Sonus seeks to unify unified communications

Sonus Networks is hoping to parlay its session border controllers from obscure infrastructure for carriers into the engine that lets corporate IT pros better integrate their disparate unified communications platforms, but first it needs to get service providers on board.

The problem the company hopes to solve is that many corporations have deployed IP UC technology made by multiple vendors and they can't extend features among them due to differences in how the vendors implement standards such as SIP.

BACKGROUND: Sonus snaps up longtime network vendor NET 

If such businesses already have SIP trunks that consolidate their voice and data connections to service providers, those providers could offer UC session management as a cloud service, says the company CEO Raymond Dolan.

To convince providers to do that, Sonus salespeople are calling on CIOs to explain the potential of these services and encouraging the CIOs to seek them from their providers, says Sonus's sales, marketing and business development chief Todd Abbott.

Businesses with pockets of UC infrastructure made by different vendors can't use a simple feature such as click-to-call between an Avaya UC pocket and a Cisco UC pocket, for example. With a service that provides an overriding session management platform among these pockets.

The same architecture could support fixed-mobile convergence, multi-mode communications and even applications as cloud services, Dolan says. Businesses could enable workers' personal smartphones with UC clients, for example, and turn them into cloud-managed corporate endpoints using such services.

In addition, by using this architecture service providers could host applications in the cloud to create apps stores from which businesses could buy application services.

Sonus faces its biggest competitive challenge from Acme Packets, which is the dominant SBC vendor, but the company's $42 million plans to buy Network Equipment Technologies (NET) are meant to give Sonus the edge, Dolan says.

NET already makes low-end SBCs that are suitable to deploy in branch offices, something that will be needed to extend session management to the edge of business networks. "It's all about speed to market," he says. Sonus already has high-end SBCs for service providers as well as SBCs tuned for simpler corporate use.

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