Offsetting the bad news about lay offs at Mitel was their product announcements at VoiceCon. The glitziest is Mitel’s new TeleCollaboration product, due out in Q1’09, that adds to the growing number of telepresence products in the industry. TeleCollaboration is a combination of Mitel’s conferencing and collaboration software, video from Magor Communications (www.Magorcorp.com) and Mitel’s conferencing units and handsets.
Although Cisco TelePresence seems to be the gold standard for video conferencing these days, it costs gold to implement. Although Mitel didn’t announce pricing yet, they assured me that it will be a fraction of the upper level Cisco product. I’ve been happy to see others add to the stack of affordable solutions, particularly when they add productivity enhancements as this announcement does by providing collaboration and recording capabilities in the meeting. Still, they also provide life-sized video and spatial audio as part of the package.
An additional announcement Mitel made was SiMple Personal Licensing (SMPL) of their UC products, which includes role-based software licensing, taking into account roles of different user types within an organization. Their packages in the typical basic, standard and advanced format are designed to make it easier to deploy UC. They have bundled pre-integrated packages by user type, but also provide the flexibility for an organization to add additional applications off a laundry list of UC features. The packages are:
- Basic User – someone who might not even have a PC. Package includes a hard or soft phone (including hot desking)
- Standard User – Someone who has a PC and to whom communication is important. Package includes basic plus voicemail with unified messaging and a basic UC client
- Advanced User – Someone with a PC and who is reliant on communication in their job. Package includes standard plus voicemail with UM, mobile phone twinning, and an advanced UC client with presence.
Mitel also announced their own UC client and did some product renaming – Mitel Unified Communication Express 2.0 (formerly Integrated Office Companion), Unified Communicator Advanced 2.0 (formerly Your Assistant Premium), and Unified Communicator Mobile 1.6 (formerly Mobile Extension)
Avaya advanced the user interface for UC with the addition of a speech-to-text (STT) solution for converting voicemail messages into text, delivered as an email to the end user. The voicemail then becomes an optional .wav attachment. The solution allows users to read voicemails, keep written records of them, allows them to respond via email or voice and the converted messages can be saved and searched on. SpinVox, one of the initial entrants in the STT area partnered up with Mutare Software; a developer of interactive voice and web applications, to deliver the solution to Avaya. STT is integrated into Avaya Modular Messaging unified messaging and is available in English, French, German and Spanish. It includes Mutare Software’s EVM gateway and comes with SpinVox’s STT messaging service.