Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cloud computing can reduce business energy costs by $12.3B, says AT&T, Verdantix study

By http://www.fiercetelecom.com/


Businesses looking at cloud computing to offload nonessential functions like e-mail service to a service provider like AT&T (NYSE: T) could achieve $12.3 billion in energy savings and cut out 85.7 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2020, a new study says.

The study, titled "Cloud Computing: The IT Solution for the 21st Century," commissioned by Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in partnership with research firm Verdantix and AT&T, says that a business that adopts cloud computing "can reduce its energy consumption, lower its carbon emissions and decrease its IT capex resources while improving operational efficiency."

Verdantix conducted interviews with major corporations in various industries--including insurance company Aviva, aerospace firm Boeing, financial giant Citigroup and telecom and networking company Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR)--forecasts that business spending on cloud computing will increase from 10 percent to 69 percent of their IT infrastructure costs by 2020.

With cost savings being a driver to adopt cloud, a number of the study participants that have already been using cloud services for two years anticipate they could cut costs by 40 to 50 percent.

While reducing carbon emissions and cutting costs are a benefit that Paul Stemmler--Citigroup managing director, engineering and integration, Citi Global Operations & Technology--recognizes at his firm, he said that cloud services also help his company drive products quicker to market.

"Developers used to take 45 days to get new servers, but in the internal cloud infrastructure that we operate in our own private network, it takes just a couple of minutes," he said.

For more:
- see the release



HP Releases Unified Communications Solutions for Anytime, Anywhere Enterprise Communications

By Robbie Pleasant


HP has announced the release of new solutions and services, designed to improve collaboration and business responsiveness. The Voice Transformation solutions, Virtual Workplace Solutions, and Network Readiness Services will address the difficulties organizations encounter with integrating telephony and communications applications.

HP Voice Transformation Solutions help clients build a foundation for creating a productive and agile workplace for improved customer responsiveness. Among its benefits are: simplified collaboration with VoIP and traditional phone systems extended via IP, creating a single conduit for voice, data and video; customized voice transformation roadmap-based approach that allows clients to evolve their communication infrastructure as they desire; and the ability to share information by consolidating voice messaging and audio conferencing into a single interface.

With the HP Virtual Workplace Solutions, employees can improve their productivity, connectivity, and responsiveness by improving the flow of information and communication between the organization, suppliers, and partners. It's a single, cohesive platform, integrating unified messaging, web, video, and data to secure intellectual property. With its virtual workplace architecture, UC solutions are delivered to an employee's device of choice, based on computing and accessibility needs.

The HP Network Readiness Services for UC coordinate network readiness with clients' UC roadmaps, eliminating network barriers to help clients archive their enterprise communication goals.

"HP is applying their broad system integration capabilities into the UC space," says David H. Yedwab, UCStrategies UC Expert. "No surprises here but, I always question why HP isn’t a mainline player in this important space that would assist it in competing with key competitors such as Cisco, Dell and, to some extent, IBM."

According to Blair Pleasant, co-founder of UCStrategies, “By providing these new solutions and services, and working with some of the leading UC players, including Microsoft, Polycom, Alcatel-Lucent, and Avaya, HP is becoming a more active and important UC player. UC solutions are generally complex and require services that can help overcome interoperability issues, and to ensure that the solutions deployed will be optimized for the customer’s network and infrastructure. If HP can help customers put together the right solutions and ensure that they have the right infrastructure and environment for these solutions, then everyone wins.”

The solutions and services are available now through HP Technology Consulting. For more information, visit www.hp.com.

Polycom reports record revenues

Company increases net revenues to $336 million in Q2 2011 from $295 million in Q2 2010

By Georgina Enzer Published July 26, 2011

Polycom has reported record consolidated net revenues of $366 million for the second quarter of 2011, compared to $295 million for the second quarter of 2010.

GAAP net income Q2 was up 123% to $29 million, from $13 million, for the same quarter last year.

"Q2 was a hallmark quarter for Polycom, both in terms of strategic achievement and financial accomplishments," said. "We made significant progress with our key partners through the Polycom Open Collaboration Network, experienced significant acceleration in the adoption of our UC Intelligent Core network infrastructure solutions, and again benefitted from broad-based demand for our suite of solutions across all major geographies," said Andrew Miller, Polycom president and CEO.

Net revenues for the six months ending in on 30th June 2011 were $710 million compared to $571 million for the first six months of 2010.

"Polycom generated strong sequential and year-over-year growth in revenues, gross margins, and operating margins in the second quarter," said Michael Kourey, Polycom's executive vice president, finance and administration, and CFO. "Coupled with effective working capital management, we delivered a record quarterly operating cash flow of $85m. As a result of these excellent operating results, Polycom exited Q2 with $609 million in cash and investments and no debt."

Europe, Middle East and Africa contributed to 24% or $89.3m of consolidated net revenues for the second quarter of 2011 and the Americas contributed 52% net revenue in Q2 2011 or $189.2m.

The Asia Pacific region saw increasing growth contributing 24% or $87.1m, compared to 22% of net revenue in Q2 2010.

"In Q2, we continued to experience strong demand in emerging markets such as China, India, Russia, and Brazil and also began to see momentum in select verticals such as the US Federal market, yielding record revenues in each major geography and product category. In fact, in order to fully optimise our opportunity, I have added Tracey Newell to the executive team as Polycom's new executive vice president of Global Sales. Each of the theatre presidents and global sales operations will report to her in this newly created role. Tracey is the ideal fit for this position and an excellent addition to the team with her proven go-to-market track record in both Cloud and customer premise-based sales at Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems," said Miller.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cisco Announces Additional Detail on Comprehensive Action Plan

SAN JOSE, Calif. – July 18, 2011 – Cisco today announced additional details of its comprehensive action plan to simplify the organization, refine operations, and reduce annual operating expenses.

Workforce Reduction of Approximately 6,500 Employees

As part of the company's $1 billion annual operating expense reduction, Cisco will reduce its global workforce across all functions by approximately 6,500 employees, which includes approximately 2,100 employees who elected to participate in a voluntary early retirement program. This also includes a reduction totaling approximately 15 percent of vice president level and above employees. This represents a reduction of approximately 9 percent of Cisco's regular full-time workforce. All affected employees will receive severance pay and outplacement assistance.

Impacted employees in the United States, Canada and select countries will be notified during the first week of August. The remainder of the global workforce reductions are expected to occur at a later date in compliance with local laws and regulations.

In connection with this plan, Cisco estimates that it will recognize total pre-tax restructuring charges to its GAAP financial results in an amount not expected to exceed $1.3 billion over several quarters, consisting of severance and other one-time termination benefits. Substantially all of these charges are cash-based. Cisco expects that approximately $750 million of these charges will be recognized during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011, including approximately $500 million relating to the voluntary early retirement program. The remaining balance of the charges is expected to be recognized during fiscal 2012.

In connection with Cisco's continued implementation of its comprehensive action plan to simplify the organization, refine operations, and reduce annual operating expenses, it is anticipated that Cisco will recognize other restructuring charges to its GAAP financial results. These additional charges will be disclosed in earnings conference calls and in Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

Manufacturing Facility Sale to Include Transfer of Approximately 5,000 Employees

Cisco also announced earlier today an agreement for sale of its set-top box manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico, to Foxconn Technology Group. The approximately 5,000 people employed at the facility will become employees of Foxconn in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and no job losses are expected as a result of the sale. This figure is in addition to the approximately 6,500 employees impacted by the reduction in workforce and the voluntary early retirement program. While this action is expected to create improvements to Cisco's long term cost structure, the strategic intent for this action is to simplify business operations. The labor cost associated with these employees has been categorized as manufacturing costs.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release may be deemed to contain forward-looking statements, which are subject to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the timing of reduction in force, the amount of related charges, Cisco's planned annual operating expense reduction and Cisco's sale of its set-top box manufacturing facility. Readers are cautioned that these forward-looking statements are only predictions and may differ materially from actual future events or results due to a variety of factors, including: Cisco's ability to implement the workforce reductions in various geographies; possible changes in the size and components of the expected costs and charges associated with the plan; risks associated with Cisco's ability to achieve planned reductions; and Cisco's ability to execute the sale of its set-top box manufacturing facility. For information regarding other factors that could cause Cisco's results to vary from expectations, please see the "Risk Factors" section of Cisco's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q. Cisco undertakes no obligation to revise or update publicly any forward-looking statements.

