VARs Gain Access to Enhanced Unified Communications Solution

Alcatel Lucent has released in the United States and Canada a new, richer version of its Office Communication Solutions package that is designed to make it easier for channel partners to provide integrated voice and data solutions to the SMB market.

Alcatel Lucent has released in the United States and Canada a new, richer version of its Office Communication Solutions package that is designed to make it easier for channel partners to provide integrated voice and data solutions to the SMB market.

The company's OCS 2008 version is a suite of products that can be configured by VARs to meet an SMB customer's specific needs. The new version adds data, mobility, collaboration features and more functionality to a voice platform currently used by 500,000 companies in 130 countries and is supported by 1,500 certified channel partners worldwide, according to company executives.

"This is now a much wider-ranging communications solution," said Paul Durham, solutions management for Alcatel Lucent. "We've extended the range of the product. It 's not just a phone system or a data system. It provides the infrastructure, connectivity, applications and hardware in one package." Durham added that VARs will be able to use OCS 2008 to customize communications solutions for small and mid-size businesses.

He added that Office Communication Solutions 2008 is predefined to provide a secure, integrated  voice and data infrastructure, with open-source functionality that incorporates business-critical applications. The aim is to reduce costs and ensure continuity in an SMB customer's communications network. Modular, cost-effective mobile solutions are included, providing single number service and push applications to strengthen customer relationships and improve employee productivity by facilitating more efficient access to information.

"A large percentage of the SMB workforce is mobile and is moving around their office or home office," said Durham. "The idea is to provide real-time access to all phone calls for mobile users." As an example, he noted that a small-business user could use the product to seamlessly route phone calls from their customers to their office or mobile phone and not have the caller realize the difference.

SMB users have a lot of specific requirements like mobility and the need for a lot of features and functions," said Durham. "Communications is absolutely key to a small business user. They have to be in contact with their customers and business at all times or they are absolutely dead in the water and finished."

Hal McGuinness, Alcatel's director of North American enterprise channels, said that vendor is targeting recruitment on between 80 and 90 new channel partners this year. The company has an existing three-tier reseller program that differentiates partners by the number of trained and certified technicians they have, as well as the amount of revenue and customer access to technical assistance.

 The OCS 2008 solution  includes IP networking tools such as the OmniSwitch 6400 Stackable LAN Switch featuring Gigabit and Layer 2+ switching;
OmniAccess Wi-Fi bridging to increase mobility; widely interoperable SIP trunking  to increase the choice of service providers; and Alcatel-Lucent 8-Series Extended Edition phones that feature Gigabit and support further SIP evolution.

Pricing varies depending on the number of users and the capabilities purchased. However, a full system with voice, data mobility and collaboration starts at $250 per user. Company executives believe the new version of the product cold help VARs grow a typical deployment between 40 and 60 percent by 2015.

 

 



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