless of vendor. With key enhancements to the endpoint software (TC5.0, CTS 1.8), Cisco broadens its multipoint interoperability support and products designed to deliver native point-to-point interoperability between all Cisco TelePresence endpoints and standards-based third party endpoints without requiring an additional hardware transcoding device. This innovation will dramatically increase the simplicity of connecting video calls across the Cisco TelePresence portfolio and between Cisco and endpoints made by other manufacturers.

Additional Highlights

Cisco also announced a number of additional product enhancements to help customers and partners deploy and scale Cisco TelePresence throughout their organizations and provide a more seamless user experience.

Bringing Cisco TelePresence to More Users

  • Cisco TelePresence Server 8710 and 7010 v.2.2, Cisco's flagship multi-screen interoperability solution now delivers greater scalability and better resolution on more screens with support for up to 64 meeting participants in high definition (HD) (720p30) mode and up to 48 participants in full HD mode (720p60 and 1080p30).
  • Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch v. 1.8 now supports the Cisco's C Series and EX Series and all Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP)-based endpoints. A new auto attendant feature allows users to easily join a scheduled call from any endpoint. Additionally, scalability enhancements enable meeting sizes to increase from 48 to 90 screens, nearly doubling the number of endpoints that can participate in a single telepresence meeting. The TelePresence Multipoint Switch 1.8 is scheduled to be available in August.
  • Cisco MXE 5600 (Media Experience Engine) is a video infrastructure product that now delivers real-time content sharing, WebEx® OneTouch, and recording and streaming interoperability across standards-based video endpoints from any vendor.

Raising the Bar with the Most Consistent User Experience

Quotes

  • Alberto Mazagatos, chief executive officer, Unitronics
  • "We believe the new values and the outstanding usability of MX200 will enable a massive adoption of TelePresence in large market segments. Cisco has managed to achieve a perfect balance of functionality, simplicity and cost efficiency with the MX200. This will allow us to broadly promote TelePresence across all customer segments. It's just a homerun."

  • Michael Stanton-Jones, principal architect, Communications and Collaboration Group, Vodafone Group Services
  • "We are working very closely with Cisco and are testing and trialling Cisco TelePresence Conductor. Vodafone is an innovation hungry company and we are always pushing the limits of technology to deliver leading edge solutions. Cisco TelePresence Conductor is in line with this strategy and it allows us to simplify multiparty video communications and to vastly improve the ease with which we administer our bridging capability. Users get simple, easy access to multiparty conferencing wherever they are and whenever they need it. This will improve teamwork and increase productivity for our organisation."

  • OJ Winge, senior vice president and general manager, TelePresence Technology Group, Cisco
  • "Affordability, scalability, interoperability and exceptional experiences are all key to helping people use video more effectively. As these new advancements are brought to market, it's no surprise that the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index predicts that by 2015, 1 million video minutes --the equivalent of 674 days--will traverse the Internet every second. Cisco is focused on taking telepresence, a key component of Cisco's video offerings, to the next level by offering customers a broad portfolio of solutions designed to maximize interoperability that are simply scalable and user-friendly. We are enabling telepresence to everyone, everywhere."

Additional Resources:

Technorati Tags:

Cisco, video, telepresence, high quality video, collaboration, interoperability, endpoints, multiparty conferencing, collaboration, infocomm

About Cisco Collaboration

From award-winning IP communications to mobility, customer care, Web conferencing, messaging, enterprise social software, and interoperable telepresence experiences, Cisco brings together integrated network-based collaboration solutions based on open standards. These solutions, as well as services from Cisco and our partners, are designed to help promote business growth, innovation, and productivity.

About Cisco

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, please go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

New Software Release for the Polycom UC Intelligent Core

INFOCOMM, ORLANDO, Fla. – June 14, 2011 – Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), a global leader in unified communications (UC), today at InfoComm 2011 announced the newPolycom® UC Intelligent Core™ software release. This new release features industry-leading enhancements to help customers deploy more devices than ever before; more easily connect any device, standard, or network; provide best-in-class experience; and reduce costs.

