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In the CEO Spotlight section in Internet Telephony, we recognize the outstanding work performed by exemplary companies. Each month we bring you the opinions of the heads of companies leading the Internet telephony industry now and helping to shape the future of the industry. This month, we spoke with NEC Unified Solutions President Charlie Langdon. (news - alerts).


GG: What is your vision for NEC and how is the company positioned in the next-generation telecom market?

CL: Simply put our goal is to be the First Choice provider to customers based on our skills, solutions, and commitment to customer satisfaction. By listening versus preaching we will provide flexible solutions and services to satisfy customer goals. Over the next year, NEC Unified Solutions will continue to bring innovative products and solutions to the market that address critical, industry-specific issues, as we have done this year with new solutions designed for two key verticals: Higher Education and Healthcare. Additionally, it is vitally important to our customers that they have choices on how they engage NEC. With this in mind, we continue to strengthen our dedication to our channel partners. We view our partners as an extension of the NEC organization and are investing to ensure their success. Our mainstream products and solution road maps are designed with our channel partners in mind. We intend to be the markets leading total solutions provider; a company to whom customers and dealers will look first for converged voice and data solution needs. Moreover, we are dedicated to delivering the highest returns on customer technology investments and are committed to providing true financial value.

GG: Now that it appears that growth and opportunity are the trends in the VoIP industry, what possible hurdles do you see that might upset this momentum for NEC Unified?

CL: With new technologies being developed and deployed at a rapid pace, many manufacturers are producing voice products without the necessary experience to ensure quality, and ultimately, customer satisfaction. NEC Unified Solutions will need to remain above the noise and focus on delivering and deploying solutions that meet true business needs, while leveraging our more than 100 years of voice experience and expertise. However, NEC cant stop there. We will focus on supporting our customers through every stage of the IP telephony lifecycle, from adoption and utilization, to monitoring and management. Too many technologies have not lived up to their expectation not because the technology was flawed rather, it was not part of an overall solution designed for the customers unique business requirements.

GG: What are some of the technology areas where NEC is increasingly focusing, and why are these areas important to the future of your company?

CL: The primary technology driving NECs solutions today is VoIP and, more importantly, the applications that VoIP enables. We view IP as the open operating system for converged communications our IP servers are not some PBX on steroids, they are application enablers. Think of voice as the biggest application of all time and you get the idea, but applications including Unified Messaging, Presence tools such as NECs ComPortal, Remote Contact Center Agents, Converged Mobility, and Voice-Enabled Web Applications (VXML) all rely on IP technology as their core component. By taking these applications further, and integrating them into vertically and horizontally oriented custom solutions, we ensure that these applications drive real business value. Moreover, our Professional Services team provides customization and integration of these solutions into the customers production environment. It is not enough to simply deploy these solutions, NEC also has the capability to manage, maintain, and secure these networks.

GG: Describe your view of the future of the IP telephony industry.

CL: We project that the two fastest growing areas over the next few years will be in the areas of mobility and customized applications enabled by the converged voice and data network. Organizations are doing more and more business on the move. Mobility has become one of the main drivers of IP communications and the enabling wireless technology carries the potential to revolutionize the office. We have seen a tremendous amount of interest in our UNIVERGE wireless communication solutions. With the explosion of wireless dual mode devices, customers can further take advantage of the existing technology investments they have made within their organizations by allowing them to remain connected to their enterprise regardless of where they may be in the world. However, it is important to note that converged IP networks require that businesses implement new management practices in order to take advantage of the combined infrastructure. Evaluation needs to expand beyond product ROI and TCO and include life cycle services capability. Integration, remote network monitoring, change, and configuration, and security management across the converged voice and data network become even more critical. As part of our total solutions provider approach, NEC Unified Solutions has developed a complete managed services suite that goes beyond traditional migration and maintenance offerings to focus on this growing space. Our customers understand the value that services provide, and we will continue to work with them to ensure that they are receiving the solutions they need to achieve their business goals. As far as NEC is concerned, the future of IP communications, and the impact it will have on the way we communicate, has never looked so bright. IT

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