Friday, August 26, 2011

A Brief History of UC&C, Summary and Predictions

Today, we'll wrap up our summer series on the evolutionary history behind unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) with a quick topical recap, some analysis of what brought each of the five elements into the UC&C portfolio, and a brief look at what we expect to be the most dynamic factors affecting UC&C in the coming year.

We started our series looking at how dial-up Internet access changed the PSTN engineering rules for access, leading to a softswitch architecture employing VoIP protocols to offload remote access server traffic from the voice network onto the data network, placing the first VoIP "Trojan horse" into the PSTN. The domination of data in the PSTN also shifted the engineering rules for core networks. Whereas the primary architectural consideration used to be "voice first, data second," the shifting traffic mix toward data in public networks changed the rule to "data first, voice second" when building core infrastructure. As we look forward, we see this same paradigm shift with the growing amount of video traffic across public IP networks, and the rule will soon be (if it isn't already) "video first, data second, voice third." And we expect that in a few years, video will replace voice calls as a preferred real-time communications medium.

We next looked at how the IP-PBX came into being, following a similar need to converge voice and data traffic on the LAN. The IP-PBX life cycle also began at a time when software-driven systems using off the shelf hardware lowered the cost and sped up development, replacing the hardware-driven legacy PBX infrastructures. IP-based protocols like XML, VXML and HTTP helped make more advanced features like call center integration a standards-based development effort, again improving costs and feature design efforts. Server-based architectures also laid the groundwork for what has today evolved into cloud-based "communications as a service" (CaaS), along with emerging "unified communications as a service," or UCaaS. Cloud-based CaaS and UCaaS are both ideally suited for the small-business owner who wants or needs the UC&C features but who doesn't have the resources for a premise-based solution, so we predict heightened competition for market share in the SMB segment.

Following the IP-PBX article, we discussed how unified messaging (UM), unified communications (UC) and the importance of SIP-based presence became the next logical step in the evolution of unified communications and collaboration. UM brought access to audio, text and (later) video messages from a phone or a PC, UC added the dimension of real time communications to UM, and SIP (session initiation protocol) became the key enabler as the standards-based protocol of choice to enable presence. We predict continued growth of UC features, especially as many of these "come standard" with premise-based VoIP systems and hosted VoIP services.

With the advent of comparatively cheaper broadband access and improvements in video compression, high-definition video and telepresence became part of the collaboration equation on the converged network. The ability to integrate video sessions with other applications like document sharing, presence management added to the value of video as an important part of many UC&C solutions. As telepresence solutions becomes less expensive, we expect to see increasing use of HD video communications across all market segments -- including B2B, C2C and B2C.

Finally, we wrapped up last time with insights on how fixed mobile convergence (FMC) has become integral to UC&C solutions, leveraging smartphones as the voice and mobile apps tool of choice for many business users. We believe that FMC may represent the biggest opportunity for change in the UC&C ecosystem because effective FMC integration is increasingly a key to successful UC&C deployment and because applications integration represents the biggest void in FMC, leaving plenty of room for improvement when it comes to integrating critical business applications and content access as part of FMC.

By Larry Hettick, Network World

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Report: Softphone market set for rapid expansion

Softphones haven't impacted the enterprise market like smartphones have, but new research indicates they could see strong growth in the next six years as businesses look to contain costs and take advantage of expanding VoIP networks.

Global Industry Analysts forecast the market could grow to $217.2 million in value by 2017, with 2.9 million units in volume sales, primarily driven by increasing enterprise mobility and workforce virtualization.

The firm said that while the United States is the world's largest market for softphones, the fastest growing region is APAC, where sales are increasing at a CAGR in excess of 19 percent, and revenue is growing at a CAGR of more than 13 percent.

Major players in the marketplace include Avaya, Broadview Networks, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO), CounterPath and Mirial, among others.

Call centers continue to adopt softphones, primarily because the ability to turn a PC and/or a laptop into a telephone allows for the elimination of wired hardware requirements, saves space, is easy to set up and install, and is cost effective for long-distance international calling and rapid integration into database systems.

The diffusion of SIP devices, the progressive decrease in price points, and the continued rise in the overall value proposition of IP softphones in terms of applications and features are some of the factors that could encourage market adoption.

GIA said mobility and workforce virtualization are key growth drivers for the market.

Increasingly, vendors are looking to SMBs, offering specially tailored solutions designed to meet the unique requirements of this customer cluster. As increased numbers of SMBs begin to recognize the advantage of IP telephony, and as older telephony platforms reach the end of their lifecycle, IP adoption is expected to continue gaining momentum.

Growing deployment of VoIP networks as a result of globalization and deregulation of markets, and improving performance of VoIP networks, is helping push up the business case for enterprise softphones, said GIA.


Avaya to list shares on NYSE

(Reuters) - Telecom equipment maker Avaya Holding Corp, which filed in June for a $1 billion initial public offering, said it would list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 'AVYA'.

Avaya, which was taken private by Silver Lake Partners and TPG in 2007 for just over $8 billion, has not revealed the number of shares it intends to sell or their expected price.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are leading the underwriters of the Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company's IPO, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said in an earlier filing that it would use part of the proceeds from the offering to repay debt, redeem preferred stock and pay management termination fees to its sponsors.

(Reporting by Sharanya Hrishikesh in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cisco to double Ottawa R&D staff

By Lee Greenberg, Ottawa Citizen

Ontario grant worth $25 million to help create 300 jobs in tech industry

Cisco Canada says it will double its Ottawa workforce over the next five years as a result of a $25-million provincial investment that will send the technology company scouring local institutions for the best and brightest young engineering talent.

"The impact is absolutely immediate," said Ontario Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli, who attended the announcement Wednesday at the company's Toronto headquarters.

"This makes a strong statement that Ottawa's still a very substantive destination for research and development."

Cisco's Kanata office employs just over 200 people and is responsible for developing the company's major networking products.

The company is currently working on a next-generation router that would be able to transfer one billion videos at a time.

With the $25 million in government funding, Cisco said it will invest an additional $401 million in research and development over five years on a range of initiatives, including advanced telemedicine, improved virtual workforces and energy management.

The funding will also help create 300 jobs, at least half of which will end up in Cisco's Ottawa office - although the company went one step further Wednesday, saying it would "double" the Kanata workforce.

Ritch Dusome, director of product marketing and leader of Cisco's Ottawa branch, said he will soon begin the search for young promising engineers.

"I don't know if it's going to start tomorrow, but certainly we're going to start in the October time frame at Carleton and Ottawa U doing the career fairs and we'll probably start looking at interns," he said.

"Then after a six-month time period we'll probably engage in some of the things we talked about today."

In Wednesday's announcement at the company's downtown Toronto headquarters, Cisco Systems Inc, CEO John Chambers praised Ontario's workforce, which he called "highly skilled, with a great education base, both university and preparation for university."

He said the company wanted to make its Ottawa and Toronto operations "one of the five or six largest development centres in the world," a commitment made exceptional, he said, because it comes at a time when the company is contracting. Earlier this month, the company reported profit that beat analysts' estimates after Cisco eliminated jobs and pared business lines.

"Our focus is simple. We want to get the best engineering talent in the world. In our industry it's a war for talent."

First Look: Avaya Desktop Video Device

by Dave Bailey 17 Aug 2011

Avaya Desktop Video Device product shot


Avaya’s ADVD is an impressive device, albeit an expensive one – some would say very expensive when compared with the plethora of Android tablets currently on the market.

Overall Rating:

four star

Price: $ 3,200 basic price.

