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Communications giant Verizon announced the rollout of cloud-based commercial Unified Communications & Collaboration-as-a-Service (UC&C) offerings, with capabilities including seamless call transfers from fixed to mobile phones and the use of “presence” technology, such as instant messaging, to initiate audio, Web and intra-company video conference calls both in and out of the office. The offerings, available to U.S. customers this spring, will be able to work together or can be purchased separately to meet specific business requirements.

The company also introduced Mobile UC Client, which is designed to extend business telephony solutions to mobile handsets. It is available with a docking station that enables workers to replace their traditional desk phone with a single mobile device that can access UC&C features, whether workers are in or away the office.

“We’re putting our leadership in cloud, UC&C and mobility to work for our customers,” said Farooq Muzaffar, vice president of enterprise network and communications solutions with Verizon. “It’s all part of our ‘everything-as-a-service’ strategy to help our customers achieve better business outcomes by making information and collaboration available virtually anywhere, anytime.”

According to Eric Schoch, Cisco’s voice technology group director, Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution helps enable Verizon to provide cloud-based solutions that offer deployment flexibility without compromising capabilities. “By working with Verizon, we’re able to help them quickly and cost-effectively offer comprehensive unified communications and collaboration solutions to their customers,” he said.

Later this year, Verizon plants to roll out a hybrid offering – also based on a per-seat subscription model — for customers that still require a fully dedicated environment and want both a cloud- and premises-based solution.   A December 2010 Gartner report, “UC in the Cloud and On-Premises: Examples of Hybrid Solutions” noted that while many enterprise planners think of cloud and on-premises options as mutually exclusive, enterprises are increasingly deploying elements of a UC solution functionality as a blended hybrid of these two options.

Verizon’s Mobile UC Client solution provides a fixed and mobile, single-device solution, and offers a variety of features including single reach and voice mail numbers. In addition, the other new offering, Unified Communications-as-a-Service, can be accessed on a variety of smart phones and tablet devices from other providers to support a range of business requirements.

The company also offers a suite of managed mobility solutions and professional consulting services to help customers develop and employ the best strategy and path to UC&C and mobility for their specific organization. Specifically, Verizon can assist enterprises in the transformation from their current environment, and support integration with existing capabilities in addition to customization.