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

Unified Communications

Attending HIMSS - Healthcare Meets IT

April 7, 2009

Just a quick note to say I'm in Chicago at the McCormick Center, attending the HIMSS conference, which covers IT in the Healthcare space.   I prearranged a bunch of meetings and I'll be jetting from booth to booth starting in about 15 minutes.   For those paying attention to all the nasty windy weather we've been experiencing (and flying in) I have to say today was a smoooooooth flight from the NY area out to O'Hare.   Let's hope tonight's flight back is the same.   Looking forward to my meetings, and I'll keep you updated as time allows.   In the meantime don't forget to stay up to speed on the latest healthcare and related news at our TMCnet Healthcare vertical site. If the intersection of healthcare and technology is your market - bookmark this site today!

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.

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.

Dallas Trip Winds Down; Sipera News

March 5, 2009

So my week in Dallas is finally winding down. Not that it hasn't been a great week, with interesting meetings with a number of the companies who reside astride the north Dallas Telecom corridor.   In the last two days I've spent time in the offices of Telstrat, NEI, NEC, Fujitsu, Texas Instruments, Excel, and Apptrigger; that's in addition to the executives I interviewed from a number of companies attending the Comptel show in Grapevine this week.   The interviews should be online shortly, to see if they've been posted, please visit the TMCnet video library.   I'll be following up with posts and articles about all the companies I met with, but in the meantime I wanted to share a bit of news from Sipera that's not made the rounds of the mainstream media just yet.   The company has just released an IP Video sniffer called UCSniff2.0. Until now, the information has only been posted on security boards and community sites, and on the SourceForge site at   The UCSniff2.0 eavesdrops, captures and records video conferencing sessions and works on regular IP Telephony too. Using the tool, an IT manager can perform a man in the middle voice capture and can reconstruct the voice call, shows holes in a security policy, and enable those responsible for a site's security to fix the application.   The timing is good, as many industry pundits are hailing 2009-10 as the timeframe when IP video comes into its own; the solution allows an IT manager to test their environment and move quickly to address issues.   Sipera also told me about VideoJak, an application designed to allow an IT manager to examine any vulnerabilities with regard to system availability.   According to a description on the SourceForge site:   VideoJak is an IP Video security assessment tool that can simulate a proof of concept DoS against a targeted, user-selected video session and IP video phone.

Sipera, RSA in Secure VoIP Deal

February 23, 2009

Sipera Systems says it's joined the RSA Secured Partner Program and RSA, The Security Division of EMC, said that it has certified interoperability between the Sipera IPCS UC security product family and the RSA SecurID two-factor authentication solution.   The result is a simple way for users to secure their VoIP phones without the need to use any special clients or phone configuration. All users need to do is enter the RSA SecurID one-time secure password and their PIN.   In an era where security and privacy compliance in industries such as healthcare, financial services and others is becoming critical, this solution helps an organization achieve its overall secure information goals.   Just today, TMCnet columnist Kevin Coleman published his most recent column, titled $1Trillion. In his note to me he wrote: "It's bigger than the bailout!" and when you stop to think about it, it's a scary thought.   The trillion that Coleman is referring to is not a US Government sponsored handout, it's the estimated dollar loss for intellectual property and data theft in 2008 for businesses globally. Coleman gets his numbers from Dennis C. Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, in his Annual Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. To learn more, read the entire article.

Rich on Microsoft's Response Point

January 23, 2009

Polycom Q4 Results Announced

January 21, 2009

Polycom announced their quarterly earnings today and the results were a mixed bag.   The Pleasanton, CA-based maker of voice and video equipment announced adjusted Q4 EPS of 42 cents, which was ahead of analysts' estimates of 40 cents.   The company also announced growth from its video services segment which accounted for two-thirds of consolidated net revenues at $141.7 million (this includes video communications - 54% and networks systems - 13%). The voice communications segment of the company's business accounted for 33% or $87.1 million, which is down as compared to Q407 when voice generated 37% of consolidated net revenues or $98.4 million.   Robert Hagerty, the firm's chairman and CEO addressed Polycom's successes in 2008 as well as the challenging economic climate and his outlook for the company into 2009:   We are pleased to have surpassed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2008. As the largest company in the Unified Collaboration industry, Polycom generated year-over-year growth in our Video Solutions business, illustrating the resilience of our fast-ROI video offering. With our Voice business showing more sensitivity to the economic environment, Polycom proactively took action in Q4 to reduce our operating cost structure and, as we announced earlier this month, we have implemented a restructuring plan designed to optimize our cost structure as we move into 2009                                                   With our rapid pace of innovation and the full breadth of our offering, we believe Polycom is the best positioned in the industry to deliver the cost-savings benefits of video adoption to our customers.
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