Some very interesting news from AudioCodes
with the launch of AudioCodes' SIP Phone Support (SPS) for Microsoft Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS). AudioCodes is well known for their VoIP gateway products - well think of SPS as a gateway between SIP IP phones and Microsoft OCS. Essentially, AudioCodes' SPS enables connectivity to Microsoft Office Communications Server using standard SIP IP phones, which then adds OCS's powerful UC functionality, including presence into your existing IP phone infrastructure.
You get even more powerful features if you use AudioCodes phones, including support for Microsoft's wideband RTA codec. SPS enables the connection of the AudioCodes 300HD IP Phone Series with Microsoft Office Communications Server, while providing Office Communications Server features, such as enhanced presence, active directory, and support for Real Time Audio (RTA) - Microsoft's high-definition, wideband coder. A direct connection to Office Communications Server is supported both for currently installed phones and newer models, as well as connecting mobile phones using AudioCodes' Mobile Clients, utilizing AudioCodes' gateway technology.
This isn't the first time a SIP phone has integrated Microsoft OCS functionality. snom has a special firmware load that enables OCS
functionality, however it is a special firmware load and it only works on their SIP phones. The AudioCodes SPS product changes the game by allowing any major SIP phone to work with Microsoft OCS.
"Office Communications Server 2007 R2 has been a game changer for our customers, providing enhanced communications, significant ROI, and short time frames for payback. The ease by which any telecommunications environment can be UC-enabled with Office Communications Server 2007 is truly unique in the industry", said Hugh Oakes, Managing Director Time2Market.
"Now with AudioCodes' SPS, it's even easier and more cost-effective to migrate to Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The requirement of changing out your legacy handsets is mitigated, we can leverage the SIP handsets already in place. The ability to use the existing handsets makes the migration to Unified Communications even more cost-effective and provides yet another reason why we always recommend that our customers deploy Office Communications Server with AudioCodes' gateways". Time2Market is a Microsoft Gold Certified partner with the coveted voice specialization.
Enterprises migrating into the Microsoft Unified Communications environment have been showing great interest in enabling cost-effective IP Phones to connect to Office Communications Server. According to Synergy Research, the current installed base of IP Phones in the market is approximately 65 million. By 2014, around 20 million new IP Phones will be sold annually. Most of these phones have not had direct access to Microsoft Office Communications Server. Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2009 stated that "Enterprises looking into UC, particularly those with Microsoft applications already in place, should understand the Microsoft portfolio, because it represents a new paradigm for communication by a market leader. Microsoft's solution, while comprehensive, is also the basis for a range of partner offerings". Based on the Microsoft leadership and customers' demand for partner solutions, customers can now protect their existing investment in third-party IP-Phones, while enjoying the full benefits of the Microsoft infrastructure, including unified call control, integration with their Microsoft Office Communicator, presence information and more.
IP phones connected to Office Communications Server through SPS can be used as a desktop phone for Microsoft Office Communications Server, for locations without PC workstations or for users that prefer the convenience of using a phone handset. Making and receiving calls using the IP Phone updates user presence just like using Office Communicator. The user can change presence status and search for contacts from the phone directly. The user's contacts presence can be displayed on the phone. (requires BLF support from the SIP phone).
"We believe that this is a very significant announcement since many enterprises are dependent on Microsoft desktop applications and have been forced to live in two separate worlds, one for their phone technology and the other for their desktop software environment", said Elka Popova, North American Program Director, Unified Communications & Collaboration, Frost & Sullivan. "Many enterprises are looking for integrating the two worlds by connecting their existing installed base of IP Phones directly to the Microsoft Unified Communications environment."
The IP phones supported by SPS include AudioCodes' 300HD family of High Definition IP Phones, as well as other third-party IP Phones, such as Cisco, Avaya, Aastra, Polycom and other standards-based SIP phones. The mobile smart phones support is enabled using AudioCodes' Mobile SIP clients, supporting all major smart phones' operating systems, including Windows Mobile, iPhone OS, Symbian and Android.
AudioCodes' 300HD family of IP Phones offer integrated, DSP-based support of Microsoft Real Time Audio (RTA) codec and the support of Secured Real Time Protocol (STRP) and SIP over TLS, enabling maximum security, high definition calls between IP Phones and Office Communicator clients. In addition, AudioCodes' phones provide enhanced presence and Active Directory support in the phone user interface, offering enhanced user experience for the Microsoft clients.
Importantly, with SPS you get support for Remote Call Control (RCC). Incoming calls will simultaneously be received at both the IP Phone and Office Communicator, giving the user the ability to pick the call using either.
"Utilizing AudioCodes' Mediant family of Media Gateways, SPS can enable connectivity of other vendors' SIP phones into the Microsoft environment", stated Lior Aldema, Chief Operating Officer at AudioCodes. "Supporting Secure RTP and enabling a wide variety of narrowband and wideband codecs, AudioCodes' SPS can connect legacy SIP phones into the Microsoft Office Communications Server environment, while maintaining security, providing high quality voice and user presence."
Existing customers of AudioCodes' Mediant gateways can now upgrade their existing installed base to support SPS. The same gateway can support the SPS functionality while providing a Media Gateway function between Microsoft Office Communications Server and/or Microsoft Exchange Server and the enterprise TDM PBX and/or the PSTN. SPS can scale from small demos of a few users all the way up to supporting enterprise installations of thousands of IP Phones and SIP Mobile Clients. By optionally integrating it with the different AudioCodes' Mediant Media Gateways it can scale from 120 concurrent RTP to SRTP calls on the Mediant 1000 all the way up to 884 calls on the fault-tolerant Mediant 3000.
For more info on AudioCodes' SIP Phone Support for Microsoft Unified Communications, check out www.audiocodes.com/SPS