Unify is rolling out the latest version of its OpenScape 4000 IP communications platform, not only as an upgrade to its previous version, but also as a pathway to the company's Project Ansible unified communications solution.
Unify—which in October changed its name from Siemens Enterprise Communications—is adding a number of new features to OpenScape 4000 V7, including a one-number service for soft clients, mobile devices and mobile handsets, tighter integration with the company's current OpenScape unified communications (UC) offering, and greater virtualization support and security.
In addition, the new features will give OpenScape 4000 users improved communications within the enterprise as well as between the enterprise and other companies, better collaboration capabilities and easier management, which company officials said dovetails with the goals of Project Ansible, which the company introduced in June. Ansible is designed to seamlessly aggregate communications streams—from voice and video to social software, analytics, text, search and business applications—and to enable businesses to centrally manage it all through a single common user interface. Current management tools for conferencing, collaboration and content are segmented, which forces users to do a lot of the integration themselves, Unify officials have said.
Eventually Project Ansible will incorporate systems not only from Unify—like OpenScape 4000—but also other vendors. What OpenScape 4000—which had been known at Siemens Enterprise Communications as HiPath 4000—offers customers is an avenue for eventual integration to Project Ansible and a platform from which to upgrade as Ansible offerings become available.
The initial version of the Ansible platform will be a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that simultaneously will support four communications channels—voice, video, text and remote screen sharing—Unify executives said last month.
"Millions of users count on OpenScape technology every day, and the enhancements we are announcing will further enable those anywhere workers to better connect and collaborate, while providing companies with enhanced security and technology to drive down costs," Eve Aretakis, executive vice president and head of products at Unify, said in a statement.
According to Unify officials, there are more than 25,000 customer installations of OpenScape 4000 in more than 80 countries.
UC has become a focus for businesses that not only are looking for ways to increase employee productivity while keeping a rein on travel costs, but also are wrestling with such trends as mobility and bring your own device (BYOD). IDC analysts are forecasting the highly competitive UC market to grow from more than $26.2 billion this year to almost $38 billion by 2016, though industry observers have said that such hurdles as complexity and macroeconomics have kept the space from expanding as quickly as expected.
New to OpenScape 4000 V7, which is available immediately, is One Number Service (ONS), aimed at making it easier for workers anywhere to stay connected by enabling them to use a single number for all their devices, from the vendor's OpenStage TDM and IP phones to Unify's OpenScape UC soft clients, mobile devices and cordless handsets. In addition, support for VMware's vSphere ESXi 5 platform means organizations can deploy the technology in private clouds in the data center, which officials said will lower the total cost of ownership.
The improved security comes though the OpenScape Cordless Enterprise solution, which provides a new encryption key every minute for all calls and reduces the threat of eavesdropping.