AudioCodes Offers Lync Voice-Enablement Package
Offering channel partners a single source for the array of hardware that enterprises need to bring Lync voice to a legacy network.
With the notable exceptions of the Surface tablet and the Xbox, Microsoft is not a hardware/device manufacturer. That's worked out very well for the company in the PC and office applications markets, but as Microsoft tries to push into the enterprise voice market, it's been something of a hindrance.
In this market, the chief competitors--Cisco, Avaya, Siemens, etc.--all offer end-to-end solutions that encompass more than just the communications apps (call control, voice mail, and so on). The communications platform vendors provide much of the additional hardware that enterprises need in order to make that core solution talk to the installed base that the enterprise already has--and isn't getting rid of. We're talking about gateways, possibly session border controllers, survivable appliances for remote sites in case of WAN outage, and other gear. For this equipment, Microsoft relies on partnerships with a wide range of vendors who manufacture this hardware.
Now, one of those vendor partners, AudioCodes, has come out with a package of gear that it is bundling and providing to Microsoft sales channel partners. The idea is that these partners can have a single point of contact for communications hardware that supports deployment of Microsoft Lync.
The move was a direct response to a tack that Lync competitors have taken as they try to stymie the fast-growing Microsoft UC system's inroads into the PBX world, according to Alan Percy of AudioCodes. "We wanted to put together a product portfolio that has the bits and pieces to integrate Lync,” he said. “Avaya and Cisco have been picking at that sore spot”--i.e., the lack of a single throat to choke when it comes to full Lync deployments.
The discrepancy tends to appear in the course of what Percy called “the pilot trap”--in other words, end users start to do a deployment of Lync without having a clear sense of where to source and how to put together all those pieces, or maybe even which they'll need--gateways, SBCs, survivable remote appliances, even desk phones.
"They end up with this tangled mess of voice quality issues,” Alan said. This is especially true when, as is frequently the case, the channel partner comes out of the IT world rather than the voice/telecom world.
Besides the significance for Microsoft and Lync customers, the announcement also represents “a significant rebranding effort for us [AudioCodes], because we’ve always been very piece and parts focused," Alan Percy added.
Among the Microsoft channel partners already taking part in the AudioCodes program, which is called One Voice for Microsoft Lync, are Maryland-based Enabling Technologies as well as European-based partners.