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Unified Messaging

By James Schroer ·
We are looking at Unified messaging and I'm trying to find a review for the vendors I'm looking at. I already found one from Network Computing that is good but it's over a year old. We are looking at 4 Products. 1. Cisco's unity 2. Avaya's Modular Messaging, 3. NEC's Call Pilot 4. Interactive Intelligence's Communit?. If you could give me some feed back if you have one or more of these systmes that would be great also if you can point me to a review of these would also be great. Thanks.

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Cisco Unity

by Cactus Pete In reply to Unified Messaging

We implemented Cisco a year ago, almost exactly. We've had our problems, and I feel as though we've been a beta site for them. They've been good about several patches, but, for instance, MS security fixes have to be repackaged as something from Cisco before it can be deployed. The system is very administrative heavy.

This may be the norm, but it seems as though Cisco is still working out the kinks.

Oh, how could I forget... The wav files in the users' inboxes... Man, we triple our Information Store every year now.... You really have to have retention policies in place before you implement Unity...

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Cisco and Avaya

by Oz_Media In reply to Unified Messaging

Are both netwrok hardwaer vendors, not telephone manufacturers. This is a massive problem across the VoIP market as everyone expects the computer hardware shops to be ahead of the telecom guys, it's actually the other way around by years. This originally created a lot of doubt whether VoIP would work, but it has been proven since then that the telecom providers are WAY ahead in these markets.

UM is just another example of how computer hardware manufacturers have no clue about the telecom industry, how it's customers work and moreso, what features are useful.

I have designed and configured British Columbia's two largest VoIP networks with fully integrated UM. One vendor started with an AVAYA that they offered to give me for free if I would remove it from the premises. They ended up getting offered a small buyback from the company I was representing at the time, that was in 2001, they still have the Avaya as nobody will dare sell it.

The Call Pilot is a Nortel product not NEC. Call pilot is like a starter pack for the more robust BCM, Business Communications Manager that offers a fully featured remote softphone access (identical to your deskset in features and functionality) also. This system I've installed at accounting firms and in a couple of city applications where multple city offices needed VoIP, firehall, city hall, water works etc.

NEC has a unified messaging system that works best with the NEAX 2000IPS VoIP PBX. This system is running across all branches of BC's main grocery store chain.

I work as a contractor for a BC's largest Nortel dealer and Canada's largest NEC dealer. I have worked with AVAYA, 3-Com, Cisco, Nortel, NEC, Panasonic, Telrad and Mitel systems. By far the best HANDS down is the NEC, a close second is Nortel depending on your needs. Software and computer companies such as 3-Com and Cisco, you will need full time certified staff to keep it going. You will recieve perhaps 30% of the features the others offer. NEC and Nortel are both light years ahead of the others when it comes to a working telephone and UM system. They've been in bus over 100 years and undersatnd what's important. The newbies just can't keep up, thier products don't even come close to offereing the same efficiency and productivity enhancements and most certainly don't aren't even comparable in knowledge of what is useful and what is useless. NOTE: The NEAX 2000 has over 2000 productivity enhancement features alone!

http://www.cng.nec.com

http://www.nortelnetworks.com

Spend money ONCE, do it right the first time.

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Small problems with Call pilot

by James Schroer In reply to Cisco and Avaya

I see your a big NEC and Nortel guy but one of the big issues I have with the Call Pilot that I've heard is that the voice messages are not available via Outlook Web Access and that they don't get sent to wireless devices IE. a Blackberry. The second issue I have is that they aren't even working on S.I.P. So everything is proprietary.

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Avaya a Network vendor????

by James Schroer In reply to Cisco and Avaya

I don't know about up there but here in the US Avaya is 100% phone equipment. And expensive. But I would have to agree about the part that network vendors don't quite understand the importance of the phone. For example we have a old Lucent definity switch for our phone system. you can pull cards and swap almost anything in that system with out taking it down. Now try to do that with a server or network switch. It just doesn't work that way. So you spend a lot more on clustering that stuff then you would on a PBX system.

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You're right

by Oz_Media In reply to Avaya a Network vendor??? ...

Avaya is a telephone vendor, they just aren't a player in the market here as they don't stack up against the competition. I have removed a few Avaya's though and can get you in touch with a cheap reseller of used Avaya systems, it's your headache then.

With regards to Nortel's Call Pilot, you're right. Only available through thier OWN UM system. I believe it may work by sending a WAV to blackberry, I get mine from my cell phone, but the files are huge as they are not compressed like an Mpeg.


THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION WHEN JUSTIFYING TELCOM EXPENSES: How long can your company operate with NO telephone system? If at least a week or two, buy anything.

All telephone companies that provide stable equipment are completely proprietary. This way all the products are supported fully. If you were using Nortel UM with MS Outlook, the whole "who will take responsibility" issue comes in to play. It's like writing PC game software and having it work with Windows OS's. It may work on SOME but others will have problems. Sometimes these problems are solved only to find out something else is now causing a problem.

Business telecom equipment is FAR too important to trust when mixed with other software, this is what causes all the problems with 3-Com, CISCO etc. they are NOT telecom professionals and don't know what customers need or want.

Nortel has a 100 year+ reputation for providing leading telecom equipment with four 9's up time and unsurmounted quality behind their product, you will not find a more solid and reliable system ANYWHERE.(note: I no longer sell this equipment, I maintain it and recommend many products, but with UM or VoIP there are no valid shortcuts, to get reliability you must buy the best) It doesn't fail because it's ALL Nortel. If it DOES fail, they can repair it very quickly without you spending three days patching Outlook, downloading files from MS, trying different things from the UM vendor and listening to the engineers as they scratch thier heads.


Another VERY important thing to consider is the vendor. I've seen literally HUNDREDS of BS vendors that claim to be Nortel vendors. There is a massive grey market that Nortel has been working to debunk for many years.

Nortel has an authorized vendor locator on thier website as does NEC. Grey merket resellers DO NOT receive installation and configuration support from Nortel or NEC, YOU WILL NEED IT to get started. These aren't PC networks, and it is a WHOLE different ballgame.

I really hope I have offered you some information that MAY help you in your decision and would be more than happy to help you get further questions answered via industry contacts I have.

When you start to look into latency and VLAN technology, let me know if you need specs you can't find.

Nortel's dealer locator:
http://tinyurl.com/yohi

NEC's dealer locator:
http://tinyurl.com/ifum

If you want me to check out a dealer for you with NEC, just let me know and I'll check thier track record as they are closely monitored by NEC.

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UM doesn't mean when one goes down all goes down

by James Schroer In reply to You're right

I agree that if outlook or exchange goes down the phone system should be down. But I also believe that in a UM product it shouldn't matter if exchange goes down, you still should be able to get your messages. I looked at a seminar from Interactive Inteligence www.inin.com and it looks as if there product does just that. They seem to do a great job of seperating and combining the Phone and IT side of things. I'm getting more info on the product next friday.

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Haven't heard that before

by Oz_Media In reply to UM doesn't mean when one ...

Actually I'm being sarcastic. Every cendor will tell you how THIER software doesn't risk your network, yet almost all connected to you server.

With NEC and Nortels BCM, these are completely independant of your network, they don't NOT rely on your network resources and do NOT rely on your existing software WORKING with it.

I don't know HOW many times I've helped people through this portion of the decision and I don't want to become "JOE sales guy" in your case.

I will just give you an unbiased and experienced opinion. I've been doing this thing since it was a new concept for business and have NEVER seen another manufacturer's UM software live up to expectations.

Even Nortel and NEC only got it perfected in the beginning of this year, however they've had these products for several years. The thing about telecom and UM is manufactrurers can only base reliability on inhouse testing as the market isn't wide enough yet to have the onsite experience needed to perfect a product.

They all SHOULD work, but very few do.

Nortel sold MANY BCM's that worked OK but the softphone wouldn't work for remote UM. Nothing they could do until the nest software release which was many months later. Customers paid THOUSANDS in tech time and still had nothing.
The new release, quick fix and all works. Now keep in mind the SIZE of Nortel's R&amp & engineering departments and yuo will realize the smaller players will not be able to keep up.

Most just sell the equipment and HOPE that you are OK with only half of it working until such time that you either find something better or they can iron it out.

I only know of FIVE technicians in Canada that can effectively configure a Proprietary VoIP system even though there are hundreds that are manufacturer trained because they don't have the hands on experience.

All in all, it's your call of course, I'm just giving you a heads up.

There are TWO and ONLY TWO PROVEN systems in North America that have the client base to suport thier allegations , the NEAX 2000IPS and the Business Communications Manager v.3.0.

Good luck with your search but remember if you are looking for a low cost solution, sit back and wait a few years. If you have the money to do it right, do it right.

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