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Interop Feature Articles

May 24, 2012
Quality User Experiences -Alcatel-Lucent Gives Enterprises an OpenTouch

The countdown has begun. As detailed in a previous article in April shortly after its introduction, Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) OpenTouch Conversation software will be available in June for Apple (News - Alert) iOS devices. This is an important step forward for the users and IT administrators of the over 100M Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) enterprise lines deployed by organizations large and small around the world. 

What is OpenTouch?     

The simple answer is that it’s the further evolution of ALU’s enterprise communications platform. What it delivers is the ability for ALU customers to be not merely reactive to the bring your own device (BYOD) phenomena sweeping enterprises, but proactive — breaking down the traditional unified communications (UC) silos that have hindered adoption of many UC features and hence stifled enterprises from optimizing what are the demonstrable benefits of UC for business optimization .

OpenTouch is a singular software client that operates across multiple devices. It seamlessly extends conversations across a near-limitless number of medias such as email, IM, video, audio, and application-sharing. It is built on five pillars: 

  • Real-time, dynamic conferencing
  • User-centric connections
  • Meaningful presence information
  • Native video capabilities
  • Social knowledge and applications context

Ready for its close up

TMCnet CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) interviewed Jack Jachner, Alcatel-Lucent, vice president of business development, OpenTouch, at the recent Interop (News - Alert) show in Las Vegas, to discuss the features and functionality of the solution and what lies ahead. He encapsulated the value of OpenTouch saying it, “Enables rich contextual presence-based, IM and video enhancing communication and collaboration.”

Jachner emphasized that with BYOD showing signs of accelerating (IDG Connect has estimated for example that 91 percent of business and IT professionals are using their iPads in some capacity for work communication), an enterprise-class solution was needed to provide a uniform quality, secure and seamlessly interoperable user experience between desktops laptops, smartphones and tablets. OpenTouch brings together devices and capabilities to provide that quality experience.

It does so by leveraging a SIP-based interface for connectivity across the premises and around the world.  The good news for IT departments is that OpenTouch enables them to assure that their employees are working within the bounds of highly productive, company-controlled software environment. And, it gives C-levels, who are some of the most intensively users of smartphones and tablets and are extremely mobile, peace of mind on enterprise security along with the access to the tools they need to more efficiently and effectively run their businesses.

ALU is making the case for the value of OpenTouch as the enabler for unleashing the business optimization value of UC. In fact, its white paper, "Business Collaborative Conversation Scenarios," is worth a read.

Some of the highpoints of what OpenTouch can do include:

  • Continuous conversations: Enabling users to seamlessly switch the conversation from their cell phone to their desktop phone or tablet as needed. Plus, they can use presence awareness to discover if other participants have video or share an interactive whiteboard.
  • Collaboration across multiple geographies: Leveraging SIP for enhanced multimedia interactions without boundaries.
  • Improving customer service through first-call resolution:  Ensuring fast and smart handover, for example, of a contact center agent to an expert at resolving a specific customer issue, and sending along the customer context with the call. 

As the name implies, the idea here is that openness is the path forward for maximizing the benefits of collaboration and OpenTouch is aimed at not just knocking down traditional boundaries, but in enabling enterprises to reap the full rewards of enhanced interactions throughout their organizations and their ecosystems. 

As mentioned at the top, June is just around the corner.   

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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