Manufacturer: Avaya


Easy to manage collaboration meetings and phone conferencing sessions; enterprise QoS implicit in deployment.


Pricey, especially when firms need to have Avaya's Aura 6.0 comms suite installed on the back end

Avaya’s Desktop Video Device (ADVD) is an enterprise Android-based tablet whose primary function is collaboration, achieved through a set of Avaya communications functions grouped into an interface Avaya calls the Flare Experience.

The Flare Experience aggregates audio/video/web conferencing, desktop video, instant messaging, presence, and social media applications.

The ADVD runs version 2.2 of Android (code-named Fro-Yo) and has an 11.6” multi-touch screen capable of a native resolution of 1366 x 768.

There’s a high-definition 5-megapixel camera on the front of the tablet, with dual microphones on the top of the screen bezel, and front-firing stereo speakers on the lower screen bezel.

The ADVD has a 10/100Mbit/s LAN adaptor, and two USB 2.0 ports on the right-hand side, alongside line-in/line-out audio jacks for headphones. There’s also a dedicated USB port on top of the ADVD specifically for 3G mobile broadband dongles.

Wireless support is 802.11b/g/n and there’s also support for Bluetooth (v2.0/2.1) devices, such as headsets or speaker phones.

There is a docking station for the ADVD which has sub-woofer speakers, more USB ports and its own wired and wireless network connections [see picture].

Avaya Desktop Video Device docking station
In addition to buying the ADVD, which costs $3,200, firms will need to be running Avaya's Aura 6.0 enterprise communications suite and will also need a network supporting Quality-of-Service (QoS) for voice and video calling.

When comparing that with the price of some of the current Android tablet devices on the market, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer costs about about £320, for example, and the HTC Flyer costs £480 + VAT SIM-free.

In use
Looking at the initial screen, we could see the notification bar at the top, which showed battery life remaining, time, date, any missed calls, any replies – and how many – from Facebook and Twitter contacts and the number of new emails [see picture].

Avaya Desktop Video Device Flare screen shot

Meetings or collaboration sessions due to take place soon were also visible in the top-centre of the screen. Such information is easily pulled from the user’s calendar application of choice, and Flare integrates with Exchange, Lotus Notes or Gmail out-of-the-box, as well as Facebook.

In this context, Facebook and Twitter may well be classed as business tools, since the ADVD trawls those social media sites picking out requisite contact information.

On the right-hand side of the screen is the ‘contacts fan’, which is a set of contacts aggregated by Flare, making it easy for users to interact with those contacts [see picture].

Avaya Desktop Video Device Flare contact 'fan'

Flare also aggregates contact details into a single-source contact card.

The most prominent section on the screen is reserved for the ‘spotlight’. The centre of the screen is delineated by a spotlit area on to which contacts can be dragged.

Below the spotlight are options to start a call, an IM session or a video call by clicking on the specific icon.

This was simple to use and within seconds we could initiate a call without dialing. No great shakes you might think, but other contacts can be dragged into the spotlight and conferenced in, which would be very helpful for say call centres or helpdesk operatives who need to have advice from experts.

We could also drag in media content, such as presentations, and send the files to users in the spotlight, just by swiping the touchscreen.

Multiple conference calls can be set up simultaneously, with users having the ability to conference in people from other conference calls into the call they're currently on – although there is probably a limit to how many such calls you can be successfully engaged in at once.

Another neat feature is the ability to bring up a call log and see all past calls, emails and IMs sorted according to either time or contact.

There are other basic Android applications on the device, such as the WebKit browser, for example, a calculator, calendar and Avaya DevConnect , which offers the ability to access Avaya Developer Community sites.

However, in the current version of ADVD it is not possible to install any other Android applications, although Avaya said that in a future release it would give IT administrators full control over what can and cannot be installed.

Future operating system support
Avaya says the Flare user interface will be ported to Apple’s iOS operating system, allowing it to run on iPad's and iPhones, made available through Apple’s App Store.

Flare will be ported to Windows Vista and Windows 7 by the end of the year, allowing Windows tablets to run Flare.

Flare will also be ported to other Android operating systems, such as Gingerbread (v2.3) and Honeycomb (v3.0), as well as Mac OS X.

Avaya said that there would be developer kits for third parties to write apps for the ADVD. Two apps currently under development are a call recording app and a call billing app, and these would be made available on a yet-to-be-launched Avaya 'App Store'.

A good enterprise communications tablet, but it is very expensive, which is something Avaya recognises with its intentions to port the software on the system to other operating systems, including iOS and Windows by the end of the year.

Avaya Maintaining PBX Market Lead Over Cisco: Researcher

By Chad Berndtson, CRN

Avaya laid claim to about 25 percent of worldwide PBX revenue in the second quarter of 2011, keeping ahead of Cisco (NSDQ:CSCO) for the third straight quarter, according to Infonetics Research.

Infonetics' second quarter report on Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP and TDM Equipment, released earlier this week, has Cisco as a close second to Avaya and leading Avaya in overall line shipments for PBX equipment.

"The top enterprise telephony vendors remain in a tight battle to gain new customers and hold onto existing ones as enterprises migrate to IP and unified communications solutions," wrote Diane Myers, Infonetics' directing analyst for VoIP and IMS, in the report summary.

Overall, said Infonetics, global PBX/KTS phone system revenue declined 2.3 percent from the first quarter of 2011, to about $2.02 billion. Still, it's up 3.9 percent from the year-ago quarter -- enough that Infonetics described the market in a state of "slow and steady recovery."

Global unified communications (UC) revenue increased 2.3 percent sequentially and hit about $112.4 million. Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) UC solutions are a big factor in that, continuing "to gain in deployments worldwide," according to Infonetics.

Pure IP PBXes are growing faster than any other line segment, and saw line shipments from 10.6 percent from the year-ago quarter, the researcher said.

Geographically, PBX revenue in Asia Pacific is up a sizable 29 percent year-over-year, while growth in North America and EMEA remains sluggish.

Even with Avaya and Cisco the dominant brands in the space, smaller UC companies see an opening.

Indeed, it was those smaller companies that made gains int eh second quarter, according to Infonetics. Aastra, Mitel and ShoreTel were the only vendors posting positive PBX revenue gains in the second quarter over the first quarter, the researcher said.

At the recent ShoreTel Champion Partner Conference in Chicago, for example, ShoreTel CEO Peter Blackmore urged channel partners to strike while the industry's major players are distracted, such as Avaya with its pending IPO and Cisco with its restructuring.

"The whole industry is distracted," said Blackmore. "Eventually competitors will get their act together. Let's not miss out on this opportunity."

Mitel, too, has charted a course for channel growth behind new CEO Richard McBee, who told CRN that Mitel has addressed its long-held channel conflict issues and is in its best position for growth in years.

"We're not the biggest in the market," McBee told CRN in June. "Cisco, Avaya, they're going to do what they do, they have a lot of channel partners. We want to be number two for a channel partner that has two lines. That 2,500 down to 100 marketplace, it's not as important to them to have Cisco or Avaya [products], and they're not going to get locked into an architecture with us."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Next Generation 9-1-1 is here, Right?

This past week is certainly been a busy week for emergency services and Next Generation 911. At the APCO show in Philadelphia FCC Commissioner Julious Genachowski announced, on Wednesday, his continued support for next generation 911 services and deployment, as he has since he took office; This time, however, the national press finally took notice.

Headlines this week brought the subject right over the top, taking it from reporting the actual facts to sensationalism where the facts were stretched just enough to cause the heads of many 'engineers' shake.