“The UC Intelligent Core technology is the heart of unified communications and a key component of our UC Everywhere vision, and is continuing to change the industry by delivering unparalleled scalability and interoperability,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna, Polycom chief development officer. “We are accelerating the adoption of video collaboration and driving down costs by making the process easier for everyone from the end user to the IT administrator.”

Offering more than five times the scalability of competing UC solutions1, the new release enables the UC Intelligent Core solution to deliver carrier-grade scalability supporting up to 75,000 devices helping large corporations and service providers handle the multiplier effect of new UC devices, from mobile devices to room-based telepresence solutions. Intelligent load-balancing and redundant auto-failover ensures 100 percent failover protection and makes UC as reliable and available as other mission-critical communications such as voice or data.

The UC Intelligent Core platform harnesses the cloud to establish “universal bridging,” an industry first that allows users to connect regardless of protocol standard, device, network, or location helping to reduce costs and increase productivity. The universal bridge will support a vast range of protocols including H.323, TIP, SIP, POTS/ISDN, and RTV, and is ideal for users looking to seamlessly and easily connect multiple organizations. The enhanced UC Intelligent Core solution delivers unprecedented security, scale, reach, access, and availability with lower total cost of ownership than ever before.

The UC Intelligent Core platform is the onlysolution with guaranteed class of service through dynamic Priority Based Communications to ensure a quality experience that maximizes productivity and speeds ROI.The UC Intelligent Core technology also helps drive the broader adoption of video by natively integrating with everyday workflow tools such as Microsoft Lync and IBM SameTime. The native integration allows customers to seamlessly connect two separate communication platforms, such as Lync and video telepresence. End users organically adopt UC solutions because they are easy to use and provide access to all of the workflow tools they need.

By simplifying the use cases for integrated, multi-vendor deployments, the new UC Intelligent Core software offers the broadest available selection of UC solutions to support a wide range of environments, applications, and budgets. Polycom’s efficient use of bandwidth (reducing bandwidth requirements by 50 percent) through the H.264 High Profile technology, combined with enhanced qualityof experience developments, drives video conferencing use and reduces costs across organizations.

The UC Intelligent Core infrastructure simplifies the administration of UC. Native integration with Active Directory drastically shortens set-up by eliminating complex reconfiguration helping to slash expenses and cut deployment from weeks to minutes. The solution also features advanced firewall traversal technology that provides broad B2B communication access through a single port, which eliminates the need to open multiple ports in the corporate firewall while ensuring secure access between locations, organizations, and the cloud.

Unlike any other solution in the marketplace, the UC Intelligent Core platform:

Provides maximum access through cloud-based delivery of real-time and on-demand video content and streaming with Polycom’s Accordent solutions that natively integrate with Microsoft Lync and SharePoint
Expands interoperability and standards-based support for UC solutions and third-party devices including support for Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Windows 7, as well as enhancements to support for Avaya Aura networks and Cisco CUCM networks
Provides load balancing for up to 192 bridges, a unique offering from Polycom unmatched by the competition

Polycom UC Intelligent Core technology is akey innovation platform for enabling service providers to drive visual business-to-business communications, and telepresence interoperability for multi-site, multi-vendor video calls. Polycom and 14 leading global service providers recently announced the Open Visual Communications Consortium™, the first public and open video exchange of its kind, to enable new levels of interoperability for telepresence and video conferencing between organizations worldwide.

The UC Intelligent Core solution will be demonstrated at InfoComm 2011 Conference and Expo, June 11-17 in Orlando, booth #1363. For more information, visit: http://www.polycom.com/company/news_room/press_releases/2011/20110614_2.html

The updated UC Intelligent Core platform will be available in Q3. To assist with planning, designing, and implementation of the Polycom UC Intelligent Core solution, Polycom and its partners offer a full suite of global professional services.

For more information, visit: www.polycom.com/products.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Canadian Supreme Court Refuses Nortel Worker Case

Source: http://www.telecomreseller.com/

The CBC is reporting that the Supreme Court of Canada will not hear a case brought by former Nortel workers whose disability benefits were impacted ted by Nortels’ bankruptcy. Previously, the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice had set aside money for 360 employees on long-term disability. However, the allocation left most of these former workers with just 34% of their former benefits. Thirty-six employees dissented, but lost their case in a lower appeals court. Now the Canadian Supreme Court will not hear their case.

