A hosted services provider for SMBs recently launched a new unified communications service that’s based on two established platforms for VoIP and messaging.
Officials at Des Moines, Iowa-based LightEdge Solutions say the so-called “Hosted Unified Communications” product – part of their Connected Office suite – provides a single platform for voice, e-mail, instant messaging and calendaring, allowing a user to work anywhere and collaborate in real time.
Based on hosted messaging and collaboration from software giant Microsoft Corp., as well as VoIP application software provider BroadSoft’s platform, the solution is designed to help SMBs obtain unified communications as a hosted service more easily and cheaply.
According to Jeff Springborn, president and chief operating officer at LightEdge (News - Alert), the companies’ goal is to offer SMBs a better way to provide communications and IT systems to their employees.
“Hosted Unified Communications helps us reinforce this aim, by providing an attractive alternative to purchasing, implementing and maintaining business communications systems in-house,” Springborn said.
Specifically, the solution allows workers to locate and communicate with the right person, in real time. It delivers PC-to-PC voice and video, Web conferencing, and enterprise instant messaging and presence awareness while helping SMBs maintain operational control by converting a traditional upfront capital expense to a monthly operational expense.
The backbone of the solution – as with most UC systems – is VoIP, and as TMC (News - Alert) President Rich Tehrani writes in a recent blog entry, the IP telephony industry appears to be going strong, despite this economic downturn.
Tehrani cites Laura Borgstede’s Calysto PR Agency newsletter after this month’s ITEXPO in Miami, which reads, in part: “Despite rumors of VoIP’s demise and how the ongoing economy doom and gloom is bringing trade shows down, this year’s Internet Telephony (News - Alert) Conference & Expo exceeded expectations. Organizers had projected 6,000-7,000 visitors and 150 exhibitors, but the show drew more than 8,000 attendees and 165 exhibitors.”
The dates for this year’s ITEXPO (News - Alert) events have been set.
According to John Zanni, general manager of the worldwide software and services industry for Microsoft’s communications sector, it’s important in this economy to offer SMBs the flexibility to choose whether to deploy a UC solution in a hosted environment or on-premises, depending on their individual needs.
“Hosted Unified Communications utilizes the BroadSoft (News - Alert) platform and Microsoft software to deliver a protected, fully hosted unified messaging and communications solution that allows SMBs to focus on their core business, without spending their time, money and resources managing a complex VoIP infrastructure,” Zanni said.
David Bukovsky, vice president of products at Gaithersburg, Maryland-based
BroadSoft, said that forward-thinking providers such as LightEdge understand the powerful capabilities that result from combining best-of-breed solutions – business communications from BroadSoft and Microsoft’s business productivity software – and are able to deliver UC in an innovative way.
“There’s a growing demand among SMBs for UC to be delivered in a software as a service model as it enables them to reap all the productivity benefits of UC without the burden of deploying and maintaining UC solutions on their own,” Bukovsky said. “The LightEdge deployment validates the delivery model for integrated BroadSoft-Microsoft applications and represents a milestone for bringing hosted UC to the underserved SMB market.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan