When it comes to managing an organization’s communications infrastructure, there’s a lot to be concerned with nowadays. E-mail, phones, video streaming — where does it all come together? More to the point, how does a company manage its existing telecommunications framework without paying too much for newer, more efficient applications?
Ottawa-based Objectworld Communications Corp. says its Unified Communications for Windows package is one potential answer for any business looking to sort out its communications needs, at least in a Windows IT environment.
The company says its software, designed for the SMB market, offers an integrated approach to multiple points of data delivery, such as unified messaging, fax server, Active Directory Administration, speech engines and legacy PBX support to allow a company to transition to VoIP phone service in the future.
Designed around the growing adoption of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to manage communications, as opposed to proprietary networks, Objectworld’s software-only approach is scalable to a specific company’s needs, company officials say.
David Levy, President & CEO of Objectworld, says that the project began three years ago.
“We guessed that unified communications would become the buzz word of 2006. We set about building a product that would be an all-software solution, running in any standard Microsoft environment as part of the Microsoft server system. It would be easy to install, and at the end of the day, there would be a complete feature-rich experience to conventional telephony, unified messaging, call-flow management, and the ability to interact with business applications through APIs and back-office type interfaces like ODBC. It would be very low-cost compared to anything else. It would level the playing field between the smaller companies and the larger ones.”
Levy also says the company’s software, which can be deployed for between 15 and 2,000 users, is hardware-neutral and requires a $200 fee per user.
“It would be administered from within Active Directories and the communication facilities would be managed from the IT administrator. All of those things we have achieved.”
Don Reece, director of information technology for the Winnipeg-based Pembina Trails Schools Division, says his organization has adopted the Unified Communications for Windows platform due to some unique challenges faced by the school division.
“The challenge we were faced with was a mixture of legacy phone systems. Pembina Trails was created with the amalgamation of two existing school divisions, they had different networks, different phone systems. As these phone systems started to die, we were buying components for phone systems on eBay,” Reece says.
“The telcos wanted to sell us a phone system but we weren’t ready to do that. We run all Dell switches, have the Windows 2003 server with Active Directory, so we wanted to push that out to our phone systems. We had gone with Dell hardware and we looked for a partner who would allow us to leverage that rather than forcing us to buy proprietary hardware or say that we couldn’t leverage it with the existing network.”
Reece also says that while bigger players in the telecommunications market were trying to force the school division to adopt specific technical infrastructure, Objectworld has enabled the organization to work within its existing framework and use software-based solutions. He says Pembina Trails’ use of Unified Communications for Windows has helped in using unified messaging, displaying video broadcasts at press conferences and employing smart boards.
“There are huge cost-savings just from consolidating lines. We’re looking to have 1,800 lines. Soon, teachers are going to be able to have a SoftPhone with a handset. We’re going to leverage our existing fibre network technology and the software lets us be in control of our phones, number changes.
“The software does everything we need it to do. The clients are seeing their benefits.”