Mitel Upgrades Video Presence in its UC Solution

by Matt Klassen on April 7, 2011

Forever chasing the likes of Avaya and Cisco while fending off up-and-comers like ShoreTel in the Unified Communications (UC) market, Mitel seemed destined to never achieve its full potential. Whether it was expensive price points, insufficient or unsuccessful marketing, or simply an inability to switch from traditional hardware based PBX solutions to modern software based IP PBX systems, it has always seemed that something was missing from Mitel…until now.

Late last month Mitel rolled out its Unified Communicator Advanced 4.0 desktop client, the latest version of its UC solution. With a focus on putting video teleconferencing at the fingertips of the user, Mitel has upgraded point-to-point video chat, making it as easy—if not easier—to video chat than it is to actually make a phone call.

But the problem for Mitel and for many UC customers has always been the demand to choose one comprehensive UC solution, as traditionally incompatibility issues between different systems has meant that customers were not able to mix and match, forced to adopt components they may not want to. The good news with Mitel’s UC Advanced 4.0, however, is that those days are over.

There’s little question that video conferencing and telephony is the next step for business communication systems, with all major brands now supporting such face-to-face video technology. But that being said, video conferencing is still very much in its infancy, meaning that often times to utilize it the user would still have to place a phone call to the intended receiver before video chat could be initialized.

It is this exact problem, Mitel solutions manager Brooks Riendeau explains, that Mitel sought to address with this latest upgrade to its desktop client, meaning that video chat is now so easy that it is, quite literally, only one-click away. Aside from the camera icon on your contact’s list that indicates availability for video chat, Mitel’s solution allows users to provide “context” for video conferencing, an instant message feature that gives you the ability to send a message to someone you want to video chat with explaining why you want to connect, a feature that replaces the need to phone your contact beforehand.

But perhaps you’re one of those people that get used to one product, one way of doing things, and like to stick with that product even if something more advanced is available. For those users, Mitel has developed unprecedented compatibility between its UC Advanced client and Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) and IBM Lotus Sametime client.

This means that if users have become accustomed to either of those product suites, they can now retain their non-Mitel instant messaging, presence, and chat functions on their Mitel client. As Riendeau explains, “Now organizations that have heavily invested in either OCS or Sametime have a path they can go forward with for best of breed” communications system including Mitel.”

Finally, while Mitel’s UC Advanced Mobile has long been limited to RIM’s Blackberry, Riendeau confirmed that clients for Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices will be coming later this year.

Truth be told, Mitel has never looked more appealing than this.

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Daniel Moore April 11, 2011 at 4:25 am

It is about time Mitel caught up with other market leaders when it comes to video conferencing I always thought that Cisco would have the edge but now Mitel are a real contender

Joe Dokes April 11, 2011 at 10:52 pm

This article has so many point WRONG. More then half of the points are totally untrue – and it’s nearly impossible someone from Mitel would say these things. Mitel has been offering much of this functionality for a very long time – and Dynamic Extension with UCA support has supported ALL cellular devices for almost 5 years now – no joke – even before Avaya. This site does not seem to really know what’s going on.

Matt Klassen April 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hey Joe,

Thanks for the feedback. You seem to be taking issue specifically with the quotes from Mitel’s Brooks Riendeau regarding mobile OS compatibilitly, to which I can only say, the quotes are well sourced, meaning that I certainly didn’t make them up or get them wrong. Did I get the quotes from Mitel directly? No, but that rarely happens among blogs of this sort anyways. If you need further information regarding the quotes, just click on the links and check them for yourself.

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