Greg Galitzine : Greg Galitzine's VoIP Authority Blog
Greg Galitzine

Enterprise

Manhattan School of Music Teaches the World

April 14, 2009

Back in a previous life (GG:BTMC) I worked on Manhattan's Upper West Side managing a stationery store that was an outgrowth of a successful private bookstore serving the needs of the students at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Manhattan School of Music (MSM).   It was a fun period of my life and I was treated to a pleasant reminder of that time by a news item that came across my desk today, namely that MSM was leveraging distance learning powered by Polycom's HD Telepresence solutions to extend their classrooms to the world. 
  MSM has reportedly been using distance learning since 1996, allowing approximately 1,700 students around the world to participate in classes, workshops, and clinics to help them master their craft. Currently they are using the Polycom HDX 8000 and HDX 9000 series room telepresence and VSX 8000 series video conferencing systems to reach their audience.   As the technology evolved so too did the opportunity to reach more students, more effectively.   According to composer/conductor Robert Sirota, president of MSM, "Our use of visual communication has changed the way we do music instruction at this school in a very profound way."

"It's effective because it quickly becomes invisible," added Sirota. "After 10 or 15 minutes of using the system, you're less and less aware that you're engaged in a high-tech video call. You're simply working.


Upcoming Webinars Designed to Save You $$$

April 7, 2009

I am privileged to work with a great team at TMC.   One of the things our team does exceptionally well is organize webinars, and I saw two upcoming events to which I wanted to draw your attention.   First on Thursday, April 23rd at 10am PT/1pm ET UTOPY is presenting a real-world case study that will highlight the successful deployment of their speech analytics solution with E-LOAN.   In fact, Michael Miller, VP Customer Care, E-LOAN will be presenting his real life experiences, so it's an opportunity to hear firsthand how that firm has seen a 41% improvement in sales conversion and a $2M increase in incremental revenue annually by deploying UTOPY's speech analytics solution.   Register now for this interactive and informative session!     And then on the 28th of April, Tuvox will be presenting a webinar titled 5 Ways To Stop The Flow Of Money Out Of Your Contact Center. In this economy, you just can't miss the chance to get this type of expert advice when it comes to saving money!   The webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 28th at 2:00p ET/11:00a PT, and there is no charge for this event.   For registration information, please visit http://www.tuvox.com/webcast9/   If you are responsible for customer service or customer care, you need to attend these events to see how you might be saving money.  

IBM Unveils Solutions and Partners Around Sametime Unified Telephony

April 1, 2009

IBM heralded the future of enterprise voice collaboration today with a series of announcements addressing new software, new services and an array of business partner offerings.   IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony lies at the center of the company's UC strategy.   As more vendors look to IBM as a partner, IBM took the wraps off an interoperability validation program for the product. This program is designed for IBM and key business partners to test a product's capabilities with Sametime Unified Telephony.   Participants in the Sametime Unified Telephony Validation Program include, IP PBX service providers Alcatel Lucent, Avaya, Cisco, NEC, Nortel, Mitel and Siemens, media gateway vendors Dialogic and NET, and enhanced voice quality providers GN Netcom, Plantronics, Polycom and Psytechnics. Additional partners will be announced in the coming months.   IBM also announced the availability of IBM Converged Communications Services for Sametime Unified Telephony (SUT) a new service designed specifically to enable clients to readily reap the benefits of SUT. According to IBM, the service provides strategy, assessment, architecture, design, integration and implementation for the new solution.      

ShoreTel Upgrades Unified Communications Offer

March 31, 2009

  ShoreTel has released the latest version of its Unified Communications software, ShoreTel 9. Among the new features, ShoreTel 9 is targeting mobile and desktop users with enhancements designed to enable them to communicate more effectively-regardless of location-and increase individual productivity.   I had the good fortune to meet ShoreTel Vice President of Marketing, Kevin Gavin, who shared some insights regarding the latest offering from his firm as well as the market opportunity in front of ShoreTel.

