Intermedia Connects NEC Customers with NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE
Most organizations know that they’ll eventually move to the cloud for their telephony and communication needs – but eventually can be several years away. The majority of businesses today rely on premises-based PBXs and phone systems and are unable to take advantage of many of the advanced cloud-based unified communications and collaboration (UCC) capabilities. Hybrid cloud solutions let organizations leverage their existing investments while taking advantage of new cloud-based capabilities and functionality, but aren’t available for most pure-cloud or cloud-native UCaaS offerings. Organizations that aren’t ready to replace existing PBXs but want to take advantage of cloud services such as video conferencing and team chat generally have to deal with multiple vendors, multiple user interfaces, and multiple management/support issues. They want to be able to migrate to the cloud in a phased approach on their own terms, but there aren’t many options available.
Fortunately for NEC customers, the company introduced NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE in partnership with UCaaS and CCaaS provider Intermedia, delivering an integrated UCC solution that layers on top of their existing PBX. NEC’s large installed base of customers can get the cloud-based unified communication and collaboration capabilities they need and move to a full cloud-based communication service when they’re ready.
The Rush to the Cloud Isn’t for Everyone
While cloud communications and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) provide tremendous benefits, most business communication systems today still rely on premises-based PBXs. In fact, around 60-70% of business phone systems in use today are premises-based. The COVID-19 pandemic and the rush to work from home highlighted the many benefits of cloud services and expedited the move to the cloud for many organizations that were already considering and planning a cloud migration. Whether the PBX is 10 years old, or two years old, most organizations aren’t ready to trade in their tried-and-true PBX for a new cloud communication service at this point in time. A rip-and-replace strategy isn’t the right answer for many organizations that have invested in premises-based PBXs and want to continue using their existing PBXs, and they’re looking for ways to move to the cloud when they’re ready.
A Happy Medium
NEC channel partners can sell NEC’s cloud solutions, powered by Intermedia, under the NEC UNIVERGE BLUE brand. NEC recently announced an extension in the length of the initial terms of its exclusive global partnership with Intermedia Cloud Communications from 5 to 10 years. A key reason NEC selected Intermedia as its exclusive cloud communications partner was to enable NEC partners to continue to own their customer relationships while reselling UCaaS.
NEC has long been known as an SMB leader and is the world’s number one SMB provider of call control products according to MZA (source: MZA Call Control Market Reports), with tens of millions of business users worldwide. A good portion of this large installed base relies on their premises-based PBXs and needs a way to migrate gradually to the cloud while taking advantage of cloud-based UCC capabilities.
For customers that want advanced UCC capabilities, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE bridges the gap between the cloud and premises worlds. It enables inbound and outbound calling via desktop and mobile apps, while providing an integrated suite of collaboration services including team chat, text, shared presence status, video conferencing, screen sharing, and file-sharing/file backup.
By layering these capabilities on top of a premises-based NEC PBX, organizations can extend the value of their PBXs to remote, mobile, and hybrid workers. Calling capabilities are available for remote, hybrid, and flexible workers via desktop and mobile apps to wherever employees are located.
Most organizations today use multiple cloud vendors for various solution elements – such as Slack for team chat, Zoom for video, and Dropbox for file storage, all with different user interfaces, management, and associated costs. UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE removes the silos, providing a single interface and integrated user experience for desktop and mobile users. It extends calling capabilities to mobile devices through a mobile app, so that all telephony goes through the employee’s corporate phone system, eliminating the need for two separate devices (one for work, one for personal use). Mobile users can open the mobile app on their device and UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE routes the call to the NEC PBX and out to the PSTN, presenting the worker’s main business number or DID, rather than their personal mobile device number.
UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE lets businesses move to the cloud when and how they want. For example, the main office can use the premises-based PBX while branch offices move to a full cloud solution, or remote workers can access NEC’s full suite of cloud solutions.
According to NEC customer Tami Boling, Director of National Accounts, American Telephone, “NEC BRIDGE allows customers who are not able/ready to move to the cloud to utilize some of the Blue features. A lot of customers wish to deploy mobility or allow their employees to work from home but they do not have the expertise/infrastructure to implement the network requirements. NEC BRIDGE allows them to easily deploy these options with very little change to their network.”
We know that cloud communications are the future, but everyone needs to get there at their own pace. Hybrid solutions make it possible to have basic PBX functionality delivered on-prem, with more advanced UCC capabilities delivered from the cloud providing more options for businesses. With this new offering, NEC customers have more options on when and how to move to the cloud.