Alcatel-Lucent launched this week OpenTouch Suite For Cloud, a suite of cloud-based communications solutions the company says will facilitate enterprises' migration to the cloud and help them better support today's increasingly mobilized workforce.
Jack Jachner, vice president of business development for Acatel-Lucen't OpenTouch products, said the new cloud-based version of the suite will offer the same robust UC features as the on-premise version -- including multi-party conferencing, instant messaging, document sharing and support for mobile devices like Apple's iPad -- but in a cloud-based model that will allow users to pay as they go
"It's indistinguishable for the user whether [OpenTouch] is CPE-based or in the cloud, but we do provide a different business model," Jachner told CRN. "You don't have to buy it up front, but we can provide a pay-per-month, per-feature kind of model."
The new OpenTouch Suite For Cloud, which can be deployed either entirely in the cloud or as an overlay to an existing CPE-based telephony infrastructure, comes in three different flavors. The first is the OpenTouch Enterprise Cloud, which Jachner said is on par, feature-wise, with the on-premise OpenTouch Suite for Mid-Sized and Large Enterprise (MLE).
The other offerings are OpenTouch Office Cloud, which maps to the on-premise SMB version of the OpenTouch collaboration suite, and OpenTouch Personal cloud, which Jachner described as an overlay of collaboration services that can run regardless of the IP PBX a user has in place.
Alcatel-Lucent's announcement came on the heels of Avaya announcing its own UC-as-a-Service offering this week. Collaboration vendors including Cisco and ShoreTel have also recently taken their solutions to the cloud, a trend that Evan Kirchheimer, an enterprise practice lead at U.K.-based analyst firm Ovum, expects to resonate well with enterprise users.
"While UCaaS remains in its infancy, there are a growing number of providers offering cloud UC solutions," Kirchheimer said in a statement. "We feel confident that enterprises can adopt UCaaS and know that there are a number of viable and robust solutions in the market that offer an affordable means to access advanced UC and collaboration tools.”
Alcatel-Lucent has already signed out partners to host the OpenTouch Suite For Cloud, including Irving, Texas-based Icon Voice Networks. Jachner said Alcatel-Lucent channel partners will also have the opportunity to resell the suite from these cloud service providers.
PUBLISHED MARCH 22, 2013