Cisco’s uOne unified communications software platform has been combined with Mirapoint’s Internet messaging server appliances to provide the IP-based offering.
“What we’re announcing is a partnership to take IP communications both at the infrastructure and the software level, and messaging capabilities from Mirapoint, and combine them into an overall communications solution,” explained Bill Wolfe, director and general manager, unified communications software business unit at Cisco.
He said the announcement will allow the basic methods of communication – fax, voice, voicemail and e-mail – to be combined onto a single infrastructure, accessible from anywhere, at any time, from any device.
The announcement will bring many benefits to service providers, according to Wolfe, including an increased brand identity and the ability to add new services at a lower cost.
He said the services will ultimately be targeted at three areas: small- and medium-sized businesses, consumers and mobile workers.
“We think that one of the market segments that is particularly appropriate for these types of application sets is the small and medium business market segment,” he said, “because what they want is all the tools and capabilities that larger organizations have, but they don’t want the personnel to run or manage that. What they really want to concentrate on is revenue opportunities, profitability and that customer intimacy that gives small businesses the advantage in the market.”
Larry Frank, vice-president of business development at Mirapoint, explained that part of the advantage for service providers is that they are able to tie their investments to their number of subscribers, as that number grows.
“You do not need to make large investments on the wish that your subscribers will come. You are able to take Mirapoint appliances, and match them to the need of mailboxes as the number of subscribers increases,” Frank said.
As well, he added, security has been taken care of. Full antivirus protection, anti-spam protection and VeriSign digital certificates are embedded in the offering.
Montreal-based Cescom Inc., an IP carrier and application service provider (ASP), was the first company to deploy the new UC solution. It will begin to offer services to the market in April, but has already deployed the solution internally to about half of its employees, and plans to have it out to all of its personnel – approximately 150 people – by the beginning of this month.
There were several reasons Cescom chose to offer this particular solution, according to Sylvain Ouelette, vice-president, engineering and operations at Cescom.
“The platform that we’re using right now is purely IP-based, and in that sense, we’ll use the advantages of that technology – having an IP infrastructure, having and internal IP PBX,” Ouelette explained. “The integration with (the product) is much easier (than others). We’re also looking at the evolution towards the wireless market, and this technology makes it even easier to go towards (that).”
Ouelette said he has seen many benefits to the solution, and that he has already noticed a difference in his day-to-day tasks through his own use of the product.
“By combining the voicemail, e-mail and fax into one single box that you can access from virtually any device – WAP phone, your PC, your wireline phone or your standard cell phone – being able to do so will actually improve productivity. That’s definitely a benefit,” he pointed out.
He added that he has gained about half an hour in the typical workday since using the offering.
Cescom will first be taking a wholesale approach with the solution, offering services to carriers, service providers and cable companies. Ouelette said the enterprise market will also be targeted further on down the road.
The Cisco-Mirapoint joint UC solution is available now through systems integrators, with pricing dependent on the type of implementation. For more information, see Cisco’s Web site at www.cisco.com or Mirapoint at www.mirapoint.com.