"NG 911 Soon a Reality"
"Text and Pictures Now Possible for 911"
"Feds Launch Major Push to Upgrade 911"
"Feds Launch Major 911 Overhaul Including the Big Apple"

The casual reader may think that NG 911 is actually here, and being deployed today, but in reality, we're very much in the planning phase; Although implementation is certainly on the immediate horizon, there's still quite a bit work to be done. Now don't get me wrong, I love all the press that NG 911 is getting, and I think it's absolutely neccessary to raise the public awareness of what can be done. But, we need to be careful not to create false expectations for the masses.

Texting to 911 today

While attending the APCO show in Philadelphia last week with the rest of the Avaya Public Safety Team, Guy Clinch, Tony Jazayeri, and Gavin Lee, I inevitably got into conversations about the text to 911 trials currently happening in both Black Hawk, Iowa and Durham, North Carolina. People would say to me, "we're proving texting to 911 works in those two cities, right now!" And although that is technically true, the pilot program in use there is actually a single carrier, single PSAP solution, that some would argue is not scalable, and is not really proving the technology that is actually needed for a widescale deployment nationwide. Now, I don't mean to cast any doubt on the hard working folks that built those trials, and made them work, I just want the general public to understand what they are, and what they are not.

Technology vs. Politics

When you step back and look at it, some of the political barriers are as menacing as the technology barriers for NG 911 services. For years we've relied on telephone numbers and matching addresses known as ANI and ALI, and lookups in databases provided quietly but reliably by a small handful of companies in the background. Although their names are fairly well known inside of the public safety industry, very few citizens have heard them before. These companies have significant revenues built on the existing E911 network model, and NG911 is a disruptive factor to that revenue.

E911 is built on an architecture that relies on ANI and ALI databses. As we migrate from the legacy network to the next generation network, the need for those databases, in their current form, will diminish as technology moves forward and devices become smarter. It's very much like going to a foreign country, where you don't speak the language, and walking around with a translator. If during your travels you end up learning language yourself, you don't need to translator anymore.


The service that is being provided today is called a location by reference model. In other words, the originating device is not actually sending the location the public safety, it's sending them a telephone number that is a reference number. That number they can be utilized to retrieve the address information from the carriers master address database.


What next generation 911 brings the table is a new model called location by value. Quite simply put, it's a data location object that simply says, "I'm here, come and get and me!". If the user wants to provide extended information, a URL can be provided that links back to a server with the information for that particular call event. In the enterprise environment, I call this the ELM server, or Emergency Location Management server. Typically this would sit in the DMZ and proxy intelligent information from the enterprise network to public safety on the public side of the network.

So is next generation 911 here today? No, it's not.

What is here today though is the structure and guidelines needed to define what the end state vision is. This is enough to allow public safety answer points to move forward with RFI and RFP opportunities, it's enough to where manufacturers such as Avaya, can move forward with technology based on open interfaces and standards, and it's enough for enterprise businesses to take notice that the information stored in their networks today, will be a valuable asset to public safety tomorrow.

Network administrators need to think about emergency services, how it works, and how to get information about its user population and their location to public safety when people need help.

This applies to all devices, on all networks, and in all locations.

Fast Facts on Google’s Purchase of Motorola Mobility: Insight From IHSFast Facts on Google’s Purchase of Motorola Mobility: Insight From IHS

Commentary and Insight from IHS iSuppli

The Motorola Mobility acquisition puts Google Inc. in a stronger position in any potential patent dispute with Apple Inc. “From an intellectual property (IP) standpoint, the acquisition bolsters Google’s negotiating position with Apple, in the event that Apple goes after Android-based products the same way it did with Samsung in Europe,” said Francis Sideco, principal analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “If nothing else, Google will be able to assert Motorola’s IP for the 3GPP and 3GPP2 cellphone specifications, which are used in both the iPhone and iPad.”

Motorola’s product development capabilities also may have made it an attractive acquisition target for Google. “Motorola has been closely following Google Android’s operating system release schedule,” said Tina Teng, senior analyst, wireless communications, for IHS. “Whenever Google releases a new version of Android, Motorola almost immediately has a device ready with the latest revision of the software, reflecting the company’s prodigious product development capabilities.”

Google previously has used new HTC and Samsung products to demonstrate the latest capabilities of the Android operating system. For example, the HTC MyTouch and Samsung Nexus S served to show off the operating systems’ capabilities so other OEMs could follow the example. Now, Motorola is the company that will set the example.

“Motorola can serve as Google’s product R&D department as Android spreads into new markets,” Teng added. “Motorola has engineering expertise in a wide range of products where Android will be used, including set-top boxes and televisions. The addition of Motorola’s engineering and intellectual property will accelerate Android’s time-to-market in these areas and potentially revitalize the Google TV business, which so far has met with little success.”

The acquisition could prompt some Android licenses to increase their focus on alternative operating systems, such as Windows Phone. “Although Google has said Motorola will continue to operate as a separate company, this development has to raise questions among the other Android licensees as to the level of support they will get from Google in the future. Even before this announcement, Motorola already had gotten preferential treatment, receiving first access to Honeycomb on the tablet side. While it’s unlikely that the other licensees will abandon Android, they could shift their priorities and focus more R&D toward Windows Phone from Microsoft.”

Motorola ranked sixth in the global smartphone business in the second quarter. The company held a 4 percent share of global unit shipments. Company shipments amounted to 4.4 million, up 7.3 percent from 4.1 million in the first quarter, as shown in the table attached.

Since hitting bottom in the first quarter of 2009, Motorola has been experiencing nearly uninterrupted quarterly growth in smartphone shipments. Quarterly company shipments have expanded sequentially for the past nine consecutive quarters, with the exception of the first quarter of 2011, as shown in the figure attached.

Motorola once was the world’s No. 2 cellphone maker. As recently as the first quarter of 2007, Motorola was the world’s second-largest cellphone shipper after Nokia on the strength of its stylish RAZR product line. However, because of its difficulties in offering compelling new models following the success of the RAZR, Motorola’s share of global cellphone shipments went into decline. Following a precipitous and sustained drop in shipments and market share, the company made a strategic decision to shift its focus away from low-margin, mass-market cellphones and toward higher-profit smartphones based on the Android operating system, like the Droid and Backflip.

Motorola Inc.’s XOOM media tablet introduced early this year represented the first legitimate match for Apple Inc.’s iPad 3G, in terms of features and pricing. The IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis service’s dissection of the device determined the Motorola XOOM carries a bill of materials (BOM) of $359.92, based on pricing in March 2011, compared to approximately $320 for a 3G iPad with 32GB of NAND flash memory, based on pricing from April 2010.

Cisco Regains Momentum, ALU and Huawei Drive Strong APAC Results According to Synergy

Strong Growth for Service Provider Router Sales in 2Q11

RENO, NV–(Marketwire – Aug 15, 2011) – Synergy Research Group announces the publication of the 2Q11 Service Provider and Carrier Ethernet (CE) Switch Market Share report. This report provides quarterly market shares for Service Provider Core Routers, Edge Routers, and Carrier Ethernet Switches.

The second quarter of 2011 saw continued service provider investment in Edge and Core IP networks, driving up sales 9.3% sequentially to $2.96 Billion. Routers and Switches continue to be the cornerstone of IP network investments, providing the foundation to support the accelerating growth of Mobile Internet, Video, Cloud, Collaboration and Data Center.

