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Mitel Series X Delivers Complete UC

With this week's announcements about Unified Communicator Advanced, Mitel delivers a complete UC suite that also introduces some industry-leading functionality. UC Advanced release 3 delivers access to all communications devices, including desk phones, soft phones, and mobile phones, and includes voice mail, instant messaging, presence, audio and web conferencing, desktop video conferencing, and document sharing capabilities. Better still for many users, the Mitel software now integrates with Microsoft Office, IBM Lotus Notes and Act!, allowing users to initiate calls from within those applications. And although Mitel has a very good story in the SMB market, the new UC Advanced solution can scale to 5,000 users on a single server.New features include:

* Dynamic Extension, which lets users configure as many as eight devices to act as extensions of the corporate network-and they need not be Mitel brands.

* Dynamic Status, which allows users to configure their status with advanced call routing capabilities and calendar integration, as well as caller prioritization (so users can take calls from their boss 24/7 but limit those from other colleagues to business hours, for example).

* Visual Voice Mail via NuPoint Unified Messaging, which gives users the ability to see and access their voicemails, as well as the presence status of internal callers, allowing them to reply to messages in the most appropriate way possible at any given time.

* Web and Mobile Portals, to provide secure access to the UC Advanced interface from a web browser or a mobile device, supporting the increasingly mobile workplace.

* Business Continuity through integrated RSS feeds that allow for enterprise-wide notifications.

Most impressive was the news around knowledge management and context-driven communications. With R3, users can get pop-up information about callers as calls come in, including e-mail history, contact entries and relevant shared documents, the goal being to ensure they have the information they need to handle the call as soon as they receive it.

But my favorite new feature is the ability to respond to incoming calls via IM--a great option if the recipient is on the phone but wants to address the caller's needs immediately, not to mention the perfect way to avoid long talkers via chat. (Come on, you know you've done that.) Another innovative feature is the speed-dial function that lets users navigate voicemail and conferencing menus with a single click.

Mitel's TeleCollaboration solution release 1.5 delivers parity with other videoconferencing solutions, and includes integrated browser-based collaboration capabilities, relatively low bandwidth requirements, and recording functions. None of that makes it a market leader, but companies that opt to deploy TeleCollaboration as part of a broader Mitel UC deployment will get the capabilities they need.

Combined with Series X's valuable capabilities around extensibility and mobility, the features in UC Advanced R3 make Mitel a leading contender in the unified communications market. And stay tuned: The vendor is doing real work in the area of virtualization, which should position it as a leading infrastructure provider for many small and mid-size organizations in the future.