The dissenting group are also urging the federal government to introduce legislation that would prioritize disabled worker claims during a bankruptcy.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Avaya Files Registration Statement for Initial Public Offering

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Avaya Holdings Corp. (Avaya), the parent company of Avaya Inc., today announced that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to a proposed initial public offering of $1 billion of its common stock. Avaya expects to use the net proceeds it receives from the offering to, among other things, pay down certain long-term indebtedness.

The joint book-runners of the proposed offering will be Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Goldman, Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital Inc., UBS Investment Bank and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

Copies of the preliminary prospectus for the offering, when available, may be obtained from any of the following: Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, Second Floor, New York, NY 10014, or by e-mail: prospectus@morganstanley.com; Goldman, Sachs & Co., Prospectus Department, 200 West Street, New York, NY 10282, telephone: 1-866-471-2526, facsimile: 212-902-9316 or by emailing prospectus-ny@ny.email.gs.com or J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, Telephone 866-803-9204.

About Avaya
Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, contact centers, data solutions and related services to companies of all sizes around the world.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Protect Your Nortel Investment and save up to 60%

Source:http://www.nortel-to-avaya.co.uk

Avaya's acquisition of Nortel in 2009 has resulted in the expected cancellation of BCM telephone systems in 2011, with migration into IP Office being the only stated way forward. As experienced IP Office dealers for 10 years, Telefonix Voice & Data are in a unique position to help you transition into IP Office with the minimum of fuss.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Security

Phone systems can and do go wrong; vendors may not like to admit this but issues do occur. As a company critically dependant on communication with the outside world through your phone system, the last situation that you want to be in is being out of support on an end of life telephone system, with no facility for spares, repairs, vendor issue support etc. This is why we recommend to users that you should be no more than 2 versions behind the latest software and absolutely not on end-of-life hardware.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Handsets

With handsets being typically between 40 and 60% of the value of your existing handset, the ability to re-use these and gradually upgrade your BCM system at a steady pace avoids the rip and replace scenario which will inevitably ensue once it is end of life and spares/repairs become completely unavailable and critical issues start to occur.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Training

All extensions will be converted with one click, including voicemails brought over, and your users will need no additional training. Your users will then start to become acquanted with the IP Office software at a gradual pace, giving you scope to enlarge or upgrade further to, for example, IP Office IP telephony, when the time suits you, rather than as a response to issues.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Data Migration Manager Tool

Avaya have developed a special centralised migration tool which transfers your handsets and voicemail over to IP Office 7.0. "Data Migration Manager". Using a three step process namely Extract, Convert and Apply, all announcements, greetings and voicemail messages can easily be transferred, resulting in a significant reduction in installation times and cost. The tool supports Norstar v7, BCM200/400/1000 R4, BCM50 R3/R5/R6 and BCM450 R1/R5/R6 as source system, and it is expected that the tool will evolve to handle the extraction, conversion and transfer of Auto-Attendant customer announcements in the future.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Wiring

If your business has traditional phone system wiring, you can continue using it with your Avaya IP Office solution. If you have a Local Area Network (LAN) to connect your PCs/servers, you can use that instead. Avaya IP Office works with either kind of wiring—the choice is yours and the savings of using existing wiring are significant. Common wiring interfaces available with Avaya IP Office reduce the re-wiring often associated with replacement of a communication system—making the upgrade fast and easy.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Growing

As your business grows, Avaya IP Office easily grows with you. There won’t be a need for another upgrade anytime soon. Avaya IP Office can handle hundreds of extensions.

How Your Nortel Upgrade Protects You: Gradual Replacement of Your BCM


  • When you upgrade to Avaya IP Office, you can keep using your Nortel phones and replace them on an as needed basis.
  • Or, make plans to equip select employees—executives, receptionists, sales and customer service reps, etc.—who can really benefit from the added features of the new IP phones.
  • Either way, by being smart and managing the use of your existing phones you can protect up to 60 percent of your initial investment and still gain the benefits of a new solution.
  • Get 0% financing. Take advantage of leasing options that make it unnecessary to pay any finance charges for up to 60 months.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Avaya Sets Plans to Go Public, Again

Private-Equity Owners Test Appetite for $1 Billion Offering


Avaya has commented and said "Avaya does not comment on rumors or speculation". However, we think this is bound to happen.

