Siemens Announces HiPath Xpressions 5.0

Siemens AG today announced the release of version 5.0 of HiPath Xpressions, its unified messaging solution. According to Ross Sedgewick, director of product marketing for Siemens Global eCRM solutions, HiPath Xpressions is central to the company’s unified communications portfolio.

Integration with the HiPath 8000 high-scalability platform, Sedgewick says, allows HiPath Xpressions 5.0 to support up to 100,000 users. “This is a full-feature, industrial-strength system, and the availability is immediate—over the next quarter, we’ll be rolling it out through 65 countries in 13 languages,” he says.

It’s all part of Siemens’ new focus on open communications, centered around key solutions like HiPath Xpressions and OpenScape. “As we move forward with more and more emphasis on openness, we’ll work with any network, any system, with minimal hardware and technology stack prerequisites,” Sedgewick says.

HiPath Xpressions and OpenScape have some functionality in common, but Xpressions is targeted at the unified messaging (def.)space, while OpenScape is focused on unified communications (unified messaging combined with real-time communications, such as presence, conferencing, and instant messaging) and business process integration. Still, Sedgewick admits that the two are likely to converge into a single solution in the future. “We’re at a stage now where we’re in the midst of that transition,” he says. “Xpressions is a very successful and popular product with our customers in the unified messaging space. That’s very much a mainstream market for us—whereas the unified communications with OpenSpace is still in the emerging growth stage.”

What’s new in HiPath Xpressions 5.0? Key features, Sedgewick says, are native SIP integration with the high-scalability HiPath 8000 softswitch; native IP connectivity with other HiPath platforms including the 3000, 4000, and 5000; direct integration with the OptiClient software-based IP phone to enable click-to-dial functionality; and a fully user-configurable telephone user interface (TUI).

For an enterprise, the HiPath 8000 integration provides a whole new level of scalability. “It just opens up a new door in terms of capacity,” Sedgewick says. And the OptiClient integration, he adds, just serves as “another effort to unify the desktop and provide that click-to-dial capability right within your messaging client.”

The configurable telephone user interface, Sedgewick says, is a good example of Siemens’ focus on openness and flexibility. “It gives you the ability to configure a customized menu that could emulate anybody’s menuing system,” he says. “That means if you’re used to Octel, or you’re a long-term Nortel user, or you just prefer a different way of configuring your menu interface on the telephone, you can go ahead and do that on a user-by-user basis.”

HiPath Xpressions 5.0 also provides flexibility by enabling the delivery of messages through any standard Web interface. “Anywhere you can have access to the Internet and a Web browser, we can now generate a dynamic URL message notification that allows users—without having to deploy the full unified messaging—to access their messages anywhere in the world,” Sedgewick says.

That can make it much easier for an organization to deploy the solution. “If you’re not to that point where you need or would like to integrate with your mail servers, you can just access your voice messaging through the Web, which simplifies the deployment,” Sedgewick says. “It just gives you another option as an enterprise.”

Ultimately, Sedgewick says the key strengths of HiPath Xpressions 5.0 are openness, flexibility, and the maturity of the solution. In terms of flexibility and openness, that means supporting a broad range of e-mail systems simultaneously, as well as support for the VPIM v2 standard. “It allows customers to deploy with basically any network and any pre-existing system,” he says.

Looking ahead, Sedgewick says to expect a continuing convergence of these types of solutions from Siemens. “You’ll see things like presence and collaboration being built into unified messaging, unified messaging capabilities being built into team collaboration and conferencing, and so forth,” he says. “You’ll see all the pieces tying together very closely.”

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