Startup Puts Unified Communications On One Box

Unison's Linux-based unified communications software wraps together a PBX system, email server, instant messaging server, contacts and calendar into a single server and desktop client. This unification of disparate parts, and Unison's use of open source components, allow the vendor to keep prices low enough to appeal to SMBs, according to Rurik Bradbury, chief marketing officer at the New York City-based vendor.

When Unison launches its flagship unified communications product sometime in the third quarter, it'll charge $50 per user, per year, and will also offer a perpetual license option at a per-server price of $36,000 with no user limits, Bradbury said.

Unison's unified communications offering scales from 20 to 1,000 users, and its PBX includes all the features and functionality of high-end offerings from Avaya, Nortel, and Cisco, said Bradbury. Unison also incorporates a significant amount of pre-existing code, using XMPP for instant messaging and Thunderbird for the basis of its desktop client, Bradbury said.

Bradbury, a former vice president at New York-based Microsoft hosting partner Intermedia, says that while competing with Microsoft will no doubt be challenging, he believes it'll take some time before Microsoft is able to come to market with a unified solution that's attractive to SMBs, and that this spells opportunity for VARs with telephony experience.

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