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Unified Communications for unrivalled capability

Gen-i’s investment in Unified Communications creates unrivalled capability and strong market demand
Demonstration of latest UC capabilities at Microsoft TechEd 08

Auckland, 1 September, 2008 – Gen-i is demonstrating the latest Unified Communications (UC) solutions for New Zealand businesses at this year’s Microsoft TechEd 08 event on 1-3 September at the SkyCity Convention Centre. Gen-i has carved out a leadership role in generating awareness and educating clients in the business benefits of UC, and has built an unrivalled capability delivering UC solutions for its clients. Its investments in the technology and services to deliver and support UC solutions include new demonstration centres, internal trials and additional certifications in UC technologies and competencies.

Gen-i has launched new UC demonstration centres in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, which showcase UC offerings from partners such as Microsoft, Nortel and Cisco. The demo centres are complemented by a mobile demo capability that allows Gen-i to demonstrate UC solutions at client sites.

Gen-i’s investments in UC include an internal pilot demonstration of ‘federation’ designed to enhance collaboration and communication with partners Microsoft and Nortel. Gen-i is the only Nortel/Microsoft Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA) UC Specialist Partner in New Zealand and, following further investments in training, Gen-i has been certified as a Microsoft Voice Certified Partner.

These investments have generated strong demand for UC solutions from Gen-i clients, such as SunGard, Beca and RD1/Fonterra, all wanting to take advantage of the convergence of IT and telecommunications and the new opportunities this makes possible.

Steve McGinn, Gen-i’s Service Line Manager for IP Telephony and Unified Communications, says that organisations of all sizes face similar issues in business today.

“UC is one of the technologies that can help address a range of business challenges, such as attracting and retaining people, lifting workplace productivity, addressing compliance and business continuity issues, as well as becoming more environmentally sustainable.

“Our clients have experienced a number of business benefits as a result of the implementations, including substantial cost savings, increased staff satisfaction and increased business efficiency and productivity.”

However, Gen-i’s experience shows that many organisations are actually grappling with the challenge of deploying integrated UC projects. In particular, organisations often lack the full set of telecommunications and IT skills required to effectively implement end-to-end UC solutions, and are partnering with Gen-i to gain expertise across all forms of communication, including voice, data, mobile, Internet and video.

McGinn says that many clients are keen to experience the benefits of UC but, for many, the first steps are creating the building blocks for UC via upgrades of their existing technology and telecommunications infrastructures. This typically requires investments in upgrades of Microsoft software such as Office Communications Server (OCS), Exchange, ActiveDirectory and Sharepoint.

“Once the foundations are in place, clients typically trial presence and instant messaging first,” added McGinn. “These applications lead to clear improvements in internal collaboration, and are a catalyst for other applications, such as mobility. The next stage is the integration of UC capabilities with the core applications that underpin their business, such as CRM, business intelligence or knowledge management.”

Gen-i has developed a 12 step delivery methodology that guides best practice in the adoption of UC, regardless of what stage in the technology cycle a company is at. The methodology covers initial vision and lab testing through proof of concept to final support and system optimisation.

According to McGinn, Gen-i offers a technology agnostic approach, building solutions for clients based on technologies from all the major providers, including Nortel, Microsoft, Cisco and Zeacom.

“Our vendor partnerships, track record of successful UC implementations and proven delivery methodology means we can accelerate the benefits of new technology adoption. With 15 regional offices throughout New Zealand, we are the only integrator that can span the country, with services, sales and support teams that assist our clients to deploy UC at a national and local level.”

Gen-i’s UC demo at TechEd
Gen-i’s UC demonstration at TechEd will feature a full Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) deployment, with a particular focus on conferencing and mobile applications as well as edge security and web.

The demo includes Microsoft RoundTable, a videoconferencing device with a 360-degree camera that is designed to work with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Live Meeting. RoundTable provides remote meeting participants with panoramic video of everyone sitting around the conference table. In addition, RoundTable contains active speaker detection technology that provides high-resolution video of the active speaker in a meeting, and tracks the flow of conversation in real time, switching between different meeting participants as they speak.

Gen-i’s commitment to TechEd
Gen-i is a major supporter of TechEd, believing it makes an important contribution to maintaining high levels of skills, motivation and excitement among its people. Over 225 people from Gen-i are attending the event, including software solutions, ICT services and sales teams. This represents almost 50 per cent of the 500 total delegate tickets available for Microsoft’s partners.

Gen-i has a large and experienced Microsoft team, comprising the highest number of certified professionals (often with more than one area of expertise) in New Zealand.

Gen-i will also demonstrate the ‘Office of the Future’ and virtual environments at TechEd:
• BizTalk and MOSS will be used to demonstrate collaboration in the 'Office of the Future' through real-time interaction with TechEd attendees. Attendees can register to receive session timetable reminders via SMS and will be able to access a chat room to discuss technology topics.
• Virtualisation and Systems Management are major drivers for increasing ICT value, business agility, business continuity and sustainability. Gen-i will demonstrate management of virtual servers, clients and applications using System Centre managing both Microsoft Hyper-V and VMware Virtual Servers.

ENDS

About Gen-i
Gen-i is at the forefront of helping customers take advantage of the convergence of technology and telecommunications, and the new opportunities this makes possible. Gen-i works alongside its 3,300 corporate, government and business customers to deliver seamless and integrated ICT solutions. A member of the Telecom New Zealand Group, Gen-i achieves this with the support of more than 3,000 highly skilled people in 17 locations across New Zealand and Australia. For more information on Gen-i, visit www.gen-i.co.nz

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