Hosted Unified Communications Catching On

Though the precise definitions -- such as the differences between hosted and cloud-based services, if there are any -- aren't set, there is growing acceptance that SMBs are well advised to let the experts handle the tricky business of UC. That acceptance is leading to action in the marketplace.

By Carl Weinschenk | Posted Oct 18, 2010
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The clear rationale for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to use hosted services is especially strong in unified communications, which is a sophisticated mixing and matching of telecommunications and IT devices and services that is best left to people who know what they are doing.

There is some activity in that sector. Earlier this month, Broadvox and Cypress Communications announced a merger. Cypress said in the press release that it has provided hosted communications services for a quarter-century. Broadvox has been in the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) sector for a decade, and says it started offering services to SMBs in 2007 and expanded the offering this year. The companies say their services overlap, but that the offerings to current customers will not be affected.

The other news of note was made between Sprint and CallTower. On Sept. 30, CallTower said it will incorporate its Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform into Sprint's offerings. The press release offers high-level information about the service, but doesn't go into great depth about what the two companies will offer.

Adam Stone at Enterprise VoIP Planet reported on a panel
at the Channels Partners Conference in Washington, D.C. The panel, which consisted of six executives, looked at hosted UC. Stone said the group presented strong rationales to go with a hosted approach: It is easy to add “future layers” or services; it simplifies integration of services; it improves security and the need to “rip and replace” is eliminated after the initial switch out. The group also indicated that hosted approaches are becoming more attractive for big companies as well as SMBs.

The UC concept itself is complicated to most SMBs, and hosted services are a natural. Expect to see more deals such as those announced by the two duos during the past few weeks.

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