2Q11 Worldwide Core Router Revenue

Rolling 4 Quarter

Share Change
- 0.78

“Based on the second quarter results, it can be said that discussions of Cisco’s market share struggles in this arena have been highly exaggerated. Cisco certainly has regained its leadership momentum during this quarter,” said Jeremy Duke, Founder & Principal Analyst, Synergy Research Group. “Other notable performers in the quarter were Huawei with strong Core Router sales in China and Alcatel-Lucent with strong Edge Sales across the APAC region.”

Cisco showed the strongest momentum in the Core Router market where they gained market share quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year as well as over a four-quarter rolling average. North America, which represents the largest portion of the Core Router market, saw the biggest share movements with Cisco gaining 4.94 market share points versus Juniper losing 6.22 market share points. Further, when calculating market share measurements over a rolling four-quarter average, Cisco gained 3.68 market share points compared to Juniper losing 4.56 market share points. However, Juniper did see market share gains in the Latin American and EMEA regions.

In the Edge Router market both Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent saw good share gains as well. Alcatel-Lucent surpassed Juniper to regain its 2nd place position.

2Q11 Worldwide Edge Router Revenue

Q-Q Share Change

Also the Synergy report notes, with Service Providers responding to the exploding growth of Mobile Data and Video traffic as well as their IP architecture investments in CDNs, Cloud, SIP Trunking and Data Centers, Synergy continues to maintain its aggressive forecast for the Service Provider Router market to approach 20% growth in 2011 despite the challenging worldwide economic environment.

Cisco Ups Investment In Major Channel Incentive Programs

By Chad Berndtson, CRN

Cisco (NSDQ:CSCO) is making across-the-board updates to most of its major partner incentive programs, including juicier rebates for its long-running Value Incentive Program (VIP) and sweeteners for several other programs.

The changes are part of an overall increase in Cisco's spending on incentive programs in its fiscal 2012 over its fiscal 2011 -- a move that squashes rumors Cisco would trim its incentive payouts this year as part of its ongoing corporate restructuring.

Ricardo Moreno, senior director, Strategy, Planning & Programs, Worldwide Channels at Cisco, declined to say how much Cisco was upping its investment in the programs, but confirmed in an interview with CRN Monday that the overall number is higher than last year.

Most of the changes center on VIP, the nine-year old incentive program that rewards partners based on their Cisco-centric technology practices, and which Cisco refreshes twice a year. Version 18 of VIP is now in effect.

Among the major changes are that Cisco's existing partner development funds (PDF) program -- which offers incentive payments for partners on certain types of deals to small business or midmarket customers -- has been renamed VIP Express.

Cisco partners participating in VIP Express will still receive quarterly payments, as they did under PDF, but Cisco sought to align the PDF program with the VIP program and streamline the process for participating, according to Moreno. The VIP Express piece is primarily for Cisco small business specialist, select and premier partners, he explained.

Some Cisco Gold level partners will also see fatter VIP payments going forward. Cisco Gold partners that participate in Cisco's Data Center architecture track -- previously known as the Virtualization track -- can temporarily bag a 2 percent rebate instead of a 1 percent rebate.

That won't last forever, said Moreno, but Cisco wanted to test out rewarding partners that by nature of the technology involved, have to invest more money to have their competencies recognized by Cisco.

"Partners have to make extra investment in that area," Moreno said. "We want to make it a little richer for them."

Other changes to VIP include the introduction of a WebEx subtrack in Cisco's Collaboration track, under which Cisco will qualify more partners to receive VIP rebates for selling WebEx. Specifically, Cisco partners that have either the Collaboration Architecture Specialization or Cisco's Telepresence Video Authorized Technology Provider (ATP) designation can now more easily access those incentives, whereas before, only partners with Advanced or Master Unified Commuinications designations would qualify, Moreno said.

"WebEx is a key part of the architecture and becoming more and more pervasive in what we do," Moreno said. "It's not only a piece of the U.C. element we had before."

A last booster specific to VIP is that Cisco partners that were invited into the Cisco Telepresence Video ATP program prior to the end of VIP 17 -- June 30, 2011 -- but did not finish the requirements for the ATP in time will be able to receive payment on eligible VIP 17 bookings in the VIP 18 period if they meet VIP 18 qualifications during the VIP 18 period.

"If they don't have the specialization or the ATP, they can't earn their rebates," Moreno said. "So we're giving them all the way to the end of VIP 18 to do it."

VIP 18 runs through Jan. 28, 201

Cisco's VIP program is seeing the most changes as Cisco starts its fiscal 2012, but its other major incentive programs have also been tweaked.

Cisco's Teaming Incentive Program (TIP), which was first announced during Cisco's 2010 Partner Summit in San Francisco and has been in various pilots and test phases since then, was formally rolled out in the U.S. on May 31.

When it was first mentioned in April 2010, Cisco partners using TIP could earn 5 percent extra margin points on deals for which Cisco has qualified those partners early in the sales process -- it's a program designed to recognize partners' work on deals early in the sales cycle. Moreno said the terms of TIP at present are similar, and partners will see 5 percent on"most deals qualified under TIP.

Cisco's Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP) -- which covers deals in which a partner secures new business and brings it to Cisco's attention -- is also changing in that partners will see OIP deals confirmed by Cisco a lot faster. Cisco partner account managers have now been charged with coming back to partners in a matter of hours, not days, with a ruling on a deal's OIP qualification, Moreno explained.

That is for deals of certain sizes, Moreno said, and the threshold depends on geography and the type of deal. Moreno declined to be more specific on exact dollar amounts that qualify.

More changes have also arrived for Cisco's Technology Migration Program (TMP), a 10-year-old program in which Cisco recognizes partners that swap out gear from rivals, like HP and Juniper, for Cisco equipment. Cisco has broadened the types of products that qualify for TMP payments; for example, where before partners needed to swap out, say, a specific HP switch to qualify, many switches from a single HP switch family could qualify for TMP compensation.

"We were sometimes using too specific terms that narrowed down what really would qualify," Moreno explained. "This approach is on making it simpler."

Cisco later this year will be making more program changes specific to its Cloud Partner Program, which was announced at this year's Cisco Partner Summit in New Orleans and went live in mid-June, and also specific partner incentives within partner-led, the new Cisco sales strategy that will theoretically drive more Cisco product and service sales through the channel in all but Cisco's most strategic accounts.

Moreno declined to elaborate on those changes, except to say they will come in the form of new partner incentives.

Cisco sued over jailing and torture of dissidents

The three Chinese dissidents accusing Cisco of aiding and abetting  their imprisonment and torture.

The three Chinese dissidents accusing Cisco of aiding and abetting their imprisonment and torture.

Cisco, one of the world's largest technology companies, is being sued by Chinese political prisoners for allegedly providing the technology and expertise used by the Chinese Communist Party to monitor, censor and suppress the Chinese people.

Daniel Ward, of US law firm Ward & Ward, has brought the case on behalf of Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, Liu Xianbin and 10 unnamed others. He compared Cisco's actions to "IBM's behaviour in Nazi Germany".

Cisco has rejected the allegations as baseless but has failed to respond to serious questions stemming from an internal company presentation.

Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

Nobel Peace Prize 2010 winner Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence. Here he is pictured with his wife Liu Xia.

"Cisco has, for years now, knowingly aided and abetted the Chinese Communist Party's ongoing efforts to stifle the free speech and discourse of its citizenry," Mr Ward told Fairfax Media.

"Dating back to the early 2000s, Cisco competed for contracts with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to help design, develop and implement the 'Golden Shield Project' - a rather Orwellian euphemism for the Chinese Communist Party's ongoing effort to monitor, track and censor all internet traffic into and out of China."