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.

Avaya is the Largest Vendor in the Contact Center Systems Market

Source: http://www.telecomreseller.com

With 21 Percent Share: companiesandmarkets.com

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The contact center systems market in North America in 2010 was $1,663.5 million, according to a new report available on companiesandmarkets.com.

North American Contact Center Systems Market

http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/Market-Report/north-american-contact-center-systems-market-625987.asp?prk=7c4ed5b510c1ffe12b50d9829eddaba2

The contact center systems market in North America in 2010 was $1,663.5 million. This represents a slight decline of 0.7 percent over 2009. Inbound contact routing systems is the largest segment in the market, being more than three times the size of any other segment. The fastest-growing segment is contact center analytics, which grew by 21.3 percent in one year.

Avaya is the largest vendor in the contact center systems market, with about 21 percent of the revenue share. Cisco Systems is the second-largest vendor, with a 11-percent share. However, the top three vendors together account for only nearly 40 percent of the market share; despite the presence of large participants, there is still vast scope for smaller and emerging companies to prosper and grow.

The contact center systems market is divided into six segments, which performed as follows in 2010:

  • Inbound contact routing systems, which declined for the second year in a row to $849.9 million, a drop of 5.7 percent from 2009
  • Interactive voice response (IVR) and voice portal systems, which grew by 2 percent to reach $227.2 million
  • Outbound dialer systems, which declined by 1.1 percent to $105.1 million
  • Quality monitoring systems, which grew by 6.5 percent to $231.1 million
  • Workforce management software, which grew by 3.1 percent to $130.6 million
  • Contact center analytics, which is currently worth $119.6 million, and counted separately from QM for the first time this year

The study discusses the drivers and restraints for growth and pricing, distribution, technology, demand, and market trends. The vertical market segments’ growth is forecasted. In addition, an in-depth analysis of the competitive landscape, including vendor market shares, is given, along with the profiles of the leading vendors in the market.

Report Details:
http://www.companiesandmarkets.com/Market-Report/north-american-contact-center-systems-market-625987.asp?prk=7c4ed5b510c1ffe12b50d9829eddaba2

Is Cloud Computing Killing IT Jobs?

Louis Hayner, CSO, Alteva – www.altevatel.com

According to results of an IDC/IDG Enterprise survey announced at the Cloud Leadership Forum in June, “top information technology executives believe that cloud computing will have significant impact on IT organizations and IT vendors, as well as the enterprises they support.” The survey stated that “more than 70 percent of those surveyed said they believed that by 2014, a third of all IT organizations will be providers of cloud services to customers or business partners.”

While it’s apparent that cloud computing usage will double in just a few years, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not it will affect IT pros. However, according to a recent article on Network World’s website, IT professionals do not seem so concerned in losing their jobs because of the cloud. The article further discusses the survey’s findings, saying:

“Respondents in this survey seemed less fearful of the job implications of cloud computing. When asked if they thought “75% of IT jobs will no longer exist as currently defined by 2015,” 64% disagreed (only 20% agreed, the rest were unsure). Likewise, some 52% disagreed with this statement: “By 2013, most IT organizations will have gone through painful restructuring; brought on by the demands of building effective private clouds and/or capitalizing on public cloud.”

Although the cloud will not eliminate IT jobs, it will definitely affect them. IT pros can expect the enhancement and expansion of their IT roles and responsibilities since the cloud offers an easier, more manageable way to oversee IT resources. Many IT people are overworked and underappreciated – they always seem to be stuck managing multiple vendor relationships of separate companies who have no vested interest in working together. Sigh, the middle man.

When you utilize the cloud, you eliminate that demarcation point, and still manage everything from the premise, even though it resides in the cloud, all with a user login and password. This eliminates the finger pointing and allows the IT staff to have more control of the company’s resources. The cloud is not cutting jobs, but enhancing capabilities. Instead of working late during the week or on weekends when everyone else is already at home or enjoying their weekend, you won’t have to sit on the phone with different vendors, trying to work out issues. With the cloud, you work with one service provider who can give you the flexibility that you should already have.

The Network World article suggests that IT professionals should start preparing themselves to convert their enterprise IT infrastructures into private and/or hybrid clouds, to take on the role of provisioning cloud services for end users and business partners. As I’m sure most are aware, a public cloud serves multiple companies while a private cloud serves a single company. As clear as that sounds, generally they are never one or the other. Usually, it’s a hybrid cloud, a mix of private and public clouds talking to one another. Hybrid clouds allow IT professionals to be more effective in their roles and better manage vendors as opposed to fire fighting, but no matter which model comes into play, cloud computing and its impact will vary depending on your job role and your company’s business. Take a look at your current skills and where they fit into the mix, and look to broaden that skill set even further.

As a cloud provider, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to rapid adoption of clouds, private or public, can be IT employees who fear how their jobs will be affected. Part of any misguided fear that an IT person will lose their job is education and awareness. As a service provider, it’s important to sit down with your IT partner and explain just how critical and necessary they are to your deployment. At the end of the day, the cloud is not temporary or a drop in the pan, it’s a business philosophy and momentum that can’t be turned back. Helping your IT partners become more familiar with the cloud, will only help then enhance their resumes. At Alteva, we see IT as a true partnership, working together to satisfy the client.

Polycom RealPresence Ready and New Cloud Offerings Powered by Polycom UC Software

Make Business-Grade Video More Flexible and Affordable Than Ever for SMBs

PLEASANTON, Calif. – July 18, 2011 – Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), a global leader in unified communications (UC), today announced new video offerings designed for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that make it easier than ever to purchase, install, and operate high-quality, business-grade video collaboration solutions from Polycom. Today, Polycom introduced Polycom® RealPresence™ Ready, its new comprehensive open video collaboration solution optimized for SMBs that delivers the highest quality video collaboration at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). Polycom is also introducing with its partners new cloud-based offerings powered by the Polycom® UC Intelligent Core™ software platform to deliver affordable and secure video solutions on demand. Tailored for the tighter budgets and leaner staffs of emerging companies, these cost-effective solutions are integral to Polycom’s strategy to offer SMBs a fast on-ramp to the benefits of video collaboration and a flexible expansion path in line with their business growth.

“Polycom has built a strong business in the SMB market over many years with tens of thousands of customers across many industries that choose Polycom for our commitment to interoperability, highest quality and lowest TCO,” said Susan Hayden, executive vice president, Polycom. “As the demand for affordable and easy-to-use video solutions continues to grow, we’re doubling down on our SMB initiatives and accelerating the pace at which we’ll bring innovative software solutions to market—delivered on premises or from the cloud to any end point: room systems, desktops and mobile, while ensuring the best video experience at the most compelling price point. When customers choose Polycom open solutions, they can be assured that all their communications systems will work together seamlessly today and as their businesses grow.”

Polycom Video Solutions: The Best Choice for SMBs
Polycom RealPresence Ready is a comprehensive video solution for SMBs that delivers business-grade performance in terms of quality, reliability, security, and scalability at an affordable price and with the ease-of-use that growing businesses need. Demonstrating Polycom’s commitment to assuring interoperability with open standards-based solutions, RealPresence Ready is fully backward and forward compatible with any communications system customers have today or may purchase in the future.

  • Comprehensive and easy to use. Makes it easy to purchase, deploy and manage business-grade video with a complete system that includes two Polycom HDX® 6000 room systems, one Polycom HDX® 7000 system, and five Polycom Telepresence m100 software licenses.
  • Business-grade quality, security, reliablity.Delivers high-quality, reliable and secure conversations with Polycom UltimateHD™ technology and patented innovations that ensure great experiences even in congested networking environments. Polycom video is the highest quality available with the lowest consumption of network resources – using H.264 coding and compression technology that delivers life-like video experiences while consuming up to 50 percent less network bandwidth than alternative products.
  • Cost-effective for the lowest TCO. Combining a competitive entry-level price with the lowest total cost of ownership, Polycom RealPresence Ready can be financed for less than the cost of one business trip per month. Polycom solutions are modular so that SMB customers can add innovative components such as Polycom® Eagle Eye Director, Polycom telepresence m500 for tablets, and Polycom VVX® 1500business video phone down the road – bringing the full Polycom video experience to SMBs as they expand. To assure interoperability with other systems and products that SMBs may have in place, Polycom systems are based on open standards and provide native integration with industry-leading partners and products, including Microsoft Lync. With Polycom, SMBs can interoperate with the broadest range of video collaboration systems, and be assured of a cost-effective growth path.

