Siemens advances collaboration with OpenScape 2.0

As enterprises become increasingly mobile, rarely tied to the same desk for extended periods of time, getting in touch with clients and colleagues can be a time-wasting activity.

To combat this, Siemens Information and Communication Networks Inc., a division of Siemens AG, announced Monday the newest version of its HiPath OpenScape collaboration portal, which the company said will enable customers to lower collaboration costs and streamline interaction-intensive businesses processes.

Through Web speech and groupware, the OpenScape portal presents users with a single interface or “dashboard” to manage availability, complete with the means to be shown as “available” to some contacts and “unavailable” to others. In addition, users can decide their method of communication — desk phone, home phone, mobile phone or e-mail.

Virtual meetings and team collaboration can also be arranged via the interface in what Siemens calls a “one-click option” for instant connectivity, saving employees from time-wasting scheduling processes.

Based on open standards including Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), OpenScape enables real-time presence-awareness. Among the product’s enhancements is Tell Me When, a feature that tells users when urgent contacts become available. Version 2.0 also comes with text user interface support for mobile users to access directories, conferencing, calendars and task lists while on the go, as well as voice portal support for natural speech recognition and a rules wizard that allows for automated changes in presence status and device preference.

According to data from Nemertes Research, a New York, N.Y.-based analysis firm, 43 per cent of businesses surveyed said they have no immediate plans to incorporate presence awareness throughout out their organizations. However, 21 per cent of those surveyed said they are in the process of rolling out presence awareness applications, while 18 per cent expect to do so in within two years, and an additional 10 per cent plant to make the move within three years.

To entice adoption, OpenScape Version 2.0 offers a Web services toolkit for developers and integrators, which uses a Web services model to not only help developers create custom enhancements to OpenScape, but create business-specific applications as well.

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