According to court documents, Mr Du spent three years in jail, Mr Zhou is a prisoner in his own home and Mr Liu has served two months of a 10-year sentence. All three claim to have been tortured and abused over articles they published online.

Laogai Research Foundation executive director Harry Wu announces  the court case in June this year.

Laogai Research Foundation executive director Harry Wu announces the court case in June this year.

The case, filed in the US District Court in Maryland, is reminiscent of lawsuits launched against Yahoo by human rights groups after the internet company gave details about users to the Chinese government. These details were used to throw journalists and dissidents in jail, where they were deprived of food and basic comforts, and were beaten.

In many cases, the Chinese citizens have been locked up for little more than internet postings criticising China's one-party system and advocating regime change.

Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, is serving an 11-year sentence in China for his political writings. Ironically, Cisco sponsored the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Concert

A slide from the internal Cisco presentation used as part of the  case.

A slide from the internal Cisco presentation used as part of the case.

Cisco has publicly stated that it helped the CCP build its Golden Shield and Policenet systems. In the legal complaint, seen by Fairfax Media, Cisco is accused of training Chinese engineers in how to use its technology to carry out surveillance of online activity and suppress dissident activity.

"With the assistance of Cisco, the CCP is now capable of detecting, identifying and tracking perceived threats to the CCP's power, and blocking 'harmful' websites," the complaint reads.

The case, which was filed in June but received minimal media coverage, is being funded by the Laogai Research Foundation, whose executive director, Harry Wu, spent 19 years in Chinese labour camps but now lives in America. Mr Wu has spent years raising awareness of human rights abuses in China and was the driving force behind the case against Yahoo, which was settled for an undisclosed amount.

"Cisco is a company that would do business with any partner so long as it turns a profit, even at the expense of our people's rights and freedoms," Mr Wu said recently.

In a leaked internal Cisco presentation from 2002, seen by Fairfax Media, the company reveals how its products can address China's goals of "maintaining stability", "stop the network-related crimes" and "combat 'Falun Gong' evil religion and other hostiles".

The document also has a page discussing "Networked prisons and jails", describing how information about a suspect travels through Cisco's system from the time a suspect is first jailed to when they are released. The system links jails and police departments and Mr Wu argues it "directly aided in tracking down dissidents and keeping them under oppressive surveillance".

"They aren't just selling routers to a corrupt regime. They are selling the technology, training and software specifically designed to monitor, censor and suppress the Chinese people," said Mr Ward.

"And they are doing so knowing full well how the CCP treats dissenters."

The Golden Shield Project - also known as the Great Firewall of China - is used by the Chinese government to eliminate references to politically sensitive topics such as Tiananmen Square, Liu Xiaobo and the Jasmine Revolution sweeping through the Middle East. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also blocked.

Mr Ward claims one of the dissidents suing Cisco, Du Daobin, has been extensively interrogated by Chinese authorities over his involvement in the case and has been kept under 24-hour surveillance. Mr Ward believes Mr Du was not harmed because of public interest in the case.

Mr Du received a four-year prison term in 2003 for posting pro-democracy articles online, but the sentence was suspended for four years. In 2008, his sentence was reinstated and he was imprisoned for two years.

Mr Ward claims Mr Du was subjected to "extreme physical and psychological torture" and, by the time of his release in 2010, was suffering from "extreme malnutrition and cardiac issues". Mr Ward said Mr Du, whose wife has moved out and left him to raise their child, could no longer walk without assistance and depends on a wheelchair for movement.

Cisco, which has sought to delay the court case, said it did not operate networks in China or elsewhere - it just provided the equipment - and denied it customised its products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression.

"There is no basis for these allegations against Cisco, and we intend to vigorously defend against them," the company said in a statement, refusing to answer any further questions.

In a blog post, Cisco's legal counsel Mark Chandler said the company supported free expression and open communication on the internet.

Cisco recently reported $US43.2 billion in revenues for last year. The legal complaint claims it has earned an estimated $500 million in profits on sales to China and holds 60 per cent of the Chinese market for routers, switches and other networking gear.

China, which employs an estimated 30,000-50,000 internet police, has claimed recent moves by Western governments to censor internet and other communications vindicates its own repressive policies.

LifeSize HD Video Conferencing Endpoint Solutions Earn DISA JITC Certification

LifeSize bolsters commitment to the U.S. federal market with full suite of universal video collaboration products and solutions now JITC compliant; enters reseller agreement with Avaya Government Solutions

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 16, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- LifeSize, a division of Logitech /quotes/zigman/101258/quotes/nls/logi LOGI -0.47% (six:LOGN) and world leader in HD video collaboration, today announced that its full line of endpoint solutions has received Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certification from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). LifeSize products are now available on the DoD Unified Capabilities Approved Products List (UC APL).

The LifeSize(R) Room(TM) series, LifeSize(R) Team(TM) series and LifeSize(R) Express(TM) series of HD video conferencing systems and the LifeSize Networker(TM) gateway are now fully JITC compliant, with both Interoperability (IO) and Information Assurance (IA) compliance certification. This compliance enables end-to-end video collaboration for federal customers, allowing high definition video solutions to work in existing network infrastructures, while providing the lowest total cost of ownership.

"This certification further solidifies LifeSize's continuing commitment to the federal market," said Paul Cantwell, vice president of federal sales for LifeSize. "Our products have been recognized by federal standards-setting organizations and leading government contractors alike as among the best solutions for HD video. By working within the existing IT infrastructure at federal agencies, LifeSize is bringing cost and operational efficiencies to video conferencing and collaboration solutions for today and tomorrow."

LifeSize has also entered into a strategic reseller agreement with Avaya Government Solutions. Both companies will jointly provide complete, end-to-end video collaboration solutions to the United States Federal Government, leveraging the Avaya Aura(R) platform and LifeSize's full suite of high-definition video products.

"Avaya Government Solutions and LifeSize have a key initiative in common -- to provide the government and its agencies with the highest quality solutions and services for the most complex, mission-critical applications in the world," said Steve Derr, vice president of sales for Avaya Government Solutions. "We are pleased to enter into this agreement and look forward to supporting these agencies together."

"The applications of high definition video conferencing and collaboration are becoming critically important in the federal government," said Cantwell. "From teleworking to distance learning, to continuity of operations and beyond, the need for agencies to work together and share information seamlessly has never been greater. Our full suite of JITC compliant endpoints coupled with our agreement with Avaya Government Solutions makes LifeSize uniquely positioned to impact the federal market in a meaningful way."

LifeSize HD video conferencing solutions are currently installed in federal agencies such as the DoD, U.S. Army, the Department of Energy, NASA, the U.S. House of Representatives and DISA.

Additional Resources

-- LifeSize Room series

-- LifeSize Team series

-- LifeSize Express series

-- LifeSize Networker datasheet

-- LifeSize blog

About Avaya Government Solutions

Avaya Government Solutions is a network-centric integrator, providing the services expertise, mission-critical systems, and secure communications that empower government to ensure the security, livelihood, and well-being of its citizens. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., Avaya Government Solutions offers a one-stop shop for solutions designed to improve workforce productivity, reduce operating costs, and streamline inter-agency communications. Please visit for more information.

About LifeSize Communications

LifeSize is a pioneer and world leader in high-definition video collaboration. Designed to make video conferencing truly universal, our full range of open standards-based systems offer enterprise-class, IT-friendly technologies that enable genuine human interaction over any distance. Founded in 2003 and acquired by Logitech in 2009, LifeSize, with its commitment to relentless innovation, continues to extend the highest-quality video conferencing capabilities to anyone, anywhere. For more information, visit .

