Network giant AT&T is launching a carrier-grade unified communications (UC) service, aimed at providing business users of all sizes with collaboration, IP telephony and messaging services via the cloud.
Available this week in the US and in the UK and Europe in Q3 of this year, AT&T UC Services enables customers to unify their communications on a cloud-based platform, making it accessible from almost any location on mobile devices and PCs, the firm said.
"We're launching a pure play cloud service, but with optional hybrid support to integrate it with a customer's legacy PBX platform, so we can help them migrate to the new technology," Tony Gasson, AT&T director for Unified Communications and Collaboration told V3.
The new AT&T UC Services are actually comprised of two components, UC Central and UC Voice, with the latter providing the legacy PBX integration. It can be used standalone, or integrated with UC Central, according to the firm.
UC Voice is based on Cisco's Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS) technology, providing high-quality IP telephony hosted from the cloud, including IP 'softphone' capability, video and web conferencing and presence.
Meanwhile, UC Central "delivers on the promise of productivity benefits" for better collaboration, according to Gasson, by supporting tablets, smartphones and PCs, to provide users with instant messaging, presence indicators, email, voice-over-IP and videoconferencing.
Users can seamlessly transfer sessions between a desktop computer and a mobile device, according to AT&T, and also transition from one medium to another, such as switching from instant messaging to a voice call as the need arises.
Supported platforms include Windows PCs, plus BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Phone and Android on the mobile side. Support for Apple's Mac OS is planned, but not available in the first iteration, according to Gasson.
AT&T said its experience as a cloud infrastructure operator, plus its heritage in telecommunications, made it a strong choice for firms looking for a broad communications offering.
"If customers adopt AT&T as their network provider as well, they get a single point of accountability on communications performance," added Gasson.
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