When we first spoke with Ottawa-based Objectworld Communications Corp. in the summer of 2005, it was just getting ready to launch its flagship product, Objectworld Unified Communications Server (UC Server), the first product designed to allow an enterprise to operate and manage all of its business communications functionality from a single server operating in a Microsoft environment and capable of interoperating with a broad range of Microsoft applications.
Today, roughly two and a half years later, Objectworld is announcing a reconfigured product line, version 4.3, comprising three separate 'Editions,' all of which fall under the UC Server brand. The move, as marketing and sales director Vincent Guihan modestly put it, is "a slight rearrangement to better serve the needs of our customers."
The flagship product, UC Server will henceforward be known as UC Server SIP Edition. It carries the line's full feature/function set: SIP-based VoIP telephony, unified communications, and communications-enabled business process capability (CEBP).
The two new product, UC Server Standard Edition and UC Server CEBP Edition are "subsets for specific markets, with more limited functionality," Objectworld CTO Dave Schenkel explained.
Specifically, Standard Edition is an adjunct product that adds UC functionality to a legacy PBX. "Not just a small set of PBXs," Guihan told VoIPplanet.com, "but a wide body of them: PBXs from Cisco, from Mitel, ShoreTel, Avaya, NEC, and a bunch of other traditional PBX vendors."
"This allows customers to get all the benefits of unified communications without having to upgrade their PBX," he continued. "So, it represents considerable cost savings. The larger the installation, the greater the cost savings." Guihan estimated that with an 8,000 seat deployment, the savings could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"In the SMB space, it might be thousands or tens of thousands [of dollars], but the advantage is you can keep your PBX, you can keep your phones. No VoIP is required, and you get all the benefits of unified communications."
"For customers that just want to make corporate data and account service managementthat sort of stuffavailable over the phone [system], that's what the CEBP edition is for."
Guihan explained the foundation of the Objectworld's UC Server line's breadth of interoperability with so many other vendors' PBXs: "We are supporting Dialogic's media gateway familythe 1000 and the 2000 seriesand this now gives us access to a much wider market." The Dialogic products require support for some extensions to the basic SIP protocol. Supporting those extensionswhich Objectworld doesresults in the ability to interface with equipment of other vendors that also support them, including those mentioned above.
Despite the splitting of the UC Server line into three distinct products, they will be available in a single 'distribution'that is, one software package containing all the components of all three products. "There's one distribution of the product and everything is done through licensing," Schenkel said.
Also announced today was Objectworld's support for the Microsoft Server 2008 family of products, due to be released later this year. "When those come out, we will support them," Schenkel said.
Finally, UC Server 4.3 will also support the Grandstream Networks family of IP telephones on a plug-and-play basis. "We currently support plug-and-play for Polycom and snom, who are our Connect Program partners," Schenkel said. "And we recently certified as interoperable all of the Grandstream phones." The two companies are in negotiations now, according to Schenkel, and if all goes as expected, Grandstream will be an Objectworld Connect Partner, with plug-and-play interoperability.