Cloud enablement

Can Cloud Boost UC for Verizon?

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) today announced new service offerings aimed at connecting two of the hottest enterprise trends -- the move to cloud computing and the rise of mobile applications -- with one of the industry's most complex services, Unified Communications. (See Verizon Takes UC to the Cloud)

The announcement was made at the Enterprise Connect event sponsored by UMB TechWeb this week in Orlando.

UC has been around for some time now, letting enterprises link fixed and mobile offerings for single-number services, use presence capabilities to make internal communications more efficient and seamlessly transfer calls while in progress from a landline to a wireless phone. But adoption requires investment in hardware, software and training. For this rollout, Verizon has deployed Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) UC gear in its data centers.

Verizon Unified Communications and Collaboration As a Service (UCaaS)should broaden the appeal of UC services by letting enterprises buy services on a per-seat, per-month basis as needed, and tailor them per user within the business, says Cindy Whelan, senior analyst with Current Analysis .

Verizon is offering a range of choices that includes professional services to enable a high degree of customization and integration of existing UC functions in hybrid approaches that lets businesses retain the value of their previous investments, says Tom Daniel, group manager, UC&C Product Development and Management, for Verizon.

Why this matters
With all the hype around cloud services, the real scramble by service providers is to differentiate what they are offering, and to use cloud to bring more complex services to market in a way that makes them easier to adopt. By offering UC on a pay-as-you-go per-seat model at a time when enterprises are seeing use of mobile apps explode, Verizon may have hit a cloud sweet spot that could boost UC adoption and give enterprises an easier way to support mobile apps.

Analyst Whelan counts herself "cautiously optimistic" that Verizon's approach to UCaaS will spur enterprise adoption. "They have taken a holistic approach, coming at this from the ground up, working with Cisco, and not just recombining existing services," she says. "I think this is a good foundation on which to build."

For more
Chart the development of Verizon's cloud strategy from these stories:

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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