Trade shows serve as a wonderful opportunity to meet with a large number of companies and individuals in a very condensed time frame. Today I got to meet with a rather large and diverse group of companies operating in the IP Communications space.
First among today's meetings was a visit with Todd Woodstra, vice president of unified communications and emerging markets for SpinVox, the voicemail to text company.
SpinVox captures spoken messages and converts them into text. It then delivers these messages via e-mail.
On Tuesday, SpinVox announced
that they were playing a major part in Avaya's new Speech to Text solution, along with Mutare Software's EVM gateway.
SpinVox provides the core recognition technology that provides the conversion of the voicemail file to text.
According to Woodstra, SpinVox is only company in this space that can provide the needed scalability to yield a successful solution. To drive the point home, he told me that SpinVox is already deployed at 13 carriers spanning 5 continents.
The service bridges silos of audio files into text and makes those files actionable and searchable, which empowers end users.
I look forward to trialing the SpinVox solution shortly.
Yesterday I wrote
about Mitel and how they were getting into the Telepresence space in addition to offering an upgraded suite of Unified Communications solutions.
Today I spoke with Mitel's Kevin Johnson, director of analyst and consultant relations, who shared more details about the company's announcement
In addition to the telepresence portion of the announcement, Johnson spoke of several upgrades including a revamped UC desktop client for users (Mitel Unified Communicator) and extended mobile integrations for Windows Mobile and Nokia devices and a similar integration on Blackberry devices, which enable mobile users to access PBX functionality when on the go.
Johnson touched on the economy and mentioned that in these trying economic times, UC solutions must offer fast, well defined payback to be seriously considered.
Johnson said Mitel offers UC Solutions "for the real world" -- marketing speak that underscores the company's pragmatic approach to marketing products and benefits to the real world.
I also met with Mike Storella and Michael Knieling of snom, who were excited with the launch of their latest desk phone, the snom 820.
The new 820 phone includes snom's foray into the wideband audio space, and features the company's klarVOICE technology.
Other features include an HD display, WiFi functionality which offers a way to deploy the phone quickly without having to draw a wire to the desk, secure VoIP with SRTP and TLS as well as all the usual standard advanced business-class calling features one expects on a device of this quality.
Storella mentioned that the phone was competitively priced, and that he has high hopes for this new line. According to Storella, the new phone has a faster processor, more memory, and can support other applications moving forward.
Moving on to a visit with Sprint to discuss their fixed mobile convergence solutions, I met with Dan Johnson, manager of voice services at Sprint.
Sprint had earlier announced
its latest Wireless Integration with Cisco's Unified Communications Manager. This integrated mobility solution is designed to deliver fixed mobile convergence to businesses on Sprint's Now Network.
Johnson walked me through a demonstration of the solution, and I must say the demo was flawless. Dialing from a mobile device I rang a desk phone, which Johnson then seamlessly transferred to a Blackberry -- and back again -- with absolutely no interruption.
Sprint also has an offering designed to work with Avaya's unified communications solutions and is in talks with yet a third manufacturer for use with their system. As they say, watch this space.
U4EA delivers solutions that include its Multi-Service Business Gateways (MSBG) that are designed to enable affordable UC solutions for the SOHO, SMB and geographically dispersed enterprises. U4EA's devices combine routing, switching, VoIP, session control, call admission control, security and, most importantly, QoS for managing unified communications at the WAN/LAN boundary.
The big news this week
was that U4EA became a Platinum Member of Polycom's ARENA partner ecosystem program.
According to Jim Burton, CEO of CT Link and Co-founder of UCStrategies.com
, "Vendors like U4EA and Polycom can help bring it all together in an integrated platform. Unified communications by definition needs to be an integrated solution, especially for SMBs, so combining Polycom's platform of voice and video devices with U4EA's integrated boundary device with its strong QoS can be a big piece of the integrated solution."
The solution allows users to quickly host meet-me audio and Web conferences, chat securely via IM, and instantly share documents. All this can be done with a single mouse click from the same interface they use for voice communications.
The solution allows users to schedule one-time, recurring and reservation-less conferences, which greatly increases the flexibility to add and employ conferencing tools as needed during a call.
Regarding the economy, Ridley believes that companies are approaching purchases with increased caution these days. He pointed out that often the purchasing decision comes down to TCO, with companies scrutinizing more than just the acquisition costs.
Regardless of the economy, Ridley believes that business is driven by change and customers are driven by events unique to them. For ShoreTel's part, he says that there are two things they focus on: Trying to continue to make the user experience easy and helping to make unified communications more accessible to people.
Due to time constraints I was not able to get a demo of the latest ShoreTel system. For that, I look forward to tomorrow.
And tomorrow will bring part II of my recap of today's meetings.