According to Gavin, "CIOs are still buying but they are considering more vendors and have become more price sensitive."   "Communications is a fundamentally strategic purchasing decision, and increasingly, UC brings hard dollar savings and CIOs are willing to spend on technology that gives a good return," he added.   The latest version of ShoreTel's flagship solution, offers a series of personalization features, including location-based services and individualized call handling, and enables users create custom call-routing scenarios to ensure priority callers can always reach them.   The solution supports integration with Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007, and according to the company, when Microsoft OCS 2007 is integrated with ShoreTel 7.5 and higher, customers can use Office Communicator to manage their ShoreTel phone, view other parties' presence, and exchange instant messages with other Microsoft and ShoreTel users.   ShoreTel 9 scales up to support larger sized businesses, offer Active Directory integration, and takes the company's renowned distributed architecture to the next level offering N+1 reliability, however it extends N+1 across the entire system, allowing customers to save money while maintaining high levels of reliability.   The upgraded solution also offers security enhancements including SRTP/AES encryption, which is designed to help ensure call privacy, as well as display encrypted call status on ShorePhone IP phones and ShoreWare Call Manager displays, so users can see at a glance that the call is secure.   As far as mobility is concerned, ShoreTel 9 offers location-based services for GPS-enabled mobile devices, allowing users to automatically custom route calls based on the user's location, ensuring that their most important contacts can always reach them, without having to manually manage their call handling settings.   For a full list of enhancements and features view the press release.

ADTRAN Launches Alliance Program; Targets SMB

March 31, 2009

Building on their recent momentum and looking to leverage the best of what the market has to offer, ADTRAN today announced d the ADTRAN Alliance Program, a collaboration between ADTRAN and a number of best-in-breed technology and service providers delivering solutions centered on the NetVanta 7000 converged IP PBX.   This first phase of the Alliance Program features both IP telephony (IPT) technology partners and SIP trunking service providers. In order to be considered for the program, vendors and service providers must have completed an interoperability certification program proving that their services or solutions complement ADTRAN's NetVanta 7000.   "With a network-wide view of our customers' issues and challenges, we created the ADTRAN Alliance Program to help identify leading technology and service providers that are particularly well equipped to address the key needs of SMBs," said Chris Thompson, senior product manager, ADTRAN.   IP Telephony Technology Partners offer innovative solutions that have been strategically chosen to address specific applications in conjunction with the NetVanta 7000 Series. These best-in-breed partners include:   CounterPath Incendonet LifeSize Communications Multi-Tech Polycom Resource Software International (RSI) SIP Print, and snom   These partners were selected to address specific market needs that growing small and medium businesses are looking to deploy.   These markets include:   Desktop IP Phones (Polycom) DECT Wireless Phones (snom) SoftPhones (Counterpath) Speech Recognition (Incendonet) Call Accounting (RSI) Call Recording (SIP Print) Unified Messaging (MultiTech) Telepresence/Video Conferencing (Lifesize)   SIP Trunking Service Providers who offer IP telephony services that are certified to be fully interoperable with the NetVanta 7000 include:   Bandwidth.com BroadVox Covad Communications CommPartners Connect Speakeasy Voxitas

Motorola, Vocera Team for Healthcare Solution

March 31, 2009

Motorola, Inc. and Vocera Inc., expanded their relationship with an agreement to jointly deliver solutions combining Vocera's experience in providing targeted communications solutions and Motorola's expertise in enterprise handheld devices. The joint solution addresses the healthcare market, and is designed to deliver improved healthcare at a patient's bedside.   Healthcare staff will be able to utilize the Vocera communications system on Motorola's Enterprise Digital Assistants (EDA) and voice-over-wireless LAN (VoWLAN) smartphones to improve collaboration, increase patient safety, and provide more attentive care.   The first Vocera-enabled solutions will be a range of Motorola EDAs, including the MC70, MC75, and MC55. Vocera has also developed a software client that will be sold as a software upgrade to run on the Windows Mobile handheld computers delivering instant VoWLAN communication capabilities.   Also announced was the Vocera smartphone, which in addition to traditional full phone functionality will offer Vocera's signature voice-enabled calling and messaging capabilities within the enterprise. The solution will be based on Motorola's TEAM VoWLAN solution, The new semi-rugged phone will run the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, giving users access to a wide variety of applications, such as electronic medical records.      

