Alcatel-Lucent Launches OpenTouch UC Platform
Alcatel-Lucent is rolling out its OpenTouch communications platform as it looks to strengthen its position in the booming video conferencing and unified communications spaces.
Alcatel-Lucent officials first announced OpenTouch in April and launched the communications platform Nov. 10, initially coming out with three packages.
The goal of the OpenTouch suite of technologies is to enable enterprise users to take advantage of the multiple ways of communicating and the myriad devices available to greatly expand their ability to communicate with workers, partners and customers, according to Eric Penisson, general manager of the Enterprise Communications Solutions unit for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.
"Technology innovation continues to drive significant change in enterprise communications tools and techniques," Penisson said in a statement. "OpenTouch enables enterprises and employees to take advantage of smart devices, video, and mobility with the ability to switch across channels and devices while maintaining one conversation. With OpenTouch, we are the first to deliver to users an intuitive, seamless experience across all their devices and modes of communication."
Alcatel-Lucent is using its OmniPCX Enterprise communications server and carrier technologies, along with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) solutions from Genesys, to create what the company calls a SIP-based conversation layer that is tucked between the applications and server layers. The result an offering that enables users to move seamlessly between devices and communications mode-for example, a user can start a conversation through instant messaging on their smarpthone, and can move onto a video call on their notebook without any interruption.
People can be easily added to the conference on whatever device they're using, and video and other multimedia can be supported. Video, chat, IM, email and audio and Web conferencing are among the most popular modes people are using to communicate, and OpenTouch is designed to address all of them.
"You can seamlessly move between all these devices and all of these modes of communications," Craig Walker, director of product marketing of communications solutions for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise said in an interview with eWEEK in April.
Vendors are continuing to offer ways of bringing all this together. For example, Avaya is using its Agile Communications Environment platform to create a single multimedia communications middleware platform. The proliferation of devices-particularly the growing variety of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets-is a key driver behind the push by many UC and video conferencing vendors to expand the reach of their products beyond corporate offices to where ever their employees, partners or customers are. One example is the growing number of vendors, including Cisco Systems, Polycom, ShoreTel and Radvision, which are bringing their capabilities to such mobile devices through apps.
The unified management capabilities come from Alcatel-Lucent's OmniVista 8770 Network Management System, which gets rid of the multiple management systems that are needed to run many unified communications (UC) and collaborations offerings.
Alcatel-Lucent's OpenTouch platform comes in three packages, including the Business Edition that is an all-in-one communications server for the midmarket. Telephony capabilities, UC featurs such as IM, video and conferencing services, and the OmniVista 8770 are pre-integrated onto a single server. The Business Edition Hosted is housed on a blade system and can be used as a managed or hosted service.
OpenTouch Multimedia Services is a software add-on that supports existing Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise communications servers. It offers businesses investment protection by leveraging what technology they already have while enabling them to adopt future technologies as they become available.