Unison Brings Harmony to Unified Communications

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Unified communications software vendor Unison looks to outdo Microsoft's Office Communications Server in features, price and channel support.

Many businesses are trying to pull their disparate methods of communications together to save costs, increase efficiency and improve communications, which clearly creates an opportunity for solution providers looking to get involved with unified communications solutions. Even so, solution providers and their customers are still challenged by the fact that most of the solutions available lack important features or capabilities. 

Some vendors have attempted to integrate everything needed for unified communications, but most have still fallen short. Most recently, Microsoft leapt into the unified communications market with Office Communications Server, a product that aims to combine voice, e-mail, scheduling and IM into a single entity on a user’s desktop. While the concept is sound, OCS still needs a great deal of integration work, is very dependent on other Microsoft technologies and lacks an integrated VOIP (voice over IP) PBX, leaving yet another piece of the puzzle to be solved by other vendors.

So up stepped Unison, which took a look at Microsoft’s (and other vendors') weaknesses in the unified communication market and came up with what the company feels is a better way, the Unison Server and the Unison Client.

Commercially launched in August 2008, Unison is offering a software solution that promises to bring unified communications to businesses of any size and at an affordable price. What’s more, the company’s software licensing and marketing efforts are geared toward helping partners succeed. The product is priced at $50 per seat per year. Of course, partners will have access to bundles and can expect high margins (as much as 50 percent) and service revenue from selling Unison products.

Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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