Unified Comms is a universal solution, says Videnda’s Holohan
The day to day work in business of any kind today is all about communications and collaboration. It has driven the surge in smart phones and mobility—and after two decades of false dawns videoconferencing is now firmly established in the workplace. Unified Communications is the logical culmination of all of the developments in communications technology, bringing the many strands together from email and telephony through instant messaging to mobile and video.
Equally as important as these channels is all of the smart functionality that can be incorporated today. Alerts and call or message routing can be rules-based for the particular organisation or activity, for example. Because everything is digital, any capability that can be programmed can be built in.
One of the most used and appreciated features is ‘presence’ where a user can see at a glance on screen whether a colleague is available, online, busy or whatever. This becomes even more useful when the ‘colleague’ is actually in another partner organisation. Federated presence functionality can be hugely valuable for collaboration in virtual project teams, for instance.
Microsoft Lync is the undisputed champion of unified comms software, with a broad and growing range of certified hardware to support it in all environments and applications. Videnda, founded in 2002, is Ireland’s leading specialist distributor of unified comms solutions and also has a division that looks after IP surveillance solutions.
Videnda is the Irish distributor for a set of major comms systems vendors which are fully certified for the Microsoft Lync ecosystem, including Polycom, Vidyo, Pexip, Spectralink, Sennheiser, Vaddio and Sangoma. The Lync handsets for example, are made by Polycom. People use Lync clients for videoconferencing on their tablets or laptops and then there are Lync Video room systems for groups. As it happens, those are also manufactured for Microsoft by Polycom. But Polycom’s own group systems, which extend up to the highest state of the art HD telepresence multiple screen installations, can also be natively registered to Lync.
It is not that the UC market is all that complicated, just that there are now many solutions for every variation and requirement. One major advance is universally welcomed by users. USB devices mean that the entire range of UC devices are plug-and-play. Vaddio has a range of voice and video USB devices for Lync clients that can enable meeting rooms and informal ‘huddle rooms’ for Lync.
Mobility capabilities are enhanced because Wi-Fi and DECT phones can also be readily integrated into Lync. Spectralink has Lync Wi-Fi handsets for presence and paging. Hospitals, for example, use wireless handsets that are waterproof and sterilisable while ‘walking managers’ are characteristic of the retail and hospitality sectors.
The final piece in the jigsaw is the Gateway and SBC technology to enable Lync telephony on premise or as part of Office 365 and Sangoma provides this.
Sean Holohan is managing director of Videnda.