25 Cool Things To See At VoiceCon Orlando 2008

VoiceCon Orlando is in a transitory stage this year. What was once a show focusing solely on voice has become ensnared in the web of unified communications and other applications that start with voice as a platform but integrate other forms of communication, like messaging and videoconferencing, into everyday applications running on the network.

Aside from a host of technologies, VoiceCon, in its 18th year, is also, in a sense, going green. There will be sessions and speeches dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint through the use of innovative communications tools, one such presentation featuring a former vice president and a soldier in the war against global warming.

Without a doubt, this year's VoiceCon will have a little of everything for everyone. Here's a sneak peek at some of the things you'll see and hear throughout the show's four-day run from March 17 to March 20.

Avaya CEO Anchors Keynotes

Kicking off the first keynote presentation, Avaya president and CEO Louis D'Ambrosio will chat about the transformation of unified communications. He will touch on how successful enterprises are using UC and presence to drive competitive advantage. He will also discuss the technologies and solutions to achieve communications-enabled business processes and how businesses are using UC to innovate and create competitive advantages.

Microsoft Poised To Shake Things Up

Gurdeep Singh Pall, corporate vice president of Microsoft's unified communications group, will detail that software giant's voice and communications vision. At last year's VoiceCon Orlando, Microsoft sent shockwaves through the industry predicting the death of the PBX and claiming that in the next few years software will be driving VoIP and the communications applications it enables. Pall is sure to get the industry talking.

IBM's UC2 Vision Comes To Fruition

Fresh off outlining its enterprise unified communications and collaboration (UC2) vision, IBM will take center stage, with general manager of workplace, portal and collaboration software Mike Rhodin sharing IBM's latest stance on unified communications and collaboration. Rhodin will outline IBM's strategy and preview new technologies from the company's development labs. As the "speed of business" accelerates, Rhodin will illustrate how enterprises are building upon their existing technology investments and selecting solutions from an ecosystem of business partners to add value to their organizations in order to keep the pace.

Cisco To Change The Climate Of Communication

In a VoiceCon first, Cisco Systems' executive vice president and chief marketing officer of global policy and governmental affairs Sue Bostrom will hold court over a presentation discussing how innovative communications tools can cut down on travel and ultimately reduce our carbon footprint. Bostrom will be on stage in Orlando, but through technology will bring along a couple of special guests, including a former U.S. vice president.

Al Gore, TelePresence And More

Nobel Laureate, former vice president and environmental advocate Al Gore will join Bostrom via Cisco TelePresence to discuss the critical role that innovation can play in mitigating climate change. The virtual discussion will hit audiences in both Orlando and London during Bostrom's keynote. Key points will include observations of the effects of global warming and the impact of IT; how businesses can reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of new innovations; and how the tech industry can help create a sustainable model for addressing global climate change. TelePresence will beam Gore in from Nashville, Tenn., but his participation will have a global impact.

Cisco CEO John Chambers To Weigh In

While Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers will not be in Orlando for VoiceCon, he will still have a strong (Tele)presence. Chambers will join Bostrom and Gore via TelePresence from Cisco's San Jose, Calif.-based headquarters to join in on the discussion of how communications tools and IT can address climate change.

Covergence Virtualizes Session Border Control

Along with a host of top-shelf speakers, communications and VoIP vendors will be announcing and demoing new solutions to enable business communications.

Maynard, Mass.-based Covergence will publicly showcase its CVA-50, a session border control solution delivered as a virtual appliance. The demo, taking place Tuesday, March 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the Covergence booth will show how CVA-50 can enable enterprise branch offices and service providers serving SMBS to deploy session management software as a pre-built, pre-configured and ready-to-run enterprise application. Covergence Session Manager can integrate voice and data networks so enterprises can secure, control and integrate real-time traffic onto their WAN and enable enterprise to save costs while building their unified communications infrastructure.

Clarus To Debut Voice Management Tools

Clarus Systems will announce a new version of its flagship ClarusIPC application. According to Clarus, ClarusIPC Plus 2.4 offers end-to-end voice service management. Enhanced monitoring and alerting features include CUCM server performance, status changes for CUCM services and device registration changes. The newest version also allows admins to view the number of active calls at any time, broken down by specific gateways, and the ability to monitor active calls by Route Group/List as well as MGCP PRI channel status.