“There’s something about seeing the person you’re working with that a voice alone can’t provide,” said Gene Crosby, chief operating officer at Jackson Spalding, an Atlanta, Georgia-based firm of 80 creative professionals who develop advertising, media, and public relations campaigns. “We need to be able to communicate face-to-face, internally and with our clients, even if we aren’t in the same place. When looking for affordable, high-quality and secure video conferencing capabilities, we needed to weigh the investment carefully. Choosing Polycom telepresence solutions was easily the smartest purchase we made last year, and we’ve seen amazing results. Polycom improves our productivity and the work we do, and our employees and clients feel much more engaged.”

Polycom’s Go-To-Market Ecosystem Expanding to Meet Growing Demand from SMBs
Polycom’s SMB customer base is growing from virtually every corner of the SMB market, across a wide variety of industries including financial services, manufacturing, professional services, education, retail, non-profit, and media and entertainment. Polycom continues to aggressively build out its successful telesales program to reach more SMB customers and to simplify the purchasing and deployment of video communications systems through VARs and service providers. Polycom’s partner ecosystem and open collaboration network include thousands of partners and resellers with deep expertise in meeting the unique needs of SMBs around the world, offering flexibility and choice in products and services that customers can be assured will interoperate.

Polycom also works with companies such as Regus to enable travelers and businesses of all sizes to reserve Polycom-equipped video conferencing rooms. This service is especially helpful for SMBs with mobile employees or offices that do not have dedicated video conferencing space and limited IT resources, providing yet another affordable deployment option for SMBs.

Cloud Solutions from the Polycom Ecosystem
Launching this week, a new cloud-based “Virtual Room” servicefrom 8×8, Inc., enabled by the Polycom UC Intelligent Coresoftware platform, will include Polycom HDX video solutions and Polycom VVX business media phones. 8×8′s “Virtual Room” service allows users to join meetings via video and audio devices as well as web telephony and smart mobile phone clients.

Another new offering from Polycom’s ecosystem is BroadSoft’s BroadCloud™ Video service, a cloud-based, hosted infrastructure that integrates with existing service provider offerings and Polycom UC solutions to create more video conferencing service-option packages for SMBs to choose from. Additional Polycom service provider partners plan to announce cloud-based video solutions in the coming months

Polycom, in concert with the Open Visual Collaboration Network, is also working with many partners and service providers to offer cloud-based video conferencing services to companies of all sizes with a common vision to make video collaboration between people and devices as simple and reliable as making a phone call – regardless of network, provider, end-point or technology.

Polycom UC Solutions
Polycom UC solutions bring people face-to-face, creating a highly collaborative environment that significantly improves learning, retention, and engagement as well as overall productivity and efficiency. Polycom helps companies of all sizes, in all industries, become high-performance workplaces where people collaborate on-demand between any location, over any network, with their device of choice to enable UC Everywhere™ by Polycom.

Polycom UC offerings include HD voice and video solutions for personal, mobile, group, and immersive telepresence experiences – using up to half the video bandwidth required by other solutions. The UC Intelligent Core technology is the only platform that connects up to 75,000 devices and enables 25,000 simultaneous calls with 100 percent auto-failover, providing the best-in-class user experience. With a broad ecosystem of strategic partners, Polycom provides the most comprehensive, reliable, and scalable collaboration platform for managing and delivering UC solutions to employees, partners and suppliers – on premises or from the cloud.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 Goes Social

By Barry Levine http://www.newsfactor.com

In an effort to provide better customer sales and service experiences in a multimedia world, Avaya has released Aura Contact Center 6.2. The new Avaya Aura Contact Center suite includes capabilities for collaboration with experts, an expanded integration of social media, and an improved scalability. Experts say the socialization of CRM is inevitable.


Customer relationship management is going social. Avaya is helping to reinvent customer Relevant Products/Services relationship management in its newly released Aura Contact Center 6.2, with tools to improve customer service using social media and other new channels.

The new Avaya Aura Contact Center suite includes capabilities for collaboration with experts, an expanded integration Relevant Products/Services of social media, and an improved scalability.

Evolution into 'Transmedia'

Onkar Birk, general manager of the Avaya contact center Relevant Products/Services division, says "today's consumers use many more modes of communication -- e-mail, text, video Relevant Products/Services and social media." Birk said that these media will evolve into a "transmedia," where there is a seamless transfer of information across channels of communication, and "companies must effectively integrate all of these modes for consistency."

Avaya pointed out that 40 percent of consumers prefer alternative methods of contact for customer service, such as e-mail, chat or text.

To address this need, Avaya's new Aura Contact Center provides customer account history to "the right agent" in a real-time collaboration session. The company noted that this arrangement "reduces a customer's need to repeat information and increases first contact resolution," which can improve customer satisfaction, help to create a differentiated service, and increase revenue.

When a customer is engaged in the new Avaya environment, an agent's portal shows relevant experts who can assist or handle the inquiry, and the experts' availability. Managers can then create groups of experts, or access them one by one, to solve a problem. Agents can also communicate with customers through relevant Twitter tweets and Facebook updates, using the Avaya Social Media Manager.

'Socialization of CRM Relevant Products/Services Apps'

The Social Media Manager allows for automated scanning of social media content and analysis of the content for relevance. There is also "sentiment tracking," which assigns a score to such social media communications as tweets, allowing trends to be identified in real time. The Manager can supply suggested responses, while taking the topic and customer history into consideration.

The Aura Experience Portal leverages the automated services features in the platform, so that, for instance, customer self-service sessions can be seamlessly handed off to live or automated agents, avoiding the need for the customer to repeat the query.

Additionally, the Experience Portal can be deployed via multiple virtual Relevant Products/Services servers, and an Orchestration Designer component enables faster application development of media self-service apps using web technology.

Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said that "socialization of CRM apps can solve problems before you can think of them." He added that this is because of the increased efficiency in detecting issues, trends and hidden problems.

E-mail and voice Relevant Products/Services mail communications from the customer, Shimmin noted, put the burden of explanation on the customer, who may walk away if they are not successful in describing their problem. But real-time conversations can help lessen that burden.

Shimmin said the integration of social media into contact center technology is part of the larger trend of using such tools throughout the enterprise Relevant Products/Services. In fact, he said, at some point they will likely "become so ubiquitous, people won't even refer" to social media tools as separate features.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

PBX Sales Are Growing Again

According to a study released in June by Eastern Management Group, sales of PBXs in 2010 grew 16 percent over 2009. Moreover, SIP Trunks are installed on 45 percent of newly installed IP PBXs. This remains consistent with what many of the Broadvox VARs are experiencing. The growth in PBX sales is crossing SMBs and enterprises with each looking to benefit from decreased cost and improved productivity through PBX upgrades, replacement and new installs.

The market leaders are the usual suspects with a couple of surprises. Cisco improved its position as the market leader with 34.76 percent of the market. Among large systems, only Avaya is close with a 23.33 percent share. I very much agree that Avaya has proven to be quite resourceful in absorbing the Nortel enterprise business and growing it in conjunction with their existing and new product lines. However, the biggest surprise has been the success of Panasonic.

SMBs are the target for Panasonic sales. As such, Panasonic has targeted business with communications requirements of 50 lines or fewer. This has led to a 4.07 percent overall market share. Eastern Management Group estimated that 40 percent of its North America PBX line sales are from offices with under 20 PBX lines and 75 percent of its sales from others with up to 50 PBX lines. Therefore, it is quite logical that Panasonic would roll out a new marketing campaign and new products to grow even more revenue in the SMB segment.

Here there is also a consistent trend, with the open source PBXs claiming 18 percent market share. Open source PBXs are being adopted mostly by small businesses with the average install around 60 lines. Given that small businesses represent 40 percent of the total North America market, having a solution attractive to them is very important. The largest segment of Broadvox sales is to buyers of open source platforms (Asterisk, Digium).

Broadvox GO! SIP Trunking products interoperate with Cisco, Avaya and Panasonic. In fact, we have completed interoperability testing with most of the other PBX market leaders (NEC, Vertical, Toshiba, ShoreTel, Aastra, Iwatsu).