Note to editors: Photos available at

All rights reserved. Information contained in this document is subject to change without notice. LifeSize is the registered trademark or trademark of Logitech. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


SOURCE: LifeSize

Ont. researchers probe Nortel bankruptcy

Two Ontario researchers are trying to discover if there were any warning signs of Nortel's fall from grace by surveying former workers.

Administration professor Ken Ogata from York University and accounting professor Sandra Scott from the University of Guelph have launched a study into organizational decline.

Scott, who used for work in Nortel’s finance department, and Ogata said they hope to find out if problems were clear to staff years before the collapse.

The questions will focus on workers' experiences between 1997 and 2001.

"In the event of something like Nortel, were some of the warning signs missed? How can we build upon that knowledge to provide advice to other organizations?" Ogata told CBC News.

Marc Lavoie, who worked at the technology company for 27 years, saw his career end abruptly after Nortel slipped into bankruptcy protection.

He added early changes were clear to staff.

"I'll have to say around the year 2000," said Lavoie, "they started to get a little tighter with the money."

Ogata says feedback like that from Lavoie, as well as thousands of other ex-Nortel staff, is critical for the research.

But for some former Nortel workers, the online questionnaire grazes over some key points, including differences between Nortel's business units.

"The survey doesn't go down to that level and really understand the subtleties that may exist between the groups," said Lavoie.

The ex-Nortel worker also added bitterness might skew the results because many former staff members are still struggling after their layoff.

Some are also refusing to fill out the survey due to concerns over a pre-determined conclusion to the research.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Apple gets greenlight on Nortel assets

Reuters is reporting that the US government’s antitrust regulators have approved an Apple request to buy some assets from Nortel’s on-going liquidation. Apple will participate in an auction to be held Monday. Apple joins Intel, Google and Ericson in a quest to snag 6,000 still valuable patents and patent applications. Apple will most likely target LGE and 4G wireless technologies, as mobility gains momentum in the enterprise migration path.


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 or by contacting the Monitor directly at 1-866-942-7177.

For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at For the latest Nortel news, visit

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

LifeSize HD Video Conferencing Solutions Now Rated "Avaya Compliant"

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug 10, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- --LifeSize solutions enable customers to implement HD video solutions in their existing network infrastructures, reduce costs and minimize complexities

LifeSize, a division of Logitech /quotes/zigman/101258/quotes/nls/logi LOGI +1.29% (six:LOGN) and world leader in HD video collaboration, today announced that its products LifeSize(R) Passport(TM) and LifeSize(R) Express 220(TM) are compliant with key IP telephony solutions from Avaya, a global provider of business collaboration systems, software and services.

LifeSize Passport and LifeSize Express 220 help businesses make seamless HD video conferencing calls across the enterprise, extending high quality collaboration capabilities to anyone, anywhere. The applications now are compliance-tested by Avaya for compatibility with: Avaya Aura(R) Communication Manager and Avaya Aura(R) Session Manager with Avaya one-X(R) Communicator and the Avaya Desktop Video Device (audio only).

"At LifeSize, we believe that video products work best when they are easy to implement within a company's existing infrastructure," said Paul Cantwell, vice president of federal sales, LifeSize. "By pursuing improvements in infrastructure, we are now offering our joint customers a simpler, more cost-effective solution."

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

As a Platinum member of the program, LifeSize 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 participating in Avaya's compliance testing program and committing to open standards, development partners like LifeSize are helping businesses get more out of their network investment," said Eric Rossman, vice president, developer relations, Avaya. "This helps our customers more easily communications-enable critical business processes and uncover new value that can help them build their bottom line."

Additional Resources

-- LifeSize Passport datasheet

-- LifeSize Express 220 datasheet

-- LifeSize Blog

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. For more information please visit . For more information on the Avaya DevConnect program, visit .

About LifeSize Communications

LifeSize is a pioneer and world leader in high-definition video collaboration. Designed to make video conferencing truly universal, our full range of open standards-based systems offer enterprise-class, IT-friendly technologies that enable genuine human interaction over any distance. Founded in 2003 and acquired by Logitech in 2009, LifeSize, with its commitment to relentless innovation, continues to extend the highest-quality video conferencing capabilities to anyone, anywhere. For more information, visit .

Note to editors: Photos available at

LifeSize, the LifeSize logo, Logitech, the Logitech logo, and other Logitech marks are trademarks and may be registered. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.


SOURCE: LifeSize Communications

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Polycom’s Video Collaboration Solutions for Small Businesses

Last month, unified communications firm Polycom introduced Polycom® RealPresence™ Ready, its new comprehensive open video collaboration solution optimized that delivers the highest quality video collaboration at the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO). Tailored for the tighter budgets and leaner staffs of emerging companies, this cost-effective solution is integral to Polycom’s strategy to offer small and medium-sized businesses a fast on-ramp to the benefits of video collaboration and a flexible expansion path in line with their business growth.

In this short Q & A with Laura Marx, the Senior Director of SMB Planning & Operations at Polycom, we learn a little bit more about what the company has to offer small businesses in the realm of video collaboration.

1. For those who say – well I have Skype or ooVoo – what do you say?

We’re hearing from SMB customers across many industries that they want reliable, business-grade and secure UC solutions. Our offerings are not only of the highest quality, but also are extremely reliable, interoperable and scalable. SMBs want to project a polished and professional image to their customers and employees without breaking the bank. Polycom solutions, such as RealPresence Ready, enable SMBs to focus on their businesses rather than worrying about the quality and security of their communication devices.

2. How does this compare to other systems from Tandberg for example, which many businesses have?

We’re in the market because our business-grade solutions are perfect for SMBs: they’re affordable and easy to use, and they help SMBs reduce costs and maximize productivity. Polycom solutions differ from the competition as they provide the best TCO and security. Polycom solutions have backward and forward compatibility, and are open standards based for interoperability. These qualities are critical for SMBs that want solutions that can grow with them, integrating with their existing and future communication systems. We’re also the only company delivering H.264 High Profile, a standards-based technology that compresses video files-without compromising on video clarity-and reduces bandwidth needs by as much as 50 percent, which helps avoid costly network upgrades.

3. There are many video conference systems on the market – what are some key tips for a small biz owner knowing how to buy the best system for them?

We’ve been in the SMB market for many years, serving tens of thousands of customers, so our team is very well equipped to help SMBs figure out the best solutions to fit their specific needs. It’s important that SMBs consider solutions that have the flexibility to seamlessly integrate new video technology with their existing communications systems now, and implement solutions that can scale with them as their businesses grow. When customers choose Polycom open solutions, they can be assured that all their communications systems will work together seamlessly today and tomorrow. Polycom and its ecosystem of thousands of partners and resellers offer SMBs a vast array of solutions to meet their needs. Whether an SMB wants an on-premise solution, a hosted solution or wants to evaluate leasing vs. purchasing solutions, Polycom and its partners offer choices and flexibility – all with the high quality, reliability and security that are imperative to any SMB solution.

4. What am I buying for $18,000?

The RealPresence Ready solution includes two Polycom® HDX® 6000 room systems, one Polycom® HDX® 7000 system, and five Polycom® Telepresence m100 software licenses with an installation deployment guide and demo video. RealPresence Ready makes it easier than ever for SMBs to purchase, install, and operate high-quality, business-grade video collaboration solutions. For more information, SMBs can visit our website: or call 1.800.Polycom.

“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. The company is currently using Polycom as a video collaboration provider.

“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.”


