TMCnet Feature
May 02, 2013

Enterprise Connect 2013: New Cloud UC Services Launched

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, Business VoIP

The Enterprise Connect (News - Alert) Conference and Expo is the premiere forum for enterprise communications vendors to highlight their latest and greatest unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) products and services. During the recent event in Orlando, Fla., more than 150 of vendors participated and showcased their equipment, software and services that address trends in mobility, video, unified communications, contact center, social networking and the cloud.

Here, we zoom in on several new hosted/cloud UC services launched during the event, including from Alcatel-Lucent, Avaya, Interactive Intelligence, Microsoft (AT&T and HP partnerships) and Mitel (Sprint (News - Alert) partnership).

These and other telephony and UC manufacturers are moving quickly to offer their premises-based telephony solutions as a hosted/cloud UC service, as cloud services have become a strategic imperative. A number of vendors are already reporting that their cloud division revenue is now exceeding the revenue from their premises-based business. This encouraging trend, coupled with analyst forecasts that indicate strong growth in the hosted/cloud UC market, make it certain that vendors will be investing heavily in hosted/cloud offers going forward. So, new and improved cloud services, including hybrid premises-cloud offers, are surely on the horizon.

Alcatel-Lucent Unveils OpenTouch Suite for Cloud

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise has announced a new suite of cloud-based services for business enterprises called the OpenTouch Suite for Cloud. The cloud suite will include three offers to be delivered via service providers, system integrators and channels:

  • OpenTouch Enterprise Cloud (for mid-to-large enterprises; available now)
  • OpenTouch Office Cloud (for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs); expected in 2Q2013)
  • OpenTouch Personal Cloud (to deliver applications as a service for any size enterprise; expected 3Q2013)

First in the suite, and available now, is the OpenTouch Enterprise Cloud solution, a Unified Communication-as-a-Service (UCaaS) offer based on Alcatel-Lucent’s OpenTouch applications and the company’s OmniPCX Enterprise (OXE) IP communications system. So far, three partners have signed up to deliver the service based on a flexible RTU (right-to-use) elastic software license by which actual usage is tracked and charged per user, per month. Current partners include Icon Voice Networks in the U.S., Switch Communications in the UK and UXC Connect in Australia.

Avaya Collaborative Cloud Enables UC, CC and Video Services

Avaya furthered its position in the cloud space with three new offers under the umbrella of the Collaborative Cloud, allowing cloud service providers (CSPs) to offer Avaya Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC), Contact Center (CC) and Video solutions as cloud-based services. Avaya has a pay-as-you-sell utility-based pricing model that lets CPS pay only for what customers actually use. The new cloud services include:

  • Avaya Cloud Enablement for Video – Avaya’s Radvision video conferencing portfolio of room, telepresence and personal video solutions for small, medium and large enterprises are now available as cloud-based services. This Video-as-a-Service (VaaS) includes the company’s Elite Series MCUs, Scopia Mobile and Scopia Desktop solutions. Orange Business Services (News - Alert) is already offering the service, recently launching the Orange Video Meeting application (powered by Radvision Scopia Mobile technology) for access to video meetings through its cloud-based Open Videopresence service.
  • Avaya Cloud Enablement for UC and CC – Avaya Aura-based UC and CC platforms are now available as cloud-based services for small, medium and large enterprises. The UC-as-a-Service (UCaaS) offer includes voice communications (SIP) via Aura Session Manager and Aura Communications Manager, UC applications for audio, Web and video conferencing and mobility, Presence, Unified Messaging and Avaya phones. The Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) includes Avaya's Elite multi-channel contact center portfolio with voice (SIP), reporting, self-service, workforce optimization, agent desktop and phones. CSPs will use the Avaya Control Manager SP Edition Web-based interface to centrally manage the service offerings for multiple tenants and end users.
  • Avaya Managed Private Cloud for CC – A new private cloud service, called Avaya Communications Outsourcing Solutions (COS) Express, is designed for small and medium enterprises (about 100 to 500 agents). The solution can be hosted by Avaya directly or hosted by a CSP that can sell the solution as an Avaya or as a co-branded offer.

Interactive Intelligence Launches CaaS Small Center in U.S.

Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. has a new cloud-based communications-as-a-service (CaaS) for small contact centers. CaaS Small Center is designed for small organizations with 10 to 50 contact center agents and is based on the company’s Customer Interaction Center (CIC) software for contact center and enterprise IP telephony. CaaS Small Center includes a subset of CIC contact center functionality with core features that are meant to keep the service affordable and simple to deploy. The base functionality includes Automatic Call Distribution (ACD), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Unified Communications (UC), multi-channel routing (voice, e-mail, chat) and voice, email and chat recording. Supervisory and reporting features, real-time speech analytics, post-call surveys and Salesforce integration can be added optionally.

CaaS Small Center is available now in the U.S., with Canada to follow later in 2013. Pricing starts at $99 per agent, per month, and customers can opt for month-to-month or annual contract terms. For businesses that require larger scale and more advanced features, Interactive Intelligence has CaaS solutions for mid-size and larger contact centers: the Standard Edition (25-500 agents), the Preferred Edition (25-5,000 agents) and the Premium Edition (25-5,000+ agents).

Microsoft Partners with AT&T (News - Alert) and HP for UC-as-a-Service

AT&T is enhancing its existing voice communication and collaboration offer by adding the Microsoft Lync unified communications portfolio of presence, instant messaging, Web and video conferencing capabilities. AT&T customers have three options in taking advantage of the Lync solution: they can run Lync in their own premises-based data center, have Lync hosted by AT&T or run Lync as part of the Microsoft Office 365 service from AT&T. IT integration, management and ongoing support will be available from AT&T. Microsoft and AT&T will market the service globally.

HP has announced several new communications solutions, including HP Enterprise Cloud Services - Unified Communications, a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) offer that combines HP Enterprise Services and Microsoft Lync UC capabilities as subscription-based service (the infrastructure to support these capabilities is located in an HP data center). The UCaaS offer is available now in select countries, including the United States. To complement the service, HP will be introducing a new line of IP phones (HP 4120 series) this summer. Additionally, HP is developing a solution for business continuity at branch offices. The open standards-based multiservice router (MSR), expected this summer, will come with pre-installed Microsoft Lync Survivable Branch software.

Sprint Wholesale Cloud Services Adds Mitel Hosted PBX 

In a wholesale agreement, Sprint will be including Mitel’s hosted PBX cloud service as part of the Sprint Wholesale Cloud Services. With Sprint Wholesale Cloud Services (first announced in April 2012), SMB-focused resellers can deliver (under their own brand) on-demand access to Sprint’s cloud services which include computing services and storage resources in the areas of business process, archiving, Web commerce and security without having to build their own IT environment or create their own services. Now, the resellers can also offer hosted voice and unified communications (UC) from Mitel. Additionally, Mitel will be marketing Sprint’s cloud services (computing services and storage) directly to its U.S. SMB customers, so the Sprint-Mitel partnership is extending the market reach for each company. Sprint Wholesale Cloud Services are currently available in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Other markets are expected to follow.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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