What is Unified Communications and what will it bring in 2012?

What is Unified Communications and what will it bring in 2012?

Over the past year, the business sector has been quick to explore, but resilient to adopt unified communications solutions. The reason for this is that there is still no “clear-cut” solution from any UC provider that stretches across all platforms (MAC, PC, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile) and mediums of communication (desktop phone, mobile phone, IM, video, conferencing and productivity solutions) into one unified system.

Many mid and large size companies are looking to eliminate CapEx entirely, while only using OpEx for technology expenditures. We expect that this business practice will include integrated managed UC solutions in 2012.

For those of you that are unclear on what Unified Communications is, a simple explanation is that they are unified communications systems that permit business employees to operate and access multiple communication systems from a ubiquity of devices. This ability allows them to maximize availability and collaboration efforts by pulling together all the communication tools they use, making it possible to communicate through a consistent interface across devices.

More specifically, Unified Communications is comprised of various communication technologies including unified messaging, which allows users to access voice, email, fax and other media from a mailbox independent of the access device (that all sync together), SMS, collaboration systems (which include applications such as calendar, workflow, scheduling and integrated voice response for applications), real-time communications (communication using applications such as conferencing, instant messaging, PBX, and paging), productivity solutions (desktop/application sharing) and video conferencing.  

In 2012, the UC industry will be escalating its video, mobility and collaboration efforts as businesses continue to take notice of the advantages of UC technology, which are most notably, mobility, cost savings and productivity enhancement. The further development of UC integration with a variety of different CRM applications will allow for new features (Salesforce, Goldmine, ACT, Microsoft CRM, etc.) that increase employee efficiency. In addition, the central management of these systems gives your company greater control over sensitive data. UC integration with CRM software effectively achieves a managed solution that provides increased security over all communications systems by giving you the capability to lock down all devices and services simultaneously.

This equates to a basic DLP (Data Loss Prevention) solution and with the advent of further UC systems, DLP functionality will soon be available at an affordable cost so that smaller and midsized companies looking to gain a central point of control are able to make certain that their data is secure.

With all the new UC developments in 2012, this year is predicted to be the breakout year for UC solutions and possibly when it finally becomes a mainstay for enterprises. Cohere recognizes this shift in enterprise communications, and is ready to implement UC solutions for your business as an add-on to our regular services at a nominal fee. At Cohere, we know how to improve productivity, collaboration and cost savings when it comes to technology and we look forward to helping you achieve this in 2012.

The Meteoric Rise of Tablets and Rich Media Phones Expected in 2012

The Meteoric Rise of Tablets and Rich Media Phones Expected in 2012

The jury is out on what role the tablet computer will play in the enterprise space in 2012.

Around 19.5 million tablets were sold in 2011, and a projected 54 million will be sold in 2012. The era of the tablet is upon us and we are now seeing more and more businesses doing away with their laptops in favor of these lighter, sleeker, more mobile devices.

To read more about why we foresee tablets becoming a business standard in 2012, check out our blog

Here are some key reasons we foresee tablets becoming a business standard in 2012:

1. Battery Life and Portability

The tablet can work a full day with just a single charge, whereas laptop computers often require a charger after a few hours, and need to be carried around in a bulky bag.

2. Virus Resiliency

Tablets are far less likely to succumb to the various viruses that afflict many Windows laptops. The Apple iOS mobile operating system is tightly controlled and apps need to go through a stringent review process in order to be approved on Apple’s app store. Within the realms of Android tablets, security is more of an issue, but we expect that most serious business applications will be locked down.

3. Business Ready Applications

Probably the biggest advantage of the tablet is and will be the applications that users are able to run on them.

