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Know Your Mitel Hybrid Options

I recently attended Mitel's annual conference for analysts and consultants, so let's make Mitel next in my ongoing series on various vendors' hybrid UC solutions.

To wrap our heads around what Mitel offers in terms of a standardized hybrid UC solution, let's first dissect its portfolio. What follows is going to be a lot of MiThis and MiThat, so keep an eye out for the similar but not identical product names. We'll start with Mitel's two main UC offerings:

Each of these come in three flavors: Office, Business, and Enterprise. Forget about Office for now; we'll circle back to it later. As for the others:

Because they're based on the same code, a MiVoice Business system that a company has on premises can work seamlessly with Mitel's or a provider's MiCloud Business service in a hybrid configuration. Ditto for MiCloud Enterprise. The most common deployment scenario for this is for a company to have a PBX on prem at a headquarters location, but use MiCloud for satellite offices, said Jon Brinton, president of Mitel's cloud division. This is also the classic hybrid call control configuration that businesses, especially large enterprises, adopt when gradually migrating UC systems to the cloud.

The common code base across MiVoice and MiCloud facilitates a hybrid apps scenario. In this case, a company can subscribe to Mitel's MiCollab and/or MiContact Center as cloud-based apps associated with a MiVoice Business or Enterprise system on premise s. These are the only two applications Mitel currently supports in this kind of hybrid apps configuration.

Postscript: None of this applies to MiVoice Office, which is based on legacy Inter-Tel systems, and MiCloud Office, which is a service based on technology from Telepo, a company that Aastra bought before it was in turn acquired by Mitel. Because they're based on entirely different technology, they're not designed for interoperability or hybrid configurations.

Post-postscript: MiVoice Enterprise also falls outside of these hybrid scenarios since it's the new name of MX-One, Aastra's PBX for large enterprises. Because it's not based on a separate code base, it doesn't integrate as cleanly with MiVoice Business-based systems and services. As a result there's no hybrid option, as least not one that's been made into a standardized offering.

Hybrid Apps for Legacy Systems
Restricting hybrid options to what's essentially a single platform (MiVoice/MiCloud Business) has been problematic for the modern Mitel. The company is made up of almost innumerable acquisitions. MiVoice Business may be the flagship platform that receives most to all of the attention from Mitel developers, marketers, and sales folks, but many other legacy call control systems are in place within the Mitel customer base. Each of these systems has its own set of communications apps that is either not being actively developed any more or is not being developed as aggressively.

To address this, Mitel is developing a way to deliver cloud-based apps "over the top" on most any Mitel PBX. This is through a combination of native integrations and a new API platform that abstracts the CTI interfaces of specific voice systems. Mitel (and eventually third-party developers) can write an application once and, through the API platform, it will work with multiple call control platforms. "The cloud API platform will let us bring advanced apps that are cloud-based to users of existing [Mitel] premise-based solutions," said Brian Spencer, GM of Mitel's contact center division.

MiCollab and MiContact Center will be the first cloud apps to be made available on a wide range of Mitel call control platforms. MiCollab was originally developed as the UC application specifically for MiVoice Business. And MiContact Center (based on PrairieFyre technology that Mitel acquired) has one-off integrations with some, but not all Mitel systems. Both are now available as hosted apps for MX-One, MiVoice 5000, and MiVoice 400 systems deployed on premises, with MiCollab also available as a cloud-based app on MiVoice 250.


For more in this series on hybrid UC offerings, see: