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Enterprise Connect: Global Crossing Intros Cloud Audio Conferencing

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Global Crossing introduced an audio conferencing service that it says will be the basis for its cloud computing strategy. The announcement was made Monday at the Enterprise Connect conference in Orlando.

Global Crossing Communications as a Service combines the company's virtual private network, session initiated protocol (SIP) trunking, and ready access hosted audio conferencing in a service that will be offered on a shared-seat monthly billing model that the company says will be cheaper for many customers. Administrators will be able to control the provisioning of services through a Web-based portal.

"This is a foundational offer for us, and is very, very strategic," said Anthony Christie, CIO and CTO for the global network and data center operator.

The audio conferencing service is available now. Additional services such as video mixing, presence detection, and instant messaging, and more IT-oriented services, will follow in the coming months, Christie said.

Several other vendors are announcing more comprehensive cloud-based Unified Communications offerings at Enterprise Connect. However, the potential to eliminate the fees associated with traditional phone conferencing services was one of the recurring themes of the conference whenever UC was discussed.

Christie says Global Crossing will distinguish itself with the quality of its global network and its commitment to vendor-agnostic vision of UC. Pricing is on a "shared per seat" model, where a customer with 100 employees can pay for 25 seats on a service it doesn't expect everyone to access at once. This is similar to simultaneous user, as opposed to named user, licensing in the world of software.