The iPad already includes business savvy apps such as:

  • Pages, Numbers and Keynote (Word Processing, Spreadsheet and Presentation applications)
  • CamCard (reads business cards and adds them into your contacts)
  • GoToMyPC (a remote PC desktop access app including firewall integration, 128-bit encryption and end-to-end authentication)
  • Bria (A soft phone that can be configured to match your desk phone)
  • Dropbox (A cloud service that permits for synching of files between your iPad and Computer)
  • Dragon Dictation (Voice to text dictation tool)
  • Polycom Video (Video Conferencing Application By Polycom)
  • ESNA UC Client (Unified Communications Client)

The Android tablets offer other apps such as:

  • Due Today (an organizational app that syncs with Google Tasks),
  • Catch Notes (Allows you to record your thoughts via text, voice recording, images and locations),
  • Fuze Meeting (high definition Web-conferencing service)
  • File Manager HD (ability to access the file system as on a regular desktop)
  • Bria (a soft phone that can be configured to match your desk phone)

With the demand for business related applications rising, expect a deluge of new applications to hit the tablet market in 2012. Considering more companies and end users will be switching to tablets this year because of the advantages outlined above, there will be new business applications in constant development in 2012 and beyond. The tablet may not be ready to take over the laptop and PC completely because of their inadequate multitasking manipulations (lack of keyboard and mouse). However, the business world is taking advantage of its other proficiencies and tablet sales will only grow over time with more advanced features and an already lower cost than quality laptops. We at Cohere recognize this seismic shift from laptop to tablet and have already implemented tablets into our UC systems.

Enhancements To Cohere’s Emergency Services Inclusive of E-911 and Disaster Recovery

Enhancements To Cohere’s Emergency Services Inclusive of E-911 and Disaster Recovery

What happens when an employee at your office has a medical emergency or a fire erupts in your building, or simply, there is a power outage in your building, are you prepared? If you are a client of Cohere Communications, you may not know it, but you are!

Cohere’s E-911 support services enable routing of emergency calls to the correct local PSAP (Public Safety answering Point) based on the caller’s phone number regardless of the assigned area code. With Cohere’s E-911 system, it doesn’t matter if you are calling from a static location (like your desk), or if you are traveling, our service will provide your location information to the local PSAP.

Cohere also offers emergency notification services that permit you to broadcast a live or pre-recorded message to all endpoints on your network expeditiously in the event of an emergency.

Disaster recovery capabilities are a vital requirement for any business in today’s competitive market environment. Cohere’s disaster recovery solution, which is included in your basic service, offers your business continuity in the most precarious of times. This differs from premise-based solutions that often require large additional expenditures to achieve the same basic functionality.

As Cohere’s services are controlled within the “cloud,” if ever a phone call cannot reach your desk phone, Cohere can dynamically re-route that call to any other selected device. We ensure true availability and resiliency of our core technology for the delivery of all client applications. This is done so that you know your services will be operational, no matter how dire the situation is. Depending on your desired level of resiliency, Cohere also offers additional services to ensure that you are always able conduct business.

BroadCloud Web Collaboration

BroadCloud Web Collaboration

Cohere’s trusted provider, Broadsoft, is currently in the midst of rolling out their new “BroadCloud Web Collaboration.” The “BroadCloud” will bring exciting new compatibility and “ease-of-use” capabilities that are sure to create some buzz. This intuitive new Web Collaboration will change the way executives manage engagements and will make remote accessibility virtually seamless. With new security protocols, your information will be secure in the Cloud. Also, BroadCloud will offer new easy access to conferencing, enhancing the enterprise collaboration experience.

With easier face-to-face communication capabilities, you can provide your clients with a more personal feel and connection. Also, companies that do business internationally can have more immediate results with the ability to easily reach any client anywhere. Some of BroadCloud’s other new features are listed below in the following section:

Full End-to-End Encryption

  • Encryption with SSL and up to AES-256.

Media Files & Live Video Stream

  • Presenters can reference a wide variety of formats for media files and a live video stream.

Closed Captioning

  • Presenters have the option to enable closed captioning in live sessions and recordings.

Green Meter™

  • With the unique Green Meter™ attendees can see an automated tracking and calculation of the emissions, travel and costs they saved by using Web Collaboration instead of traveling to a meeting.

Third Party Integrations

  • Web Collaboration integrates with apps like Outlook, Salesforce, Facebook, etc. and open SOAP-based web services.

These are just some of the many features being released. Read more on Broadsoft’s website.

Broadsoft introduces the Broadworks Communicator

Broadworks New SoftPhone Communicator

As we strive to keep you informed on all new and upcoming features, this month we are reporting on Broadsoft’s recently unveiled BroadWorks Communicator. The Communicator is a Windows-based softphone fully integrated with BroadWorks. The Communicator allows users to place calls anytime (with audio and video capabilities) from their PC with a high-speed Internet connection.

