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January 17, 2013

2013 Will Deliver the Benefits of UC to Smaller Organizations

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

If this decade has an overriding theme in enterprise technology, it’s likely to unified communications (UC). Unified communications, of course, is the integration of real-time communication media such as chat, presence information (when a person is available to communicate), telephony (primarily IP telephony) video conferencing, data sharing via methods such as interactive whiteboards, call control and speech recognition with non-real-time communication services such as unified messaging (integrated voice mail, e-mail, SMS and fax).

While most large organizations have implemented at least some elements of UC in recent years, many smaller companies still believe UC is largely out of their reach.

This is no longer the case, though the perception lives on.

TMCnet recently spoke with Sangoma Technologies’ Director of Marketing, Jeff Dworkin, who sees UC gaining broader acceptance and making inroads into smaller enterprise environments thanks to Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync.

“Microsoft Lync incorporates a tremendous set of UC capabilities, and Sangoma has released the Lync Express appliance that takes much of the complexity out of deploying Lync. With all of the software needed for a Lync deployment pre-loaded on the platform, and an integrated VoIP gateway, Lync Express is the only all-in-one Lync appliance in the market. Even for businesses that don’t have telephony expertise, Lync Express delivers the fully integrated UC and VoIP ecosystem in a simple and easy to install appliance.”

Formerly called Microsoft Office Communicator, Microsoft Lync is an instant messaging client that includes voice Over IP and video conferencing capabilities. It’s used with Microsoft Lync Server or Lync Online (available with Microsoft Office 365). It allows for collaboration of documents and contact lists and file sharing of all types, and allows for secure messaging through a Microsoft Lync Server.

It also offers support for mobile clients.

Sangoma’s newest solution, Lync Express V2.0, will include session border control (SBC) features, as well as everything needed to connect Lync to the PSTN.

“This is just one more example of Sangoma working to make Everything Connect at a very effective price,” said Dworkin.

Dworkin says he also sees broader of acceptance of UC bringing with it extended video capabilities for many organizations. The continuing deployment of Lync and other unified communications/IP-PBX (News - Alert) solutions that have built in video capabilities is behind this trend, and that once these systems begin to interoperate, the adoption curve will accelerate.

“Sangoma is looking to make this happen with our new Video MCU [microcontroller unit],” said Dworkin. “The Sangoma Video MCU normalizes and mixes the video sessions from a variety of sources into a single video conference. That way, many people can participate, independent of the endpoint or system through which they are connecting.”

Dworkin notes that all these trends could be affected – and possibly carried further more quickly – by the up-and-coming standard WebRTC (Real-Time Communications), which will allow browser-to-browser applications for voice calling, video chat and peer-to-peer file sharing without the need to download anything or use a plug-in.

“This is a real wildcard in the video space,” noted Dworkin. “If the adoption curve of this new technology heats up, it could impact the entire video communications marketplace in a very short time.”

In any case, 2013 is likely to be an exciting year for smaller businesses, with the technologies they have envied in larger companies scaling down and becoming more available to them. Count on a strong push from technology providers such as Sangoma to fill in these needs and broaden SMBs communications options. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker
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