Siemens Enterprise Communications announces cloud-based UC&C offering.

OpenScape Cloud Services is a simple deployment alternative for SMBs seeking the latest in IP communications.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Mar 2, 2011
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At the Enterprise Connect expo in Orlando, Florida, Siemens Enterprise Communications (SEN) yesterday announced the imminent release of its new cloud-based communications platform, OpenScape Cloud Services.

Enterprise VoIPplanet was had an opportunity to discuss the announcement with Siemens Enterprise CMO and president for North America, Chris Hummel.

"This is taking our OpenScape Voice, OpenScape UC, and OpenScape Web Collaboration and delivering them in a true secure enterprise cloud," Hummel said. He further indicated that this was just the first in what will be a series of announcements related to SEN's overall cloud strategy.

Cloud Services (which is part of a larger offering, OpenScape Cloud Solutions) has a couple of additional strategic vectors.

"First, it's broadening our portfolio for SMBs," Hummel said. "The Cloud Services are actually targeted at SMBs, so the combination of having a very robust on-premise offering [OpenScape UC Server Express], as well as, now, a cloud offering, built on an enterprise-grade, carrier-class platform actually provides flexible deployment. This expanded portfolio lets them have on-premise, on-demand, or hybrid—whatever they want."

Second, "These are some of the first [Siemens] products that are designed and packaged for distribution through the indirect channel," Hummel continued. "I think it's no secret—we've been trying to push our business more to indirect channels—even out what has been a very direct sales orientation."

"With this offering, enterprises no longer have to make the difficult trade-off between simplicity and cost-effectiveness or reliability and comprehensive leading-edge UCC solutions. Plus, our channel partners now have a low-risk way to rapidly grow their business with a robust, differentiated solution."

The applications will be hosted in carrier class third-party data centers managed directly by Siemens. The services are then sold to end customers by a group of selected partners—BlackBox in the U.S., Mr.Net and Telefonbau Schneider in Germany, and Trends ICT Group, onecentral and Televersal in the Netherlands.

"Siemens provided us with a pre-integrated, secure solution, rather than providing us with components, leaving us to figure out how to build them into a service," said BlackBox vice president Brian Jones in a statement.

"We believe that they have the right underlying technology for the Cloud, owning both the voice technology and the integrated UC applications. We like their exclusive focus on the channel and the way they packaged the services and applications, making the solution easy for us to market and white label," Jones said.

Also announced yesterday was the release of version 3 of OpenScape Office (see in-depth coverage by our sister site Small Business Computing here), and the release of Cloud Wireless Solutions by Siemens' subsidiary Enterasys Networks.

"This is the wireless networking infrastructure to support the usage of—and enable—cloud delivery," Hummel told VoIPplanet. "People who want to access off multiple devices in different place, this is the infrastructure that lets them do it," he said.

"What you're seeing is a product set from Enterasys coming to market with specific services from Siemens. The reason we've tied these together is the ability to have the networking capability is important, both for the cloud, but also, given this new [multi-site] networking capability, for OpenScape Office. It allows us to package those together as a much stronger offering."

The new infrastructure and services will be available in the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands in the second quarter of 2011, with availability in other countries coming later in the year.

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