The BroadWorks Communicator offers a solution that delivers the latest telephony and video features including:

Auto-provisioning: The Communicator automatically configures user settings and updates through the BroadWorks platform, eliminating challenges associated with third-party application integration. End-users download the Communicator to start making and receiving calls immediately.

Enhanced video services: In addition to making point-to-point video calls, the Communicator can take full advantage of advanced video services in BroadWorks, such as video messaging, video add on, video auto attendant, video on hold, video call center, and video custom ringback.

Directory integration: The Communicator is integrated with users’ BroadWorks and Outlook contact lists enabling users to quickly place or transfer calls through click-to-dial capabilities.

Conference calling: Using the Communicator’s simple interface, users can conference five additional parties.

Advanced security: The Communicator uses SIP over Transport Layer Security (TLS) to provide service providers the latest technology for enhanced network security.

Multi-language support: The Communicator has multi-language support through the BroadWorks platform.

 

Cohere’s Expansion into the South American Markets and Other News

This month we are announcing Cohere’s expanded presence in the major South American markets of Brazil and Argentina. Cohere allows South American clients unlimited access to direct dial in numbers to the United States at a fixed price. We also provide DID’s (Direct Inward Dialing) from all South American locations so all of your businesses locations can be seamlessly connected no matter where they are in the world. With experience, reputable infrastructure, and 24/7/365 support, Cohere is capable of providing quality Hosted solutions to your South American office locations.

In other news, Broadsoft has taken another step in solidifying itself as the premiere innovator of enterprise VoIP applications with the recent acquisitions of Movial Inc. and iLinc Communications. Movial designs and develops user interfaces and sharing applications used by IP-based communications devices, while iLinc Communications is a web conferencing provider for business, education and government. Michael Tessler, president and chief executive officer of BroadSoft commented on both acquisitions, saying that “whether it is through strategic acquisitions or in-house development, we remain committed to offering an extensive, innovative range of unified communications services that empower global service providers to meet the evolving communication needs of their enterprise and consumer customers,”  and that the “Movial Applications purchase will position BroadSoft to enable our customers to capitalize on this market opportunity by tightly integrating the extensive capabilities already provided by BroadWorks and BroadCloud, with a superior user experience across a user’s preferred communication device.”  With the addition of these acquisitions, Cohere can now seamlessly deliver more productivity enhancing communications solutions to you at an attractive price point.

Polycom’s Fall Releases for Improved Productivity and Collaboration

Polycom, Cohere’s handset manufacturer of choice, recently announced two new exciting products: the Polycom VVX-500 Performance Business Media Phone (release date 11/7) and Polycom’s RealPresence Mobile Communicator (released in October). These two business-enhancing products provide a greater means of voice and video enterprise communication.

VVX 500The VVX 500 Business Media Phone is a touch-screen media phone that features high definition audio, video playback, Unified Communications, and business applications to improve productivity and integration. The VVX-500 includes built-in Web applications that stream content directly onto the phone’s screen. It will also have visual conferencing management, personal productivity applications, built in Digital Photo Frame and flexible twelve line appearances.

Polycom RealPresence Mobile is a software solution that allows HD video collaboration for tablets from anywhere in the world. RealPresence Mobile is the first enterprise solution for tablets and is already available on the Apple iPad 2, Motorola XOOM, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The application is standards-based and provides provisioning, management, system interoperability, firewall traversal, and scalability that CIOs require. With RealPresence Mobile you can connect face to face with anyone using HD audio and video, while still being able to share content on the go.

With these two new Polycom products, your business can drastically increase productivity and employee collaboration. For existing customers, contact Cohere to learn more about how to leverage Polycom’s newest products at your business.

