20 Notable Communications Infrastructure Products To Keep An Eye On4:00 PM EST Tue. Apr. 03, 2012
Enterprise Connect, formerly known as VoiceCon, is the annual spring showcase for all things unified communications and networking, and this year's show had enough product debuts and services launches to get partner tongues wagging. Here's a look at 20 infrastructure, data center and service product launches that warrant a deeper look by channel partners.
Applied Voice & Speech Technologies, more often known as AVST, rebranded its CallXPress UC platform as CX-E, joining other AVST CX-series product lines like the CX-C and CX-S. All of the company's CX products are available as premise-based and cloud-deployed infrastructure, and the CX-E specifically includes mobile clients for iPhone and Android, speech-enabled automated attendant and personal assistant services, unified messaging, single number reach, intelligent call routing, mobile number protection, voicemail and AVST's UCConnct development framework.
KEMP Technologies, an emerging player in the application delivery controller and load balancer space, recently netted $16 million in new venture capital. At Enterprise Connect, the company was showing off a number of load balancers, including LoadMaster hardware, approved for use with Microsoft Lync Server 2010, and virtual appliance load balancers.
Fonolo won this year's Best of Enterprise Connect Award -- a prestigious honor for the emerging cloud-based services vendor. With a tag line that urges customers to "put a new face on your call center," Fonolo offers cloud-based visual dialing functions that shorten the distance between callers and the correct agents and remove steps such as navigating phone menus and waiting through lengthy hold times. Starter packages are about $99 a month for up to 10 agents, with pricing increasing as customers add functions -- everything mobile interface to virtual queuing -- and agents.
Open-source PBX specialist Digium confirmed two new VoIP gateways, the G100 and G200, intended to simplify the process of deploying converged media networks. The gateways, which are based on the Asterisk open-source project that has a hand in all of Digium's wares, and also an embedded platform, support TDM-to-SIP and SIP-to-TDM applications, and they're managed through Digium's GUI interface. They also offer digital signal processor to handle various media operations, and both have integrated echo cancellation and come in a 1U, half-width, half-depth size. The G100 supports up to 30 concurrent calls, and the G200 supports 60 concurrent calls.
Adtran confirmed the addition of session border controller (SBC) software to is NetVanta 3430 and 6000 series products as well as its Total Access 900e IP Business Gateways. According to Adtran, those devices will be able to handle NAT/firewall traversal, VoIP protocol internetworking, transcoding, media anchoring and other service provider troubleshooting functions.
Tone Software offers voice quality and network monitoring and management software, and during Enterprise Connect premiered the latest version, 4.0, of its ReliaTel Management Solution. Among the new features in 4.0 include alarms blacklisting -- a way to streamline relevant alerts by priority -- various advanced performance and trend dashboards, a function called Extended AccessPlus that enables users to proxy end device access to secured remote locations, and a function called Prioritized Traceroute that lets users more rapidly pinpoint problem network segments.
Voxeo confirmed location-based services as an addition to its interactive voice response (IVR) platform for voice, text and mobile web functions. The idea, according to Voxeo, is that customers will be able to more easily and securely access location-based information, such as roadside assistance, without the need to enter locations or download additional applications on their devices.
Genband's big Enterprise Connect-related announcement wasn't so much a product as a strategy: the company, while best known as a provider of IP infrastructure and applications for service providers, is expanding its focus to target enterprise customers, too. Key to its enterprise push are its A2 Communications Application Server, S3 Intelligent Session Border Controller, G6 Universal Gateway, C20 Converged Softswitch and Genband A2 Mobile Office. Genband is already signing up solution providers for the push -- Black Box is among the signees -- and is also promoting its GenFuzion Developer Community, a development ecosystem for unified communications applications.
The latest version of Zeacom Communications Center (ZCC), 6.1, expands Zeacom's focus to include mobility applications for Android users, business intelligence features for contact center customers, and a range of options specifically for enterprise users that are integrating with Microsoft Lync. In the latter category is Zeacom's Gateway for Microsoft Lync, which ties a user's PBX telephony system to Lync desktop features like presence and instant messaging.
