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.
Toshiba is joining the march of its close competitors to the cloud with its just announced general availability (GA) of the VIPedge cloud-based business VoIP solution. The VIPedge go-to-market (G2M) strategy dubbed the “Power of Choice” will take a phased approach to the rollout of robust UCC and FMC feature/functionality. As with all hosted services, the value proposition to SMB customers is the opportunity to turn significant upfront Capex into Opex with fast and easy access to always current high demand functionality and a pleasing pay-as-you-grow formula. Of course, as is generally the case with hosted services, customers will have to purchase the endpoints.
VIPedge supports the same Toshiba endpoint devices as the IPedge:
VIPedge uses the same version of Call Manager as does IPedge and will be immediately available with UM, IM/P, unchanged PC softclient and the same CRM integration to over 30 applications. This provides the ability to do screen pops on incoming calls, out-dialing from Outlook Contacts or CRM database, scheduled out-dialing, etc. In addition, Toshiba custom development services can be engaged to communications-enable business processes. Finally, The VIPedge has simultaneous ringing built-in as a standard feature supporting mobility. A Phase 2.0 enhancement of this “twinning” capability will be for the cell phone to use the identity of the PBX extension instead of the cell phone on outgoing wireless calls. This will provide important FMC-like operation beyond the current simultaneous ringing. At GA Toshiba-branded SIP trunks will provided with the service.
In its initial release VIPedge cannot be networked to an existing IPedge or Strata CIX customer premise system. However, in the Phase 2.0, VIPedge can be a branch location or, for individual users, remotely connected to a customer premise system via IPedge net or Strata Net networking.
VIPedge Phase 2.0 features scheduled for GA on November 26, 2012 include:
VIPedge is housed in SAS70 Type II Toshiba-managed datacenters with the following characteristics:
Today, at GA, datacenter survivability is provided by multiple redundant VIPedge systems running in one of the six datacenters designated to support this cloud service. In the future, additional VIPedge servers will be implemented in the other five datacenters. This will provide geo-redundant backup down the road. A NOC provides 24x7 supports to the service. Unfortunately, there are presently no plans to offer SLAs to customers.
What This Means to You
To Customers: To get started a new customer must commit to a two-year contract and purchase appropriate endpoints. The full VIPedge solution will be sold, installed and maintained by authorized Toshiba dealers. The dealer goes out, does the survey, network assessment, and the like, then uses the online quote tool to give an exact quote to the customer so they know exactly how much it’s going to cost. The dealer then installs the on-prem Adtran router, endpoints and the software and does all necessary configurations to customize the solution according to customer wants and needs.
Customers will be billed once per month directly by Toshiba for all services inclusive of dealer sales and services. Customers will also have access to the online billing portal so that they may view their billing 24x7.
In order to get off to a fast startToshiba is following the wireless provider’s playbook of subsidized phonestied to a two year contract.
- Promo effective for activations through September 2012- Only for use with VIPedge (not IPedge or Strata CIX)
Monthly pricing is initially set at $14.99 per user and includes DID, unlimited local/LD (Domestic U.S.) calling, and Call Manager UC functionality with VoIP softphone plug-in. Optional international calling plans are available for a separate charge. SIP trunks go for $30/channel/month.
What’s the bottom line here? As we see it, IPedge is a competitive UC solution in its market niche. And this cloud-based solution is built on this same solid foundation. That’s a good thing, but there are cautions to be considered. This is a new undertaking and it will be a phased approach. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But there is always risk in buying in at start-up that needs to be taken into account. This is true no matter who the vendor is! Geo-redundant datacenter configuration won’t be in place during Phase 1. And some significant UCC functionality like A/V/W conferencing will be missing until Phase 2.0 scheduled for November 26, 2012.
There are many competitors out there with UCaaS solutions and customers should take their time to compare business requirements with the benefits, costs and risks associated with the available solutions and find the best match.
Gartner Research has identified seven specific areas of security risk associated with enterprise cloud computing, and recommends that organizations address several key issues when selecting a cloud hosting provider:
To Partners: VIPedge provides a real opportunity for partners since it is sold directly through the channel. Their commission structure will provide a residual of recurring revenue in all years. In addition, partners will get a percentage of all the equipment (e.g., router and endpoints) sold. They will sell the network assessment that accompanies the installation and may find additional professional services opportunities such as required cabling network upgrades and requests for additional training. Though at GA there are no specific managed services opportunities available to partners, the issue is under discussion. Dealers also provide Tier 1 direct support to customer with Tier 2 and Tier 3 backup support provided by Toshiba to the dealer.
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?