Here is the article from The Wall Street Journal:

Avaya Inc., a maker of phones and other telecommunications gear, plans to file for a $1 billion initial public offering as early as this week, according to people familiar with the matter, making it the latest technology company seeking to tap into a resurgent IPO market.

The offering for about 20% of Avaya, which was taken private by buyout firms Silver Lake and TPG Capital in 2007, could value it at $5 billion or more, the people said. The exact numbers—and indeed whether the private-equity firms can pull off the IPO—will depend on market sentiment at the time of the offering. Typically, there is a lag of two months or more between the filing of an IPO and its trading debut.

[AVAYA]

Back to Market: In 2000, Avaya executives celebrated the company's listing on the New York Stock Exchange. It was taken private in 2007.

Avaya's business has been buffeted by anemic corporate telecom spending and a weak global economy. In its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Avaya had $5.1 billion in revenue, up 22% from the year before but little changed from 2003. Last year's revenue gain was mainly the result of an acquisition. The company reported a loss for the full year of $874 million.

In spite of the company's losses, Avaya's owners stand to do well on the IPO deal that's under discussion, according to a person familiar with the matter, though it is unclear how well. In buyout deals, private-equity firms typically only put up a third or less of the purchase price and borrow the remainder. So though Silver Lake and TPG paid about $8 billion for the business, most of that was borrowed and a chunk of the debt has since been repaid.

For buyout firms, opportunities to exit their investments had all but disappeared during the financial crisis and subsequent recession. They have been encouraged to test the public markets again in the past year as the economy recovers.

Meanwhile, a spate of tech companies have made plans to go public in recent months, a trend that has gathered steam following the eye-popping debut of professional-networking site LinkedIn Corp. last month. In what may be an even more hotly anticipated deal, Groupon Inc. last week filed for an IPO that could value the money-losing e-commerce company at more than $20 billion.

Avaya, however, is unlikely to drum up the same level of investor interest as today's Internet darlings; a better proxy for the company might be Freescale Semiconductor Holdings, the private-equity-owned chip maker that had a lackluster market debut late last month.

Either way, the tech frenzy has helped reignite an IPO market that was in the doldrums as a result of global financial and economic uncertainty. May was the most active month for U.S. IPOs this year, with 18—the largest crop since December, when 19 companies went public.

Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya began as a part of AT&T Inc., then became part of AT&T spinoff Lucent Technologies. In 2000, Avaya was spun off by Lucent and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Avaya was later taken private by Silver Lake and TPG. It sells phones and other telecommunications gear to corporations. It also sells hardware and software used in the call centers that companies use to communicate with retail clients.

The lead underwriters for the offering, which at $1 billion would be the fourth-largest IPO of a U.S. company this year, according to Dealogic data, are Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Citigroup Inc., Barclays Capital and Credit Suisse Group are also among the banks planning to underwrite the offering.Avaya could draw the interest of an acquirer now that it is effectively in play, though that isn't likely, one of the people said.

Avaya isn't the only company of its kind eyeing an ownership change. Alcatel-Lucent, the Franco-American telecom equipment maker, is seeking a buyer for its corporate unit, which is likely worth more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. Alcatel-Lucent could also decide to take the division public, the people said.

Monday, June 6, 2011

All Good Things Must Come To An End. Avaya Announces The End Of Sale Of The Nortel BCM

By Dale Beech, Edited by Scott Camball

As we all know, the rate at which technology advances is often astronomical. One thing that remains consistent is the superior quality and reliability of the Nortel BCM telephone system. It has been said to be the best phone system of its time, and it took Nortel to number 1 in the worldwide market. But is enough enough? According to an old English Proverb “All good things must come to an end” and to that I’d say “Here’s to you Nortel. You deserve it!”

Last week, Avaya took the final steps towards terminating one of the largest telephony legacies that has ever existed “Nortel Meridian Norstar/BCM”.



Avaya International announced the end of sale for the BCM product line. This was not a shock or a surprise to the industry as rumors of this have been rampant since the unveiling of the Avaya roadmap back in 2010. This is merely the anticipated move.

