Desktop, Part 2

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.

That eliminates the need for a VOIP phone at the user’s desk or location. The system also supports auto-forwarding incoming calls to external phones (cell phones, VOIP phones and POTS lines) if needed and can control incoming call handling, transferring calls automatically to voice mail or other extensions.
Of course, all activity is logged, making it easy to track what is going on in the system and how efficiently the system is being used.

Instant messaging is handled by Unison’s proprietary IM client, which is integrated into the desktop. The nice thing about the IM application is that it is intelligent about the users. In other words, the IM client knows whether internal users are busy or are available. For those looking to extend IM beyond the local users, Unison offers an "Intelligent Presence" feature, which supports communication with ICQ, Google Talk, MSN and Jabber.

Perhaps the only thing that could make the Unison Desktop better would be to switch it over to a bunch of plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook. That would allow users to further integrate other services into the environment, ranging from auto-linking to SharePoint to synchronizing content with popular social networking sites, such as LinkedIn or Facebook. What’s more, some CRM applications look for Outlook integration to be effective.

While the Unison Desktop is an excellent application, the lack of integration with third-party offerings may be its undoing. On the other hand, the lack of support for third-party applications does tend to improve security, which is a very good thing, considering that Unison integrates anti-virus and anti-spam technology in its offering.

In brief, Unison does offer what many will consider a better path to unified communications. Although the product does not offer everything to everyone, very few products do. Unison’s Client Server offering has several advantages over other players in the field, including a single server architecture–which is easier to manage, deploy and back up to a unified client that leaves little to be desired.

What’s more, the basic affordability of the product and flexible deployments should help many solution providers convert customers over to Unison’s products. Simply put, Unison does what needs to be done with little fuss and muss, and can only get better over time.

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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