• United States
by Steve Taylor and Larry Hettick

Siemens’ software integrates communications apps

Apr 09, 20032 mins

* Siemens unveils software that brings together communications applications

Last week at the Voice on the Net conference in San Jose, Siemens announced a software suite called OpenScape. While we don’t usually get too excited about software announcements, this one is a bit different and certainly noteworthy.

Like several other vendors in the market for convergence, Siemens has moved beyond considering convergence as just about cheap long-distance, using voice over IP in higher-layer applications integration.

The company’s software enables a personal portal at a user’s desktop that integrates communications applications, including phone service, e-mail, chat, and calendar access. While others have demonstrated similar software, we were happy to see that Siemens has opened the architecture to third-party developers with an open-standards approach. Architecturally, the platform brings together the power of XML to enable Web-based applications and provides presence management enabled by Session Initiation Protocol.

Plus, Siemens announced it has integrated WebEx meeting capabilities into the OpenScape communications suite. The personal portal provides one-button access to WebEx’s capabilities, making it easy to move into an interactive Web meeting from a phone call or other communication session.

OpenScape also operates independently of the voice communications platform, leveraging the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft’s Greenwich platform. It is integrated with Active Directory and Microsoft Exchange 2000.

Hmmm, software from a PBX manufacturer that is communications platform-independent? Works with Microsoft and WebEx? What’s this world coming to? Maybe convergence is moving beyond VoIP and into a world where – and we quote Siemens – “communications enables business applications.”