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He Said/He Said: Siemens UC Strategy

NWC's wireless experts Frank Bulk and Sean Ginevan had a chance to talk with Siemens executives about the new offering and the company's approach to unified communications. Read the news story here:
Then click through to read their he said/he said analysis on the NWC Blog.

Siemens Enterprise Communications' fixed-mobile convergence announcement very closely parrots the announcement from DiVitas Networks last week. They share an almost identical approach and feature set. Siemens makes a particularly bold plan by claiming interoperability with "virtually any SIP-supported IP-PBX, WLAN and dual-mode handset," while DiVitas has been much more conservative and admitted to integration challenges. When pressed in an interview, the Siemens' VP of product planning, Luc Roy, admitted that integration between the various components were not trivial and pointed to the company's partner programs as the route for third parties to obtain certification. What sets Siemens apart from DiVitas and other PBX vendors, save Cisco, is that it can natively provide a complete enterprise telephony experience: PBX, WLAN and convergence appliance. Siemens has relationship with two handset vendors: BenQ, which had purchased Siemens' handset division in 2005, and Nokia, with which it will be forming a joint venture. According to Roy, Siemens has been able to work with Nokia on product requirements, which may give Siemens a leg up in future integration efforts. - Frank Bulk, NWC Contributing Editor, Wireless

Siemens has gone on a marketing blitz lately touting the advantages of its unified communications architecture (called Open Communications). With the new announcement, Siemens has jumped into an increasingly competitive FMC (fixed-mobile convergence) market that includes Avaya, Cisco Systems, DiVitas Networks and Research in Motion. FMC has garnered a lot of hype lately in the industry and the buzz will no doubt continue throughout 2007 as more vendors enter the arena.

Lior Nir, director of product marketing for Mobility Solutions in Nokia's Enterprise Solutions group said on a recent conference call that he finds himself having to downplay a lot of the hype that has centered around FMC. Nir echoed the sentiments from Frank Bulk's analysis of voice over WLAN earlier this month. Implementing FMC isn't as easy as grabbing some Wi-Fi enabled handsets (like Nokia's E61) and deploying an FMC appliance. You must ensure you have the proper Wi-Fi infrastructure with both the available capacity and ubiquitous coverage for voice solutions to be effective. Without that, your deployment will fail to meet expectations. By having a single vendor that can offer PBX, Wi-Fi and FMC products, Siemens customers should be able to avoid some of the finger-pointing that occurs in multivendor implementations. - Sean Ginevan, NWC Contributing Editor, Wireless