Two ICT providers are now offering cloud-based telephony to Canadian enterprises.
Fujitsu America said this month that it is selling a hosted Microsoft Lync service called Cloud Enterprise Service Connect, run from data centres in Regina and Quebec City. Ottawa’s Mitel Networks said Thursday it is launching its MiCloud Enterprise UCaaS offering including voice, audio and video conferencing.
Fujitsu’s move is part of a North American expansion of the company’s hosted Lync service that started in Japan, said Jeff Stucker, unified communications director for Fujitsu America.
“This is especially valuable for enterprises that have bought Office 365 with enterprise voice licences, because Microsoft does not have the telco connections in their data centre. Those licences would need to be deployed on premise or in a hosted environment.”
ECS Connect is aimed at enterprises with 1,500 seats or more. It includes all of the functionality an organization would get with Lync on-prem – telephony integration as well as audio and video conferencing.
The service is sold through Fujitsu or integration partners. Fujitsu is also looking for reseller partners, including VARs or integrators that sell Office 365, offering them a percentage of recurring revenue.
Fujitsu or its partners will do an assessment of a customer’s network to see if it is up to taking a voice-over-IP solution, Stucker said, as well as calculate return on investment. Customers also may need a gateway for maintaining dial tone in case the Internet connection goes down.
ECS Connect costs between $13 and $17 a seat, depending on the capabilities needed and the number of seats.
The customers Fujitsu is first going after are Canadian enterprises that it already manages some or all of their IT operations. Each customer gets a dedicated Lync instance, which can be customized for their business processes.
Fujitsu will host the service here at its new Regina data centre as well as in Quebec City, where it opened an innovation centre in 2011 which specializes in voice applications.
Mitel’s cloud service has been offered in the U.S. for six months. The company said it easily connects employees, partner and customers with flexible communications channels designed to boost productivity and amplify collaboration. This includes business phones with mission-critical voice quality and collaboration tools with telepresence, chat, audio and videoconferencing capabilities.
The service comes in four levels starting at $4.80 a seat: Basic just gives dial tone; Entry includes presence, voicemail, UC; Standard includes collaboration; and Premier includes software for smart phones.
It is sold through partners including Excel Telecom Inc., Incotel-GH IP Solutions, Introtel Communications Inc., Merbridge Networks Corp., Minitel Communications Corp., RackForce Networks Inc. and Williams Telecommunications Corp.