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.
To successfully deploy a new Unified Communications solution for an enterprise, you will need appropriate combinations of Gateways, Session Border Controllers and Survivable Branch Appliances (to use Microsoft’s term). These “connectors” are required whether the new UC solutions come from Avaya, IBM, Cisco, or Microsoft, etc. They are required because of the different protocols, formats and signaling mechanisms used by the new equipment likely differs from that used by the PSTN (which virtually all connections still traverse), the existing legacy voice solution (likely TDM), the Enterprise’s WAN and the new SIP trunks, implemented to reduce networking costs. No communications, be it simple point-to-point voice calls nor complex multi-point telepresence meetings, can occur without effective connectors as enablers and managers/controllers.
These various devices provide connection capabilities that are generally not provided natively as part of the major UC provider’s solutions. Let’s take a brief look at each of the three connector families:
Connecting all of the elements in a successful Unified Communications deployment - often from multiple vendors/providers - to make these systems and their users able to “communicate” is no simple task. Making all of these legacy, hybrid and new-technology elements “interoperate” has become exceedingly complex and specialized. Vendors specializing in various types of gateways, and session border controllers have stepped into the breach to meet these needs, and the future will continue to require such vendors with a special focus on these issues - vendors such as AudioCodes.
Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Israel and began as a voice compression technology chip specialist. Since then, AudioCodes has evolved with the voice communications market to become, perhaps, the largest and consistently most profitable of the standalone “connector” vendors, with 2010 revenues of $150 Million (up almost 20% year-over-year, coming out of the recession) and profits increasing to $12 Million (from a small loss the prior year).
AudioCodes provides a broad set of solutions across the three main connector categories – gateways, session border controllers and survivable branch appliances. On the surface, its products appear to be very similar to those of the other connector companies. However, AudioCodes can claim several areas of differentiation from its competitors:
AudioCodes products have been tested and work with UC solutions from major vendors such as Microsoft’s Lync (as an approved SBA), IBM’s Sametime Unified Telephony, Avaya’s Communications Manager (AudioCodes is an Avaya DevConnect certified partner), Genesys’ Contact Centers, as well as being a certified gateway for Skype Connect.
AudioCodes uses a two-tier distribution model in North America, where ScanSource and Westcon Group are its leading distributors. AudioCodes also certifies resellers, who also purchase their AudioCodes products through distribution. In addition to instilling customer confidence in the reseller’s capability, the AudioCodes certified resale partners receive a higher discount and, therefore, have the possibility of earning larger profits. Distribution outside North America is more likely to be single tier with a lead distributor/reseller in each country.
Overall, AudioCodes provides important “glue” to make UC deployments successful. Its rich technology heritage and commitment to channel sales as well as becoming part of leading edge new solutions such as Microsoft Lync and Skype Connect show a smart company well positioned to assist the UC market grow in size, success, breadth and depth.
While the future for AudioCodes looks positive, it is not without its challenges. Will enterprises recognize the need and invest in the security and flexibility provided by AudioCodes solutions? Can AudioCodes break out from the other mediation device makers and become a clear market leader? Can it become the provider of choice for UC suite vendors and Go-to-Market channels? Do the mediation capabilities become “baked in” to all UC implementations, eliminating the need for specialized devices? The future will play out and we will see how AudioCodes adjusts, competes and flourishes.
This paper is sponsored by AudioCodes.
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?