Qwest is offering a hosted UC platform that gives enterprises and smaller businesses alike a way to take advantage of a unified communications environment without having to worry about the cost or complexity associated with in-house offerings. Qwest joins a growing group of vendors, including Nortel, Cisco, NEC and BT, in developing hosted UC platforms.
Qwest Communications is the latest company to offer a hosted unified
Qwest on April 7 unveiled its iQ HUCS (Hosted Unified
Communications Service) to help businesses bring together the various pieces of
their communications infrastructure-from voice and video to e-mail, instant
messaging, and presence-under a single, hosted umbrella.
UC offers businesses the ability to derive greater benefits
from the various forms of communications they traditionally use, and to take
advantage of the growing number of IP communications avenues coming into the
market, according to Eric Bozich, vice president of product marketing at Qwest.
Having that UC environment hosted takes a lot of the management
and deployment headaches out of the picture, and makes it easier for smaller
businesses to adopt a communications strategy that until now has only been
within the reach of the larger enterprises, Bozich said.
"By hosting that solution ... you're taking a lot of
complexities out of deploying the services and get the benefits from
them," Bozich said in a video presentation.
bringing this to smaller ... enterprise customers that might not be able to
afford it [otherwise]."
Qwest iQ HUCS enables businesses to more easily bring together
legacy voice and IP data network infrastructures in a single, unified
communications environment, company officials said. The hosted platform makes
those communications models available to land-line phones, mobile phones,
smartphones and computers, and includes advanced messaging, IP fax,
collaboration and single-number capabilities.
Though it's managed by Qwest, customers of the hosted platform
retain their ability to perform routine day-to-day administrative functions.
Qwest officials estimate that through iQ HUCS customers can cut their user setup
times by 50 percent.
Qwest's platform uses Cisco Systems' multitenant call
management capabilities to enable businesses to use existing network resources
while building up their UC environments.
The company said Arizona
will be the first customer to adopt iQ HUCS. The university will use it across
four campuses to serve more than 70,000 students, faculty and staff.
A growing number of vendors are moving into the hosted UC
space. Most recently, at the VoiceCon show in March, Siemens Enterprise
Communications rolled out a new
version of its OpenScape UC Server
that includes not only greater
virtualization capabilities, but also a cloud-based model for its UC offerings.
Also at VoiceCon, Nortel
Networks' VOIP (voice over IP) business,
(Carrier VOIP and Applications Solutions), demonstrated its Hosted IP
Communications solution to enable enterprises to put their IP-based
communications and collaboration services into a private cloud.
Nortel CVAS is in the
process of being bought by Genband.
In December 2009, Cisco
unveiled a plan to develop a cloud-based service that will offer
businesses hosted UC services.
In June 2009, NEC Unified Solutions launched its UC
for Enterprise Collaboration
application. At the same time, the company
announced a Web-based service, Hosted Collaboration, to offer the same services
to small and midsize businesses.