• April 19, 2007
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Siemens Communications' Virtual Reality

Siemens Communications is looking to cozy up closer to the midsize to very-large enterprise contact center market. The company has unveiled Open Virtualized Contact Center, a solution that integrates two of Siemens' more popular offerings--Siemens HiPath ProCenter Enterprise contact center solution and Siemens HiPath 8000 SIP-based enterprise softswitch--and is capable of supporting environments of up to 5,000 concurrent agents. More specifically, while a single HiPath 8000 can support 100,000 voice users whose voice presence can be visible to "contact center super agents," these agents are limited to 5,000 concurrent users when configured in HiPath ProCenter on the HiPath 8000, according to Paul Demopoulos, marketing manager of applications at Siemens. "The remaining 95,000 voice users can participate in the contact center when an agent bridges them into the interaction in order to enhance the likelihood of first contact resolution," he says. The release extends Siemens' initiatives in presence management, enabling agents to confirm the presence and availability of the best support resources among the HiPath 8000 users in the enterprise. It also extends presence and connectivity to mobile users with Voice over Wireless LAN solutions, according to the company. Generally available now, the solution provides centralized administration while delivering global enterprise-based or outsourced contact center functionality as an on-demand service anywhere that secure IP network access is available, according to the company. "With a SIP-based virtualized contact center you break down all the barriers," says Al Baker, U.S. vice president of product management at Siemens. "There is no hardware overlay." Virtualization is gaining traction with vendors and some end-user organizations alike. "It's the idea that money can be saved by locating contact center functionality in a central location and using IP over the corporate networks [to have] agents literally anywhere you want versus having to put them within 1,000 feet of the switch," says Joe Outlaw, principal analyst of contact center solutions at Current Analysis. "This is partly enabled by IP and partly enabled by the scalability of some of the contact center systems that are available today." Open Virtualized Contact Center opens up almost the whole market to Siemens, which has historically focused more on the midsize to the low-end of the large enterprise market, according to Outlaw. "This takes out most of that middle ground, and except for something that's extremely large [10,000-20,000 agents] where they might need a Genesys, they can deal with it on their own now," he says. Outlaw also says that Siemens' ProCenter Enterprise product has "market leading presence support built in," and that the company has one of the more aggressive programs for Web services and SOA. However, the only drawback that Outlaw sees is that the Open Virtualized Contact Center is what he refers to as a Siemens-only kind of a solution. "In that sense if somebody has a non-Siemens switch and doesn't want to replace it, then that could be a hurdle for them," he says. But "not withstanding potentially getting merged with somebody, and something maybe happening to the product line, they've got their foot to the floor." Related articles: Siemens Courts the Enterprise
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