Here at LDV we tend to focus on the end user experience, and strategic implementation, of unified communications technology. But sometimes we wonder how the big players in the space make these experiences possible at massive scale for hundreds of thousands of users.
This question becomes particularly interesting when you consider the current state of turmoil in the UC space, as a rush of new vendors and technologies have dramatically changed the game in recent years. We spoke with Jim Ortbals (VP Partner Sales) at VOSS to understand how the infrastructure supporting some of the world’s largest UC deployments is meeting the challenges of today’s rapidly changing communications technology.
First of all, whether you call it cloud service, or a manged service, or a hosted service, many of today’s big provider offerings are powered by Cisco hardware. Anyone who has worked with Cisco hardware knows it can be feature rich, but difficult to manage. In fact, many implementations in the field vastly under-utilize the power of Cisco hardware. Random example, industry insiders will tell you that thousands of the old C90s are used for basic videoconferencing, when it supports so much more (check out all the ports on the back, above). While this is an endpoint example, the same principle can apply to Cisco infrastructure. So how do the massive service providers go beyond the basic functionality, and leverage the full power of Cisco technology, at massive scale? A management system of some kind is clearly required.
The new VOSS-4-UC platform is a completely new architecture, designed from the ground up to support the latest user requirements and collaboration toolsets. Basically, the solution intelligently connects with and controls all the various infrastructure components, so they can be managed from a single portal, a single plane of glass. This allows one customer service rep to manage what would otherwise take a team of IT experts trained on an ever changing, and often large, selection of various infrastructure appliances and interfaces. Please note, while VOSS is proud of their close partnership with Cisco, their technology can also be used to support MS Lync (Skype-4-B) environments.
There has been much talk about the new Cisco endpoint line’s vastly improved and simplified the physical setup. However, much of the power of a Cisco environment still comes from the infrastructure providing the service on the back end. Going beyond the dial tone, to fully empower this Cisco infrastructure, can add a magnitude of complexity. One of VOSS’s strengths is enabling their large customers to get new end users onboarded, at massive scale, quickly. As a result, VOSS has enjoyed a wave of very big name service provider customers in recent years, as the old guard rushes to provide new cloud UC services to their customers.
Cisco clearly agrees with the benefits provided by the new VOSS-4-UC as it has include VOSS within the Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS). While there are many benefits of a VOSS managed Cisco platform, I find it particularly compelling that the solution is designed to help customers transition from older Cisco infrastructure to the latest UC environments. As service providers look to update their offerings, they want to do it in a way that leverages their older infrastructure as much as possible, to squeeze every bit of ROI out of those systems while they still have power and value.
Much of the value of VOSS (just like much of the value of the infrastructure it manages) is “below the water line.” End users will never see or touch the Cisco servers running the show behind the scenes, and they may never even know that their services are being supported by VOSS. What they will notice is that despite the increased complexity and functionality of today’s UC services, they are able to get their teams up and running quickly, with greatly improved support from VOSS empowered service providers. We all know how difficult UC adoption can be, and the massive productivity benefits that can be lost due to a flawed rollout. Choosing a service provider with a VOSS empowered platform can be the first step to ensuring your organization gets the most from its UC services.