Unify to Beta Ansible UC Platform in May, Launch It in October

The company is finishing up pre-beta trials of the platform, which will include support for WebRTC and Unify solutions like OpenScape 4000.

Unify officials are preparing to take the next steps with its Project Ansible next-generation unified communications platform, which they said is on track to become generally available later this year.

Unify—nee Siemens Enterprise Communications—first unveiled Ansible in June 2013, outlining a solution 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. Unify officials have argued that current management tools for conferencing, collaboration and content are segmented, which forces users to do a lot of the integration themselves. Ansible will clear that up, they said.

On March 17, the first day of the Enterprise Connect 2014 show in Orlando, Fla., Unify officials gave a timeline for their project and more details about what businesses can expect when it launches in October. The solution has been undergoing pre-beta trial testing with users, and the company will shift to formal beta tests in May. Included in the beta effort will be a trial run by Unify itself, according to the company.

The first version in October will be delivered via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

Unify CEO Dean Douglas, named to the position in December 2013, said the initial customer reviews of the unified communications (UC) platform have been strong.

"Since joining Unify, Project Ansible has been a central focus in our portfolio reviews, and I am even more excited about its potential to deliver an amazing user experience and tangible benefits to companies of all sizes," Douglas said in a statement. "Project Ansible is our answer to intensive market research that started over two years ago. Based on what users expect from their communications and collaboration behavior, Project Ansible is the solution to take them there."

At the event, Douglas and other Unify officials released more details about Ansible, including support for WebRTC—which enables browser-based video communications—as well as desktops and a range of mobile platforms, including apps for Apple smartphones and tablets in the first release, followed soon after by apps for devices running Google's Android operating system.

There also was a list of other features, including high-definition audio/visual capabilities, one-on-one and group conversations, enterprise social networking, search across persistent conversations, people and files, and cross-device access to messages, files and communication avenues, such as voice, video and screen sharing. There also will be contract integration for LinkedIn and Outlook, the company said.