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March 08, 2011

Enterprise SBC: How AudioCodes Uniquely Helps UC Solutions Come Together

By Linda Dobel, TMCnet Contributor

There is nothing simple about the task of connecting all of the elements necessary for a successful Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC) deployment. To enable these systems, which are frequently from multiple vendors/providers, and their users to “communicate” is not a job for the novice. 

As a result, vendors specializing in various types of gateways and session border controllers have come on the scene to make these legacy, hybrid and new-technology elements “interoperate,” according to David Yedwab in Unified Communications Strategies. One of these vendors is AudioCodes

Like a number of other vendors, AudioCodes provides a host of solutions across the three main connector categories – gateways, session border controllers and survivable branch appliances.

Yedwab pointed out, however, that while AudioCodes’ products appear on the surface to be no different from those of other connector companies, he identified a number of areas where its products standout from its competition.

The first area of differentiation with AudioCodes’ market offerings is that it is a chip manufacturer. The benefit identified here is that being a chip manufacturer enhances time to market because AudioCodes doesn’t need to wait for the development of capabilities of third-party merchant chip fabricators when it comes to new capabilities, scale (both up and down) and, potentially, price-point advantages that can be passed along to its channels.

Another point of separation identified as unique to AudioCodes is that it uses the same software code base across all of the gateway and E-SBC products. This is said to: 1) simplify installation, implementation and management; 2) allow the products to be selectively re-purposed to meet the enterprise needs as the UC deployment rolls out and; 3) allow the product families to scale up and down in size from the smallest voice gateway to the largest centralized enterprise datacenter E-SBC.

Being consistently profitable, as AudioCodes has been, is obviously a big factor in providing longer-term stability. In fact, it was reported in All VoiP News that “AudioCodes predicted between $165 million and $173 million revenue in 2011, and non-GAAP revenues per share of between $17 million and $19.1 million.”

This, of course, instills confidence in procurements by users and sales by channels.

Knowing that AudioCodes has a number of leading-edge installations under its belt also instills confidence. According to Yedwab, AudioCodes has been named as BT’s gateway partner of choice for Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS and Lync deployments.

“AudioCodes Media Gateways and Survivable Branch Appliances for Lync provide customers a full range of offerings to provide both interoperability in the data center and survivability in branch offices," said Yancey Smith, director of product management, Microsoft Lync.

Yedwab also said AudioCodes solutions were part of Microsoft’s response to the VoiceCon IPT RFP in 2010 (and reportedly also bid by Microsoft in its 2011 Enterprise Connect response.)

Likewise, in November 2010, YMax (News - Alert), the network provider for the magicJack and magicTalk VoIP service offerings, announced it would be using AudioCodes' Mediant 5000/8000 High Availability Gateways to enable high-quality VoIP connectivity to the PSTN in dozens of its core switch locations in the U.S. Globes reported, “The AudioCodes equipment is a replacement for existing media gateways from another vendor and added to YMax's existing installed base of AudioCodes' media gateways.”

At the time of the announcement, YMax founder and CEO Dan Borislow – and the inventor of the magicJack – was quoted as saying, "AudioCodes' gateways provide us with the ability to grow to any size with full redundancy. After utilizing AudioCodes' gateways for a number of years in our larger sites, in line with our strategic growth plans, it became evident that we needed to implement AudioCodes' gateways exclusively."

Just yesterday, TMCnet reported that AudioCodes announced that MediaMind, a provider of digital advertising solutions that optimize the use of media, creative and data for enhanced campaign performance, selected AudioCodes' products to enable the migration to a new Unified Communications system, based on Microsoft Lync.

Datamonitor quoted Efi Cohen, vice president Technology, MediaMind, as saying, "We evaluated a number of potential suppliers, and learned that the combination of Microsoft and AudioCodes offers us the best match for our needs. AudioCodes products enable us to make the best out of the Microsoft UC environment, by integrating it seamlessly with the PSTN, desktop IP Phones and mobile devices. We plan to install the AudioCodes Survivable Branch Appliances in each of our sites, enabling survivable connection of the branch UC users into the PSTN and inside the corporate network. All of our employees will be using an AudioCodes 320HD IP Phone (News - Alert). For Enterprise mobility, which was a major requirement for our environment, we will be using AudioCodes VMAS Enterprise Edition clients, providing MediaMind employees with mobile access into the UC network."

AudioCodes products have been tested and work with UC solutions from major vendors such as Microsoft’s Lync (as an approved SBA),IBM’s (News - Alert) 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, Unified Communications Strategies reported.

When you look at this overall picture one can only conclude as Unified Communications Strategies did, AudioCodes is a “smart company well-positioned to assist the UC market grow in size, success, breadth and depth.”

Linda Dobel is a TMCnet Contributor. She has been an editor in the contact center space for more than 25 years, and has the distinction of being the founding editor of Customer Inter@ction Solutions (CIS) magazine. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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