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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.
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Recently, a Siemens Enterprise Communications team reviewed the Siemens OpenScape Fusion Developer Program with me. They described the tools and support available for use of OpenScape as a platform for innovative communications applications, including Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) where communications is plugged directly into daily business applications and workflows.
The Siemens OpenScape product line is a good example of the shift of Unified Communications and Collaboration (broadly, UC) to an integrated software platform. As noted in my Enterprise Connect (formerly VoiceCon) reviews of “UC: Who’s Offering What?,” Siemens was the first major enterprise telephony company to deliver a software-only Telephony and UC solution to the market. With OpenScape, Siemens offers customers a single software product that includes both proven telephony functionality (yes, even including IP telephones for the desktop) and the newer features of UC such as presence, instant messaging, voice/web/video conferencing, mobility, and software developer tools. All of this software can run on a single server for smaller, non-redundant deployments, or can scale on multiple redundant servers to tens of thousands of users, if required.
OpenScape has a very solid lineage for UC. Early in the emerging UC market, Siemens built the first version of OpenScape as a blend of their global telephony expertise with the Microsoft Live Communication Server platform. But, Siemens did not stop there. Just a few years later, Siemens had created a new version of OpenScape built entirely on their own communications software and featuring OpenSOA (Service Oriented Architecture). This new version continued to interoperate with Microsoft products. Additionally, in 2007, Siemens licensed elements of the OpenScape software to IBM to enhance the telephony interoperability of IBM Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony.
The Siemens OpenScape Fusion Developer Program focuses on transforming the software capabilities of Siemens OpenScape into valuable new UC applications for enterprises of all sizes. Siemens emphasizes that Fusion is “Open, Easy, Mature, and Free” by which they mean that the software is built to open standards, the SDKs are easy to use, the software is mature, and the program is available at no charge.
Several of the Siemens OpenScape Fusion Developer Program features that caught my attention include:
In addition to these OpenSOA toolkits and the OpenScape Fusion Developer services, Siemens is providing pre-packaged connectors to the major desktop software options – both from Microsoft and IBM. Future directions point to packaged connectors for leading business applications, such as SAP and Salesforce.com. Connectors are also planned for Google and for Twitter (as demonstrated at VoiceCon San Francisco 2009). In addition, there are toolkits for the leading mobile devices, based on Objective C for iPhone, Java for Droid, and .NET for Microsoft Windows Phone.
The Siemens team highlighted four major application areas as the focus for the OpenScape Fusion Developer Program:
Overall, the Siemens Enterprise Communications OpenScape Fusion Developer Program has a solid set of developer information, support and services. The program has been in operation for several years with hundreds of participants to date. The Siemens team was, of course, extending an open invitation (no pun intended) for any communications solutions developers to join the program.
Siemens does face challenges with the program, of course. First, Siemens continues to be challenged to broaden their go-to-market programs and channels in North America, as mentioned in the most recent Gartner UC Magic Quadrant; the Fusion program is certainly a key element for Siemens to attract new channel partners in North America as well as in Siemens’ global markets. Second, Siemens needs to offer programs that are attractive to customers with installed PBX and IP PBX platforms from Avaya (and Nortel), Cisco, NEC and others; since Siemens can run the OpenScape UC Server on a single server connected to any of those platforms. Such programs are technically possible, should Siemens elect that approach.
In summary, the Siemens OpenScape Fusion Developer Program is based on a solid, software-based, open-standards platform. Both the OpenScape platform and the Fusion program are worthy of review and potential adoption by UC application developers.
This paper is sponsored by Siemens Enterprise Communications.
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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?