We’re tackling unified communications to help our readers navigate what UC platform is the best fit for their organization. Previously, we dissected Rogers Unison. For our second installment of Unpacking UC, we take a look at telecommunications company Mitel Networks.
The Mitel UC solution begins with MiCollab, a UC solution that can be deployed on-premises, on hybrid cloud, on private cloud, or public cloud, for businesses of all sizes. It features all the aspects of communication normally expected in a UC solution, as well as mobile integration and team collaboration through MiTeam.
In 2016, IT analyst firm Gartner Inc. qualified Mitel as a leader in three of its magic quadrants: unified communications, UC for midsized enterprises, and corporate telephony.
What we learned from the vendor
MiCollab, in conjunction with MiTeam, is the primary solution offered by Mitel, which the company touts as a “single point of access to all communications and collaborations tools.”
At its core, MiCollab offers the necessary features of communications forums that mirror your conversations across all devices in real-time, contextual and searchable message threads, text chat, real-time voice and video calling and conferencing with web sharing, screen and file sharing, third party app integrations such as with Outlook, and a WebRTC web client.
APIs allow the integration of MiCollab with other applications such as email, calendars, and CRM systems.
What makes MiCollab stand out is its MiTeam integration, which adds team collaboration abilities and mobile integration, perhaps the most important aspect of UC as we move forward into the cloud and mobile world.
ITWC spoke with Mitel general manager of enterprise, Martin Bitzinger, to get further insight into what MiCollab has to offer its customers, and what differentiates it from its competitors.
“On the mobile side we basically expose the same functionality that we expose on a PC,” said Bitzinger. “This is where we are quite different because MiTeam was built as a mobile first client. We really want everyone to be able to experience the full power of our UC solution, not just the desk-bound workers.”
While new features are created with the cloud in mind, as seen by the new World Cloud offering targeted towards SMBs, Mitel believes there is a place for UC no matter which road you would like to go down. Whether it is on-premises, or on the cloud, Mitel allows you to buy its solutions however you would like to do so.
“You can buy [MiCollab] as a pure cloud solution, but the beauty of it is that you could also buy it on top of the PBX that you bought from us five years ago. It has exactly the same functionality as the pure cloud,” said Bitzinger.
MiCollab is available through a softphone, mobile, or web client. It is supported via remote PC, laptop, smartphone, and tablet, and is available on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows phone devices through a Mitel app.
MiTeam: The collaboration aspect of MiCollab that includes persistent chat sessions for groups in designated streams, search functions within those streams, the ability to assign and track items within teams and ensure members of a team know what has been assigned and to whom, and audio and video chat.
Point-to-point video collaboration: participate in a video call no matter the device or location with one click. The experience is the same whether the caller is on a phone, or desktop.
Attendant console: Mitel’s virtual receptionist. It can offer information for multitasking attendants, receptionists, and administrators.
Integration with business applications: MiCollab can be used alongside apps such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, IBM Sametime, and Google.
Unified Messaging and Speech Auto Attendant: Manages voicemail, email, and fax messages from personal phones and devices to desk phones with message retrieval to one place, Outlook client plug-ins, fax services, and hands-free speech commands.
Mitel has three tiers of offerings: entry, standard, and premium.
Premium is the full featured package, standard gives you everything but the team collaboration pieces, and entry is a lightweight UC solution that gives you access to core UC functionality, but lacks the sophisticated mobile and team features. You are not tied to a single solution, as you can move between those packages as you desire.
For smaller businesses who just want individual features, options are available there as well.
Throughout the Unpacking UC series, we’ll be working with Fox Group chief innovation officer Roberta Fox to help us with further analysis. Regarding Mitel, Fox has personal experience with the platform, as it is the UC platform that Fox Group is currently using.
“Mitel is so easy to manage. You don’t have to be a telecom person to be able to do it. My IT folks could manage it very easily. They really look at their user interface, and they’ve always tried to make it as easy as possible to manage,” said Fox.
An appealing aspect to Mitel is the integration of Mitel telephony solutions into a Lotus messaging environment.
“They’ve really added to their capabilities, like call centre, collaboration tools, video management, etc. They’ve expanded their reach so that it’s not just telephony and telephone systems,” said Fox.
History is important when thinking about Mitel’s offerings. The company was started in 1972 by Michael Cowpland and Terry Matthews in Ottawa, and its four decades of experience have been a huge advantage in getting to the market quickly, and understand its customers.
“Out of all the players, they were the first to the market in bringing together voice, email, and collaboration. They’ve been doing this the longest, and they were the first telecom developers to get virtualized with VMware,” said Fox.
Next up, we’re Unpacking UC with a deep dive on Cisco’s portfolio. Stay tuned for that in late November.
Checkout our dive into Rogers Unison here.