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Unison: A New Unified Communications Offering

Unison is a new unified communications offering:

  • Provides email, directory, IM, voice, voicemail, calendar, contacts, virus control (ClamAV), spam control (SpamAssassin), and backup.
  • Voice/voicemail is a complete PBX offering running on the server.
  • Server end runs on customer-installed standard PC hardware.
  • User interface is a rich Windows client–in the future a plugin for Outlook will be available.
  • Technology is very standards-oriented; e.g.,uses XMPP for IM.
  • Main target is organizations with 20 to 1,000 employees, for which a single server suffices.
  • Main competition is Microsoft Exchange/OCS, etc.
  • Main strengths vs. Microsoft:
    • Ease of installation.
    • MSRP: $50/user/year, or $36K for a perpetual server license.
    • Ease of use that comes from having everything in one place.

Microsoft is clearly validating the UC space, and educating the market. Unison’s aggressive pricing and the ease of installation could be attractive to many small organizations. One wonders how prepared users will be to move away from Outlook to Unison’s own client — it’s tempting to think they’d prefer an Outlook plugin.

David Ferris

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