Siemens Enterprise Communications wants to make it easier and more affordable for smaller businesses to adopt and deploy unified communications technology.
Siemens is unveiling OpenScape Business, an all-in-one platform that offers the communications capabilities found in its existing HiPath 3000 and OpenScape Office portfolios, such as full voice over IP (VOIP) and data, and digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) features, as well as a common hardware and software infrastructure for easy installation and wizards for both voice and UC.
The move, announced March 5, comes at a time when small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are demanding greater UC capabilities for the same reasons that their larger brethren do: a more mobile workforce, greater employee productivity and reduced costs.
"It's been perceived in the past that unified communications has been for larger enterprises, but that's not true," Susan Ericke, senior manager of global segment marketing at Siemens, told eWEEK. "SMBs also want unified communications."
Jan Kickisch, vice president of portfolio management for UC, noted today's more mobile lifestyle and business environment.
"Face-to-face meetings, as we saw four to five years ago, will never come back," Kickisch told eWEEK.
OpenScape Business offers SMBs everything from voice and UC to Web collaboration, mobility, presence and integration into office applications—such as customer relationship management (CRM)—in a single offering that can be used at a single site or across multiple offices, according to Siemens officials. It can be delivered as either a UC appliance, or as virtualized software that can run in a VMware environment. Both options scale up to 500 users.
With the appliance option, users can opt for the UC suite on a UC Booster Card that can scale to 150 users, or the UC Booster Server that can scale to 500 users. Siemens also offers an easy migration path for current customers using HiPath 3000 and OpenScape Office, both brands that will eventually disappear, Ericke said.
Having UC embedded in the main board of the appliance means that SMBs will be able to make the jump from TDM to IP on their own time, and still be able to leverage UC capabilities while making that transition, she said. The new offering also comes with Web-based management tools to ease deployment, management and upgrades.
The SMB market has long been an important one to Siemens, according to Ericke.
"We have done significant business in the SMB space, and it's been a foothold for us for some time," she said, noting the capabilities the company is bringing with its new OpenScape Business offering. "We've come out with a solution that will be the foundation of our strategy going forward."
OpenScape Business also will be a boon for channel partners, who will be able to offer their SMB customers a complete UC platform. It also gives them a product that can be used as easily in greenfield projects as well as businesses that already use Siemen's HiPath 3000 and OpenScape Office.
In addition, because OpenScape businesses leverages the technologies already found in HiPath 3000 and OpenScape office, minimal training will be needed for channel partners to get up and running with it.
OpenScape Business will be available in June. It's the first of the products that will be part of a larger OpenScape Business portfolio, according to Siemens.