VAR Targets Booming UC Market

Optimus Solutions Builds Its Own Unified Communications Practice Stressing Collaboration Applications

Seeking to tap into the vast and growing unified communications (UC) market, VAR Optimus Solutions has started a UC practice that will focus on streamlining communications and collaboration applications for clients.

Unified communications refers to the combination of instant messaging, Web presence, VoIP, videoconferencing, and other technologies that workers can use to collaborate and communicate in real time through a single interface.

Optimus will be playing in a worldwide market for unified communications products and services that is likely to grow about 25 percent per year between now and 2012. The market will grow from $8.8 billion in 2007 to more than $24 billion by 2012, according to a joint report issued last year by research firms In-Stat and Wainhouse.

”We see a lot of opportunity to deliver automated call distribution, integrated voice responses and computer telephony integration on a unified platform,” said Steve McDonald, co-director of the unified communications practice of Optimus Solutions, Norcross, Ga. “Much of our business will come from helping existing customers who want to streamline their operations, reduce cost and increase revenue.”

McDonald said Optimus already has a substantial presence in the telephony integration and instant messaging space. The VAR works with large and small companies that need to integrate call centers and communications applications.
Optimus is able to develop very flexible solutions that work across many unified communications and collaboration platforms, he said, noting the company will leverage partnerships with Cisco Systems, IBM and Microsoft to provide clients with hardware, software and consulting solutions.

Frank Ball, business development manager and co-director of the unified communications practice of Optimus, said such solutions could help enterprises but still lack common acceptance in that market segment.  “There are a lot of  enterprises that could benefit from a platform that provides automated call  distribution, integrated voice responses and computer telephony  integration, but a lot of these technologies are new to clients and certain industries," he said.

In related news, IBM recently announced two new UC products, Lotus Sametime Advanced and Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony.  The former, expected to be available in the first half of 2008, features the industry's first suite of real-time community tools that will make it easier to find information and share expertise in real time with groups of people.

Planned for availability later this year, Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony will help users manage telephone calls from within Lotus Sametime. Users will be able to route calls to various devices and set rules on how to handle calls based on their status.

Both products will build on Sametime, an enterprise instant messaging and web conferencing application.

Microsoft’s competitor to IBM’s UC product portfolio is Office Communications Server 2007, which provides the infrastructure to allow instant messaging, presence, audio-video conferencing and web conferencing.

Cisco’s offering is the Cisco Unified Communications system, a suite of voice, data and video products and applications.

TAGS: Microsoft,IBM,unified communications,voice,VoIP

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