Latest Feature Articles

Adding Video Surveillance Thwarts Theft, Secures Business
Today's business means doing more with less. For businesses, large or small, maximizing profits with less expenditure means there are more resources available to invest in future growth. VoIP has hands down delivered on its promise that networked voice and data improves communication and productivity, simplifies maintenance, and reduces equipment/monthly recurring costs.

Enterprise Headsets Become Integral Part of UC Solutions
Unified communications means a lot of things to a lot of people, but everyone who is selling, using or considering UC seems to understand the need for solutions that are simple to implement, easy to use, and address the new trend toward wireless communications. Enterprise headsets are increasingly part of these solutions.

Building the Channel for UC: Growing Spending Means New Sales Opportunities, But Value Selling Remains a Challenge
Forty nine percent of organizations the IT research firm recently surveyed say their UC investments will increase faster than their overall IT budgets in the months ahead. Firms with 500 or more workers are much more likely to increase their UC spends than smaller outfits, probably because these larger organizations are more in need of solutions that simplify their more complex and far-flung communications requirements, CompTIA says.

Unified Communications Magazine Reveals TMC Labs Innovation Awards
Unifying voice, video, wireless, presence and other communications technologies, results in rapid communication and improved employee productivity. Unifying and integrating all the various corporate communications types also provide management a holistic overview of the entire corporate communications infrastructure with unified reporting that provides insights into your business communications.

Hosted or PBX? How about a Blend of Both?
Buyers considering a migration to VoIP often hit a wall at the very first turn in the decision tree: Hosted or on-premises? Now, buyers have a third alternative - blended architecture systems - that combine the best elements of both, while eliminating the downsides of each.

The Role of the Interconnect Network in Enabling HD Voice Communications
VoIP traffic has been growing exponentially in recent years in both fixed and mobile networks, as both enterprises and consumers seek to improve efficiency and reduce costs by increasing their adoption of IP services. At the same time, the emergence of HD voice promises to deliver on the true potential of VoIP by offering clear and life-like reproduction of audio.

Top UC Security Issues and Steps to Mitigate Your Enterprise Risk
Collaboration demands, prevalence of handheld devices and increased communication flexibility within enterprises are driving the adoption of unified communications as the main strategy to manage effectively the integration of real-time multimedia communications. Since the benefits of UC are well recognized in the industry, the focus is shifting to a more critical mandate: protection directives that arm the enterprise with countermeasures to limit the threat of failure or a security breach.

Strategies for Collaboration Technologies and User Adoption
In today's economic landscape, the jobs of CTOs and CIOs are anything but easy. Enterprise executives expect the same service, business enablement and technology solutions from tighter budgets and pared down IT departments. Key to overcoming this challenge are unified communications and collaboration platforms. UC&C technologies offer many benefits: They can help companies to reduce travel expenses, enable a remote workforce, encourage greater collaboration, and improve overall business functions.

New York City Has a PLAN
When emergency strikes, helping people understand what to do is of key importance. To enable that to happen in an orderly fashion, New York City and federal agencies have joined forces with the big four cellular service providers to introduce the Personal Localized Alerting Network.

Former MITers Unveil Kurogo Mobile Framework
We all love our mobile devices and the wealth of information they can provide us. But sometimes it's not as easy to get the info we seek as it should be. To help address that, Modo Labs has introduced the Kurogo Mobile Framework.

The Next Radio WAVE: Twisted Pair Enables Unified Communications among Disparate Wireless Endpoints
The assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, which President Obama and other key U.S. officials witnessed from Washington, D.C. in real time via video, demonstrated how far we have come in using advanced communications.

Bringing Real-Time Communications to the Web
This limitation has not gone unnoticed. Over the last sixth months the industry has been organizing to fix this problem. A workshop among industry experts was held at the end of 2010 and, based on that, standards activities were kicked off at both the W3C and the IETF. The IETF was expected to hold a birds of a feather session - also known as a pre-working group - at its meeting last month in Prague. A charter for a new W3C activity is circulating as well, with approval expected shortly.

