New IBM Appliance Combines a Host of UC2 Tools for SMBs
The Lotus Foundations Reach aims to simplify unified communications with “self-managing technology that automates tasks.”
IBM’s new so-called “self-managing office in a box” appliance for SMBs has been introduced, and it combines many of the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) tools needed to run a business with the ability to also connect to telephony
The new Lotus Foundations Reach customizes and extends the IBM Sametime UC2 capabilities in a single appliance designed specifically for SMBs. For many smaller businesses with limited IT expertise, the solution promises to reduce complexity while enabling employees to instantly access people and information.
According to an IBM press release, a businessperson can–in about an hour–install and configure an entire UC environment in a system small enough to fit under a desk. Unlike competitive offerings, IBM says, Foundations Reach minimizes the need for human intervention with “self-managing technology that automates IT tasks.”
In addition to its simplicity, IBM aimed to improve the user experience with Lotus Foundations Reach. Complexities associated with deploying and managing communications and collaboration solutions have been simplified, says IBM.
“From one convenient platform, Lotus Foundations Reach combines key UC features, such as instant messaging (IM), presence awareness to see who is online and available, e-mail, calendars, contacts, office productivity tools, network security, remote access, file and print sharing and backup and disaster recovery,” IBM states in a corporate press release.
IBM is also pressing the potential cost savings associated with the product. “By communicating and collaborating virtually, SMBs can reduce costs by decreasing the need for travel, supporting remote workforces to cut down on office space and decreasing long-distance telephone expenses with VoIP capabilities,” the company says.
†”Until now, the complexity and cost of creating an IT solution combined with UC and IP telephony capabilities have been a deterrent for small businesses,” says Caleb Barlow, director of Lotus Foundations with IBM. “With Lotus Foundations Reach, IBM enables telephony partners to combine their technologies with IBM’s UC solution to create a comprehensive offering that is affordable and simple enough for the smallest of businesses to use.”
IBM Foundations Reach is built on an open platform that enables and partners to innovate and build upon IBM technology with solutions specifically designed for SMBs. This open strategy enables expansion without necessarily having to incur upgrade costs.
A growing number of business partners are choosing to build solutions based on Lotus Foundations: EnVision Solutions LLC is combining IBM Lotus Foundations Reach with its current suite of applications to deliver an enhanced collaboration package of solutions for the SMB market.
The IBM Lotus Foundations Reach will be available for purchase by the end of the summer. For more information on the Lotus Foundations portfolio, visit its Web site. †