Business/E-Business
Commentary
5/25/2010
09:27 AM
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Siemens Revamps UC Line

With an eye firmly fixed on the small and medium business market, Siemens Enterprise Communications overhauled its Unified Communications (UC) line. The companys OpenScape Office MX system, which is geared to companies with 150 employees, was enhanced, so it can be deployed more easily and includes integrated contact center functions.

With an eye firmly fixed on the small and medium business market, Siemens Enterprise Communications overhauled its Unified Communications (UC) line. The companys OpenScape Office MX system, which is geared to companies with 150 employees, was enhanced, so it can be deployed more easily and includes integrated contact center functions.Siemens made more than 50 enhancements to OpenScape Office MX system, which previously went by the moniker HiPath OpenOffice ME. The product now features a configuration wizard designed to simplify deployment. The UC system includes voice and conferencing services, presence, voicemail, messaging and mobility features. Designed to work with Microsofts Outlook, OpenScape Office MX enables users to drag and drop conferencing, call recording, and click to call features from within their Outlook windows. In addition, the system includes a presence-enabled multi-channel contact center application. Pricing for the UC systems ranges from $11,523 for a 50 user system to $21,278 for a 100 user solution.

Siemens has been a leading supplier of voice solutions for decades but now finds itself in a highly competitive market space for a couple of reasons. Increasingly, voice solutions are being melded with data and video systems. In addition, voice product designs are shifting away from traditional hardware based systems to more software solutions. With the recent enhancements, Siemens has a solid story to tell to small and medium businesses, but it could find itself being squeezed by market leaders Avaya and Cisco as well as Microsoft, which is now making a major play in the UC space.

Long term, it is unclear how Siemens will fare. In July 2008, the company formed a joint venture with The Gore Group, which had taken network equipment vendor Enterasys private. The idea was to combine the two companies products, so they could have sufficient size to survive in a rapidly consolidating market. While this announcement improved Siemens UC offerings, those questions remain. So small and medium companies may find the vendors solutions appealing but may want to be cautious before acquiring them because the vendors future remains unclear.

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