Everything You Need to Know about Voice and Conferencing - A Beginners Guide

To improve communication within your enterprise and to clients outside, it’s best to have voice and video communication integrated. Have your phone network integrated with your computer network and make it easy for your employees and colleagues to route the customer to the best possible solution with a rapid success rate.

IP technology is really advanced and its lets you add new employees, new branches, new workers, etc, as and when your business expands. Making your business succeed is far easier when your team has all the communication solutions it needs.

Bring it all together:

A business uses a wide array of tools to function smoothly. These include, calendar, internet, email, fax, phone systems, messaging, and many more applications. We need all of these to make sure that the business runs without any hiccups. Wouldn’t it be a miracle if all of these applications were integrated into a single solution? It would helps us performs loads of tasks with increased efficiency:

• With the help of voice, video and data conferencing facilities, you can conduct meetings with your team from anywhere in the world.
• Help team members locate each other easily.
• Use wireless devices to get important information when needed.
• Direct your customers to the appropriate person without wasting any time.
• Give employees the freedom to work from anywhere they want.
• Expand your business and add new employees and branches without any added hassle or cost.
• Protect your business completely from any security threats or viruses.

To explore in detail how voice, video, and data conferencing make this happen, look below.

IP Telephony:

IP telephony uses your secure data network to integrate features like dial tone, conferencing, transfer, hold, and other basic features. Employees in your office can easily direct a customer to the right person, even if he was in a remote location as the system connects everyone.


Deploy a single user friendly system to enable the employees in your office to connect with each other through voice and video conferencing. This helps them arrange for meetings and share important information with clients and colleagues from across the world at a touch of a button.

Presence Solutions:

Presence solutions help your team determine who is online and who is not. This enables them to determine the availability or other colleagues and get access to their contact details and time of availability.

Unified Messaging:

Having to access different messaging folders to view your mails and messages is quite inconvenience. With the help of Unified messaging, have all these delivered to a single messaging folder – your email inbox.

Rich Media Conferencing:

Hold conference meetings with your colleagues and co-workers from across the world in different branches with the help of voice, video, and data conferencing. This feature provides efficient collaboration where everyone gets an equal chance to participate in the meeting.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

POLYCOM : Gains Significant Marketshare, As Reported in New Videoconferencing Study from Wainhouse Research

• Polycom gains nine points in video endpoints shipments quarter-over-quarter, extending leadership to 45 percent marketshare

• Polycom gains five points sequentially in video endpoints revenue and now has 34 percent marketshare

• Polycom gains three points sequentially in video infrastructure as market grows 24 percent year-over-year

• Polycom maintains its installed base lead with 38 percent of the market

PLEASANTON, Calif. - Aug 02, 2011 : Polycom, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLCM), a global leader in unified communications (UC), gained significant marketshare in both video endpoints and video infrastructure, in the latest Wainhouse Research quarterly report on video conferencing and telepresence titled "Wainhouse Spotcheck: Videoconferencing Q1 2011."

Marketshare highlights and gains included:

  • With a nine point gain vs. Q4 2010five point gain year-over-year, Polycom extended its leadership in video endpoint unit shipments to 45 percent market share in Q1 2011. At the same time, Polycom's largest competitor declined six points (year-over-year and sequentially) in unit share to 25 percent.
  • Polycom video endpoint revenue share increased five points in Q1 2011 vs. Q4 2010 (and three points year-over-year)the company now has 34 percent market share in revenue. Polycom's largest competitor saw a revenue decline of eight points sequentially during that same time periodsix points year-over-year.
  • Polycom grew three points sequentially in video infrastructure (Polycom offers the UC Intelligent Core™ platform), while Polycom's largest competitor remained flat. The overall video infrastructure market is growing at 24 percent year-over-year.
  • Out of an estimated 1.2 million videoconferencing systems installed, Polycom is estimated to be leading with 38 percent of the market.

"Polycom is committed to delivering the most innovative, easy-to-use UC solutions on premise or from the cloud to improve collaboration, boost productivity and performanceaccelerate time to market," said Polycom CEO Andy Miller. "Customers are voting with their wallets in favor of Polycom's standards-based approach to UC because it preserves customer choice, leverages existing investmentsfuture-proofs organizations as their collaboration strategy evolves. Together with our partners, Polycom is delivering the most comprehensive UC solutions to truly enable UC Everywhere."

"Polycom's impressive numbers are a result of increasing market demand for videoconferencing equipment and UC solutions combined with the company's strong execution in the field," said Andrew W. Davis, co-founder and senior analyst at Wainhouse Research. "Customers and channel partners alike are resonating with Polycom's go-to-market message and strategy."

Last week, Polycom announced the close of its acquisition of HP's Visual Collaboration businessthe agreement under which Polycom will serve as an exclusive partner to HP for telepresence and certain video UC solutions, including both resale and internal HP deployments. The acquisition and agreement doubles Polycom's immersive telepresence marketshare and further strengthens Polycom's leadership in the UC video market, which is growing rapidly as businesses of all sizes around the world are using video collaboration as a strategic and cost-effective way to improve productivity and create high-performance workplaces. In addition to HP, Polycom works with a large and diverse channel community representing multiple routes to market, including: distribution partners, value added resellers, service providers and systems integrators.

Polycom Unified Communications (UC) Solutions

Polycom Unified Communications (UC) solutions bring people face-to-face from anywhere, creating a highly collaborative environment that significantly improves learning, retentionengagement as well as overall productivity and efficiency. Polycom helps organizations of all sizes, across all industries, become high-performance workplaces where individuals and teams collaborate on-demand between any location, over any network, with their device of choice.

Polycom UC offerings include high-definition voice and video solutions for personal, mobile, groupimmersive telepresence experiences – using up to half the video bandwidth required by other UC solutions. The Polycom 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 on a global scale. With Polycom's 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.

Wainhouse Report

More information about the report can be found in "."

About Polycom

Polycom, Inc. is a global leader in unified communications solutions with industry-leading , , solutions built on open standards. Polycom powers smarter conversations, transforming lives and businesses worldwide. Please visit for more information or connect with Polycom on Twitter, LinkedIn.

NOTE: The product plans, specificationsdescriptions herein are provided for information only and subject to change without noticeare provided without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Polycom reserves the right to modify future product plans at any time. Products and related specifications referenced herein are not guaranteed and will be delivered on a when and if available basis.

© 2011 Polycom, Inc. All rights reserved. POLYCOM®, the Polycom "Triangles" logo, Accordent®the names and marks associated with Polycom's products are trademarks and/or service marks of Polycom, Inc. and are registered and/or common law marks in the United States and various other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Rock n' Roll and IP Office 7.0 ... I love this kind of music!

One of my favorite things to do when heading into the office in the morning is blast "Bollywood" music in my car! It gets me energized for the day and ready to take on whatever hurdles are in the way to drive results. In that way, I can relate to any small business owner who similarly thinks about his or her "got to do's" the moment they wake up. Like an SME, I truly care about my business - which coincidentally IS the small and medium business market. At Avaya we are thinking big about the possibilities with this fantastic market segment. Worldwide, the small and medium segment is 99 percent of all businesses - so the impact they have on our global economy can't be overestimated. In fact, according to a recent report from Inuit, 60 to 80 percent of all new jobs will come from this segment. They need to be more nimble than their larger counterparts and clearly need to collaborate from anywhere on the road to ensure speed of decisions and responsiveness.

