Alcatel-Lucent's OpenTouch Suite Targets Business Communications

Alcatel-Lucent is rolling out its OpenTouch suite, a middleware platform that enables businesses to leverage the various communications devices and modes available to them.

Alcatel-Lucent is rolling out a platform designed to enable businesses to mesh together and leverage the various methods they communicate, not only internally but also with customers.

During the company's Dynamic Tour 2011 event April 5, Alcatel-Lucent officials unveiled their OpenTouch suite of communications solutions that is built upon technologies introduced last year. OpenTouch is designed to let users move seamlessly between the wide range of communications devices and modes, and takes into account such consumer technologies as smartphones and social media that quickly are making their way in the business world.

OpenTouch is designed to encompass multiple parties on multiple devices and using multimedia tools, according to Craig Walker, the director of product marketing of communications solutions for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.

"You can seamlessly move between all these devices and all of these modes of communications," Walker said in an interview with eWEEK.

The way people can communicate is rapidly expanding beyond the traditional one-to-one, phone-based environment. Video, chat, IM, email and audio and Web conferencing are all in play, and employees are using a wide range of devices-from smartphones and tablets to SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and video endpoint-to collaborate.

Communications technology vendors are looking for ways to bring all these avenues and devices together, and making them work more seamlessly together and easier to manage. Avaya is leveraging the ACE (Agile Communications Environment) platform it acquired when it bought Nortel Network's enterprise business in late 2009. Avaya's ACE is designed to create a single multimedia communications middleware platform that enables greater collaboration among a business' employees.

Alcatel-Lucent's Walker said OpenTouch also will serve as a key communications platform between businesses and their customers. According to the company, its Genesys SIP Server and OmniPCX Enterprise offerings will serve as foundations for OpenTouch's capability for creating a converged and open architecture for multi-party, multi-device and multi-media interaction in enterprises.

With OpenTouch, collaboration between employees or between businesses and customers can seamlessly move from one communications device to another-say, from a smartphone to a video conferencing endpoint-and from one mode to another-voice to video, for example. In addition, enterprises can manage it all from a single console, Walker said.

Included in the OpenTouch suite is the OpenTouch Business Edition, which targets the midmarket that can be run on-premises or through a hosted environment. Both the on-premise and hosted versions will be available in June and can support up to 1,500 users or 3,000 devices.

Eric Krapf, who edits the No Jitter blog, said in an April 5 note that he was told Alcatel-Lucent's offering will scale to more than 100,000 users next year, giving it a stronger enterprise story.

Alcatel-Lucent's OpenTouch Multimedia Services solution enables businesses to leverage Alcatel-Lucent's OmniPCX Enterprise Communications Server, which protects the investments the vendor's customers already have made in their communications platforms, and offers those customers a migration path to an environment with more parties, device and media. This, too, will be released in June.

In addition, Alcatel-Lucent's OpenTouch Federation Services solution, which lets businesses consolidate SIP trunking and dialing plans for multi-vendor PBXs and offers the least cost routing for mobile phones, will be available in the fourth quarter.