Infonetics Research's Myers Analyzes Enterprise Telephony Market
Infonetics recently released a study showing that the enterprise telephony market had its third straight quarter of growth, although decreased spending by small and large business in North America led to a 5 percent decline here in fourth quarter. Nonetheless, the PBX and UC market saw annual growth in 2010, totaling $8.3 billion (up from $7.7 billion in 2009). And growth among small businesses and large enterprises in Central and Latin America drove a 20 percent increase in PBX spending in that region infourth quarter of last year.

New Solutions Address UC Security
Traditional security solutions, like packet sniffers and intrusion detection tools, are organized around physical network assets, says Adam Powers, CTO of Lancope, which sells a security monitoring appliance to large enterprises. However, he adds, the virtual assets that are now in place are much more difficult to monitor.

VoIP Collaboration Services: Untapped Market Opportunities
Today's global economy, advances in technology and growing environmental awareness are encouraging organizations to shift away from in-person meetings to online meetings using collaboration and conferencing services. Because of these social and economic drivers, demand for audio conferencing has grown at a steady pace, but customers are also looking to conferencing service providers for services well beyond the traditional audio conference bridge.

The Perfect Storm: Hosted Service, Microsoft and the Cloud
This famous pronouncement (or something very close to it) was made by the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. But it could just as easily be applied to the cloud and hosted services trend that is sweeping through the communications landscape.

Zwana Unicom Brings Integrated UC Health Care Solutions to Africa
Zwana Unicom is a telecommunications service provider catering to small and medium businesses throughout Africa.

ITEXPO East Download
We've been hearing about presence for years, but the recent rise of the smartphone and the desire for more unified communications are now enabling presence to take off in a more concrete way. However, to a large extent both users and those offering presence-based solutions are still laying the groundwork for what presence can and should allow.

Five Obstacles to Growth in Videoconferencing
Why does an industry that delivers so much in the way of value through reduced travel expenses, increased productivity and greater communication efficiency have such a difficult time gaining wide spread usage? Even in the most innovative organizations, there are underlying issues that hinder the adoption of videoconferencing. These problems range from the highly technical to basic user perception. But in reality, the answer is quite simple: Anyone must be able to conference anywhere.

Inter-carrier Telepresence Takes Flight
Brian Washburn, research analyst at Current Analysis, says that while others have announced their intentions to offer inter-provider telepresence, AT&T and BT are first to take a swing at it on a commercial basis.

FaceFlow Videoconferencing Uses Just a Browser
Well, this new Adobe P2P voice/video technology is exactly what FaceFlow is leveraging. It greatly reduces the need for centralized servers (or supernodes like Skype) as well as the bandwidth requirements. I took FaceFlow for a spin. It was easy to sign up and register. Once registered, I registered a second account on another PC to make my first video call. I "friended" my second account and after accepting the friend invite I made a video call from my first account to the second account all on the same LAN segment. The video frame rate is excellent; however, it seems the company compromised a bit on video quality. The video had artifacts in it at times, especially when moving. But overall, the video was pretty decent.

Vroom Vroom: Auto Companies Embrace UC
Ford is among the automotive leaders providing voice-enabled and driver's dash-based interfaces for drivers and passengers so distraction from using communications in the car is minimized.

Look to Your Network to Ensure Reliable Real-Time Communications
As companies depend more heavily on unified communications to enrich employee interactions and enhance communication, the reliability of their UC infrastructure is more critical than ever. Deploying UC solutions can present challenges, but maximizing your untapped network capabilities can help you ensure the high availability and resilience necessary to deliver real-time communications.

The Future of IP Video
To prepare for the security considerations of IP video, one must anticipate how its adoption will evolve over the next few years. Business use of video, more than any other communications technology, is driven by consumerization - the expectation by employees, customers and business partners that they can leverage the same type of communications and collaboration tools in their professional lives that they employ in their personal lives.

