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Siemens Launches Unified Communications For SMBs

UC Server Xpress offers a pre-configured platform for messaging, conferencing, voice communications, and customer communications.

Siemens has introduced a unified communications product for midsize companies looking to bring voice, video, instant messaging, and other UC capabilities to a maximum 1,000 users.

OpenScape UC Server Xpress, launched Monday, is a streamlined version of the company's UC server for the enterprise. Siemens is marketing the new software as "affordable, easy to configure and deploy."

Siemens launched its OpenScape UC Server in 2008, taking on Cisco and IBM in providing enterprise communication applications over the Internet protocol network. The systems also provide a unitary management framework.

Siemens has tailored its latest offering to companies with between 350 and 1,000 users by pre-configuring key applications, such as unified messaging, conferencing, voice communications, and the system's contact center for customer communications. The ready-to-deploy approach keeps down startup costs, the German company said.

"The fact that it is pre-configured and can integrate easily into an existing data center environment makes it even easier for us to get our customers up and running quickly and without excess costs," Brian Jones, VP of communications reseller Black Box Network Services, said in a joint statement with Siemens.

Unique tools in the express version are in the contact center. They include a Web-based community portal that provides a forum for partners to discuss best practices for customer deployment. In addition, the software offers access to service and documentation, troubleshooting guides, a hotline for urgent priority requests, and a searchable knowledge base.

Siemens' enterprise communications unit launched the enterprise-class UC server at the same time the company shut down the unit's hardware manufacturing facilities. Since then, Siemens has focused on the software side of UC.

Siemens had fallen behind Cisco and Hewlett-Packard in offering Web and video conferencing in its platform. The company filled that void last December with the acquisition of FastViewer, a Neumarkt, Germany, collaboration software supplier. Siemens is a significant force in the voice communications market, especially in Europe.

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