BroadSoft launches rich, cloud-based UC suite for 4G devices.

By Adam Stone | Jan 24, 2011 | Print this Page
http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/unified_communications/BroadSoft-launches-rich-cloud-based-UC-suite-for-4G-devices-3921966.htm

VoIP applications provider BroadSofthas announced it is going mobile with its line of unified communications products, a move the company says will help the service provider community broaden its offerings.

The Gaithersburg, Md.-based company's newly released MobileMxD suite will make an integrated suite of UC services available to smartphones and tablet devices.

"Whether it’s an iPhone, an iPad, a Galaxy—any tablet-type device, we have the interface that can enable the service on that mobile device," said vice president of marketing Leslie Ferry.

The release comes on the heels of an October announcement by BroadSoft of a cloud-based version of its offerings called BroadCloud. Whereas its prior product, BroadWorks, required service providers to integrate UC tools into their own networks, the cloud offering allows those same users to tap into BroadSoft's communications tools faster and with less up-front expense.

If ease and accessibility were the themes of the BroadCloud launch, the same may be said for the new 4G-friendly product, whose applications are likewise based almost entirely in the cloud. (Almost, because certain elements such as the call center were built on the BroadWorks platform and have not been ported over.)

The mobile service will offer a range of unified communications functions, including MxDFamilyCenter, a Web-based application designed to help users structure communications between families members. MxDCallCenter delivers video calling, which the company calls a big driver of customer satisfaction.

MxDMeeting provides users with Web collaboration capabilities, including desktop sharing. Users will be able to initiate, manage, control and participate in meetings from their mobile devices. MxDProVideo offers the ability to conduct video calling and conferencing from any mobile device.

"It really is about ensuring that everyone is connected, regardless of where they are," Ferry said. "With the proliferation of mobile devices, the expectation is that people will be able to conduct all these interactions on those devices, any time."

The introduction makes a couple of big assumptions about the state of telecommunications: First, that service providers are willing to migrate to the cloud. Second, that the telecom infrastructure is robust enough, from the network through to the device, to suppose these sorts of data-heavy UC uses.

In each case, Ferry said, the situation is under control.

Among BroadSoft customers, the outlook on cloud has gone from tentative to enthusiastic in a very short time, as IT managers have come to embrace its promise of higher functionality at lower cost. "IT departments want to manage other strategic projects within their organization, and really leave the management of the communications function to some other experts. They see it as the next generation of an outsourced service," she said.

As for the hardware, the device interfaces are more than up to the challenge, Ferry said. It will take a robust 4G network to drive peak performance in BroadSoft’s UC tools on those devices, but those networks are coming on line fast and hard, and Ferry said the company is confident the pieces will soon fall into place.

BroadSoft has so far shown that it is capable of backing the right horse. Its 425 service-provider customers around the world include 15 of the top 25, based on revenue, Ferry said.

Those customers have helped to drive BroadSoft’s market strategy, defining a set of needs as conveyed by their own end users. What the service providers are looking for, Ferry said, is a way to broaden their portfolios. They want to have new products to put on the table.

"Mobile carriers have some entree into the enterprise, but by offering a broader suite of IP communications, it opens new relationships within those enterprises. By extending their service capabilities, the service providers really are becoming a complete provider," Ferry said.

Others have the same idea. Ferry pointed for example to very large telecom providers such as Erisson and Alcatel. They have similar UC offerings, she said, but she noted that these bigger firms tend to wrap these tools into much larger product bundles.

BroadSoft will be pitching its new mobile offering at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. BroadSoft has employees in 21 countries pushing global sales.

With three new announcements planned in the coming weeks, Ferry said, it’s likely there will be further evolutions for this fast-growing company.