HP Targeting the Growing UC Opportunity
As UC continues to gain more attention from users and vendors alike, HP, which has not been particularly associated with UC in the past, is doubling-down and brings to the industry a single integrator that offers a multi-vendor approach, key hardware components, professional and hosted services, and expertise – globally.
HP is largely associated with PCs, printers, servers, and networks, but does not produce its own UC platform. Early on, HP was a visual collaboration pioneer with its telepresence videoconferencing solution known as Halo. It was very impressive stuff, but it didn’t keep pace with lower cost options. The business was sold to Polycom in June 2011 for $89 million.
Despite the sale of Halo, HP has been increasing its role in UC deployments. For starters, HP is a major supplier of storage, servers and networks. Over the past several years, the UC industry moved away from proprietary hardware to industry standard servers. VoIP requires POE switches and routers, and the spike in mobility makes wireless technologies critical as well.
HP isn’t content with just the infrastructure. It has made several moves to lead with UC, as can be seen with Microsoft Lync. At HP.com, the Unified Communications page states that “HP is a Microsoft preferred UC partner.” It also offers a dedicated page for Microsoft Lync solutions. HP can provide all of the required hardware for a full-blown Lync solution, from the server to the desktop phone. HP Networking gear may even offer an advantage with Lync, and last April at the Open Networking Summit, HP demonstrated an SDN proof of concept integrated to Lync.
HP isn’t new to Lync (it was one of the first vendors to offer a Survivable Branch Appliance) and its focus isn’t just hardware either. The company is ramping up its services around design and implementation. Recently, HP announced that global engineering and construction company Black & Veatch selected HP to continue managing its technology infrastructure and applications. Specifically stated in the announcement was “Black & Veatch will work with HP to deploy Microsoft Lync, expanding their current Instant Messaging, Presence and desktop-sharing capabilities.”
In 2012, HP established a channel for selling Lync, leveraging HP’s existing networking partners. HP is committed to this channel and to grow it and to provide the necessary tools to be successful.
HP also began shipping its own Lync endpoints. That means HP can be the only partner needed with Lync – all the hardware, design, and implementation. The Lync endpoints are so compelling that Snom Technologies, which offers Lync Qualified phones, even distributes HP’s branded endpoints through its channels.
While HP has extensive Lync capabilities, it isn’t restricting its UC story to it. HP and Microsoft partnering make a lot of sense, the firms have complemented each others’ solutions for decades. Its AllianceOne program ensures compatibility with several UC vendors, including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, Aastra, and Polycom. HP became active as a Cisco partner, and is a Cisco Gold and Multinational Master Certified partner. Aastra, for example, is an AllianceOne partner and offers two UC platforms that can run virtualized on the zL module within an HP switch. Recently, ShoreTel also joined the HP AllianceOne program.
In 2012, HP reported revenues of $120.4 billion. That’s considerably more than Microsoft, Cisco, and Avaya combined. This is a huge company with global capabilities. It will bring a lot to the UC space. The company is poised as a global system integrator for UC in general, with in-depth UC expertise across multiple vendors. Most UC vendors don’t offer multi-vendor solutions, and most integrators don’t have the global reach or enterprise breadth with professional services. This puts HP is an enviable position.
This paper is sponsored by HP. Email askHP for more information.
Also on UCStrategies.com on this topic: