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NEC Unified Announces Hosted UC Offering for SMBs

The floodgates have opened and another enterprise communications player has announced a hosted UC solution for web collaboration services. NEC Unified Solutions, Inc. (NEC), not one of the current competitors with a high market recognition factor--despite a rapidly growing portfolio of basic and enhanced UC solutions--will be co-marketing a new "hosted" web collaboration service from its Univerge Solutions Partner XL Meeting. The browser-based application works across Windows, Mac OS and Linux Operating systems and provides video and web collaboration.The Hosted Collaboration Service includes the following features/functions: video conferencing, VoIP, whiteboarding, desktop sharing, applications/computer sharing, polling/surveys, and video control. It will be sold and priced based on the total number of concurrent seats the customer wishes in one or multiple conferences, and targets SMB customers.

In these dire economic times, a hosted monthly subscription service that minimizes capital investment is an attractive offering for customers testing the UC waters. Cisco made headline news last fall with its announcement of its planned Webex Connect hosted service offering. Microsoft quickly responded to the Cisco announcement the following week with plans for its own Cloud-based offering in partnership with Broadsoft. There are many other Cloud-based UC service offerings, although most will likely disappear without much notice. Customers, especially SMBs, are more likely to implement Cloud-based UC solutions compared to core enterprise telephony services that have remained predominantly customer premises-based solutions.