Enterprise Connect: NEC UC&C architecture targets IT managers and connected workforce

This Enterprise Connect article is by John Stepp, president of Free Tech Consultants, on NEC’s unified communications and collaboration software announcement and demonstration at the show.

NEC is positioning itself for the consumerization of the enterprise with their new UC&C software slated for release later this year. The influx of smartphones and tablets is just beginning and IT managers are trying to come to grips with the ramifications of the new connected workforce. NEC seeks to simplify the integration of these devices by delivering a software architecture that creates a common interface across all platforms. Androids, iPhones and Blackberrys are supported on the smartphone side. Windows, Mac and Android are supported on the PC/laptop/tablet side. The use of Rich Internet Architecture (RIA) Flash technology should be appealing to IT professionals. Security features such as HTTPS signaling that have gained the acceptance of IT managers will allow future device to integrate to this architecture as well.

I spoke with Todd Landry, Senior VP of Product Management for NEC Sphere Communications, last week to get an in-depth analysis of today’s press release. He explained that even though NEC will be introducing proprietary NEC tablets now currently available in Japan to the US market, NEC feels that users deserve a choice between proprietary and non-proprietary devices. With UC&C, users will have a common login with HTTPS on a variety of devices. Establishing or revoking credentials on the enterprise system are the same for all user devices making things simple for IT managers. They can react to potential security breaches with lost or stolen equipment as well as employees that abruptly leave the company. So the IT manager does not have to take extra steps to handle these types of emergencies. No longer will IT managers need to worry about dealing with every single device. The simplicity of deployment and management of this architecture make it a natural fit for IT managers that need to mange everything the company delivers to its users.

One might question the use of Flash/AIR technology on Apple products, but because of the streamlined architecture of UC&C, transition to HTML5 in the future will be simple to develop. This streamlined architecture also lends itself well to cloud and data center applications. In fact, the NEC booth will be running in a cloud environment. The show floor will have a typical office running Sphericall in the cloud from the NEC data center with UC&C software. In this typical branch office environment a user with Windows on the desktop, a phone, a WiFi-enabled device, and a cell phone running fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) will move calls between devices depending on their need. They will be running UC&C on the iPhone to demonstrate the common user interface that will be utilized across these platforms when the UC&C software is released later this year. NEC tablets and call center applications will also be on display at the booth. A cohesive architecture is NEC’s goal and they have the resources within their different divisions to continue to bring innovative communications technologies to the enterprise market.

The good news for existing NEC customers is that they will be able to keep their existing desktop phones and use UC&C. The UC&C tools easily extend into the end user environment, whether they want to migrate to a virtual or hybrid cloud environment. The appeal to the IT manager and the new workforce of NEC’s products takes a quantum leap with the introduction of the new UC&C architecture. People want choices and NEC is delivering.

I will be interviewing and filming at the NEC booth for a follow up article later this week so those not at the show can have a firsthand look at the new software architecture in action.


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