The Democratization of Video
Videoconferencing, including telepresence, is expanding beyond the executive suite and conference rooms to desktops, assembly lines and hospital rooms.

Unified Communications - The First Killer Application for the Private Cloud
In the late '80s, dedicated point-to-point circuits were the data communications method of choice for telecommunications companies. Then, in the early '90s, virtual private network services were brought to life to lower costs, while still providing great service quality. Network traffic was switched when and where necessary to balance and optimize network bandwidth utilization. Sound familiar? It should. It was the birth of today's cloud.

Marrying UC and Virtualization Drives App Growth, Reduces TCO
However, an article in the August 2010 issue of this publication cited recently released data from Network Instruments that reveals a vast majority of organizations keen to deploy UC and virtualized technologies lack the tools required for monitoring and troubleshooting performance. It is within this context that the rapid advancements in VM-ready telemanagement applications are providing businesses with the platform to optimize their business processes.

The Role of TFO in High-Definition Voice Rollouts
Up until now, mobile operators have distinguished themselves through features such as geographic coverage, handsets with rich features, and low subscription cost. In the

Google Wave Runs Aground, But Search Giant Still Keen on UC
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine Google recently put the kibosh on Google Wave. But that doesn't mean the search giant has abandoned unified communications altogether. In fact, UC is one area in which Google seems to have a keen interest, as expressed by its actions if not its words.

Go West Young Man: Customer Contact, Conferencing Solution Provider Talks Shop
West Corp. is a 24-year-old provider of customer contact solutions and conferencing services. The company also offers mission-critical solutions for public safety and emergency communications applications.

Selling Unified Communications: Pricing Pressures, Lack of Killer App Create Challenges for UC Adoption
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine To make UC more accessible and manageable for small and medium companies, hosted UC solutions are becoming more common. In fact, Nemertes Research, author of the "Managed and Hosted Unified Communications" report, expects UC-based managed services to double or even triple by next year.

Voxeo Announces SaaS-based Version of VoiceObjects
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine Remember the 1980s commercial catchphrase "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter...."? Well, the combination of Voxeo and VoiceObjects is your classic Reese's Peanut Butter Cup scenario.

Armed with Starbak Assets, BurstPoint Bursts on to Corporate Video Scene
A new company called BurstPoint Networks has come onto the scene to offer former Starbak customers - and anybody else that wants to be in pictures -what executives say is a highly scalable, integrated corporate video solution.

UC Goes Mobile in the Cloud
Unified communications in the cloud, also known as hosted or on-demand UC and UCaaS, is a proven business solution that many growing enterprises continue to adopt.

Making Videoconferencing More Widespread:New User-Friendly Devices, Mobile Support, Flexible Solutions Push It Toward the Tipping Point
Video traditionally has been a medium used at opposite ends of the consumer and business spectrums. From the consumer perspective, it has long offered a mass market experience for the TV viewing audience. But from the business perspective, it's primarily been available for big guns at big companies that have the clout to invest in expensive video-enabled conference rooms.

Shining Through: Little-Known ShoreTel Prepares for Its Big Breakout Role
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine In reporting its quarterly finances recently, ShoreTel revealed some impressive numbers.

TMC Congratulates UC Excellence Awards Winners
This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine Unified communications is providing businesses of all sizes with increased productivity and the ability not only to manage their voice, e-mail and fax communications, but also to tie those communications into existing CRM and other databases that their employees use daily.

UCIF Aims to Address Standards, Interoperability Gaps, But Some Key Industry Players are Missing
Microsoft, HP, Juniper Networks, Logitech/LifeSize and Polycom this spring joined forces to unify what they say is a vibrant, but fragmented, UC ecosystem. In an effort to piece things together, the companies have established the Unified Communications Interoperability Forum, which as of early July had 21 member companies.

Automated Software System is Prescription for Efficiency, Savings for Visiting Angels
Many of us have parents or grandparents who are getting up there in age and may need a little extra assistance to remain in their own homes. Visiting Angels is a franchise that specializes in just such care.

