NEC Announces UNIVERGE Blue
In the first keynote session at the UC Summit, Jay Krauser of NEC announced the immediate availability of UNIVERGE Blue, a new UCaaS service from NEC.
The company previously offered a service simply known as UCaaS. UNIVERGE Blue is more comprehensive, and will be offered internationally with expansion planned in Canada this year and in Europe in 2016.
UNIVERGE Blue offers clients increased flexibility. There are three feature-package levels (basic, standard, and premium) that can be further customized with à la carte options. Subscriptions can be for three-year, five-year, or monthly terms. Services can be delivered over managed networks (five-9 SLA) or over the public Internet (OTT). Additionally, the new service offers advanced features and applications such as NEC’s advanced contact center solution and an improved management interface.
NEC is hosting the service in Tier 3 data centers managed by NEC employees. The service leverages components across the NEC portfolio including HA servers, storage systems, and SDN technologies.
UNIVERGE Blue can be obtained under a traditional SaaS model or combined with on-site equipment to create a premises-cloud hybrid solution. Hybrid integrations are supported with both NEC’s SV and 3C UC platforms. Private cloud deployments are also offered, and the solution supports multi-tenant and multi-instance implementations.
I asked Krauser about the name Blue and he explained that they set out to find a name that works internationally. “Our research revealed ‘blue’ to be globally understood, and that it suggests optimism, prestige, and quality.” Krauser also pointed out that “53 percent of the world’s flags use blue.” The UNIVERGE brand is applied across all of NEC’s telephony solutions.
NEC appears to be serious about UNIVERGE Blue. It is the first brand within the NEC portfolio that is being launched with a standalone website and dedicated marketing program. The service was launched with pre-certified focused “Lighthouse” resellers.
Several resellers in attendance at the UC Summit confirmed Blue to be channel friendly. The administrative portal provides separate roles for end-users and the dealer. NEC made several changes to its channel program including increased commissions and cloud certifications. The company intends to drive its entire UCaaS business through its network of channel partners.
Krauser explained that NEC worked hard to find the right balance between facilitating independent research and enabling its own channel. Although NEC is responsible for service delivery and billing, it is offering the service as a co-branded offer with its partners who are responsible for training, on-site hardware, and other needs.