There are general concerns about the economy as a whole but for those delivering IP based solutions, the market is robust and growing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Venerable Cisco Ethernet 6500 switch line gets major bandwidth boost

Cisco injects new life into Catalyst 6500 switch

By Jim Duffy, Network World

Cisco Tuesday took dead aim at HP and its own shrinking profit margins by introducing a major refresh to its venerable Catalyst 6500 Ethernet switching platform.

The company announced at Cisco Live in Las Vegas the Supervisor 2T engine for the 10-year-old Catalyst 6500, which delivers 2 Terabits of bandwidth to the system. This is almost three times the scale of the previous Supervisor 720, and like with that offering, 2T bandwidth can be doubled when configured into what Cisco calls a Virtual Switching System.

Cisco also announced a new generation of 10G line cards for the Sup 2T and didn't mince words when describing the system's purpose: to marginalize competitive offerings from Brocade, Juniper and most significantly HP, which has been gaining share on Cisco of late with lower cost platforms.

NINE LIVES: Catalyst 6500 has another decade or more left, Cisco hints


"We reject ‘good enough' networks" which are marketed mostly on low price and drive commoditization, says John MCool, senior vice president and general management of Cisco's Core Technology Group. "Our market share has hovered around 70%, or 50% of intelligent ports. We've been able to maintain share, and grow our core share, by delivering value to our customers."

At $38,000, the Sup 2T is priced at one-third that of HP's A9508 switch yet is 3X the performance and supports 200+ features or services, claims Scott Gainey, Cisco director of marketing for Unified Access Solutions. Cisco says it also almost doubles the amount HP spends on R&D -- $5.3 billion vs. $3 billion – even though Cisco is half HP's size in terms of revenue.

HP, citing data from Dell'Oro Group, says it captured 12% of total worldwide Ethernet switching revenue market share in Q1, up 2.5 percentage points year-over- year. Cisco's share fell 5.8 points in the same period, HP claims.

But Cisco is also facing a troublesome switching product transition in which the high margin Catalyst 6500 is being squeezed by the lower margin, higher performing Nexus 7000 line. This is lowering switching profits for Cisco, which doesn't sit well with the company or Wall Street.

So the introduction of the Sup 2T may be a way for Cisco to maintain Catalyst margins in the face of the Nexus transition; or it may indicate that a large swath of the Catalyst 6500 base, especially in the enterprise campus, is resisting the migration to the Nexus.

McCool, however, says it's simply a case where the market is "bifurcating" into separate requirements for the enterprise campus vs. the data center.

"The market is bifurcating into a campus-based market needing deep services and the data center converging LAN and SAN," McCool says. "It takes different technology. We'd be silly to walk away from that installed base and loyal set of customers."

Cisco says it has 25,000 customers for the Catalyst 6500 and 700,000 chassis installed worldwide, representing 70 million gigabit ports, 2.1 million 10G ports and 1.2 million supervisor engines.

It has quite literally been a cash cow for Cisco since its introduction in 1999.

Eighty percent of those 700,000 chassis are of the "E series" variety, which is designed to scale the switch line beyond 4,000 watts of power. Cisco expects most of these to migrate to the 2T, whether they are in the enterprise campus or data center, says Kumar Srikantan, vice president of marketing for Cisco's Scalable Networks Business Unit.

Non-E series Catalyst chassis are expected to migrate to the Nexus 7000 line, Srikantan says.

In addition to almost tripling the bandwidth of the Sup 720, the Sup 2T doubles the per slot capacity of the Catalyst 6500 to 80Gbps. But this isn't a first for the Catalyst line.


Cisco announced an 80G/slot configuration of the Catalyst 6500 in 2008 based on the Sup 720 and 32. Cisco also hinted at the Sup 2T enhancements over two years ago, and last year, Cisco unveiled a Catalyst 6500 chassis designed to scale the switch to 2T.

BEEFED UP LINE CARDS

This week's Sup 2T launch, though, comes with some high-density line cards as well. The 6900 series line card is an 8-port 10G module with Cisco's TrustSec security technology baked into the ASICs.

The 6800 series cards include two 16-port 10G modules and a 48-port Gigabit Ethernet board. They feature distributed forwarding, support Cisco's Overlay Transport Virtualization and

Locator/Identifier Separation Protocol technologies for data center interconnection and IP address isolation, and are priced 33% less than previous generation line cards.

The line cards and per slot bandwidth of the Sup 2T also makes the Catalyst 6500 line 40G "ready," even though 40G ports were not part of the launch. Cisco officials advised observers to "stay tuned" for that.

But the Sup 2T launch did also include next-generation services modules for the Catalyst 6500, which include firewall, Application Control Engine, network analysis and the Wireless Services Module 2, which controls 500 802.11n access points and 10,000 clients.

Cisco claims the Sup 2T can support 13 million NetFlow sessions in a single chassis and 256,000 multicast routes, 17 times more than the competition.

Speaking of competition, the Sup 2T is intended to defend Cisco's base and share.

"What kind of innovation have we seen come out of HP?" asked Gainey. "We are literally squeezing the competition here. We are beating them on price, we are beating them on performance.

The competition is on notice: Cisco does intend to compete and we intend to compete aggressively."

Cisco could axe 10,000 employees to trim costs

Source: FierceTelecom

Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) may be chopping about 10,000 positions across the company as it struggles to regain profitability after swallowing a number other businesses.

People close to the situation said out of that Cisco would cut 7,000 positions by the end of August and then provide early retirement packages to about 3,000 employees.

A previous Bloomberg article citing a Gleacher & Co. research report estimated that Cisco would cut about 5,000 employees. Most likely, the job cuts will come in its consumer business. Already, the company shuttered its Flip camera business in April and rumors have emerged that it would sell off its Linksys home router business.

By making these changes, Cisco believes it will be able to save $1 billion in fiscal 2012. In a quarterly filing, Cisco said it expects to pay $500 million to $1 billion in fiscal fourth quarter costs for early retirement packages.

Not surprisingly, Cisco is being tight lipped about its plans. "We will provide additional detail on the cost reductions, including layoffs, on our next earnings call," Karen Tillman, a spokeswoman for Cisco, said.

Analysts and investors alike believe that Cisco should sell off its consumer units and refocus its attention on advancing its enterprise and service provider routing and switching business, one where it has lost market share to rivals like Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR). According to a recent Dell'Oro report, Cisco's global routing market share slipped 6.4 percentage points to 54.2 of the overall market, while Juniper gained market share.

All of these changes are part of a broader effort by John Chambers, Cisco's CEO and Chairman, who announced in April that it would be making a number of sweeping changes to the company's structure to regain profitability and credibility, including the realignment of its management structure.

For more:
- Bloomberg has this article
- Here's FierceEnterpriseCommunications' take





Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2

This is a really exciting week as an Avaya associate especially being a member of the Contact Center product team because of the summer 2011 product launch. Avaya has announced a new suite of tools that dramatically increase the ability of organizations to orchestrate the experience of their customers. Among these important new product releases is Avaya Aura® Contact Center 6.2.

Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 is the latest version of the award winning assisted care solution that delivers the multimedia collaboration capabilities required for a context-rich customer experience. In the past I have written about the importance of context in the customer experience and how surrounding the customer with the knowledge and resources of the organization transforms customer service from a cattle call to a concierge encounter.

The prior prevailing interaction model was a set of serial transactions in which the customer did much of the work. Competitive differentiation based upon customer experience in the contact center was often a matter of who frustrated the customer the least during the customer's search for answers. Too few organizations realized that the contact center is an extension of the organization's reputation and for many customers today, the only place that valuable human interaction takes place.

We've all experienced it: we dial a toll free number; we key in our account number; we sort through endless "self-service" prompts that seldom answer our exact questions only to eventually reach a live person who asks us to repeat information over again. We ask ourselves, "Was I not asked? Did I not verify? Don't they have computers that store this information so I don't have to be asked yet again?"

Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 is a dramatic step forward in combating these common contact center perils. By creating a complete view of the customer and the context of their interaction, Avaya Aura Contact Center allows businesses to manage the customer experience in a way that consistently delivers a superior level of engagement.

Like the conductor of a symphony the business owner is empowered by Avaya Aura Contact Center to coordinate the resources of her organization and direct them in the service of delivering the value of the organization to the customer. Problems are solved with speed and efficiency driving down costs while increasing customer satisfaction. New opportunities for interaction with customers including the ability to seamlessly integrate social networking technologies into the workflow expand the reach of the contact center agent into an active part of the organization's value delivery.

