ADTRAN Jumps Into Unified Communications Market - InformationWeek

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Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul

ADTRAN Jumps Into Unified Communications Market

Aimed at companies with 5 to 2,000 users, the networking vendor's NetVanta Unified Communications (UC) Solution Suite includes voice mail, unified messaging, fax server, presence, and auto attendant features.

Aimed at companies with 5 to 2,000 users, the networking vendor's NetVanta Unified Communications (UC) Solution Suite includes voice mail, unified messaging, fax server, presence, and auto attendant features.The move to Unified Communications is a major value add for ADTRAN. Jeff Wissing, ADTRAN's senior product manager for UC, puts it this way. "With PBXs, you talk about TCO -- total cost of ownership. With Unified Commmunications, you get to talk abour ROI -- return on investment."

For example, Wissing says the system can remember if a caller has previously contacted your company -- and who they talked to -- and then make it easy for them to re-connect with that person. If the caller isn't in the database, it can still do things like route calls to the account manager for the territory from which they're calling or present repair shops in that area.

UNIFIED_COMM-half ADTRAN's UC Solutions Suite includes hardware and software.

The NetVanta UC Solutions Suite is licensed in a number of different ways:

The NetVanta UC Server is a Windows software application that works with an SMB's existing PBX systems from a variety of manufacturers. It supports such features as unified messaging, fax server, auto-attendants, personal assistants, drag-and drop service creation, Voice Response (IVR) for inbound and outbound calling services, integration with ODBC databases, text to speech, one-number services, and call redirection services.

The NetVanta Enterprise Communications Server is designed for companies with up to 2,000 users per server server. Used Microsoft Windows and Active Directory, the Enterprise Communications Server platform offers a full soft PBX that adds click-to-dial, integrated conference server, and a paging server for overhead paging.

NetVanta Business Application Server is a standalone product designe to work with call centers to make it easy to implement Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP). It also integrates fax reception and transmission.

For companies that need a new PBX as well as UC capabilities, the NetVanta Business Communications System combines the NetVanta UC Server with ADTRAN's NetVanta 7000 Series PBXs for companies with up to 100 users. In addition to the UC server capabilities, it offers click-to-dial capabilities and an integrated conference server.

UC2_ss UC is designed to let you control your calls from your computer.

Because all the products are based on the same technology, Wissing says, it's easy to upgrade at any time. SMBs can pick and choose what features they really want and need -- a little bit of this, a little bit of that. They don't have to use it all.

Although many UC experts claim the technology's real benefits come when business processes are aligned to take advantage of its capabilities, ADTRAN says one of the benefits of the NetVanta UC suite is that you can tie it to how the business already works. You don't want to change how the company does things, Wissing says, you want to learn how they do it now... and support that.

UC competitors in the SMB market include Avaya, Cisco, Shoretel, and Mitel. David Schenkel, ADTRAN's senior technology analyst, says the company will compete by focusing on the end user experience and being "simpler to sell and install."

And ADTRAN has "always been a value buy," Wissing adds. "We're very proud of the pricing." According to Wissing, ADTRAN's UC solutions begin at about $200 per seat, wtih a typical installation with a good mix of features clocking in around $300 per seat.

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