Siemens Enterprise Communications will punctuate the idea that it deserves another look with the announcement of Version 7.0 of its OpenScape UC suite. The update will enable the VoIP platform to support up to 500,000 users.

Complementing that leap forward, up from a maximum of 100,000 users in the previous version, are a parcel of new UC capabilities, including federated UC support to extend presence, chat and other core functions to other domains, support for MacOS and some slick call handoff capabilities between various types of devices and networks.

The capacity gain in Version 7 of OpenScape UC  is achieved by increasing the number of lines each system cluster can support from 15,000 to 40,000, says Rick Puskar, Senior Vice President of Global Portfolio Management.

And all system components can be virtual, he says, making it easy for the company to accommodate the customer’s delivery mode of choice, whether on premise, hosted in the cloud or a hybrid model straddling the two. VMware is the company’s virtual environment of choice.

Customers that do deploy the system in a virtual environment, however, will lose about 25% of the system line capacity, says Jan Hickisch, Vice President of Portfolio Management for Unified Communications. While the high-end capacity will only appeal to the largest shops, the unified communications advances should be attractive to everyone.

The company’s support for XMPP, for example, is designed to enable customers to federate UC "with other UC, messaging, social media and collaborative app environments," the company says.  That will allow users to view user status across domains and, among other things, chat using native tools.  It will enable OpenScape users to converse with Google Talk and Apple iChat users.

Collaboration enhancements include new desktop client support for Mac OS and plugins for Microsoft Outlook, Puskar says.  On the mobile front, the company has simplified support by focusing on downloadable apps for the popular smartphones, including all Android and Apple iOS devices.

The apps make the devices full participants in the UC environment, and support the ability to swipe voice calls between devices and networks, Puskar says.  "I can swipe a call from my cell phone to my desk phone, or to any device in my preferred device list," he says, "Even my analogue phone at home. Or, if I’m on the WiFi net at home, when I leave I can swipe the call onto the cell network.  The call transparently moves not only between devices, but networks as well."

Kerravala says the swipe technology might seem gimmicky at first, but it is very intuitive and has the potential to be a feature that users clamour for.

Asked what types of environments Siemens Enterprise typically encounters when it approaches new customers, Puskar says some 60% are still pure TDM, while the rest have TDM and a couple of IP techs like video.  

Are they shopping for VoIP or UC? The latter, Puskar says. "They’re looking for how to make that first step to UC, trying to figure out how to take those first few bites of the apple to start the transitional phase."

OpenScape 7.0 will be available in June.