Avaya Aura Contact Center 6.2 includes a new unified agent desktop and a consolidated reporting platform. Avaya Contact Center Control Manager provides a single comprehensive management interface for all of the underlying systems eliminating the need to master multiple user interfaces.

Avaya Aura Contact Center's Multi-Channel Assisted Care provides a unified inbound and outbound experience across Avaya Experience Portal and Proactive Contact. The revolutionary change from call distribution and routing to the collaborative and context based conference eliminates the loss of information that previously forced customer repetition. Information becomes persistent and the customer is no longer lost at sea.

Underlying the move forward into these new capabilities is Avaya's commitment to previous customer investments. Whether moving from a legacy Nortel Enterprise or an Avaya Elite Call Center system, there is a transition. Also included is increased multi-site networking capabilities for the virtual contact center and increased business continuity and resiliency with geographic redundancy and high availability options.

I hope you share my excitement.

If you'd like to learn more may I suggest that you view the replay of the webcast, Achieving Competitive Advantage Through Superior Customer Collaboration.

Polycom CX7000: Exclusive Podcast With Jim Kruger


This morning Polycom announced the CX7000 Unified Collaboration System, the first room video telepresence solution custom-built for full integration with Microsoft Lync. The new product announcement reflects more than just another typical product release. The CX7000 reflects a commitment by Polycom to leverage the opportunities Lync offers in order to introduce the next steps of true collaboration.

In this podcast Jim Kruger, Polycom vice president Solution Product Marketing, walks us through today’s release and the impact it will have on what Polycom is describing as delivering”what customers want”.

Listen to the podcast on Polycom CX7000

The Polycom CX7000 solution (codenamed “Rally”) is specifically designed to integrate with Microsoft Lync. With especially tight integration between the Polycom and Microsoft solutions, customers get an intuitive interface, simplified UC experience, and more seamless telepresence.

Schneider Electric to Deliver Transformational Energy Management Capability With Cisco

Collaboration Provides Innovative Solution That Manages Energy Use Across the Entire Building Portfolio

LAS VEGAS, NV–(Marketwire – Jul 11, 2011) – Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, today announced at Cisco Live, Cisco’s annual IT and communications conference, that it has teamed with Cisco to provide an innovative comprehensive energy management solution that monitors and manages energy consumption across all building domains. With this combined solution, building owners and managers, architects, contractors, and IT managers will now be able to optimize energy efficiencies and business operations to save energy.

Schneider Electric’s comprehensive EcoStruxure active energy management architecture portfolio offers a single point of access that connects five domains of business expertise — power, data centers, process and machines, building control, and physical security — all within an open and flexible technology framework. The EcoStruxure architecture integrates with Cisco EnergyWise embedded on the Cisco network infrastructure to provide a holistic building management solution, managing all energy-consuming building assets, such as HVAC, lighting, security and, for the first time, reduce energy waste generated from IT/IP assets, including PCs, phones, Catalyst switches, Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) endpoint devices and other IT devices.

With rising energy costs in buildings accounting for 42 percent of energy usage worldwide, there is an impetus to find ways of reducing energy consumption with these IP/IT devices within buildings and across the network.

“Looking for innovative ways to increase energy efficiency and enable business performance within buildings is what Schneider Electric does every day with thousands of customers worldwide,” said Chris Curtis, president and CEO, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. “Combining Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure architecture and Cisco EnergyWise provides organizations with the capability to go one step further and manage the energy consumption of IT/IP devices and PCs in the building management system domain for the first time. We are very excited about this opportunity and what our joint innovation will mean for reducing energy consumption in buildings across the globe.”

For example, two schools in Europe used the combined solution from Schneider Electric and Cisco in a pilot project and are currently saving approximately 30 percent of their IT energy, resulting in an overall reduction of close to 6 percent of their overall energy spend. Delivering a rapid, measurable return on investment (ROI), the combined solution provides users with the ability to reduce overall IT operating costs by up to 30 percent and overall building costs by close to 9 percent; to meet regulatory and compliance mandates; and to accomplish corporate sustainability goals.

In addition, the new combined solution enables organizations to:

  • Monitor, report and manage energy usage across the entire corporate network or real estate infrastructure
  • Create a more energy-efficient architecture for the IP/IT domain outside of the data center
  • Better control where and how energy is being used to more intelligently and efficiently respond to smart grid signals
  • Realize a new source of energy savings to fulfill corporate sustainability requirements, free up capital resources and quickly improve an organization’s overall bottom line

“Cisco EnergyWise is the leading solution in the industry that allows customers to monitor and control the power of their networking equipment and end devices connected to Cisco switches and routers,” said Jeff Reed, vice president of Cisco’s Unified Access Business Unit, Cisco. “By working with industry leading companies like Schneider Electric, we are providing building owners and managers the ability to monitor, report, and control their buildings’ entire energy usage, including IT infrastructure, through a single pane of glass resulting in greater operational efficiency and higher savings.”

Schneider Electric and Cisco have worked together for more than a decade and provide organizations with the tools to help reduce energy consumption up to 30 percent by taking advantage of the network as a platform for energy management. This relationship has extended from collaborations of unified communications in the data center and network closets to video surveillance and IP security. This expanded relationship further extends Schneider Electric’s established global leadership in energy management with Cisco’s industry leading IT energy management solution delivered via its Catalyst switch platforms to provide sustainable energy reduction, workforce efficiencies and overall improved business performance.

To learn more about Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure approach for intelligent energy management solutions, please visit the EcoStruxure homepage located here.

Nortel patents haul is sold to Apple, Microsoft and others

By Dave Neal theinquirer.net


US COURTS have approved the sale of Nortel's patents to the Rockstar consortium that includes Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion.

The firms banded together along with EMC, Ericsson and Sony into a consortium as Rockstar Bidco, and paid £2.8bn for the patents to beat off competition from other companies including Google and Intel.

Now they have some 6,000 patents at their disposal and no doubt they will hope to license them to other organisations.

Google, which claimed to be going after the patents in order to protect itself against people going after it over patents, wanted to pay around a quarter of the final winning price, but it's unlikely that it could not have afforded to go higher.

Although courts approved the purchase this week, the deal was set back at the start of June.

"Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio," said George Riedel, chief strategy officer and president of business units at Nortel at the time. "The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Microsoft Lync Beats Cisco, ShoreTel and Mitel for a Unified Communications Deployment at a Global Manufacturing Enterprise

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif., July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Hampton Products, a major global enterprise that specializes in residential hardware, lighting and travel security products, has completed the deployment of Microsoft Lync and Exchange UM for global corporate communications and collaboration services to employees and partners.

With the help of Integrated Access Solutions’ (IAS) senior consulting group, the business managers at Hampton decided to transition all corporate communications and messaging functions to Microsoft Lync and Exchange 2010.

IAS designed a comprehensive solution utilizing AudioCodes gateways and Lync Optimized endpoints provided by Plantronics, Jabra and Polycom. For real time system monitoring and proactive help desk support, IAS deployed Kontinuum, a monitoring and management platform by Servera that is specific to Lync and the network infrastructure that it depends on.

IAS Senior Consulting team led by David Langlois and Don Vander Wal had this to say about the project: “Working with Hampton was an excellent experience. This was truly a collaborative effort for both teams that worked closely to create a global communications and collaboration vision for their enterprise. Now, regardless of location or device all Hampton users are at the center of their communications experience. With rich presence and real time status, users now choose how they wish to communicate with fellow employees, vendors and even partners like IAS by a single click to launch an instant message session, a voice call, a video call or a web collaboration session. The Microsoft solution is powerful and a game changer for enterprise communications and collaboration.”

“The guys at IAS were great to work with and adopted our style of work. They partnered with us and taught us what to do rather than to just do it for us,” said the Vice President, CIO Brian Millsap. “Our CEO emailed me from China. He and much of our marketing and engineering staff are there often. On his first trip there after our Lync deployment, he said:

“Love the new Lync system. If this saves our company some money then it is a hat trick:

Clear connections
Very convenient and comfortable hardware, and
Saves money

All good stuff. Nice job IT Team!”

Howard Shen, the IT Manager for Hampton, had this to say about Integrated Access Solutions, “IAS is one of the consultants that actually understands our needs and can actually fit and deliver based from that.”

