Alcatel-Lucent Launches OpenTouch Suite For Cloud

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."

[Related: Alcatel-Lucent Taps Former Vodafone Exec As New CEO ]

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).

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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.