Siemens Enterprise Communications Becomes Unify

Company officials are partnering the rebranding move with a more aggressive push for its new Project Ansible UC platform.

Siemens Enterprise Communications is now Unify, a rebranding effort three years in the making.

At simultaneous events in New York City and Munich, executives with the unified communications company unveiled the new name and released more details of Project Ansible, a UC platform first introduced in June.

Along with the events in New York and Germany, Unify executives said the company is launching an aggressive campaign to increase awareness of the new name, including advertising both online and in print across business, trade and industry publications in such markets as the United States, Germany, Great Britain and Brazil. The new name lets the company—which is jointly owned by Siemens and investment group Gores Group and created in 2008—differentiate itself from the wide range of products that Siemens sells, from air conditioning units to medical equipment.

However, Unify’s launch event was marred somewhat by a webcast that apparently was unable to handle the demand, with the video stream freezing and making it impossible for many people to watch what was happening. The frustration spilled over into the ongoing Twitter feed, where the clear enthusiasm of Unify employees and industry observers was interspersed by comments about the webcast.

“Rebranding 3 years in the making. Someone forgot to tell the network guys. Oops,” read one comment.

“Note to Siemens: Ironic for a UC rebrand launch to have streaming video problems,” read another.

Networking problems aside, Unify officials are expecting the new brand and their Project Ansible platform to give the company momentum in a crowded UC market that holds the promise of easier and less costly collaboration but has yet to see the kind of growth many vendors and analysts have been predicting.

Still, IDC analysts have the UC technologies and services market at more than $26.2 billion in 2013 and growing to almost $38 billion by 2016, a sizeable opportunity for all vendors.

“Unify is uniquely positioned to lead our customers and the industry toward the emergence of a new way to work that will transform how enterprises communicate and collaborate, where technology will amplify the collective effort of information workers, energize teams and processes, and enhance business performance,” Unify CEO Hamid Akhavan said in a statement.

The key for Unify will be the Ansible platform, which is designed to seamlessly aggregate all communications streams—from voice and video to social software, analytics, text, search and business applications—and to enable businesses to manage it all centrally via a single common user interface. Currently, the various management tools for conferencing, collaboration and content tend to be segmented, forcing users to do a lot of the integration themselves, company officials have said.

The first version of the Ansible platform will be a cloud-based software-as-a-services (SaaS) offering that will support four communications channels simultaneously—voice, video, text and remote screen sharing, according to Unify executives.

In addition, users will be able to move multichannel conversations without interruption from one device to another through a simple gesture or “call swipe,” they said. Project Ansible also will not only support Unify technologies—such as the company’s OpenScape UC portfolio—but also corporate telephony offerings from rivals likes Cisco Systems and Avaya.