The platform will provide small business IT with new deployment options for all-in-one unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions. Siemens said the release aims to help mobile workers and small business employees in separate locations stay connected with a UC solution that includes voice and conferencing services, presence, IM, messaging, fax, mobility, social networking and multi-channel contact center capabilities.
"With rising customer service expectations, increasing reliance on advanced communications technologies, and the continued push toward mobility, SMBs are looking toward a solution like OpenScape Office V3 to maintain their competitive advantage," said Chris Hummel, president, North America and CMO of Siemens Enterprise Communications.
"The new deployment models offered in OpenScape Office V3 let our channel partners enable SMBs with greater flexibility and scalability to customize a UC deployment to their unique needs," he said.
Unified Communications to Fit Your Needs
Rather than try to satisfy all small businesses with a single package, Wayne Seifried, director, Global Solutions Marketing for SMB, Siemens Enterprise Communications, explained that the new release will come in three different flavors. All three flavors make session control, presence federation, WLAN management, call data recording and network-wide user management core network services.
Existing OpenScape Office customers will be familiar with OpenScape Office MX, the existing all-in-one appliance solution that supports up to 150 users. It provides IP-based unified communication and voice, pre-integrated in a single box. Seifried explained that the offering has been enhanced in V3, particularly with an eye toward support for multi-site deployments.
For small business customers invested in Siemens Enterprise Communications HiPath 3000 converged communications platform, there's OpenScape Office HX, which provides unified communications for hybrid environments (TDM, analog and IP). It supports up to 500 users.
New to the lineup is OpenScape Office LX, a purely software, server-based solution that supports up to 500 users. It features support for virtualization via VMware.
"What we have riding on top of all three of these is a common UC platform designed specifically for the small business market," Seifried said. "It's a full-featured solution set in an easy-to-install, easy-to-use, very intuitive interface."
All three flavors support unified communications networking with MX and LX systems (and voice networking with the HiPath 3000).
"One of the biggest things we were asked to do in the marketplace was enable multi-site solutions," Seifried explained. "You can now basically apply the appliance in the sales office, the LX version in the head office and have them all work together."
"From a scalability point of view, we're supporting up to 1,000 users in maximum of 10 sites," added Michael Brust, Global Solutions Marketing, SMB, Siemens Enterprise Communications. "However, if partners or customers demand more, this can be regulated."
Integrating Different Unified Communications Providers
In addition to allowing small businesses to integrate their communications in a multitude of offices, companies that use OpenScape Office can also integrate customers and partners into their UC environment, even if those customers and partners use UC solutions from other providers.
The solution is built on an open Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) architecture and utilizes the open industry standard Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) to federate presence and messaging. When customers and partners that have deployed their own UC solutions reach out to contacts within your company, they'll know whether the contacts are available and the best way to reach them.
"OpenScape Office V3 uniquely simplifies communication allowing multi-site offices to operate as one system, which always allows you to know the availability of colleagues across office locations -- and the best way to reach them," said Sam Wood, vice president, Sales and Business Development, Innovative Technology Group.
In addition, Seifried explained that Siemens paid special attention to mobility in this release, which incorporates a new thin client for mobility that will function with any smartphone with a data connection.
"Being able to reach people when they're mobile is a big thing for small business," Seifried said, explaining that mobile users will have access to the same presence federation features they would have seated at their desks. "We're using a thin client approach, so it's essentially a Web-based solution. If you have any type of smartphone, it is supported by OpenScape Office."
Brust said Siemens Enterprise Communications will make OpenScape Office V3 available for order through its channel partners in the beginning of April and will ship at the end of April. The company has established new dedicated training modules via the Web and specific training classes to help its channel partners prepare for the new products and deployment models.
Existing customers will be able to take advantage of a free license upgrade from V2 to V3 in the first three months after general availability, Brust explained. New customers will have access to a 90-day evaluation license.
Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to SmallBusinessComputing.com and a former senior editor at InternetNews.com. He covers operating systems, standards and security, among other technologies.
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