Performance management lets users view the number of media resources available to provide Music On Hold, Transcoding and Media Termination Points. Performance management also monitors system health to prevent large-scale outages or unplanned downtime through agentless monitoring. ClarusIPC Plus 2.4 also offers user-defined policies and rules for system performance thresholds and alerting capabilities tied to each policy.

Ingate Launches New VoIP Security Software

As more real-time communications tools get added into the network, it's important to ensure the systems are secure. At VoiceCon, Ingate Systems will announce a new layer of security for SIP-based applications with its new Ingate Enhanced Security Module, a software offering for all Ingate Firewall (pictured) and Ingate SIParator products.

The software features an IDS/IPS system for SIP, meaning it can detect and protect against SIP-based attacks. The software protects the network against attacks that target SIP devices on the LAN, such as SIP phones. It also incorporates the ability to encrypt real-time communications to thwart eavesdroppers, hackers and spoofers.

Zeacom Unveils New UC Solution

Zeacom is set to demo the latest version of its unified communications solution, Communications Center 5.0. The newest version features voice conferencing services to extend unified communications from the desktop to mobile devices and integrates with Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007.

New conferencing (pictured) allows voice conferences to be easily established from the desktop without a third-party call provider. Organizers gain control over call volume and meeting participation, including automatic Caller Line Identification based log-in, arrival and termination notification.

More From Zeacom

Zeacom's Communications Center 5.0 also includes a new mobility feature (pictured), giving users the freedom to manage their presence status from a BlackBerry or Windows Mobile device, including all familiar desktop functions like a single mailbox, presence profiles and director.

Lastly, the rich presence feature in Communications Center 5.0 uses Zeacom's Computer Telephone Integration to paint an accurate picture of employee availability by workflow, integrating telephony, the keyboard and mouse in real time to reduce the number of unanswered or missed calls.

NEC Shoots For Hole In One

Coming off the recent release of a host of role-based unified communications products under its Univerge360 umbrella, NEC Unified Solutions will demo the products and show how put people in the center of communications when building solutions. NEC will demonstrate its new portfolio of business software for its Univerge SV7000 IP communications server and the new SV8500 enterprise server. And its new line of modular IP and digital terminals, the Univerge DT700 and DT300 to support both enterprise and SMBs.

And while NEC solutions are nothing to shake a putter at, it may be LPGA pro Paula Creamer's appearance at the NEC booth that generates a round of golf claps.

GIPS Breaks Out New Softphone

While there will be desktop and mobile phones by the dozen at VoiceCon, GIPS is introducing its new VoIP softphone solution suite, REX, which gives enterprises, service providers and developers advanced PBX, instant messaging, presence and voicemail on their PC or mobile phones. There's also a REX SDK for software developers. The suite can turn any computer into a PBX extension with extra features to allow for high-quality calls inside and outside of the office with no need for a VPN connection.

ProCurve To Join Mitel Solutions Alliance

ProCurve Networking by HP will announce its entrance into the newly formed Mitel Solutions Alliance (MSA), created to enable third-party vendors to create products and services that interoperate with Mitel's core business communications portfolio.

To ring in the alliance, ProCurve will display its recently launched Switch 2610 in the Mitel booth at VoiceCon. The partnership between the two vendors will showcase how ProCurve's technology can enable unified communications and IP telephony applications. The combination of ProCurve's enterprise networking solutions with unified communications and IP telephony products from Mitel will provide end-to-end data and IP communications over a single, standards-based infrastructure.

Tango Mobilizes The PBX

Tango Networks will debut the Abrazo, a software- and server-based fixed-mobile convergence device that unites mobile phones and enterprise PBX or Centrex networks, connecting any mobile phone through any participating wireless network with any PBX.

Based on a hybrid architecture tying together both carrier and enterprise components, Abrazo supports legacy and IMS standards for an FMC solution that integrates the mobile network. It interfaces with the network and each mobile phone, turning that device into an extension of the PBX and letting the device take on the characteristic s of a desk phone, such as enterprise calling plans, integrated messaging and a single, unified voicemail box.