Polycom Launches CX7000, Microsoft Lync Telepresence Solution

polycom-cx7000.jpg
Polycom today announced the Polycom CX7000 Unified Collaboration System, what they claim is the "first room video telepresence solution custom-built for full integration with Microsoft Lync." It's an interesting solution that combines a wireless keyboard, wireless mouse, omni-directional full-duplex speakerphone, a high-end camera, and a small footprint PC, which I'm guessing is running some flavor of Windows in order to run the Microsoft Lync client.

polycom-cx7000-rear-ports.jpgAccording to Polycom, the Polycom CX7000 solution (codenamed “Rally”) features an especially tight integration between the Polycom and Microsoft solutions, with an intuitive interface, simplified UC experience, and more seamless telepresence. The solution offers all the typical Lync features you need: presence, IM, online meetings, content collaboration, etc.

“The power of UC is to eliminate barriers to teamwork and bring people face-to-face. Polycom and Microsoft share a passion for delivering easy-to-use UC solutions that transform businesses into highly collaborative environments,” said Andrew Miller, president and CEO, Polycom. “The new Polycom CX7000 room telepresence solution, custom-built to integrate with Microsoft Lync, takes the seamless, highly intuitive experience to a new level by enabling customers to connect and collaborate how, when, and where they want. Expect more of the same as Polycom continues to work with Microsoft to accelerate UC adoption.”

The CX7000 solution is part of a comprehensive line of CX devices from Polycom that are optimized for use with Microsoft Lync. You could of course build your own similar solution: buy a PC, install Microsoft Lync, purchase a HD USB webcam, wireless keyboard and mouse. But you'd still need a decent omni-directional high-quality full-duplex microphone/speakerphone. Polycom is renowned for higher quality speakerphones that work well in boardroom/conference room environments. It's a nice approach to offer this as an "all-in-one" package. I'm told it will feature up to 720p/30fps, for Lync point-to-point calls and up to VGA/30fps, for Lync AVMCU (multipoint or shared content) calls. You can use the Polycom EagleEye View camera with built-in microphones for audio input or if you go high-end the CX7000 HD system includes the EagleEye III camera and the Polycom HDX Microphone Array, which is better designed for larger rooms.

Specifications:
Video Input
• 1 x EagleEye HDCI camera input
• 1 x HDMI 3.1 (for future use; disabled at present)
• 1 x VGA Content In

Video Out
• 1 HDMI video out
• 1 x DVI-I HD video out

Output Resolution for Monitors
• 1920 x 1200
• 1920 x 1080
• 1680 x 1050
• 1280 x 1024
• 1280 x 720

Content In Video Resolution
• Resolutions supported:
- 1280 x 768
- 1280 x 1024 (SXGA)
- 1024 x 768 (XGA)
- 800 x 600 (SVGA)
• Content Frame Rate: 5 – 30 fps

Camera
• Polycom EagleEye III camera
- 1920 x 1080 CMOS imager
- 12X optical zoom
- Auto focus
- 72° FOV

Input/Output/Control
• Compact Wireless Keyboard
- Localized versions
- Integrated camera control for pan-tiltzoom
• Wireless mouse with scroll wheel

• Polycom EagleEye View camera
- 1920 x 1080 CMOS imager
- 4X digital zoom
- Manual focus
- 55° FOV

Audio Input
• 1 Clink2 for HDX microphone array
• 1 x 3.5mm stereo mini (PC Audio)

Audio Output
• Audio supported on HDMI output
• 1 x 3.5mm stereo mini line out

Audio Codec Support
• 7 kHz bandwidth RTAudio
• 3.4 kHz bandwidth with G.711

Audio Enhancement
• Acoustic Echo Cancellation
• Automatic gain control
• Noise suppression

Network & Connectivity
• 10/100/1000 Ethernet (RJ45)
• 2 x USB 3.0 ports
• 5 x USB 2.0 ports
- 2 ports always powered when system is connected to power

User Interface
• Lync client interface
- Click-to-join Online Meetings
- Receive Lync call (IM, Voice, Video)
- Initiate Lync call (IM, Voice, Video)
- Share uploaded content
- View or actively collaborate on any content shared by other participants
- Push VGA content
- Directory search
• System configuration
• Remote administrator access

I'm still waiting to hear back from my Polycom contact what the underlying operating system of the CX7000 is, if the unit has a hard drive or uses Flash/firmware for quicker boot times. No specific details on pricing are being given, however Polycom told me it will be in the $10k price-range, which is comparable to other telepresence solutions.

Update: 2:27pm
The underlying operating system is Windows Embedded 7 Standard running on a solid state drive. According to a Polycom representative, "[It has a] 30 second boot time (less than a minute) - it's not a desktop PC so very fast. One of the advantages is that it boots directly into Lync so makes it fast."

By Tom Keating CTO

Web Conferencing Central Launches Brandable Conferencing

By The Telecom Reseller Blog

Instant Online Meetings – Your Brand/Your Application

Offer Full-Featured Collaboration Almost Instantly

Web Conferencing Central has announced a new conferencing platform that allows its partners to custom brand its innovative collaboration tools. The platform allows for a fast start-up that runs attractive tools under the Partner’s name and within their application.

According to Kevin Nelson of WebConCentral,

“We have a turnkey approach to providing the first customizable system that provides REAL PERFORMANCE in this field. Our application gets screen sharing done intuitively and fast. It competes with the established brands.”

Everything runs from YOUR URL, YOUR BRAND:

  • Meeting Scheduler
  • Sharing of full desktop or single application
  • Video of Presenter
  • Remote control
  • Recording
  • Co-browsing of websites

This is all done at a rate that works for any reseller or application owner. Of course, end users who need many seats will save money as well.

Up to now, companies that wanted their own brand had to settle for a weak application that could not handle the real demands of screen sharing the way businesses really need it to be done. This set of tools changes all that.

Now, a sophisticated web meeting with complex interaction requirements can be run with very little effort and an extremely rapid delivery.

Web Conferencing Central partners will find that the company has placed significant emphasis on providing a great product for partners, and a cost structure that works.

Partner focused features in the release include:

  • Skinning – The platform can be skinned/branded to be consistent with the partners other products.
  • Partner web address – The platform runs from a single URL owned by partner to keep branding consistent.
  • Flexible pricing – The solution can be sold on a per account or per minute basis. The solution is priced to be attractive as free or loss-leader product as part of partner’s offering
  • Integration – The solutions technical architecture makes it possible to integrate easily with other products.
  • Proven – Web Conferencing Central customers have used the system for years and now partners can offer the same solid platform to their customers with their own branding.

In addition to the feature list, Web Conferencing Central is guaranteed to work according to its SLA or there is no charge.

Independent researchers found that end-users consider high performance level of the product a very important feature. The solution also offers 128-bit encryption and each session has a unique ID, virtually eliminating the possibility of meeting information being compromised.

Polycom Builds on Strategic Relationship with Microsoft

New Polycom® CX7000 solution makes it easier for groups to learn, retain, engage more productively and efficiently

MICROSOFT WORLDWIDE PARTNER CONFERENCE, LOS ANGELES, Calif. – July 11, 2011 – Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), a global leader in unified communications (UC), today announced the Polycom® CX7000 Unified Collaboration System, the first room video telepresence solution custom-built for full integration with Microsoft Lync. The solution takes the Lync experience customers are familiar with on their desktops and recreates it in the conference room to provide a superior level of business collaboration and productivity for room telepresence. This is another step inthe strategic alliance between Polycom and Microsoft Corp. to deliver enterprise-grade UC solutions.

The Polycom CX7000 solution (codenamed “Rally”) is specifically designed to integrate with Microsoft Lync. With especially tight integration between the Polycom and Microsoft solutions, customers get an intuitive interface, simplified UC experience, and more seamless telepresence. The solution offers all the Lync features customers want (presence, IM, online meetings, content collaboration) with Polycom’s industry-leading room video collaboration solutions in a single plug-and-play system. Polycom has raised the bar for UC with Lync through real-time, group document collaboration over video which no other standard-based system enables today.

“For us at Sebesta Blomberg, unified communications is not about saving on travel, it’s about using collaboration as a competitive advantage, to drive company-wide gains in productivity, efficiency, and innovation,” said JJ Brantingham, Partner and CIO at Sebesta Blomberg & Associates, a national leader in providing full-service consulting and engineering services. “We use Polycom telepresence solutions and Lync everyday in our business. Now, by bringing the best of both worlds together, we believe the Polycom CX7000 solution will make our highly collaborative environment even more ubiquitous and effective.”