Fonality Talks Services, Search and Storage
Fonality, which may be best known for its HUD desktop communications platform, is gearing up for some important announcements, Aron Aicard, senior director of product management, told Unified Communications Magazine in a late June interview.

College of the Canyons Gives NEC Solution High Marks
The recession has sent hoards of employees packing. And when these folks can't find a job with their existing skill sets, many use their free time to go back to school. That has been both a boon and a curse for College of the Canyons.

Demystifying Telephony in Emergency Notification and Response
You've probably noticed it too - with the growth of e-mail, smartphones and other technology, the world seems to be shrinking. These days it's just as easy to talk with a colleague across the globe as one across the hall; sometimes it's even easier.

Fax Keeps Marching On
Fax technology has found its footing as a secure method to transfer sensitive information in the enterprise space, such as within the medical and financial industries, where information security and privacy are critical. And while there are still large information distribution fax networks that send literally thousands of faxes per day over traditional TDM and IP-based networks, the popularity of another piece of office equipment, the all-in-one printer, is leading to renewed interest in fax at the small and medium enterprise level.

SoundBite Helps Sprint, Others Do Multichannel Proactive Customer Communications
Communications services is a dynamic business that requires telecom service providers to be in regular contact with their customers to offer promotions, provide bills and related reminders, and take other steps that can help them retain customers, build user loyalty and drive new revenues. SoundBite Communications Inc. helps companies like Sprint do this kind of proactive customer communications.

Subway Coop Sates Call Requirements with Unified Communications Solution
For most of us, fresh-baked bread, BMTs and Jared Fogle may come to mind when Subway enters into the conversation. For franchise owners of the popular sandwich shops, however, delivering food quickly and to order is more complex than your simple mustard vs. mayo decision. These small business owners have to keep abreast of a variety of issues, including various payment options and related customer loyalty programs. And unified communications has become a key ingredient in enabling them to do so.

Preparing Your Network for UC, And Keeping It Up to Snuff on an Ongoing Basis
Unified communications and virtualization have seen good uptake in the past couple years despite the economic downturn. Indeed, according to data recently released by Network Instruments, about 75 percent of companies were expected to have invested in these technologies by the end of 2009 due to their perceived cost savings and fast return on investments. But the same study indicates that three-fourths of those organizations lack the tools and visibility needed to monitor and troubleshoot performance problems on such platforms.

Bigfoot Aims to Make Its Mark in Latency Control
It sounds more reality show than reality, but Bigfoot Networks Inc. got its start by winning a competition. Today, about 30,000 of the company's NIC cards, list priced at $129, are in use to help address latency, mostly for game-related applications. INTERNET TELEPHONY recently spoke to Wayne Dunlap, vice president of engineering at the Austin, Texas-based outfit, about the company's beginnings as well as its future, which includes bringing latency control to VoIP and video.

Unified Communications for the SMB
Unified communications can enable small and medium businesses to increase productivity. Now new offers make it easier and more affordable for SMBs to take advantage of this important UC benefit.

SIP, UC Stick Together
Unified communications and the session initiation protocol, or SIP, are coming together in important new ways. Irwin Lazar, vice president of communications and collaboration research at Nemertes Research, says SIP is becoming a key protocol for unified communications. One important recent development on this front is that SIP increasingly is being used to enable interconnection with conferencing, including videoconferencing.

Mobile UC Solutions Hit the Street in Droves
Mobile communications have become an indispensible tool for many workers across the planet and a driving force in improving productivity. But when it comes to unified communications, mobile communications frequently has gotten back-of-the-bus status. That’s starting to change, however, as more UC solutions providers hit the accelerator on their mobile efforts.

If You Build It, They Will Come
IP technology is often heralded as the key to enabling contact centers to work in a more distributed fashion – say, as far away as India. But one company, called Caleris, is leveraging the benefits of IP in its contact centers right here in the US of A.