This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.
Siemens' New OpenScape
With Siemens' announcement today about the introduction of the new UC Server (blogged by Sheila here), and repositioning/rebranding of HiPath 8000 as OpenScape Voice, I hurried back to review the post I did about six weeks ago, to see if I could read, in reverse, the tea leaves that Mark Straton might have been offering up at the time. I headlined that post, "Is Siemens Conceding the Desktop?" I'm not sure today's announcement answers that question, but some of the hints that Mark dropped a few weeks ago seem relevant today.
With Siemens' announcement today about the introduction of the new UC Server (blogged by Sheila here), and repositioning/rebranding of HiPath 8000 as OpenScape Voice, I hurried back to review the post I did about six weeks ago, to see if I could read, in reverse, the tea leaves that Mark Straton might have been offering up at the time. I headlined that post, "Is Siemens Conceding the Desktop?" I'm not sure today's announcement answers that question, but some of the hints that Mark dropped a few weeks ago seem relevant today.Clearly, the OpenScape name comes front and center--everything's called OpenScape now--but the discrete UC product formerly known as OpenScape is being subsumed in the larger vision. Back in January, Mark said this:
We think more and more that OpenScape--we'll continue to market it because there's many environments where you have a multi-vendor environment or you're not a Microsoft or IBM customer. But if it's an IBM or Microsoft customer, the role of OpenScape will be more middleware, and the role of the HiPath 8000 will be the software-based enterprise class communications system.
Today's announcement puts more detail to that vision. The actual middleware is the newly-announced UC Server, which sits above a layer Siemens calls "Any Client, IP, IT, or Telephony Infrastructure," and below the OpenScape Applications layer--which encompasses OpenScape Voice (i.e., HiPath 8000), OpenScape UC (i.e., the old OpenScape), plus the new Video Application, as well as Siemens' messaging, mobility and contact center apps.
The UC Server provides services including SIP Session Control, Federated Presence, QOS Management, Session Detail Reporting, Administration and Licensing, and Availability Management.
This is a re-casting of the role of the basic telephony call control, and in many ways it's consistent with what we're seeing from a lot of the vendors. The original way of thinking was that the IP-PBX forms the infrastructure on top of which you layer UC services and integrations with business applications, possibly via a layer of middleware.
Siemens' vision still shows horizontal layers, but it's really comparable to what other vendors show as a sort of nuclear view of your communications infrastructure. In this vision, services and applications including voice, video, collaboration, etc., are depicted in a circle, orbiting around a nucleus or core which is made up of the middleware that ties all of these services to one another: Some vendors just label this "Presence," others, like Siemens, call it something like "Software" or "Middleware". But the general idea is that you have this core engine that provides the stuff I mentioned above--Session Control, Federation, Management, etc.--and then everything else either is an application or integrates into an application.
That's different and more complex than the simple "Infrastructure under Services" view that most people have had. The idea that these sevices will live on a "UC Server," rather than on the IP-PBX, may make more sense for the long term, but I wonder if Siemens may not be over-anticipating the market, much as they did with the original OpenScape, which pretty well nailed the UC concept--before there was a UC market (some would say there still isn't).
Siemens has been boasting about its success with HiPath 8000; the company says it took 143 orders for the product in December, compared with 45 the previous March. That's all the more remarkable when you consider that it represents customers making a big bet on a company with a famously unresolved future.
These customers clearly found the HiPath 8000 compelling. We'll see what they, and their cohort, think about the new vision.