However, this truly is the next page especially in the Canadian marketplace. Seeing that Nortel Meridian Norstar and BCM had what some people estimated as high as 80% of a Canadian telephone market and ten's of millions of headsets sold worldwide this truly is a defining moment in market.

It is not that Avaya left customers high and dry; Avaya has provided customers a strategy and a full migration path to Avaya IP office 7.0. Learn more about IPO 7.0.

When Avaya purchased Nortel in 2009, they announced shortly after the end of life of the Meridian Norstar products. However, customers did not seem to react that badly as customers had huge confidence in the Norstar system as well as the Norstar was such a stable platform, which very rarely broke down. With the BCM product line, that may be a different situation as the BCM is a more integrated solution delivering more than just a plain old phone system (pops) like the Meridian Norstar.

Let us breakdown this announcement and how it affects the customers

First, end of sale is not end of life yet! For the next 9 months, Avaya will still continue to sell the full BCM product lines.

March 1, 2012 the last day for the sale of systems excluding upgrades.

March 1, 2015 will be the last day for upgrades, expansion and any authorization codes

March 1, 2018 last day for Avaya support of the BCM product line


At Telecom Resource Corporation we’re proud to announce that we will continue to sell this great product until our stock depletes and of course we will continue to service and support our customers on all products indefinitely. At TRC we’re extremely proud of our customers and we’re dedicated to providing them with the best possible service and support for you and your company. We have plenty of vendors on hand and will continue to provide service and support for your system as long as you require.

Avaya & Nortel Phone Systems now support BlackBerry

RIM recently announced plans to make BlackBerry Mobile Voice System 5 available to more corporate phone systems and unified communications applications. BlackBerry MVS 5.1 with voice over Wi-Fi calling will be available this summer for Avaya Aura 6.1, Avaya CS1000 Communication Server, as well as legacy phone systems such as Avaya Communications Manager and Nortel Communication Server. It is currently available for Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express version 6.1 or later. They are tailored to suit your PBX environment, so you can enjoy one caller ID, unified voice mail, and advanced security features for BlackBerry smartphones. This will unify desk phone features with BlackBerry smartphones and Wi-Fi networks to optimize costs and coverage, and make users more reachable.



Avaya’s strong market position with legacy Nortel systems, BlackBerry gains access to a huge market, while Avaya and Nortel users gain access to a great mobile application that gives them cost savings and enhances functionality.


BlackBerry MVS 5 is integrated directly into the BlackBerry smartphone client and supports calls over cellular or Wi-Fi networks with seamless handoff. A user can make or take a call over the office Wi-Fi network office, walk outside, get in the car and drive home, with the call automatically and completely seamlessly switched over to the cellular network and then back to a SOHO Wi-Fi network at home. BlackBerry MVS offers the convenience of single number reach and supports phone system features like hold, transfer and ad-hoc conferencing.” Calls are routed through the enterprise phone system, so least-cost routing offers savings on outbound long-distance and international roaming charges.



by Ray Horak, Technology Editor, Telecom Reseller. Edited By Scott Camball

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cisco and SAP Collaborate to Enhance Business Intelligence

Anne Abraham, managing director, Cisco Malaysia

Organisations demand as-they-happen insight into business operations to enable prompt reaction. The Cisco and SAP collaboration results in a globally connected, real-time, borderless enterprise that accelerates innovation.



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – 31 May 2011 – Cisco and SAP today announced a collaboration to deliver optimised business intelligence solutions for enterprise, service provider and midmarket customers through SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance (SAP HANA) on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ server platform.

The relationship provides significant value to customers by giving them the power to gain instant insight into business operations while enabling them to react quickly to changing business conditions.

As consumer technologies proliferate along with virtual machines in the business environment, the volume, velocity and variety of data have increased. Access to such data is critical for business decision-making as well as market analysis. This announcement is a direct response to the need for real-time access to large volumes of transactional information.

SAP HANA is a multipurpose, data-source agnostic, in-memory appliance that forms the technology foundation for innovative applications. It handles business applications such as planning, forecasting, operational performance and simulation. SAP HANA's optimisation rides on the Cisco Unified Computing System, which substantially increases the memory footprint and improves the performance of and capacity for demanding virtualisation and large-data-set workloads.