“The power of UC is to eliminate barriers to teamwork and bring people face-to-face. Polycom and Microsoft share a passion for delivering easy-to-use UC solutions that transform businesses into highly collaborative environments,” said Andrew Miller, president and CEO, Polycom. “The new Polycom CX7000 room telepresence solution, custom-built to integrate with Microsoft Lync, takes the seamless, highly intuitive experience to a new level by enabling customers to connect and collaborate how, when, and where they want. Expect more of the same as Polycom continues to work with Microsoft to accelerate UC adoption.”

The unified communications market is growing at a rapid pace. According to an independent report from Gartner, video endpoint systems are forecasted to grow at a 15.2 percentcompound annual growth rate through 20151.

“Polycom is a strategic UC ally for Microsoft. The custom-built Polycom CX7000 system has been specifically designed for full integration with Lync. It offers a compelling and intuitive collaboration experience that bridges UC and enables businesses to be more productive,” said Kirk Gregersen, senior director, Microsoft Lync. “UC has been growing rapidly, and the solutions Polycom is working with Microsoft to deliver will further drive the adoption of telepresence and Lync.”

The CX7000 solution is part of a comprehensive line of CX devices from Polycom that are optimized for use with Microsoft Lync to enable a superior experience. Polycom also offers interoperability with Lync across the Polycom® UC Intelligent Core™ infrastructure, telepresence family (from desktop to group to fully-immersive), and voice endpoints.Polycom is committed to working with Microsoft to ensure Polycom products, including the CX7000 system, are interoperable with Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud offering via Lync Online.

Polycom was recently named the 2011 MicrosoftUC Innovation Partner of the Year and will be officially honored during the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Vision keynote, as well as the Award Winners Executive Luncheon.

Polycom UC Solutions
Polycom UC solutions bring people face-to-face, creating a highly collaborative environment that significantly improves learning, retention, and engagement as well as overall productivity and efficiency. Polycom helps companies of all sizes, in all industries, become high-performance workplaces where people collaborate on-demand between any location, over any network, with their device of choice to enable UCEverywhere™.

Polycom UC offerings include HD voice and video solutions for personal, mobile, group, and immersive telepresence experiences – using up to half the video bandwidth required by other solutions. The UC Intelligent Core is the only platform that connects up to 75,000 devices and enables 25,000 simultaneous calls with 100 percent auto-failover, providing the best-in-class user experience. With a broad ecosystem of strategic partners, Polycom provides the most comprehensive, reliable, and scalable collaboration platform for managing and delivering UC solutions to employees, partners and suppliers – on premises or from the cloud.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The high cost of Cell Phone usage

ARE YOU PAYING TOO MUCH FOR YOUR CELL PHONE?

Today many businesses are looking for cost-saving measures especially when it comes to their cell phone usage. Paying too much for Cell Phones is a common problem we hear.

There are a multitude of solutions being offered out there today. With the advent of Wi-Fi calling customers can now deploy software on their smart phones which allows them to jump off the cellular network and use their cell phone data package to make and receive calls.

By integrating their cell phones to the customers office IP PBX Telephone System, customers can now utilize their office phone system as a tool to provide cost savings as well as improved functionality and enhanced productivity.

To learn more contact TRC Networks at 416.398.4448 or 1.800.398.4044

Nortel Obtains Further Extension of Stay Period Under CCAA

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 30, 2011) - Nortel* Networks Corporation [OTCBB:NRTLQ] announced today that it, its principal operating subsidiary Nortel Networks Limited and its other Canadian subsidiaries that filed for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) have obtained an order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Canadian Court) further extending, to December 14, 2011, the stay of proceedings that was previously granted by the Canadian Court. The purpose of the stay of proceedings is to provide stability to the Nortel companies to continue with their divestiture and other restructuring efforts and to continue to work toward the development of a plan of arrangement under CCAA.

The materials filed in the CCAA proceedings are available on the Restructuring Document Centre of Ernst & Young Inc. (the “Monitor”) at http://documentcentre.eycan.com/Pages/Main.aspx?SID=89&Redirect=1 or by contacting the Monitor directly at 1-866-942-7177.

Cisco Unveils A First-of-Its-Kind Enterprise-Class Application and Business Tablet Ecosystem for Cisco Cius

Customers Worldwide Are Redefining Mobility in the Workplace with Cisco Cius

SAN JOSE, Calif, June 29, 2011– Cisco today introduced AppHQ™, an application ecosystem built specifically for Cisco Cius™ that provides new ways to create, manage and rapidly deploy tablet applications in the enterprise. Cisco Cius, an Android-based tablet created for the enterprise, combines voice, video, collaboration, and virtualization capabilities unlike any other tablet on the market today. With Cisco Cius, organizations can now deliver an optimized tablet with enterprise-grade security, as a natural extension of the enterprise network. The device provides customers with mobility, centralized manageability, virtual content creation and computing capabilities, and a comprehensive suite of collaboration applications.

AppHQ provides developers with tools and resources to create, test and market applications for Cisco Cius, and allows IT managers to control which applications can be used on the devices. Additionally, companies can create private, custom-branded application storefronts for their organizations where employees can find, publish and procure applications that complement their business environments.

During a series of media events hosted today, Cisco highlighted that CDW, Nervecentre Software, Nottingham University Hospitals, Palomar Pomerado Health, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Verizon are among customers using Cisco Cius to help employees remove barriers to mobile productivity in the office, around campus, at home or on the road.

Introducing Cisco AppHQ: A Trusted Source for Business Applications

Cisco AppHQ is a highly secure, cloud-based user storefront that provides capabilities for end users and IT managers not found in other application stores today. Some of these capabilities include:

  • Testing and validation:IT managers want to know that applications deployed in their environment are appropriate for the enterprise. Cisco AppHQ provides IT managers and users with a “trusted source” for applications, ensuring that every application within AppHQ goes through Cisco validation testing, whether developed by Cisco, third-party Android developer partners, or users within the enterprise. The validation process includes interoperability testing both for the application itself and in typical configurations within the device.
  • Store-within-a-Store: Enterprises will have a Cisco hosted, highly-secure and private application store within AppHQ. Businesses can customize the storefront, following their corporate branding guidelines, including use of logos, icons and color schemes. Beyond customization, the store-within-a-store is a platform that customers can use to deploy applications efficiently in their organizations. For example, a financial services company could deploy applications pertaining to their back office operations, such as human resources or payroll apps, and populate those applications on the devices of relevant employees.
  • Empowers IT management:With AppHQ Manager™, IT will have the ability to allow (or deny) access to application marketplaces by user role or device and to grant (or deny) access to applications by type, source or category. This unique capability will let IT organizations balance the individual freedom of users with the enterprise-class policies on security and cost efficiency.

Additional Details about Cisco AppHQ and Cisco Cius

  • The AppHQ ecosystem will include Cisco selected, industry-leading business and consumer applications that deeply integrate Cisco collaboration capabilities, as well as validated business-to-business and business-to-consumer applications from developer partners. Cisco will continue to add applications to AppHQ based on customer requirements. IT managers can also select from approximately 200,000 applications in the Android Marketplace.
  • Cisco AppHQ offers a user-friendly interface to find and install applications, and a platform for user feedback about applications. End users can find information about an application, such as the publisher and release date, and install or update apps and even sort by category, such as most popular or new.
  • Cisco Cius offers integrated access to the comprehensive suite of Cisco® Collaboration applications, including Cisco WebEx® meeting applications, Cisco Quad™ social software, Cisco Jabber® messaging, and Cisco TelePresence™.
  • Cisco Cius is scheduled for global availability on July 31, 2011. The estimated street price is below $750 USD and Cisco has made available a new promotion* called “Triple V” (for Voice, Video and Virtualization) that could enable further price reductions below $700 USD. Pricing may vary by country. Basic access to Cisco AppHQ is included with every Cisco Cius device.
  • With Cisco Cius, customers benefit from enterprise-class warranty and support with a single number to call. If necessary, a replacement can be obtained in 24 hours. There are also one, two and three-year warranty options from Cisco Services available, which follow an enterprise customer model.