SMBs Get Wi-Fi Phone From Polycom

In the first of many VoiceCon releases, Polycom will unveil a Wi-Fi telephone from the SMB, the SpectraLink 8002 Wireless Telephone. SMB owners and their crew now have the freedom to roam the workplace without missing a call. The entry-level Wi-Fi handset brings enterprise-grade Voice over WLAN capabilities. It supports open SIP VoIP and is certified for interoperability with the SIP-based Digium Asterisk Business Edition IP PBX. And at just under $350 a handset, the 8002 is enterprise Wi-Fi VoIP on an SMB budget.

New Productivity Applications From Polycom

Polycom is also set to release a new suite of applications for its SoundPoint IP desktop phones called the Polycom Productivity Suite. The new applications include a corporate directory access application; a four-party conference call management applications with a visual interface (pictured); a local call recording application using Polycom's HD Voice technology to record calls to a USB flash drive; a voice quality monitoring application; and a third-party call control application.

Phybridge Launches Deployment Box

Phybridge will launch its Phybridge Uniphyer, a deployment appliance that enabled voice and data network convergence with PoE and QoS. The Uniphyer makes any IP PBX into a simple, plug-and-play installation.

GN Releases Remote Answering Hook Switch

GN U.S. is releasing a dedicated Electronic Hook Switch (EHS) for Polycom's SoundPoint IP desktop phones. The EHS adapter allows folks using a Jabra wireless headset from GN in conjunction with a Polycom VoIP desk phone to answer calls up to 300 feet away from their desks, introducing the benefits of hands-free communication. The adapter plugs in and connects the phone to Jabra GN9350 and GN9120 EHS wireless headsets. Once connected, incoming calls can be handled from the headset, allowing calls to be answered while visiting a colleague's office, grabbing some documents from the printer, sending a fax or attending a meeting.

Siemens To Demo New UC Solutions

Siemens, which earlier this month continued its transition from a hardware-based to a software-oriented company will be demoing its latest set of products based on the OpenScape Unified Communications Server, a software-based platform that integrates voice, unified communications and video applications in the enterprise and is designed to break down the silos that usually separate those applications. The UC Server is software that can run in any environment regardless of vendor. Siemens will also demo three new applications that run on the server: OpenScape Voice Application; OpenScape UC Application V3; and OpenScape Video.

Pictured is an enterprise conference room running some of Siemens newest UC solutions.

HD Video From Siemens Makes Debut

Along with UC Server, Siemens will display its new line of HD video systems and a PC soft client. The VHD 600 includes an HD camera, a CD-quality conference phone and a codec that can bridge up to six parties on a video conference call. The VHD 400 includes the same components of the VHD 600, but can bridge four parties.

More HD From Siemens

The VHD 100, which will also hit the VoiceCon show floor, is a single, point-to-point solution for one-to-one calls or for a user to join a conference hosted on a VHD 600, 400 or third-party video bridge. Siemens will also showcase the OpenScape UC Application desktop client, a video-enabled soft client.

Aspect Unifies The Contact Center

Aspect Software will announce enhancements to its unified approach to help contact centers better manage customer interactions, extending to subject matter experts in the enterprise by delivering IT-read, SIP-based VoIP solutions. At VoiceCon, Aspect will update its Unified IP and PerformanceEdge to support unified communications strategies.

CyberData Locks The Door With VoIP

CyberData will introduce its upcoming VoIP Intercom, which operates as a door entry phone with access control capabilities or as an emergency phone with mass notification capabilities. The VoIP Intercom is capable of two-way communications with a dedicated SIP extension. An internal DTMF operated relay can activate auxiliary controls.

NET To Introduce New Media Gateway

Network Equipment Technologies (NET) will introduce the VX1800 Voice Exchange for Unified Communications. The VX1800 is a media gateway built for enterprise VoIP and UC with high-capacity multi-path call process, supporting up to 1,000 any-to-any simultaneous calls. It supports mobility for SIP Wi-Fi devices and fixed-mobile convergence applications; is redundant AC powered; and offers an expandable platform with optional software and hardware modules. The VX1800 is Microsoft UC certified.