Cohere and IPC Market Extranet: Global Trading Made Easy

In conjunction with IPC Systems Financial Market Extranet, Cohere now offers Ring Down Lines to 4,000 global financial market traders connecting you to over 60 countries in 6 continents. Cohere provides a direct link to the major and emerging markets of the world with Ring Down Lines that are secure and tested. We can now connect you with a diverse network of market participants within the IPC network including — Buy Side Firms, Sell Side Firms, Execution Venues, Interdealer Brokers, Market Data Providers/Independent Software Vendors, and Clearing / Settlement Firms. IPC Extranet allows you to gain a competitive edge to find liquidity and discover emerging opportunities throughout the global markets. In addition to this, we offer a variety of custom tailored features such as Trading Turret Support, Hoot-N-Holler services, Squawk Box, Barge-in, Call Recording for Sox Compliance, Remotely Managed Soft Keys and Voicemail to Text. And all of this at a fraction of the cost you would typically pay. Cohere’s solutions have been designed to enable financial service firms to navigate through the vagaries of today’s global economic climate. We are proud of our track record in the industry, powering brokerage, private equity, and direct connections to trading firms throughout the world. Contact Cohere if you are looking to connect instantaneously with the 4,000 global traders in IPC’s Extranet.

Business VoIP Provider Price Comparison

With the current state of the economy, companies are more and more concerned with cost savings and increased employee productivity. One of the best ways to do so is by upgrading your communications infrastructure to IP.

In one of our previous articles, we discussed why companies are transitioning from legacy to hosted (read the article here). Today, we would like to provide you with the “basics” on how pricing can differentiate between different Hosted VoIP companies that provide seemingly similar services.

In comparison to the competition, Cohere Communications typically provides an all-encompassing private line voice, data and network management solution. When looking at the industry as a whole, the most common price variables are typically found in regards to Hardware, Network requirements and Phone features.

1. Hardware — There are two different aspects to hardware, the first being Network hardware and the second being IP Phones. Every VoIP phone service provider has a different set of requirements for accessing their service, some providers use adapters that allows you to connect analog phones to your internet connection, others require that you purchase a specific type of router and others provide you with their own proprietary routers. When it comes to IP phones, some providers require that you use a certain manufacturer / model, others only let you use analog phones, while others such as Cohere support over 100 different models amongst disparate manufacturers.

2. Network — Some providers will let you run their service over the public internet leveraging Cable and DSL modems. Other providers such as Cohere require that you use point to point private line internet circuits so that QoS (Quality of Service) can be guaranteed.

3. Phone features –Most VoIP services will provide you with basic features such as voice mail, call waiting, caller ID and 3 way calling. If you are looking for more advanced features such as call center support, integration with email, unified communications and voicemail-to-text, you will have to pay a premium. Providers that advertise low per user costs strip away basic features so that they can layer them on later (and make up the difference).

Unified Communication channels

The different possible components of a Unified Communications System. This is just one of the features that Cohere can provide for your business

Cohere has two levels of users that have different feature service packs (have a look at Cohere’s feature guide for a full list of available features) that meet the needs of any user. Features can typically be activated and deactivated in real time using your personal web portal.

These variables in pricing could end up being costly for your small or large business. These are among quite a few different things that affect the end pricing when purchasing VoIP services.

If you have any questions about the services and pricing that Cohere Communications provides we can be reached at 1(888) 764-4956 or by email at info@coherecomm.com

Industry Trends – Cloud Computing is Growing

Moving to “the Cloud” is a growing trend for businesses that is expected to continue according to Analysys Mason’s research. Not only will cloud services remain attractive solutions for businesses, but government agencies are also expected to migrate to the cloud. Amazon on Tuesday announced the launch of GovCloud, which allows U.S. government agencies and contractors to move sensitive workloads into the cloud with regulatory security requirements.  [i]

Cloud Computing forecasts:

  • The market is expected to grow from $12.1 billion (2012) to $35.6 billion in 2015 (43% annual growth).
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow faster than Software as a Service (SaaS) between now and 2015  [ii].
  • North American revenue growth is expected to be  177% over the next 4 years.[iii]
  • 40% of the revenue will derive from small businesses and enterprises.Revenue Growth rate from 2010-2015 of Enterprise Cloud Based Service

Revenue Growth rate from 2010-2015 of Enterprise Cloud Based Service

Here are some reasons why people are moving to the Cloud:

  • Lower upfront costs for IaaS
    • There’s no need to purchase your own email server and hire staff to maintain the server.
  • Less to manage
    • Upgrades, patches and fixes get deployed on the server side. There is no need to buy or manage hardware or software
  • Access to resources from almost any device with an internet connection
    • Using cloud services, members of staff are able to collaborate on particular tasks or projects from any location using one responsive unit where users can sign into their emails, files, applications, etc …   [iv]
  • More Security and Control