8x8 Launches Enterprise Scale Virtual Office IP PBX Solution

March 30, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to meet with 8x8's Huw Rees to discuss that company's steps to move their Virtual Office hosted IP PBX solution "upstream" to serve larger organizations in the small to medium sized business range.   Well, today the company officially announced the availability of an enterprise version of its hosted IP PBX phone service suited for deployment in larger organizations. This latest solution is designed to fit in a variety of environments, including a single building, a campus or distributed across multiple locations.   Positioned as the latest generation of 8x8's broadband agnostic hosted IP PBX business phone solutions, 8x8 Virtual Office Enterprise is now being positioned to offer a host of features, flexibility and the economics of hosted VoIP to enterprise environments.   In a briefing today, Rees explained the announcement. "It's not just the technology," he said, "we completely re-did the network architecture."   To meet the critical performance requirements of large corporations, the 8x8 Virtual Office Enterprise solution provides high availability, quality and redundancy. 8x8 recently upgraded its service infrastructure, which included deploying a new triple redundant architecture across three independent data centers with each center connected to redundant IP access providers.   As a result of this new architecture, companies that experience a failure of any software component, server, cluster or even a complete data center failure will not experience an impact on the service to the end customer.   Looking ahead, keep your eyes open for 8x8 to release some unified communications related news later this year.

Mitel Meeting Notes

March 30, 2009

I visited with Mitel today, and they showed me several solutions designed to drive productivity, enhance customer service, and simplify network management. Thanks go to Stephen Beamish, vice president of business development and strategic alliances and Danielle McNeil, public relations manager for spending the time with me to discuss the new solutions.   First we discussed the Mitel Business Dashboard, a management portal designed to allow enterprise and contact center management to monitor call activity and collect trend data on call volumes and times.
 
  The intelligent call tracking solution is available on the Mitel 500 Communication Platform.   In addition to the Business Dashboard, I also received a firsthand look at Mitel's latest desktop IP Phone, the 5360.   The 5360 color phone with Web capabilities designed to deliver a whole series of HTML-based applications. The phone boasts a 7-inch touch-screen display, which grants access to the applications. The device also features wideband audio, embedded gigabit Ethernet, and a built-in HTML toolkit for application development.   And lastly, while not exactly telling me what the surprise would be, Beamish told me of an upcoming Mitel promotion scheduled for April 16th.

Dimension Data Drives Productivity, Cost Savings

March 30, 2009

Down at the VoiceCon show in Orlando today I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Zerbe of Dimension Data. Zerbe is vice president, Converged Communications at the IT services and solutions provider.   Our discussion ranged to include a series of topics, but the key message that Zerbe spoke to was the fact that clients today want to talk about solutions that drive productivity and cut costs.   Zerbe told me that he believes that integrated collaboration is the technology wave for clients to ride this economic transition, in fact, he said, "IC may turn out to be the wave that helps pull us out of this 'transition.'"   I asked him to explain why it seems that video collaboration solutions seem to have taken off recently, to which he responded:   "Cisco Telepresence + Microsoft OCS + slow economy are combining to drive the market to adopt integrated video solutions."   The proof of course is in what the customers think:   The confluence of these technologies is helping to transform organizations, and customers are saying that these solutions are driving productivity and saving them money.

Microsoft Surveys SMBs to Identify Business Priorities

March 25, 2009

   Microsoft today released its first-ever Microsoft SMB Insight Report, which is planned as an annual study of the business challenges and technology priorities facing SMBs.

The report identified virtualization, IT consolidation, business intelligence, software as a service (SaaS) and support of remote workers as the top technology investment priorities for SMBs in 2009.   The authors surveyed over 600 Microsoft Small Business Specialists in five countries.   The following are some of Microsoft's key findings on the technologies most likely to drive growth and profitability for SMBs in 2009:   ·         50% identified virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the technology most likely to reduce operating costs. ·         The Small Business Specialists expect a 20 % increase this year in the number of SMBs that use software as a service. ·         More than 50 % of the Small Business Specialists considered customer relationship management (CRM), virtualization or IT consolidation through a small or midsize server as the best investment for maximizing business growth in a down economy. ·         Nearly 40 % expect an increased interest in business intelligence and identified it as a critical tool for helping improve a customer's experience and increase loyalty. ·         More than half of the surveyed Small Business Specialists anticipate an increase in the number of SMB remote workers, and nearly 60 % expect that the shift to more remote workers also will lead to bigger roles and more responsibilities for those individuals working remotely.   A complete version of the 2009 Microsoft SMB Insight Report is available online.    

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