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Yesterday, I was briefed by the open source unified communications (UC) solution provider, eZuce. Their openUC is a SIP-based solution that combines a number of key UC functionalities such as voice, video, conferencing, instant messaging, presence and mobility. What is unique about openUC is that all its components, including call control, can be hosted in a data center environment without the need for an on-premise PBX infrastructure, unlike certain comparable solutions out there in the market today. I can see the product’s potential in centralized, private enterprise clouds where it can be coupled with SIP trunking for delivering enterprise-wide UC functionality at significantly lower costs. The TCO model they shared with me showed up to 75 - 85 percent cost savings compared to legacy systems.

Though the product can scale from 200 to 10,000 users, their sweet-spot is really in the mid-market segment. EZuce opened its doors to business only last week, but it has its origins in the SIPfoundry project founded way back in 2004. Initially commercialized by Nortel in response to emerging competition from Microsoft OCS, eZuce already has $100 million in R&D investments and significant installations up and running. So, definitely we are not talking about a product in beta. eZuce is banking on select Nortel, Dell and IBM partners to sell its value proposition among their mid-tier customers.I guess the timing is just right. It is an exciting phase for the UC market, as it evolves from legacy hardware model to software-based architectures. OpenUC, with its promise of deep integration with enterprise business processes and substantial cost savings, does present a compelling business case.