"The age of business analytics is here. SAP Business Intelligence allows companies of all sizes to gain business insights by tapping into their operational data in real time, allowing company executives to analyse, decide, operate and adapt anytime, anywhere, on device, on demand and on premise," said Tim Moylan, President of Southeast Asia at SAP.

"The Cisco and SAP relationship results in a globally connected, real-time, borderless enterprise that accelerates innovation. Organisations demand as-they-happen insight into business operations to enable prompt reaction. The memory capacity of server systems plays an important role in ensuring the overall performance of business applications, and this collaboration between SAP and Cisco provides an intelligent blend of technical capabilities. Our mutual customers have found that optimised, responsive, and real-time analytics, in the changing market conditions of today, are required to keep their businesses agile and competitive," said Anne Abraham, managing director of Cisco in Malaysia at the Cisco Summit Malaysia 2011.

This innovative collaboration with SAP has been validated by the survey responses of information technology managers in the Cisco Connected Technology World Report: Part III, Data Centre, released in December 2010. About a third (32 percent) percent of the respondents indicated that improving agility and speed in deploying business applications will be their top priority for the data centre over the next three years, and 40 percent said that the increase in applications and data will most impact their data centre.

According to a Gartner report, the Asia Pacific business intelligence platform market is set to grow to US$819 million in 2014 at a compound annual growth rate of 11.4 percent. Malaysia will continue as the second-largest business intelligence market in the region, with an expected CAGR of 9.4 percent, to reach US$18.4 million by 2014, primarily due to the growing need for the nation to increase its competitiveness against other markets and to make incremental investments in infrastructure to attract foreign investment.¹

The Cisco Unified Computing System is the first fabric computing platform that combines industry-standard, x86-architecture servers with networking and storage access to a single converged system. Since it was introduced in 2009, the Cisco Unified Computing System has captured more than 40 world records in application performance. On April 5, 2011, Cisco announced the results for nine new world record industry benchmarks, highlighting the Cisco Unified Computing System's outstanding performance and productivity across data center workloads.

Cisco has more than 5,400 Cisco Unified Computing System customers spanning all industries and workloads with more than 340 channel partners across the globe who are trained and certified on the Cisco UCS B-Series.

SAP HANA is available in Malaysia through an ecosystem of partners and is timely given the strategic growth opportunities present in the business intelligence platform market in Asia Pacific and Malaysia.

Avaya Aura Contact Center: Discovering a New Course for Customer Care

"As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin man
I have chalked up many a mile
read dozens of books about heroes and crooks
and I learned much from both of their styles,"

- Son of a Son of a Sailor by Jimmy Buffett

Avaya is redefining the tools used to navigate resources in the ongoing exploration of customer care with the Avaya Aura Contact Center. Avaya Aura Contact Center creates a completely new model for the matching of customers and their problems to the solutions within your organizations.

Before Avaya Aura Contact Center the maps of organizations were marked with isolated islands of resources. Customers navigated themselves across the seas between these islands in search of the buried treasure of answers to their problems. Often they sailed from port to port without sufficient navigational aids.

All too often important information, as if a valuable nautical chart blown overboard, was lost. Customers might be incessantly asked to repeat critical information leaving them feeling seasick.

The novel concepts of resource matching of Avaya Aura Contact Center changes this. Instead of the customer being required to navigate often rocky shoals, Avaya Aura Contact Center anchors the customer and their context. Resources necessary to solve the customer's problems, such as a customer service agent, are invited to join a collaborative conference. Like a ship alee of stormy winds, the customer and those who interact to solve their problem are immersed in a context rich environment. Critical data is not lost and no longer is the customer tossed by angry waves from resource to resource. Avaya Aura Contact Center brings the resources to the customer.

This subtle but significant change has enormous impacts.

Most importantly, the customer's context becomes persistent. Everything that the customer has done during the interaction, every resource that she has touched before seeking the assistance of a human being remains available to everyone who joins the conversation who has the right to see the information. Permissions and polices grant control over who sees what, sensitive information is protected, yet information appropriate to satisfying the customer is readily available to all who need it.

