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Report: Hosted VoIP's Future Is with Unified Communications, CRM
The hosted VoIP market will best weather this slower economy by focusing on integration with unified communications applications, according to a new report from IT market researcher Frost & Sullivan. Analysts say that features such as chat, presence and conferencing - and business applications such as CRM - will bring the most opportunity to the hosted IP telephony space during this recession.

According to Elka Popova, a global program director at the firm, small businesses will continue to be attracted to hosted IP telephony offerings primarily for cost-efficient voice communications, although some of them will also choose a hosted offering for the ability to gain access to a complete UC package from a single provider.

Specifically, the firm says in its report - titled "North American Hosted IP Telephony Service Markets" - the number of hosted IP telephony lines will reach about 3.6 million in 2014, up from nearly 1 million at the end of last year.

Interactive Intelligence Revolutionizes System Monitoring
Interactive Intelligence recently announced the release of a new communications system monitoring product, Interaction Monitor. This new add-on product has been introduced into the company's contact center automation and enterprise IP telephony solutions. Interaction Monitor is designed to help customers improve operational efficiencies and increase reliability.

The new solution enables customers to remotely monitor and troubleshoot Interactive Intelligence software, hardware and peripheral devices. With Interaction Monitor, IT managers can enjoy a single client interface for remote system monitoring of errors, warnings and failures, along with automated log retrieval. Alerts are sent to administrators though e-mail based on event criticality. The solution can also send alerts via the Web.

AT&T, Avaya Intro New Fixed Mobile Convergence Package
AT&T and Avaya have introduced a new version of AT&T Mobile Extension that combines Avaya's unified communications (UC) technologies with AT&T's qualified voice services and compatible wireless devices in a packaged solution.

The AT&Thttp://www.tmcnet.com/snapshots/snapshots.aspx?Company=AT%26T Mobile Extension is designed for companies using Avaya Communication Manager IP Telephony on premises to extend corporate calling features. Some of the key features of the joint Avaya and AT&T Mobile Extension solution are the use of a single number to reach the user's office or cellular phone and a single voice mail covering both wireless and desk phones. Additionally, international
calls placed in the U.S. from mobile devices are routed through corporate network.

Plantronics Offers Savi Wireless Audio Solutions
Plantronics has introduced the industry's first suite of unified communications wireless headset systems that integrate multiple devices and applications for improved business collaboration and cost savings.

Melanie Turek, industry principal, Unified Communications at Frost & Sullivan, sees the value in this type of solution. "Intelligent headsets that can unify devices and applications to help eliminate costs and improve workforce collaboration are truly essential for successful UC deployments," she said.

The Savi Series features two wireless headset systems: Savi Office and Savi Go. Savi Office is designed for office workers and provides a single wireless headset for mixing desk phone calls with PC audio and softphone calls. Savi Go gives mobile professionals a simple-to-use wireless headset to connect to PC and mobile phone communications. Both products have variants that support UC offerings from leading providers, including Avaya, Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft, and other popular services, such as Google Talk and Skype.

Mitel Nets Security "Cred" with JITC Accreditation
Mitel announced it has achieved Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) certification - a high level of security accreditation granted by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) - for its Mitel 3300 IP Communications Platform (ICP).

The Mitel 3300 ICP is designed to provide IP communications capabilities to businesses and organizations from 10-65,000 users on a wide variety of telephony and computing devices. It provides advanced unified communications with WAN and mobile connectivity and, through open standard interfaces, integrates seamlessly into business processes and associated applications.

JITC tests and certifies technology for the armed services and government. As a result of meeting all critical interoperability requirements, the 3300 ICP is added to the DoD's Unified Capabilities Approved Product List and is certified for use within the Defense Switched Network.

Verizon Business Offers Managed UC Based on Microsoft OCS
A new managed service announced by Verizon Business, based on the Microsoft Office Communications Server
2007 R2 platform, is designed to deliver unified communications functions to the desktop, enabling workers to enhance communications through real-time instant messaging, presence, Web conferencing and VoIP.

According to company officials, Verizon Business is one of the first global service providers to offer management of Office Communications Server 2007 R2, which was specifically designed to meet the real-time communication needs of today's distributed workforce.

"Unified communications is a transformative technology that has the power to change the way people communicate and work together to be more effective, creative and productive in the office or on the go," said Michael Marcellin, vice president of global managed solutions, Verizon. "By managing this leading software-based solution, Verizon Business can help customers take the complexity out of introducing unified communications across an enterprise while keeping their resources devoted to their core business activities."

ShoreTel Scores Big Win at Verizon Center
ShoreTel has a new customer. The Verizon Center and the NBA's Washington Wizards have reportedly deployed a ShoreTel UC system in the $200 million sports and entertainment facility located in the nation's capital. Verizon Center and the Washington Wizards selected the ShoreTel system for its 108 luxury suites and office operations based on its flexibility and enhanced features.

Over 650 ShoreTel phones were installed with the ShoreTel UC system preconfigured for easy installation in the executive offices, luxury suites, locker rooms, tenant service areas, and press room areas. An additional 700-plus analog extensions were deployed. The ShoreTel system supports direct dial to toll-free numbers from credit card verification machines at select analog extensions throughout the building allowing for the streamlining of the sales process for visiting vendors. Each of the 108 luxury suites was outfitted with large display screen phones with a capability to personalize the display screen with pictures of the Washington Wizards players or the arena.


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