One of our IP Office 7.0 customers, The Agency Group, literally needs to keep its mobile staff rocking and rolling all day long. The Agency Group is a business that started small (its founder began booking rock and roll acts for high school events in the UK back in the '60s when he was just 16-years-old), but with big ideas and a lot of hard work has made the company flourish to become one of the world's leading talent agencies. Today, The Agency Group has over 160 employees based out of five offices in London, Los Angeles, Toronto, New York and Malmo, Sweden, and with clients all around the world. It's hard to think of a business that relies more on the power of communications than The Agency Group does. Their agents are on the phone constantly, all hours of the day and night connecting with their roster of over 1,500 artists. They need to be productive and efficient - to be accessible from wherever they happen to be working from (often behind the stage during performances) - and it all needs to play in tune and on key!

Today with IP Office 7.0, they keep the music playing with single number access (calls to their office phones ring simultaneously on any other designated phone), softphone, and two built-in 64-party conferencing bridges. (By the way, IP Office 7.0 also saved them a significant amount of money by enabling them to re-use their existing Nortel phone sets in their Toronto office.)

As Howie Gold, Director of IT for The Agency Group, noted, "When you factor in all the individual savings, it could be $20,000, $40,000, $50,000 per year, and that doesn't even account for the intangibles, the level of communication it raises between the staff... This ability to reach people in other offices sends productivity through the roof." Beyond productivity and significant cost savings, a key to the Agency Group's success is the high level of customer service they provide that helps drive loyalty. "We have to stay connected - with our clients, with the artists we represent - and that's where IP Office really comes into play."

We're very proud of what we were able to help The Agency Group achieve, and intend to keep the drum beat for SME stronger and louder than ever. Looking back, so far in 2011, Avaya delivered a large scale push of our presence in SME with the global "Think Big" event. The event is an example of how Avaya wants to foster a community of small businesses and inspire them by sharing best practices and experiences and how technology helped them on their path to success. In addition to The Agency Group, we featured a number of SME customers at the event. AmeriMerchant, for example, helps other small businesses grow through innovative financing programs. IP Office helps this small business (they have 80 employees in two U.S. offices) very efficiently handle huge volumes of sales calls every day. The result? More deals and more sales for AmeriMerchant - even in this tough economy.

Perhaps the SME star of the show, though, was Buddy Valastro, owner of Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, NJ and star of three television shows. Buddy spoke about his "think big" approach to business, how it has helped turn his neighborhood bakery into a worldwide brand, and how communications plays a vital role for him. He also baked us an incredible cake that not only tasted great, it was an actual working IP Office system, complete with video conferencing! Check out this amazing cake on a recent episode of Buddy's "Cake Boss" show. (You can download it on iTunes.) Want to hear more from Buddy? Watch our "Think Big" online webinar for an in-depth interview with him.

Are you a small business owner or an IT Director of a medium size business? Do you need your staff to rock and roll like Agency Group? If so, I'd like to hear about your think big approach to growing your business. How would you like to see communications enable your employees to help you deliver on those big ideas? Let us know!

Posted 27 Jul 2011 at 12:18 PM

Panasonic Launches Line of Desktop SIP Phones

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here:

Today, Panasonic launched a line of new desktop SIP phones pitting them against Aastra, Cisco, Polycom, snom, and other SIP desktop phone vendors. I spoke with Panasonic to learn more about their new offering. First, it's worth pointing out that Panasonic already has a desktop phone called the KX-TGP550, which also supports DECT, allowing up to 6 DECT phones to register to the desktop phone. Panasonic mentioned this particular product is useful in small businesses and gave the example of a salon which needs a desktop phone at the receptionist desk, but the hair stylists and salon owner can have a DECT phone on their belt clip and freely roam, while still taking calls. It even supports up to 3 simultaneous conversations all handled by the desktop phone. Certainly, Panasonic is renowned for their consumer DECT offerings and is considered the industry-leader in that area, so the KX-TGP550 is an interesting solution that marries consumer DECT technology with enterprise SIP/VoIP capabilities.

Now, Panasonic is launching traditional SIP desktop phones without the embedded DECT feature. The new models, which are called the UT Series include KX-UT136-B, KX-UT133-B, KX-UT123-B and KX-UT113-B. All of them are certified by BroadSoft on Broadworks and Digium's Asterisk and all support Power over Ethernet and HD voice/wideband audio (G.722). The KX-UT123-B and KX-UT113-B are their basic low-cost models. The KX-UT113-B is a single Ethernet port phone with no backlight designed for kitchenettes or lobbies, while the KX-UT123-B has a backlight and two Ethernet ports. Both basic models have a 3-line display.

KX-UT113-B phone

KX-UT123-B phone

The top models, KX-UT136-B and KX-UT133-B, sport 24 programmable feature/functionality keys. The KX-UT136-B displays a six-line backlit graphical LCD and 2 Ethernet ports, while the KX-UT133-B offers a three-line backlit graphical LCD and 2 Ethernet ports.
KX-UT136-B phone

Panasonic told me all of their SIP phones are "eco-friendly" and will go into a sleep mode, turning off the backlight display and drawing less than 1 watt of power. Impressive! On an incoming call or an oubound call it returns to full power and the backlight turns back on.

Cloud Solutions Can Give Network Service Providers the Tools to Compete

By Beecher Tuttle

The cost-effective, scalable and highly flexible nature of cloud-based solutions has made them extremely popular among businesses large and small. With cloud services, enterprises and SMBs can deploy low-cost, business-critical applications that can be securely accessed from any Web-enabled device, giving employees the ability to take work outside of the four walls of their office.

The inherent benefits that cloud solutions provide businesses have helped the market grow exponentially in recent years. In fact, Forrester Research estimates that the total U.S. market for cloud services will exceed $25 billion in 2011. Even more amazing, the market is expected to grow to a whopping $241 billion by the end of the decade.

In order for service providers to take advantage of this mass migration to the cloud, they need to act now, if they haven't already.

Two Alcatel-Lucent execs – Hilary Mine and Gary Holland – recently co-authored a blog post that explains why now is the time for network service providers to pounce on the cloud.

Cloud-based solutions provide network operators with near limitless revenue opportunities. Some of today's most relied upon innovations – including unified communications, disaster recovery and back-up services – can be deployed via the cloud and charged on a per-use basis.

Network service operators can market these services to new and current customers as compliments to their existing offerings. This can not only help providers increase their revenue streams, it can also allow them to differentiate their services from their network competitors.

Mine and Holland also point out that the market has become crowded with alternative providers that specialize in "casual cloud" offerings, which don't offer enterprises and other organizations with the service level agreements and quality of service that they require.

This is where network service providers can step in. Their infrastructure can provide the quality, security and SLAs that today's companies demand.

"Most SMBs, enterprises and organizations already trust their day-to-day and mission-critical applications to their network service provider’s VPN services," wrote the authors. "For many, embracing cloud services is a natural next step."

Network service providers that take advantage of Alcatel-Lucent's High Leverage Network can offer their customers VPNs that provide low latency, high bandwidth services with industry-leading quality of service. The High Leverage Network also enables monitoring of cloud application performance, secure access, intelligent traffic management and many other services.

The final reason that network service providers should embrace the cloud, according to the authors, is because of the agility that it provides.

Mine and Holland explain that operators can leverage cloud services to improve their own efficiency, which, in turn, will allow them to better serve their own customers. Simply put, by embracing the cloud themselves, operators can cost-effectively and efficiently deliver cloud services to their customers.

"A simplified, more dynamic back office makes it easier to do business," the authors note.

The best way for an operator to make the jump to the cloud is by moving to a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and partnering with a qualified vendor that can deliver white-label services almost instantaneously, the authors stress.

"As they move forward, network service providers will need work with vendors who can deliver an open, standards-based approach that lets them federate applications across their own and other clouds."