No longer is the customer required to do the work as if some ancient galley slave chained to an oar. Instead, the organization mobilizes around the requirements of the customer.

The organization benefits tremendously as well. No longer is customer context scattered throughout the organization like flotsam and jetsam. Expensive resources like recording can be centralized and contiguous customer records compiled without extensive data mining.

In the way that the world of navigation once dominated by the ancient mariner concept of dead reckoning has been transformed by the Global Positioning System (GPS), the Avaya Aura Contact Center puts concepts like Automatic Call Distribution and the inefficient routing of callers around the organization on the distant horizon.

The effects of this new paradigm may take time to absorb. The value to organizations that adapt it will require new thinking about how work is arranged in information-rich organizations.

Collaborate Anywhere: Getting Down to Business


Those who read this blog regular know well my interest and passion for Avaya web.alive. The virtual world is a significant upgrade in collaboration, makes work more fun and productive. A virtual world is also many orders of magnitude more resource and energy efficient. Today, I am turning the blog over to a guest author, Joe Rigby, marketing director at MellaniuM Inc. MellaniuM is a virtual worlds design firm specializing in the Avaya Web.alive platform, and today Joe is writing about the work his firm is doing to create dynamic web.alive environments, both from the current world and from past time periods. With these environments, you are able to add a fun and engaging element to your web.alive experience.

A reminder, you can join me in web.alive for Avaya sustainability office hours at demo.avayalive.com every Thursday at 11 am EST.

Getting Down to Business
Joe Rigby, marketing director at MellaniuM Inc

With a feature set designed originally for the enterprise, web.alive is a web browser plug-in that integrates with your existing network, security and business applications to enhance communications, collaboration, and employee or consumer engagement. In this way, web.alive minimizes operational overhead, dramatically increases accessibility to your users, and delivers face-to-face interaction at the low cost of Web collaboration. Avaya web.alive represents the future of communications and offers the best of publicly and privately accessible immersive Web conferencing.

MellaniuM has leveraged this platform to produce unique and innovative environments scaled to up to 10 km. square containing high polygon modeling. These environments can be developed from both existing 3D mesh models compiled from any CAD software or geo-referenced terrain maps using the latest UAV scanning techniques. For example, it is entirely possible to create scaled replicas of long gone masterpieces of the Industrial Revolution or entire archaeological reconstructions or the lost civilizations of ancient Egypt. This customization means you can add a unique spin to your next meeting in web.alive.

Examples of MellaniuM environments include
The Titanic

titantic.jpg

The Temple of Horus

temple.jpg

How does the design take place? Joe writes on his blog,

Now I know that most of you are waiting -- almost in rapture with anticipation -- for the soon-to-be-released timeline for the eventual introduction of the gridwide capability of the importation of meshes into the Second Life and OpenSim architectures. Web.alive is fully functional in this regard and 3D models with millions of polygons in almost any format can be recompiled and imported through the Web.alive editor. How does this impact in any way the potentialities of the Web.alive platform? To put it bluntly it makes all the difference in the virtual world.

At MellaniuM, we have taken their 3D Studio Max OBJ file format aerial scans -- with over 400,000 polygons -- and imported them into Web.alive. The geo-referenced Google Map image was combined with 320 scans of the 3D terrain scanned by the unmanned aerial vehicle utilized by PIX4D. We imported the textured model into Web.alive. As an attempt at proof of concept it was flawless. The entire dimensionally accurate replica of the mine can be visited by anyone on the planet to plan and designate resources or discuss the financial viability. The next step is to further extend the capability and develop higher resolution virtual replicas of everything and anything that can be commercially valuable.

SIX THINGS YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO IGNORE WHEN EVALUATING UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTIONS


By: Polycom


To truly achieve your objectives for Unified Communications, you need to think about critical issues such as open versus proprietary, scalability, reliability and user experience. Unified Communications Best Implementation Practices includes insights and criteria to help you make the most informed decision to reduce operating costs and improve productivity for years to come.

See unified communications in action at the Unifying Moment microsite. Watch compelling video stories and download this informative eGuide.

Collaboration anytime, anywhere and on any device. Think about the possibilities.



Download this eGuide today.
It’s the first chapter in your owner’s manual for the future of business collaboration.