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ADTRAN improves its UC Capabilities

ADTRAN execs last week treated telecom analysts to their southern hospitality in Huntsville, Alabama last week at the ADTRAN Connect event. While primarily a networking vendor focused on VoIP carriers and service providers, a small division of the company’s business is focused on enterprise solutions and unified communications.

In 2009, the company bought ObjectWorld, and now offers a family of UC solutions for small to medium businesses. The company has made a good deal of progress in the past two years, adding new capabilities to improve its UC offerings.

The enterprise business still has room to grow. As Gary Bolton, vice president of global marketing explained, third quarter 2011 revenues were US$192 million, with 90 percent of that revenue coming from broadband access, internet working and optical access.

Bolton mentioned that for the enterprise, ADTRAN is focused on cloud connectivity, enterprise communications, and virtual mobility. Cloud connectivity allows business to connect to the outside world, using a public or private cloud server. He said that ADTRAN is touting its leadership in IP business gateways, access routers, and Ethernet switches and is getting more reception with its existing Tier 1 customers selling hosted services.

For enterprise communications, ADTRAN provides “solutions that allows efficient communications and communication-enabled business processes that enable businesses to become more capable and efficient.” Features include premise-based IP communications, unified communications, LAN and wireless LAN infrastructure, and audio and video endpoints.

NetVanta UC capabilities include audio conferencing, unified messaging, IM/presence, click to dial, desktop client, Inbound IVR, outbound notifications, text-to-speech, paging and alerting, call redirection, database integration, personal call control, and consolidated VoIP administration. One of ADTRAN’s best feature is its “Blend and Extend” philosophy, whereby the UC software acts as a PBX adjunct on the existing PBX, allowing customers to add the UC capabilities to their existing PBXs and get basic UC functionality at an affordable price.

One of the new functions discussed is the addition of presence and IM to the desktop client. Its desktop client, the ucCompanion, is a plug-in to Microsoft Outlook that can be launched from within the Outlook program, providing a graphical interface for users to control calls at their extension and to see the real-time status of others in their company, offering centralized presence and IM, and Active Directory integration.

Senior Product Manager Jeff Wissing explained that there is a tight integration between the UC server software and the NetVanta 7000 series for IM and presence so that the system can allow not only IM presence status, but also telephony presence. Distributed 7000 switches can distribute to enable users to see the presence status of people on other switches.