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Verizon Business Delivers Cisco UC&C Solutions

Verizon Business is offering large businesses and government agencies the latest unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) technology while helping to reduce the complexity of managing, monitoring and maintaining these solutions.


The enhancements to its managed UC&C portfolio are designed to enable Verizon Business to provide enterprise customers with immediate management of the newest capabilities of the Cisco Unified Communications System Release 7.0, as well as management of the Cisco Unified Contact Center-Express platform, which integrates UC&C functionality into the contact center. Verizon Business is the first global service provider to deliver a managed solution based on the Cisco Unified Communications System Release 7.0.





UC Market to Shrink, Then Rebound

The Unified Communications space is of intense interest in a high-tech enterprise market that, for the most part, has enjoyed an optimistic outlook. However, according to a new study released by Wainhouse Research, UC product revenues are expected to decrease by over $1 billion over the next two years before the market rebounds.


The same study says a drop in telephony revenues, currently the largest portion of the UC market, will not be matched by growth in other areas such as IM, presence and videoconferencing.


Enterprise vendors including Avaya, Cisco, IBM Lotus, Microsoft, and Nortel, should expect total UC product revenues to decline until 2011 due to the falling average selling price of telephony, audio bridges and unified messaging, according to the study.




NET Quintum VoIP Gateways Earn Microsoft UM Certification

NET Quintum has completed Microsoft certification for Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging for both the VX and Tenor lines of VoIP switches and gateways. The successful certification for the New Jersey-based company confirms what NET Quintum executives have long touted: their ability to integrate a customer's existing voice infrastructure with Exchange Unified Messaging. The completion of the Exchange Unified Messaging certification complements the existing certification for Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.


"The certification for Exchange Unified Messaging gives our customers and partners' confidence that the VX and Tenor product lines provide a seamless solution for both Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007," said Chuck Rutledge, vice president of Marketing for NET Quintum.


NET Quintum is a wholly owned subsidiary of Network Equipment Technologies.





Ringier Chooses Nortel, Microsoft UC Solution

Ringier AG, a Swiss publishing house, has deployed a unified communications solution from Nortel and Microsoft, built around Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Nortel's flagship Communication Server (CS) 1000.


Ringier reportedly sought a unified communications solution to accelerate the flow of information across the company, to help its journalists get world news out faster. Upon deployment, the company noted benefits such as reduced operating costs, increased productivity and a simplified IT environment.


"We expect to see productivity increase, especially for our journalists, by as much as 20 percent by using integrated communication tools from Nortel and Microsoft," says Hansjoerg Grolimund, project leader and head of collaboration and communication, Ringier AG. "The one-click desktop access for video, VoIP, presence and instant messaging provides real value to editors and journalists who can work more efficiently from anywhere and keep in touch with critical resources at all times."






Gartner Hails Interactive Intelligence as Contact Center Leader

Officials with Gartner Inc. named Interactive Intelligence to the leaders quadrant in its so-called 2008 Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide Magic Quadrant report, hailing the Indianapolisbased unified IP business communications provider as a viable vendor with a broad portfolio, significant market share, wide geographic coverage and vision.


The report identifies companies that are well-positioned, despite this slower economy, to deliver leading products from their portfolios, Gartner officials say.


"Leaders do not necessarily offer a best-of-breed solution for every customer requirement," the research firm says. "However, overall, their products are strong and often have some exceptional capabilities. Additionally, these vendors provide solutions that present relatively low risk."





Report: Avaya Leads the Worldwide Unified Communications Market

A Dell'Oro Group Enterprise Telephony report recently placed Avaya, a global provider of business communications applications, systems and services, as the leader in the worldwide unified communications (UC) market in revenues. Dell'Oro included unified communications research for the first time in its quarterly report. Avaya reportedly leads the market in the third quarter of 2008 with 22 percent of the global share, more than three points ahead of its nearest competitor. The total market for the U.S. is quoted to be around $3.1 billion.


Unified communications will be the next disruptive technology according to Alan Weckel, director, Dell'Oro Group.


"UC is bringing functions that have historically been confined to core PBX hardware into software applications. The companies that can lead in this transition — and deliver the responsive, real-time communications features that companies want — are best positioned to compete in the new era of business communications," he said.





Aspect Acquires Applied Information Assets

Aspect, a unified communications and contact center software and services provider, has acquired the assets of Applied Information Management Limited and its wholly owned subsidiary, AIM Technology, a provider of analytical performance management software solutions for contact centers and service organizations.


The acquired product, which will be called PerformanceEdge Performance Management, automates and streamlines contact center processes to help organizations motivate, measure, and manage employees.


Jim Foy, president and CEO at Aspect, said that with this acquisition, the company is delivering on its commitment to help companies bring unified communications (UC) applications to their enterprises to address contact center and workforce optimization challenges in a new way. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.




Enterprise Communications Sales Trend Down

As the U.S. economy shrinks, so does the enterprise communications system market. A new T3i Group research report, InfoTrack for Enterprise Communications, revealed that sales declined by 7 percent in the third quarter to $1.01B in 2008 compared with the same year-ago period. Although 3Q revenues grew 8 percent over 2Q, year-to-date 2008 U.S. enterprise telephony system revenues were 10 percent below the first three quarters of 2007.


Similar new findings released by the InfoTrack for Unified Communications program confirmed the likelihood of a continued downward sales trend. It said that a higher percentage of decision makers plan to reduce IP and UC spending than those contacted in a survey conducted in January 2008.


If there is a bright spot it is continued interest in and revenues from IP compared with overall line shipments, driven by demand from small/midsized businesses (SMBs). The research also found that IP phone shipments increased over 20 percent from one year ago, as the attach rate of IP phones (the percent of IP-capable lines equipped with an IP phone) has grown.




IP Contact Center Market Strong: Infonetics

The cost savings, increased flexibility and versatility of IP-based contact center solutions along with their ability to support presence/unified communications (UC) and home-based agents is making them popular with buyers even with a deteriorating economy. That makes these applications one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal environment.


A new report by Infonetics Research, Unified Communications and IP Contact Center Market Share and Forecasts, reports that the IP contact center (IPCC) market will finish 2008 up 37 percent over 2007, with many vendors reporting robust sales, particularly in Asia Pacific. In the first half 2008 (1H08) over a million IPCC seats were sold worldwide.


Infonetics' report also shows sales of UC products will end mixed in 2008, with unified messaging platform sales up and communicator software sales flat. Infonetics defines IPCC products as including ACD, CTI, and IVR, including speech recognition applications.



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