Feature Story

ITEXPO East Download

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  February 01, 2011

ITEXPO East took place in Miami earlier this month. The show was action packed, as you know if you joined us there. If not, we hope to see you at ITEXPO West Sept. 13-15 in Austin, Texas. Either way, since there was so much going on at the show it would be impossible for any one person to take it all in at once, I wanted to share some of the UC-related news and discussions at ITEXPO.

Panel Discusses Pros & Cons of Presence

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.

“The rules of the road are still being constructed,” said Dean Moore, sales engineer at ShoreTel, who was on the What Can Presence Do for You? panel at ITEXPO East in Miami.

Moore said that like many people today, he “lives” on his wireless phone. But communications is not just about having the ability to connect from anywhere; also part of the conversation is whether an individual actually is available to communicate at any given time. Presence can provide that information.

Presence goes beyond that, however, by also allowing a retailer to capture the location of a mobile user so it can offer that individual a coupon or special offer as he or she passes by one of its locations, for example, Moore noted.

But making it simple for both the end user and companies to benefit from presence is key, as is figuring out what level of presence information should be available to whom and when, he added.

Michael Doyle, vice president of technology at CounterPath (News - Alert), and the other panelist for the ITEXPO session, added that in the past your wireless service provider would know where you were based on cell site location. But with smartphones, social media and other tools, presence has moved to a whole new level – opening presence information to a much larger community of individuals and entities.

Of course, sometimes that’s not such a good thing. Doyle talked about how a site called PleaseRobMe gained notoriety last year. He added that Nashua, N.J., recently saw a 13 percent increase in burglaries, most of which can be attributed to presence information gleaned from social media.

However, in many ways presence can enable good things. For example, Moore talked about how many of us are more than willing to have the state know where we travel in exchange for being able to quickly move through tolls with an I-PASS or similar solution. And Doyle mentioned how helpful it is to have a system that can use presence to sense an employee’s location so it can send calls to a mobile vs. a desktop-based phone, for example.



Clarus Taps into Analytics, Video and Telepresence

Last year was good one for Clarus Systems, which continues to expand the breadth of its products as well as its partnerships. In the year ahead, the company plans to focus on three key pillars: analytics, video and telepresence, and the cloud.

That’s according to Gurmeet Lamba (News - Alert), senior vice president of product development, which Unified Communications Magazine spoke with at press day at ITEXPO East in Miami.

Clarus System sells ClarusIPC Plus, which is management and monitoring software focused on VoIP and UC. It sits in the data center and doesn’t involved agents or probes. The solution – which does end-to-end automated testing, passive monitoring, configuration and change management, and business intelligence analytics – is used by various verticals, including the financial and energy verticals, as well as by cloud/hosted service providers.

Lamba says Clarus Systems, which saw its bookings go up more than 170 percent in 2010, is seeing the market maturing and has done very well in creating depth in its product over the years. Now, he says, the company is focusing on the breadth of its products by expanding what it monitors (the company recently added presence monitoring, contact center monitoring, and monitoring for Cisco (News - Alert) Unity Connection). This allows Clarus customers to use the company’s solution to do things such as ensure that message waiting lights are being turned on and off correctly, for example, he says.

The company also recently announced new partnerships with Cisco Systems (News - Alert) and HP. The partnership with Cisco is focused on doing verification of new installations, among other things, says Lamba. The HP partnership centers around integration of the Clarus product and the HP Network Node Manager.

As discussed above, Clarus is also keen on analytics, video and telepresence, and the cloud. While the company already has existing solutions for all of the above, it expects to expand its offerings in these areas and have a strong marketing push in these areas.

Analytics, Lamba explains, have to do with leveraging the “gold mine” of data in the Clarus system to do things like resource management.

If a telepresence call doesn’t work as planned, it can be disasterous. The Clarus solution can come into play to make sure telepresence calls go off without a hitch.

Clarus can also help cloud communications providers deliver and meet service level agreements, he says. He adds that customers will move to the cloud when they have confidence in the cloud, and that SLAs can help build that kind of confidence. “It’s a chicken and egg thing,” he says of cloud uptake. “Cloud is big for us,” says Lamba. “It really comes down to the business customers having confidence in the cloud. You’ve got to get past the smoke and mirrors. Visibility leads to confidence. Confidence leads to adoption.”



GENBAND Leader Calls for Collaboration Among Enterprises, Service Providers and Vendors

The worlds of networking and communications are changing rapidly. Voice, video and data applications and networks are converging. The amount and importance of content are growing, in no small part due to social networking and the rise of the app store. Mobility has moved center stage for both consumer and business users. And cloud computing is starting to take off.

All these factors mean we’re moving into an environment in which users can communicate and access content and applications anywhere at any time with any device. And all of the above indicates that, going forward, enterprises, their service providers and vendors are going to have to collaborate more than ever before. Charlie Vogt (News - Alert), GENBAND president and CEO, delivered that message to the ITEXPO East audience in Miami earlier this month during his keynote address.

Vogt said that collaboration among these stakeholders will help all of the above entities make sure that they can meet and exceed the next generation of customer expectations.

For enterprises, he said, the biggest trends are around mobile integration and trying to understand the applications that are going to drive business going forward, and how those applications will best be served.

Vogt also noted that another big trend we’re seeing is around the cloud. That involves both traditional service providers and outfits like Amazon and Google offering software, storage and infrastructure as a service. Of course, this spans the interests of enterprise customers, service providers and network equipment suppliers.

GENBAND had $730 million in revenues last year and expects to grow that 15 percent in 2011, said Vogt. It’s built its business both through both organic growth and acquisition.

The company earlier this year announced its acquisition of Cedar Point Communications, which has7.5 million lines in service globally. It sells the SAFARI C3 Multimedia Switching System, a SIP-based VoIP switch that is compliant with CableLab’s PacketCable specifications and popular with the cable TV companies.

GENBAND has done a number of acquisitions over the past few years. That includes purchasing NextPoint Networks in the fall of 2008, Tekelec’s Switching Solutions Group in April 2007, Nokia Siemens Networks’ Surpass IP trunking gateway product lines in April 2008, and both BayPackets Inc. and the Digital Central Office business of Siemens Networks LLC in late 2006. However, what really helped move GENBAND to the next level was its recent purchase of Nortel’s Carrier VoIP and Application Solutions Business, a deal it closed on May 28.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi