Light Reading

Genband Unifies Its Enterprise UC Story

Sarah Thomas

Genband is combining its all its unified communication (UC) capabilities, Nortel IP, and a new WebRTC engine to offer enterprises a new way to communicate -- and to make good on its promise of becoming a hardware independent, cloud company. (See Genband Goes Virtual at (Actual) Show.)

Genband Inc. unveiled its Generation Enterprise UC framework, along with Smart Office 2.0, on Tuesday, promising enterprises a hardware-agnostic way to offer secure communications from any device and on any network.

The platform includes HD voice, HD video, and collaboration and will run on wired and wireless, private and public, TDM, and IP networks. It combines a lot of the services Genband already has in house, such as its Experius Application Server, Quantix portfolio of security, session management, policy control, and session border controller (SBC), its Continuum gateway, and the Nuvia cloud platform. (See Genband Constructs Cloud-Based UC Service.)

The most interesting update in the bundle is a new WebRTC-powered Smart Office 2.0 platform, powered by Genband's Spider WebRTC gateway. The service moves a user's phone number from her phone to the cloud, so she can access it anytime and from any device. That includes from WebRTC-enabled web browsers, so that all of the features -- voice, video, chat, screen sharing -- are also available through a browser and can be used, switched between, or launched at will. (See Genband Builds a Gateway to WebRTC.)

Enterprises can opt to deploy it inside their firewall or through a hosted cloud provider, which is where communications service providers -- cable or telco -- come into play. Genband says it is in trials with cloud providers who will offer the service but declined to name them.

Genband has relationships with enterprise resellers, and is in a position to enable its service provider customers to leverage its enterprise clout to deliver higher value services. Greg Zweig, Genband's director of solutions marketing, says that they can offer Generation Enterprise and Smart Office as value-added services around their SIP trunking platforms.

Genband got its start in the enterprise market providing SBCs and hardware, but the company spent the last several years transforming itself into a software provider and helping businesses transform from TDM to IP. Tuesday's announcement is a good example of this transformation, according to Zweig. (See What's Next for Genband? and Pulling the Strings At Genband.)

The platform is designed to work like the traditional PSTN and interoperate with any legacy systems, but since it's fully virtualized, Genband says it can reduce network costs by 20% to 70%. Its first and largest customer target will be those enterprises that have old Nortel legacy voice systems in place. Genband acquired the Nortel IP in 2010, as well as a lot of its customers, which gives Genband a leg up on being the one to modernize those systems, since a rip and replace won't be required. (See Genband Wins Nortel's Carrier VoIP Biz.)

Genband won't be limited to Nortel call servers, however, notes Carl Baptiste, Genband's SVP of enterprise solutions. It can offer the complete UC package or complement any vendor's solution through SIP, TR-87, or even through legacy trunks using the mobility features of the solution. Likewise, Smart Office 2.0 works with any SBC from any vendor.

Genband's making a big push into the enterprise market, because as Zweig describes it, there's still an opportunity, especially among larger multi-side environments, to disrupt the market. While Genband certainly wants enterprises to buy all the gear that comes with Generation Enterprise, the company is stressing that it supports SIP and is open and interoperable, something Zweig says that's been missing from the market.

"Vendors have leveraged punitive licensing models, so while they, in concept, support a variety of devices, they make it hard for [customers] to acquire them and integrate them consistently across the enterprise," Zweig says. "This gives customers a graceful migration from existing assets to open next-gen environments such as ours."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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1/28/2014 | 10:50:05 AM
Genband in the cloud
Essentially, Genband is announcing a conglomoration of all the services it already offers, but it's notable that its hardware isn't required and it's designed to be open and interoperable. It says it's in trials with SPs, with announcements forthcoming. 

Meanwhile, operators aren't waiting on it. Sprint announced its own UC enterprise platform today, for one example of many:
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