NEC Enhances Sphericall UC Solution

NEC's Univerge Sphericall software, a solution that combines the basic communications needs with the power of unified communications tools, gets an upgrade.

Communications specialist NEC announced the launch of enhanced functionality for contact centers, wireless and video collaboration solutions with the Univerge Sphericall software-based unified communications solution. Sphericall for Foundations was designed as a software solution that combines basic communications needs with the power of UC tools. Sphericall now integrates with NEC's UC for Business (UCB) contact center agent solution.

Features supported via integration with Sphericall include intelligent call management, skills-based routing, agent management, multimedia capability through "e-mail queuing" and "Web-chat," integration to other third-party CRM applications and access to UCB's standard/custom reporting and administration functionality. Sphericall has also been upgraded to support Polycom HDX video solutions, which NEC said would help small businesses conduct personal interaction over large distances to enhance productivity, real-time decision-making and reduction in travel costs. Using Sphericall and Polycom HDX video solutions allow video runs as an application on the IP network, the company noted.

Steve Hilton, a principal analyst with Analysys Mason, said software-based communications architectures allow companies to achieve key business goals and can play a significant role in virtualization and server consolidation efforts in the data center. "The flexibility of running voice as an application on the IT network, and enabling a variety of communications options - such as the new video, wireless and contact center agent features added to NEC's Univerge Sphericall product - ultimately gives end users the choices and productivity enhancements they want, and the simplicity of administration that IT managers want," he said.

Sphericall now gives mobile users a wider array of choices through wireless (WLAN and IP DECT) phones and access points, including NEC's Business Mobility, a combination of IP telephony and DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) technology. The software is now compatible with four different Business Mobility IP DECT phones, as well as NEC's MH 150 and MH160 wireless LAN handsets.

"In the continued development of Univerge Sphericall, we've focused on features that allow us to easily adapt the solution for both vertical and wide-ranging business needs," said NEC's general manager for sales support and engineering Jay Krauser. "These video, wireless and contact center features will play a role in future versions as we continue to empower businesses to communications-enable their business applications and networks."

In January, IBM and NEC teamed up for a UC appliance that integrates with IBM's Lotus Foundations UC solution and aimed at budget-conscious businesses. Univerge Sphericall for IBM Lotus Foundations extends IBM Lotus Sametime unified communications and collaboration (UC(2)) tools with the ability to connect to telephony. In addition to the networking and IT software services the Lotus Foundations solution offers, the Sphericall software enables businesses to enhance collaboration within their business, including making mobile phones an integral part of the business phone system, setup work-at-home office extensions, utilize PC Video softphone and messaging and adding wireless (WiFi) telephones to untethered office users.