Cisco's ‘Connecting Sichuan' Program Transforms Regional Education and Healthcare after Disaster

CSR Program with a Total Contribution of over US$50 Million from Cisco - Designed to Build 21st Century ICT Models in Healthcare and Education

CHENGDU, China – June 27, 2011 – Cisco and the Sichuan Provincial Government today celebrated the successful completion of Cisco's ‘Connecting Sichuan' program, which has achieved remarkable results in rebuilding and improving local education and healthcare systems after the devastating earthquake. The ‘Connecting Sichuan' program, carried out over the last three years, is the first successful public-private partnership program between Chinese government and a foreign corporation.

Huang Xiaoxiang, vice governor of Sichuan, Wim Elfrink, Cisco EVP for Emerging Solutions and chief globalisation officer, Owen Chan, chairman and CEO of Cisco Greater China, and Amy Christen, vice president of Cisco Corporate Affairs, attended an official handover ceremony today. The two sides also jointly published the three-year summary report for the ‘Connecting Sichuan' program, which details the programs successes and lessons learned.

After the major earthquake that hit Wenchuan in Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008, Cisco, the world's leading networking solutions provider immediately built a unique public-private partnership with the Chinese government to engage in the post-quake rebuild efforts with support from government organizations and its partners. Together they launcheda three-year corporate social responsibility program—‘Connecting Sichuan'—with a total commitment of over US$50 million (or over RMB 300 million) designed to help with the rebuilding efforts.

The ‘Connecting Sichuan' program is not only one of the largest and most prominent public-private partnerships during the post-quake rebuild process, but also a paradigm in the Sino-U.S. friendly cooperation. The program is designed to improve the healthcare and education environments in Sichuan, and to effectively promote local workforce training. Itis also the first between the Chinese government and a U.S. private-sector company.

Through government and private sector engagement focusing on common objectives, Sichuan and Cisco made continuous efforts to screen for aid targets, advance the implementation process, and create a sustainable development model for the future. Together, they have put into place modern connected IT infrastructures for 66 healthcare organizations and 102 education organizations in more than ten counties and cities. The Sichuan Provincial Government has highly recognized Cisco's contributions to improving healthcare and education in the disaster-affected regions, and is very confident of the public-private partnership model, which is replicable and scalable to other regions and related fields.

In healthcare, ‘Connecting Sichuan' has built 32 smart and digitized hospitals, fourconnected regional healthcare collaboration networks, sixregional healthcare data centers, and three modern mobile clinics. In education, the program has designed and delivered threesolutions including 21st century schools, education cloud, and virtual education, and has set up 25 globally recognized and future-oriented Cisco® Networking Academy® venues aiming to support higher vocational education in the local regions.

"After three years continuous hard work, the ‘Connecting Sichuan' program is now successfully concluded with the original goals met and exceeded. Thanks to the program, modern informationization infrastructures are built to facilitate the post-quake reconstruction and sustainable development in the quake-hit areas especially for reconstruction of the education and healthcare systems," saidHuang Xiaoxiang, vice governor of Sichuan. "In addition, the performance of the program also helped to train a large quantity of IT professionals for the development and prosperity of the disaster areas. As a sound reference for other regions, the ‘Connecting Sichuan' program has become a typical case of successful participation of a multinational company actively involved in the post-disaster reconstruction of the Wenchuan Earthquake.

"Giving back is a core value of Cisco and we are very pleased to be part of the Sichuan rebuild efforts," said Owen Chan, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Greater China. "Through this remarkable public-private partnership, we have been able to contribute to the healthcare and education transformation in Sichuan with the 21st century technologies and solutions developed by Cisco and our partners. What we have done for the schools and hospitals in Sichuan can also be replicated in other parts of China to benefit more people."

Delivering holistic and collaborative healthcare systems to help improve healthcare

Given that the healthcare facilities, the number of healthcare practitioners and the healthcare service levels in the disaster-affected regions were not able to effectively meet the actual demands of the local people, the ‘Connecting Sichuan' team and its partners worked in concert to bridge the gap by creating a replicable and scalable collaborative delivery network. Taking advantage of its advanced ICT technologies, Cisco delivered a collaborative healthcare model for Sichuan, which supports the communication and resource sharing across the entire healthcare sector.

‘Connecting Sichuan' was designed not just to support individual healthcare organizations affected by the earthquake, but to improve the healthcare service capacity of a region as a whole, to solve the difficulty in seeking medical care in terms of service quality and accessibility. In regions receiving the support, not only has the level of IT-enablement in the entire healthcare sector achieved a leapfrog development, but the healthcare sector as a whole has realized sustainable improvement. In addition, in alignment with the government's Healthy China 2020 reforms, Cisco focused on creating a 21st century medical delivery system that would bridge the gap between urban and rural healthcare with advanced communication and collaboration technologies.

Creating the 21st century ICT-enabled education model, to help with the balanced development of education in the disaster-affected regions

In education, taking advantage of its leading technologies, Cisco actively collaborated with the local government to introduce quality teaching resources and advanced teaching concepts, including diverting teachers from regions with sufficient numbers of high-quality teachers to provide manpower support for schools in the disaster-affected regions during certain periods of time. ‘Connecting Sichuan' not only created the 21st century ICT-enabled education model, but also designed and implemented multiple solutions based on this model, aiming to help improve the quality of education in rural areas, enhance training for teachers, address the shortage of teachers, strengthen talent training, and improve the overall regional education level.

Such a 21st century ICT-enabled education model has effectively reduced the gap between rural and urban schools, and has further promoted the implementation of China's education reform plans. Through this model, students can study more easily in an interactive learning environment and teachers in various regions can engage in more effective collaboration to provide more specific tutoring for their students. With the continuous improvement of ICT-enabled education at the grass-roots level in the disaster-affected regions, the innovative education model generated in the ‘Connecting Sichuan' program will no doubt be able to benefit the educators and children in the disaster-affected regions in the future.

While implementing the 21st century healthcare and education solutions in disaster-affected regions, Cisco also ensured the replicable nature and continuity of the program's results. Although the three-year program has come to an end, the momentum—and Cisco's commitment to supporting the people of China, and Sichuan in particular—continue.

Appendix--Summary of Accomplishments for Connecting Sichuan during the three-year period:

Healthcare:

  • The ‘Connecting Sichuan'program provided extensive infrastructures and technology investments for Sichuan, including ICT infrastructures in 66 healthcare organizations, six regional healthcare data center, oneregional healthcare operation center, onehealth emergency command center, and onehealthcare information technology training center.
  • Currently about 7,000 doctors are using the healthcare facilities equipped with Cisco technologies, and each month about 15,000 in-patients and 280,000 out-patients are benefiting from these facilities.
  • The data centers built by Cisco manage the new rural-cooperative medical insurance records for 60 million farmers and more than 400,000 electronic health records.
  • Cisco deployed the advanced information networks and information systems in 32 newly built "smart"hospitals and community healthcare centers, to significantly increase the operational efficiency of these hospitals and improve their management level.
  • The regional healthcare data centers and regional collaborative healthcare networks enable people in remote villages and townships to enjoy the quality services from higher-level hospitals, and can provide healthcare services for patients living far away from cities.
  • The tele-health networks equipped with Cisco TelePresence®video conferencing technology allow doctors to examine and treat patients remotely, making decisions more timely and reducing travel and medical costs. This technology also enables caregivers to complete network-delivered training sessions.
  • Cisco equipped mobile clinics with medical and networking technologies to enable healthcare service delivery in earthquake-devastated areas and to extend services to less-accessible regions of Sichuan.

Education:

  • The program implemented the 21stcentury education model in the earthquake-devastated urban and rural areas, built more than 1,100 interactive multimedia classrooms, and provided training for nearly 4,500 teachers, so that they can take advantage of this new teaching environment. In the multimedia classrooms, traditional blackboards are replaced by the interactive electronic whiteboards, and teachers can develop better teaching plans by utilizing collaborative resources through the Internet.
  • Provincial and county-level education clouds were established to connect schools with each other and with centralized resources and services. Six curriculum resource centers were created to serve 16 counties in Sichuan.
  • Rural students can now receive instruction from expert teachers in city schools by attending virtual classes delivered over the network.
  • Remote education centers were created, so that expert teachers in city schools can instruct rural schools remotely and interactively.
  • 51 new Cisco Networking Academy programs were created (of which 25 were directly funded by ‘Connecting Sichuan'), training more than 7,400 students, representing an annual growth of 88% since 2008.
  • Aba Teachers College, Southwest University of Science and Technology, and Mianyang Normal University were equipped with wireless networks, to connect the equipment throughout the campus, and to enable easier communication for teachers, students and school workers.