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Siemens overhauls VoIP/unified communications platform

Siemens Enterprise Communications, which is rebuilding itself in the U.S. for the past few years, emphasize the idea that it deserves another look through its recent announcement of the Version 7.0 of its OpenScape UC suite that enables its VoIP platform to support 500,000 users.

Complementing a leap forward from a maximum of 100,000 users in previous versions is a taste of Openscape’s new capabilities in unified communications, including the UC federated support to extend online presence, chat and other core functions of other domains, support for MacOS, and some smooth handoff call capability between different types of devices and networks.

"We were once a $6 billion company, but business is declining 10 percent annually for the last 10 years," company President Chris Hummell says. "Now we have a $3 billion company. Many things have to change." Siemens Enterprise Communications is only second in the communications market with 1.5 percent market share here today, and the 8th or 9th on the list of global market share, Hummel said. But it is a global company and tops the charts in Germany, Brazil and Western Europe, and second or third in market share worldwide basis. "We need to get bigger here in the U.S.," he said. "We are first, second or third, but we have to do better."

Hummel says the company hangs its hat on advanced technology, but with a compelling cost advantage as well. "With a $200,000 deal, there's not going to be much of a difference in pricing between vendors," he said. "But $5 million to $10 million, the cost separation really start to be obvious."

In a recent win of $50 million contract to modernize a large network of state with 60,000 points, Hummel says Siemens Enterprise came to 25 percent less than what Microsoft bid. Othersvying for the coveted contract are Cisco and Avaya.

While this is an impressive win in the biggest names in business, it's going to be difficult for Siemens Enterprise to compete with industry powerhouses, says Kerravala Zeus, the founder and principal analyst of ZK Research. "This is home turf for Avaya and Cisco, Microsoft is coming on strong, and Huawei is making a big push. It is difficult for Siemens to grab share easily."

'Tech by Siemens is up to date, Kerravala said, but one thing that concerns potential customers is the fact that they are now private and it is difficult to clarify their financial health. Their best bet is in vertical markets that are driven by state enterprises as mentioned above.