Discussing Presence with IceWarp Execs
How to benefit from presence in business is a topic that concerns and interests many. Some of you who follow me on Twitter (JasonAndersson) know that there have been some tweets about this since my article was published on UCStrategies. I got the opportunity to speak with President of IceWarp Ladislav (Ladi) Goc and VP of National Accounts John O Cooper 5th about their solution and how they saw presence and IM in the company. We had a really interesting discussion about the IceWarp product as well as how they see presence and instant messaging fitting into the enterprise arena.
According to Mr Goc, IceWarp grew into Unified Communications (UC) from the messaging (read email), presence and instant messaging (IM) space, very much like Microsoft Lync. Compared with vendors who came at it from a voice perspective they have only looked at telephony now lately. So one of my questions arose from my view as expressed in my presence article was the need of an open platform that enables connecting multiple presence sources such as telephony line-state, as well as external sources and publishing this information to clients.
Mr. Goc presented how their instant messaging and presence server can act as an independent component and is able to connect to both internal presence sources as well as external entities such as Twitter. Mr. Cooper did say that even if it is able to be used as a component, to allow customers to build best of breed solutions, no one has yet selected this route.
IceWarp is presented as a full UC suite with basic telephony features, but most importantly a strong presence, instant messaging and collaboration suite. It includes a complete email server as well as support for ftp, instant messaging, SIP, sms, LDAP and calendar. Most of their customers are, according to Mr. Goc, in the SME range that look for a unified communication suite without the need of complicated installations running on multiple servers. “One of the main differentiators is our speed of deployment and that we can run simply on one server.” Mr. Cooper added that they do have many larger customers’ accounts as well.
At the heart of the IceWarp product is their email server, to which they have added the instant messaging server, and the VoiP/SIP server. They have their own soft phone client, web client and MS Outlook client, but also support SIP hard phones and other brand soft phones to connect to it. If a customer wants to integrate with a PBX, the picture gets a bit more complicated using a Voice-over-IP gateway, Skype® gateway, or router, but it is possible to use IceWarp clients to some external VoIP gateways.
Their mobile story, feels a bit on the week side on its own with support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, open-standard SyncML, PIM synchronization and Push Mobile device management. But together with a number of different apps they provide SIP based softphones and presence/IM clients connected to their standards based system. They don’t have their own soft client app that enables for example IM and presence at this point. I found it difficult to find third party apps information on their web page, but after a follow up call with Mr. Cooper, things got a lot clearer. I am waiting for a list of approved apps, so if you want some more information about this, send me a tweet or email or contact IceWarp directly, but be specific of what your needs are as the options are large.
I think their story is interesting, and if they were to push integration with cloud providers or premise based voice solutions and clarify their mobile strategy with examples and supported apps, they would have a very compelling package all together.
Being active in the social space has its plus and minuses, but connecting with IceWarp via Twitter was a pleasant experience and I look forward to seeing what they do in the future.
See you in cyberspace!