Home Cloud Services NEC looks to the cloud to boost unified comms

NEC looks to the cloud to boost unified comms

NEC Australia is on the transformation path. It has adopted Cisco’s technology to offer Unified Communications in the cloud.

NEC Australia has launched NEC Cloud Collaboration, an Australian-hosted service that it says makes it simpler to enable unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) for businesses under a hybrid on-premise and cloud deployment model.

NEC is best known in Australia for its comms equipment, and remains a major vendor of PABX and other voice equipment. But it believes cloud based services are the best way to move to UC&C). “NEC Cloud Collaboration offers Australian SME, enterprise and government customers a flexible approach to business transformation with pay-as-you-go pricing for the industry’s broadest portfolio of UC&C technologies, ” says NEC’s Steve Blunt.

“NEC in Australia is making a huge transformation. The market has changed, and say have we. But the promise of UC&C has not been realised, especially in the mid market. We are looking to new channels and resellers to help all sizes of organisation make the UC&C journey.”

NEC’s Cloud Collaboration cloud application portfolio is built on Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution platform NEC Australia is Cisco’s sixth Australian partner for the platform, which includes solutions for telephony, video and web conferencing, mobile devices, presence, chat and instant messaging, and contact centres.

NEC believes its new offering will address major obstacles to the uptake of UC&C,.“Cloud opens up new opportunities to selectively migrate telephony and communications to the cloud,” said Blunt. “It also addresses the implementation and integration complexities normally associated with UC&C enablement in Australian businesses.

NEC Australian commissioned research company Telsyte to conduct research into the UC7C market. “For the past decade, UC&C has helped foster better workforce collaboration by integrating the user-experience across voice, video, data and mobile communication channels,” said Telsyte’s Rodney Gedda. “But despite the potential for UC&C to improve business processes, its adoption amongst Australian organisations remains below 10%.”

Based on Telsyte’s survey of over 300 Australian IT decision makers, the key barriers to adopting unified communications in Australian businesses are:

  • Return on investment and cost (36%)
  • Reliability concerns (29%)
  • Complexity (28%)
  • Lack of in-house skills (24%)
  • Complexity integrating with existing systems (20%)
  • Inability to integrate with other applications (19%)

“Existing on-premise architectures have posed major obstacles to UC&C adoption in Australian businesses. With UC&C capabilities often sold as ‘add-ons’ to a regular IP-PABX or as a completely new system that requires the old system to be replaced, the upgrade path has been seen as too complex or too costly.”

But Gedda said the availability of robust cloud deployment solutions, backed by local migration and integration expertise is set to change the existing Australian UC&C landscape, which today is dominated (79%) by on-premise only deployments.

“Cloud-based delivery provides an opportunity to overcome the implementation and integration challenges of monolithic UC&C upgrade projects. Telsyte believes the cloud delivery model represents the best opportunity for UC to become a mainstream business service. As cloud services mature, UC will become much closer to what people expect from business communications, rather than a premium add-on.”

Blunt said that NEC Cloud Collaboration will enable selective migration to the cloud, gradually migrating services when and where it suits customers’ business needs. “The new service provides customers with the option to ramp-up capacity and capabilities as they’re required , and also provides an alternative to capital investment and often costly integration work associated with on-premise deployments.

“With its 25 years of experience in managing critical, real-time communication services, NEC’s introduction of Cloud Collaboration powered by Cisco provides Australian businesses with an effective way to increase their productivity while at the same time reducing overall complexity and cost.”

“NEC and Cisco are delivering to market a full featured, Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution that directly addresses the barriers identified by the Telsyte research by providing a cloud-based, people-centric experience that enables our customers to confidently communicate and collaborate using any content, on any device, anywhere,” said Cisco’s Vaughan Klein.

The Cisco relationship is very close. Blunt and many of his staff have moved to NEC from that company, and Klein said he says NEC as a key partner.

NEC also partners with AAPT, Telecom NZ’s Australian subsidiary, for carrier services, though customers of the NEC Cloud Collaboration can choose their own carrier if they wish.

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire and editor of sister publication CommsWire. He is also founder and Research Director of Connection Research, a market research and analysis firm specialising in the convergence of sustainable, digital and environmental technologies. He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.