The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
This section offers learning tools to help you plan your unified communications implementation.
This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
The Unified Communications industry changes daily. We keep track of it for you.
UCStrategies is an industry resource for unified communications enterprises, communications vendors, system integrators, and anyone interested in the growing unified communications arena.
A supplier of objective information on unified communications, UCStrategies is supported by an alliance of leading communication industry advisors, analysts, and consultants who have worked in the various segments of unified communications since its inception.
Expanded choice, lower cost, and IP phone investment protection
Network Equipment Technologies – NET – is adding even more value to Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 (OCS). In addition to the enhancements now available with the NET VXe Series Voice Switches delivered last October, NET will formally announce its new SmartSIP module to support connection of a wide variety of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) phones to Microsoft OCS. Availability of SmartSIP is expected almost immediately, in April 2010.
The first hint of the new capability came with the acquisition of the core technology from Evangelyze Communications in February, as reported here on UCStrategies.com. Clearly, it did not take NET long to package the functions into the new NET SmartSIP module.
Here’s an early preview of the new offering. NET SmartSIP will provide three major values for any enterprise that deploys Microsoft OCS:
1. Connect existing or new SIP phones to OCS: The NET SmartSIP module will connect a wide range of SIP phones to Office Communications Server. Currently, only phones that use the Microsoft IP Protocol can connect to OCS; but with NET SmartSIP, customers are able to use SIP phones they already own and also have a broader range of choices when selecting phones for OCS uses.
The SmartSIP module also provides investment protection for those companies that already own SIP-based phones such as the Cisco 79xx series, Polycom SoundPoint IP series, Linksys SPA942, Aastra 6571/67, or X-Lite Soft Phone. NET has tested each of these SIP phone types to assure they will work properly with OCS, using the SmartSIP module.
NET plans to continue testing other brands and models of SIP phones supported by SmartSIP, but points out that many SIP phones currently in the market are likely to work with SmartSIP, even without NET testing and certification.
2. Integrate SIP phones with Microsoft OCS features: The SmartSIP software links the SIP phones to OCS to provide important features. For example, with SmartSIP the OCS users will see the SIP phone status in OCS presence indications and will know if the SIP phone user is on a call before even starting an IM session or attempting to call them.
Of course, SmartSIP supports all the major telephony functions on the SIP phones including: Call Hold; Call Retrieve; Call Waiting; Call Transfer; Call Forwarding – Busy, No answer, Unconditional; and Message Waiting Indicator. In addition, SmartSIP provides calling party name identification through Active Directory lookup.
3. Automatic Provisioning for reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): SmartSIP provides a very easy and convenient provisioning module through which each SIP phone can be automatically linked to any user’s Active Directory entry and OCS account simply by association of the SIP phone’s unique MAC address. Each phone is entered only once in the master inventory table and from that point on, the SIP phone will automatically register when it is plugged into the network and will be associated with the user and extension defined in Active Directory and OCS.
All of this functionality is delivered by the SmartSIP software module, which can run in any of three configurations. For smaller businesses, the SmartSIP module can reside on the same Windows Server as the OCS Mediation Server role. For mid-sized operations, the SmartSIP module can run on an NET Tenor Hybrid gateway. For large enterprises, unlimited scale is available by running SmartSIP module(s) on standalone 64-bit servers using Windows Server 2003 or 2008.
SmartSIP is expected to be licensed via a server license for the SmartSIP module, plus a quantity-based license for each phone in the list price range of $15 to $30 per phone. An economical support agreement is also available, if desired.
The bottom line on this upcoming announcement is pretty compelling, since it expands customer choices, lowers customer costs, and protects customer investments – always good things. Early on, Microsoft arranged for partners to develop a number of special-purpose voice and video terminals and devices to complement the OCS software. Now, NET is expanding that range of choices by attaching SIP phones that look and act like traditional desk phones, but benefit from the functionality of OCS. The fact that these SIP phones have very attractive price points (or are already owned) and that SmartSIP streamlines the administration and device management is just icing on the cake.
This paper is sponsored by NET.
All Content Copyright © 2013 UCStrategies.com. All rights reserved.
Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?