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HP Launches "Just Right IT" Portfolio for Small Businesses

September 8, 2010


HP today introduced its "Just Right IT" portfolio, which empowers micro, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to better serve their customers by simplifying processes, reducing costs and improving productivity. I interviewed Mark Hilton, director of product marketing, HP Networking last week to learn more about this offering and HP's future direction after the acquisition of 3Com, including the NBX IP-PBX product line. 3Com was one of the earliest innovators of voice over IP PBX systems, so I was interested to learn if HP was going to go after Avaya, Cisco, etc. Listen to the podcast for more:



The portfolio includes new management, data protection, communications and connectivity offerings that are designed and priced "just right" to deliver affordability as well as value to SMBs. The expanded portfolio also provides new business opportunities for HP channel partners.

"While SMBs remain cautious about the economy, they continue to look for ways to simplify operations and prepare for growth," said Anil Miglani, senior vice president at AMI Partners, a strategy consulting firm.






Skype for SIP is Now Skype Connect

August 30, 2010

Today, Skype announced that Skype for SIP is changing its name to Skype Connect. Guess the techie name "SIP" isn't exactly business-friendly, hence the name change. Today, they are also announcing that hat Skype Connect (formerly Skype for SIP) is officially out of beta.

By using Skype Connect with an existing PBX, your business can do the following:
  • Make outbound calls from desktop phones to landlines and mobiles worldwide billed at Skype's standard per-minute calling rates;
  • Receive inbound calls from Skype connected users worldwide by placing Skype's Click & Call buttons on their Web sites;
  • Receive calls from landlines or mobile phones in the corporate PBX using Skype's online numbers that have been purchased separately; and
  • Manage Skype calls using your existing PBX or UC systems' features such as call routing, automatic call distribution, conferencing, auto-attendant, voicemail, call recording and logging.
Since the beta launch of Skype Connect in March 2009, here are some of Skype's milestones:
  • Skype Connect already has over 2,400 active global customers;
  • Skype Connect is now certified to work with PBX and UC products from Avaya, Cisco, SIPfoundry, ShoreTel and other OEMs (see supported models here).
  • Skype Connect also works with older TDM PBXs or Key Systems which can now add Skype calling capabilities through third-party IP gateways from AudioCodes, Grandstream and VoSKY (see supported models here).
  • Launched Skype Manager, a simple web-based tool to centrally manage and control Skype usage in a company, and which enables a business to set-up Skype Connect;
  • New dedicated customer support, including real-time chat, is now available for Skype Connect customers and Skype Manager administrators directly through Skype Manager;
  • In addition, we've been enrolling VARs and system integrators in our new Skype Channel Partner Program and training them to support our business customers. We will share more details on this program soon.
Perhaps the biggest milestone is "dedicated customer support".



CounterPath Adds Multiple SIP Account Support to iPhone App

August 16, 2010

Back in June, I mentioned that CounterPath told me they were working on a multiple SIP account version of their iPhone/iPad/iTouch application. That day has arrived!

CounterPath today announced the availability of Bria iPhone Edition Version 1.1 for Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Compatible with Apple's new iOS 4 operating system, Bria iPhone Edition 1.1 is a highly secure, standards-based VoIP softphone that works over both 3G and Wi-Fi networks.
 
Bria iPhone Edition 1.1 leverages iOS 4 to deliver multitasking VoIP on the iPhone.



Plantronics Savi W430 Headset Review

July 6, 2010


The Plantronics Savi W430 is an impressive headset sporting DECT wireless technology with excellent range and HD quality sound. With the convergence of the telephone and the network we say the creation of VoIP, including the phenomenal growth of Skype and SIP-based IP-PBXs and phones. Now we're seeing the convergence of the computer and the phone, resulting in 100% software-based phone solutions - also known as the "softphone". The problem with softphones is that it's still a fairly new concept to the enterprise and there just aren't a lot of headsets for the PC designed with telephony in mind.

Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP & TDM Equipment 2010 (1Q10) forecast report

June 28, 2010

Infonetics Research released the 1Q10 results from its first quarter 2010 (1Q10) Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP, and TDM Equipment forecast report. In it they point to how Cisco and Avaya battle for supremacy in enterprise telephony market with Avaya closing the gap with Cisco due to their Nortel acquisition. Could Avaya finally knock Cisco off their #1 IP-PBX perch?

Here's the news:

ANALYST NOTE
"We expected the acquisition of Nortel's enterprise assets to put Avaya in the clear lead for overall PBX equipment market share leadership, and while Avaya did receive a nice bump this quarter, softness in the acquired Nortel business combined with strong results by Cisco meant that Cisco and Avaya essentially tied for revenue market share, although Avaya is ahead in terms line shipments. This unfolding battle will be interesting to watch over the coming quarter, as both companies bring certain strengths and weaknesses to the table," notes Matthias Machowinski, directing analyst for enterprise voice and data at Infonetics Research.

1Q10 MARKET HIGHLIGHTS
- Cisco maintains its lead in the overall enterprise telephony market in 1Q10, but only by a hair over Avaya, which saw a 25% quarterly jump in PBX revenue after absorbing Nortel's enterprise solutions business
> Both vendors posted their strongest PBX revenue standings since the end of 2008
- Manufacturer revenue from PBX and KTS system equipment hit $2.0 billion in 1Q10, a 4% sequential dip
- Despite the quarterly decline, the enterprise telephony market continues to grow from the lows set in the first half of 2009, and is up 7% year-over-year from the first quarter of 2009
- The North American PBX equipment market posted the highest year-over-year (1Q09 to 1Q10) growth among all regions
- IP phones continue to recover from their 1Q09 low point, up 32% year-over-year to 3.9 million phones shipped in 1Q10
- Sales of unified communication (UC) applications are temporarily down due to expired promotions
> The UC market, led by Cisco and Avaya, is expected to resume growth in 2010

REPORT SYNOPSIS
Infonetics' quarterly Enterprise Unified Communication, VoIP, and TDM Equipment report provides worldwide and regional market size, market share, analysis, and forecasts through 2014 for the enterprise telephony market, including TDM PBX and KTS systems, hybrid and pure IP PBX systems, IP PBX by system size, VoIP gateways, unified communication applications (communicator, unified messaging), IP desk phones and IP soft phones.

















Grandstream Lands First and Only IP-PBX on Skype Store

June 3, 2010


Apparently, Grandstream landed a lucrative and exclusive spot on the Skype Store. Sorry Avaya, Cisco, Digium, Fonality, etc.

Specifically, the Skype Store lists the Grandstream GXE5028 IP PBX. I reviewed another model in the series called the GXE5024 which you can check out here.


Unified Communications and VoIP Research Report for 2009/2010

April 1, 2010



New reports from Infonetics that I thought I'd share. They discuss how hosted VoIP services and unified communications will increase and they talk about capital expenditures on enterprise VoIP equipment. One point I'd like to highlight is they stated "Service provider revenue from residential/SOHO and business VoIP services increased 20% between 2008 and 2009, to $41.6 billion". Even in this prolonged recession, VoIP is still growing strong with no signs of slowing down!

AudioCodes SPS Brings Microsoft OCS Features to Legacy SIP Phones

March 16, 2010


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.


Avaya IP Office 6.0 Released

March 8, 2010


Today, Avaya IP Office 6.0 was released bringing additional new features to this tried and true SMB phone system. I reviewed Avaya IP Office back in 2004 and it certainly has come a long way since then. Avaya claims that this new version of Avaya IP Office enhances user experiences for greater productivity and that it makes UC up to 40% more affordable for companies with less than 20 employees. One of the biggest reasons how they cut costs down is via Avaya IP Office 6.0's new 'combination card' .

Avaya Reveals Roadmap for Nortel Enterprise Assets at ITEXPO

January 6, 2010

Rich Tehrani and I are both excited to hear the future roadmap Avaya has in store for Nortel's enterprise assets that Avaya recently acquired. Will Avaya slowly phase out these Nortel enterprise products, continue the product line with the Avaya brand, integrate best-of-breed technologies from Avaya and Nortel and offer new SMB products? The questions are endless. IT managers, CTOs, MIS managers, etc.
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