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Toshiba's VIPedge Application Service: UM & UC in the Cloud

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Toshiba's VIPedge Application Service: UM & UC in the Cloud

October 16, 2014
By Sandra M. Gustavsen
Analyst, Business VoIP

Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Telecommunication Systems Division is offering a new and simpler option for adding more advanced applications to a premises-based telephony system. Customers that deploy a Toshiba (News - Alert) business phone system on-site can now access messaging, mobility and unified communications services in the cloud. The new Toshiba VIPedge Application Service makes Unified Messaging (UM) and Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC) applications available “as-a-service” for a monthly subscription fee, eliminating the need to install additional hardware and/or software for these applications locally. Additional cloud-based applications will become available in the future.

Previously, Toshiba customers that have deployed the company’s Strata CIX converged IP/digital system (or earlier Strata CTX digital systems that are upgraded to a Strata CIX) have been able to take advantage of some advanced applications (which are already built-into the Toshiba IPedge IP-based system and related VIPedge service) by installing Toshiba’s IPedge Application Server, and this add-on server remains an option. Now, as an alternative, accessing these applications is made easier since no upfront capital expense is required. With the new VIPedge Application Service, customers simply pay a monthly subscription fee to benefit from the latest features and functionality available from Toshiba.

The bottom line: Toshiba’s installed base of Strata CIX/CTX customers is not left behind as technology moves forward.

Toshiba is among a number of traditional business telephony vendors beginning to offer “hybrid cloud-prem” solutions. Using a combination of cloud services and on-site solutions is often a perfect fit for an organization and can ease a variety of business challenges (more on this trend here).

 Cloud Application Packages

To be specific, Toshiba Strata CIX (and upgraded Strata CTX) customers will be able to choose from two cloud-based application packages available for a per-user, per-month fee (the service has a 2-year minimum contract):

  • Unified Messaging (UM)

This application package includes the voicemail/unified messaging capabilities that are built into Toshiba’s IPedge (VIPedge) system, namely standard voicemail and auto attendant features, unified messaging capabilities, message notifications, soft key navigation of mailbox menus and the Follow Me feature for flexible call control. By subscribing to UM as-a-service, the customer eliminates the need to purchase and install an add-on voicemail card or unified messaging appliance.

The application package also includes Toshiba’s IPMobility mobile client for Apple iOS and Google Android (News - Alert) smartphones that enables single-number reach, business phone features and visual voicemail from the user’s smartphone device.

  • Unified Messaging and Unified Communications (UM + UC)

This full unified communications (UC) application suite includes the voicemail and unified messaging features noted above and adds access to Toshiba’s UC solutions, including the new UCedge client application that runs on selected Google (News - Alert) Android and Apple iOS smartphones and tablets, Windows PCs and Mac computers.

With UC client software installed, a smartphone or tablet device (or desktop/laptop) will operate like an extension of the phone system, displaying the user’s office extension in the Caller ID (single number reach) and enabling access to corporate phone system features, plus UC capabilities like viewing presence and exchanging instant messages (IMs), even with colleagues and groups external to the system. Other notable features include desk phone pairing, consolidated call and IM history (stored in the cloud) and ACD integration. Additional UC capabilities are planned.

Cloud-based Survivability

Strata CIX and upgraded CTX customers that subscribe to one of the new cloud packages in the VIPedge Application Service, and that also subscribe to Toshiba’s SIP Trunk iVoIP Service, will benefit from basic call control survivability. If the Strata system is not operating due to a natural disaster, power outage or other interruption, incoming calls will continue to reach the user at the external number per the rules set by each user in the Follow Me feature. In a future release, VIPedge will act as a full standby system, ensuring that all calls and applications continue during a system failure.

The new VIPedge Application Service is the second hybrid offer from Toshiba. The company also recently introduced Hybrid Networking among the cloud UC service (Toshiba VIPedge) and its premises-based business phone systems (the Toshiba IPedge IP system and the Strata CIX converged IP/digital system).  Toshiba customers with multiple offices can flexibly mix the two solution types (cloud and on-premises) and take advantage of feature transparency across all locations regardless of the deployment. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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