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August 31, 2007


Sphere Communications Joins NEC Family

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, Access Intelligence LLC


NEC Corporation of Tokyo Japan has acquired Sphere Communications (News - Alert) Inc., a software-based enterprise telecommunications company headquartered in Illinois. The acquisition ($42 million) provides NEC with new service oriented communications software technology and promises to accelerate the company’s growth worldwide. Sphere Communications has received several industry awards for its software-based IP PBX (News - Alert) technology, including the 2007 Frost & Sullivan Award for Product Differentiation & Innovation.
 
A global initiative within NEC’s (News - Alert) Enterprise Solutions Business Unit, Sphere will continue to operate out of its Illinois offices with Graeme Robinson as President and CEO.
 
Unlike many corporate telecommunications mergers, the NEC and Sphere technologies do not directly overlap. NEC offers a complete portfolio of traditional and IP-based telephony systems and unified communications products for businesses of all sizes, including DSX and Aspire systems for small business (formerly from Nitsuko), the Electra Elite IPK II for SMBs, the NEAX family of PBX/IP-PBX systems and the UNIVERGE SV7000 pure IP system. The addition of the Sphere technology adds an innovative solution based on open-systems, standards-based enterprise software and a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA).
 
A good complement to the NEC portfolio, the Sphericall software-based IP PBX runs on industry standard servers and integrates with standards-based third party devices to deliver a full PBX feature set that scales to 30,000 ports across multiple locations. A free Software Development Kit (SDK) makes it easy for application developers to integrate new XML- or SOAP-based applications for the IP PBX such as PDA or CRM applications. Sphere also offers the solution as Sphere’s SphereCSE (Communications Service Engine), an IP PBX software development platform that targets Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) looking to build an IP communications solution. And, via SIP trunking, Service Providers can offer Sphericall as a “hybrid” solution that combines a hosted service with a premised-based IP PBX.
 
Sphericall IP PBX is deployed in enterprise, education, government and U.S. Department of Defense organizations in over 15 countries around the world. Sphere’s Assured Services for emergency communications application ensures emergency calls are connected immediately by allowing designated individuals to make and receive phone calls at all times. Sphericall IP PBX has passed rigorous PBX testing (Joint Interoperability Test Command or JITC) by the U.S. Department of Defense and is considered 99.999% reliable and highly resilient in mission-critical government and military environments.
 
TelecomTactics Takeaway: Unlike many corporate telecommunications mergers that must find a way to integrate similar product offerings, the NEC and Sphere technologies do not directly overlap. A long-time top enterprise communications vendor, NEC offers a complete portfolio of traditional and IP-based telephony systems and unified communications products for businesses of all sizes. The Sphericall software-based IP PBX is a good complement to the NEC portfolio. It runs on industry standard servers and integrates with standards-based third party devices to deliver a full PBX feature set that scales to 30,000 ports across multiple locations. A Software Development Kit from Sphere makes it easy for application developers to integrate new XML- or SOAP-based applications for the IP PBX such as PDA or CRM applications. Further, the Sphere solution is available as a software development platform for OEMs and ISVs or as a hosted service for Service Providers.
 
For more detail on NEC’s portfolio and other telephony systems on the market, visit www.telecomtactics.com.
 
For more information, contact:
 
Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst/TelecomTactics
The Telecom Intelligence Group
1111 Marlkress Road, Suite 203
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
856-424-1100 x11
 
 
 


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