NEC Announces Hosted Collaboration Solutions

NEC announces two unified communications solutions, one aimed at the enterprise and the other aimed at cost-conscious businesses.

Business communications specialist NEC Unified Solutions has announced the launch of UC for Enterprise Collaboration, a video and Web conferencing and collaboration application designed to help enterprises make remote contact with customers and employees. Hosted Collaboration, a Web-based service offering the same features and functionality to small and medium-size businesses, is also now available.
UCE Collaboration, an element of NEC's UC for Enterprise Suite, and the Hosted Collaboration service facilitate scheduled or impromptu video or Web collaboration. By leveraging UCE or Hosted Collaboration, businesses can ease network management issues and reduce the need for business travel, according to the company.
Both UCE Collaboration and Hosted Collaboration incorporate audio, Web and video components required for live online meetings. Users need only a PC with a broadband connection to the Internet, a Webcam and microphone to participate in a video collaboration session. UCE Collaboration resides behind the corporate firewall, while Hosted Collaboration is available as a Web-based service.
"We believe that businesses large and small are becoming more geographically dispersed and mobile than ever, driving a need to collaborate and react quickly and efficiently in order to stay competitive," said Jay Krauser, NEC's general manager of core solutions and engineering. "As organizations look at their bottom line, applications that can help decrease costs, increase revenue, or help attract and retain customers are more likely to be considered to help the overall business objectives."
Both UCE and Hosted Collaboration enable video conferencing with one to 16 video windows open during a conference. The meeting moderator can control the video feeds to select which conference participants are visible at any time, as well as define who is viewed and by whom. The moderator also has the ability to mute individual participants' video and/or audio-if using VOIP (voice over IP) streaming audio. NEC said the total number of participants is limited only by the number of seats purchased.
Other features include VOIP capability, a freeform whiteboard for drawing and working out ideas that is shared between all conference participants, desktop sharing to allow others to view the desktop or applications as they demonstrate a product or provide training, and the ability to take instant polls and have the system provide a detailed graph of the results.
SMBs worldwide are expected to spend more than $2.8 billion on audio, video and Web collaboration solutions through 2012, according to a November 2008 AMI-Partners report. A similar report from research firm IDC predicted 2009 could be "the year of great video experiment" for enterprises worldwide.