The latest from Alcatel-Lucent is OpenTouch Conversation, a software offering that allows users to seamlessly switch between various modes of communication, from instant message to voice calls to video conferences, without interrupting their conversations. Alcatel-Lucent has made Conversation available for Apple's iPad, with more platforms, both desktop and mobile, available soon.
Echopass focuses on cloud-based contact center services deployed as software-as-a-service, and at Enterprise Connect, it exhibited new API tools for tighter management of communications between contact centers and customers using smartphones. Echopass has a thriving ecosystem around its EchoPlace Partner Network, whose members can build customized smartphone applications for use with Echopass' services.
ActionPacked! Networks offers a range of software services for managing quality-of-services in Cisco environments, and brought to Enterprise Connect the latest of its LiveAction offerings. LiveAction 2.34 includes expanded support for Cisco Medianet, NetFlow, Routing, IP SLA and QoS in the form of policy templates, graphical topology views, information dashboards and bolstered system performance and data capacity monitoring.
Adding to the range of vendors tailoring solutions for Microsoft Lync environments, SBC titan Acme Packet confirmed a bunch of UC vendor-neutral session management solution sets that can combine Lync with legacy enterprise networks without affecting the features of either. The various Acme Packet solution sets include protocol normalization and interworking between H.323 and SIP environments, protocol and media encryption capabilities, session routing engine with Active Directory interface, and a call accounting log.
Genesys, recently divested from former owner Alcatel-Lucent, came to Enteprise Connect with the latest version of its SIP Server, which according to the company now supports more than 300,000 customer service agents. SIP Server, based on Genesys' Customer Interaction Management (CIP) platform, offers virtualization of customers' existing IP Infrastructure to provide a single resource pool for a wide range of contact center, back office and remote location functions.
Partnerpedia brought to Enterprise Connect its recently debuted Enterprise AppZone -- a way for IT managers to control the distribution and management of various mobile and cloud applications to unified communications endpoints. AppZone is needed, Partnerpedia contends, even for organizations that already deploy mobile device management products because the security of the mobile application itself, within the enterprise, is often not included in those MDM packages. Partnerpedia users can centrally manage applications and securely test, provision, monitor and patch them as needed.
Phybridge's VoIP enablement technology, UniPhyer, optimizes how companies run VoIP services over their local area networks, and at Enterprise Connect, the company unveiled a new enterprise data switch, the PoLRE, that delivers Ethernet and Power Over Ethernet (POE) over telephony-grade wires with what Phybridge describes as four times the reach of traditional data switches.
During the show, Phybridge was also touting a case study through which one customer with more than 1,400 endpoints saved more than $1.5 million optimizing its LAN using the UniPhyer.
At Enterprise Connect, Thrupoint was showing off Fusion, a software platform that the company describes as a framework for the rapid availability of SIP-based applications. Thrupoint's Fusion Service Broker, and its Fusion UC application for tablets like Apple's iPad -- new as of this month -- drives interoperability among various functions like voice, IM and presence in multi-vendor environments.
The Moya Group is a division of Telephony Partners that was established in 2011 and is completely independent from that company's own indirect channel. It was out in force at Enteprise Connect with a range of products and managed services options covers network design, IP systems and equipment, communications and collaboration software, SIP trunking and WAN systems, cloud services, network management and mobile communications.
TelStrat's specialties are contact center products and call recording services, and at Enterprise Connect, it debuted a new version of Engage Quality, its flagship offering for delivering training and evaluations to contact center agents. Various features include advanced agent evaluation, calibrated assessment, integrated e-learning and customizable agent performance reporting, and TelStrat offers it as an all-inclusive bundle with no additional back-end charges. The first module in the new Engage Quality is for agent evaluation and is available now, with the next modules expected by mid-2012.
Presence Technology introduced Presence Web Apps, a new set of Web-based, front-end applications intended for use by contact center customers looking to make their contact center interactions more efficient. During the week, Presence also confirmed that its products were certified with VMware for use in VMware-centric cloud and virtualization environments.