Ferrari solutions: New solutions for efficient business communications - Stephan Leschke

Stephan Leschke, CEO of Ferrari electronic, a leading German manufacturer of quick, simple and secure communication hardware and software for unified communications (UC) solutions, explains how companies can gain a competitive advantage through the use of efficient UC solutions by using the company's innovative OfficeMaster 6 for on-premises, hybrid and cloud scenarios.

Creating efficient work processes and valuable USPs are a must for companies on an equal technological level. Flexible corporate communication contributes to this as much as new machinery or better terms from suppliers would do. Companies that combine their communications and dare to use a cloud-based system can strengthen these positive effects. With Office 365 by Microsoft, companies can reach the optimum basis for telephony and unified messaging; it can be further enhanced through the use of OfficeMaster Suite 6 by Ferrari electronic.

In the late 1980s, communication - business and later private - was changed by the invention of the internet and email. Today, we cannot imagine living and working without the '@' in our communication. Although email has displaced letters, pneumatic tubes and telegrams, other forms of communication such as the telephone or the fax have survived, albeit in a reduced capacity. Today, companies chat, email, fax, message, talk on mobile phones, video conference and use various other forms of telephony - via ISDN or IP - simultaneously. Overall, corporate communications have become more complex.

Often, the sheer variety of channels one can get in touch with employees and customers or partners via, is a burden. The information is distributed and processes can no longer be clean and efficient. The result: efficiency and productivity suffer.

Unified communications: channels to regain control

A solution already exists for the controllability of the channel diversity: unified communications, as the name would suggest, unifies communication channels. The focus is usually on email programs such as Microsoft Office Outlook. On this platform, email, fax, SMS and voicemail can be run together; telephony and instant messaging are other essential functions.

The users are no longer forced to constantly switch from one application to another as they receive all messages in any format, to their inbox. Archiving and documentation are done automatically via the email system. Increased productivity and lower costs for telephony are further advantages of a UC solution. In combination with a change to IP telephony, a provider can cut costs for devices and achieve power savings. One telephones via the IP, then the speech is broken into data packets and transmitted via the internet. The same goes for video and image materials.

Lend extra power to UC solutions with Microsoft Office 365

The positive effects of a UC solution can be strengthened if businesses relate individual components of their ICT from the cloud. The starting point of UC, the central desktop application, can then be used as a software-as-a-service (SaaS). With Office 365 from Microsoft, companies can outsource to the cloud server internal services for email (exchange) and telephony (Skype for Business). In addition, staff are always at the workplace of the future with the latest version of Office suite from the cloud. So the most frequently used applications are always up to date; a luxury many employees can only dream of today. Often, the billing of services is per user and carried out monthly. Companies remain flexible, since the communication from the cloud simply grows. Taking into account the cost of unused licences or complex installations for new employee accounts, up to 11% of the cost of support and licensing can be saved.

Security and investment protection play an important role in UC

Companies that want to use all the channels from the cloud, may extend the 365 package to the OfficeMaster Suite 6, the latest-generation UC software from Ferrari electronic. With OfficeMaster Suite 6, companies can integrate fax, SMS and voicemail. They achieve maximum reliability and investment protection for their existing communications infrastructure and are thus equipped for the future of communications. Companies that want to protect their competitive advantage should not only keep the factory gates and potential whistleblowers in view, but also secure their communications infrastructure.

Each connection between offices - and with the outside world - is a potential entry point for attackers. The Office 365 Connector from Ferrari electronic provides complete integration depth, as is known from the on-premises version. This facilitates the handling of the IT department and ensures high stability. OfficeMaster Suite 6 provides common actions such as to send and receive faxes in Outlook with mailboxes in the Microsoft cloud. A newly developed integration with Office 365 waiving SMTP requires no incoming connections. Thus, any security risks are dramatically reduced because the number of possible targets is kept small.

With OfficeMaster, existing PBXs can continue to be used. This saves the IT budget and also makes it easier for employees to switch to IP-based communications.

Special applications are not a KO criterion for UC from the cloud

Under the motto 'Mobile first, cloud first' Microsoft relies on the dynamics of the mobile internet and cloud technologies, focused on Office applications and the core competencies. This means that certain applications such as fax are no longer readily supported. Ferrari electronic is closing that gap. More than 25 years ago, developers invented a computer fax card that allowed the sending of binding and legally secure faxes without a stand-alone unit. The fax is still relevant in business communications when orders, cancellations, terminations or documents need to be delivered quickly and safely. With a UC solution, incoming and outgoing faxes are as easy and fast as an email. Instead of an email address, users enter a fax number or click on their contacts, and simply add documents to finish. Incoming faxes arrive comfortably and digitally in their mailbox.

Today, Ferrari electronic is focused on integration into the IP world, cloud scenarios included. Besides the connection
of incoming and outgoing faxes, voicemail solutions can also be integrated into Office 365. The advantage is that it is then completely independent of the telephone system. Users can listen to, delete and forward received voice messages by phone or PC. This is also able to be used remotely, and unrecognised ABs, incorrect announcements or lost voice messages are a thing of the past. In flexible UC solutions like OfficeMaster Suite 6, IT managers can then select the voicemail for each employee individually. Optimum cost control and transparency eliminate unused features and black holes in the IT budget.

Telephony over IP: heterogeneous protocols demand IT admin

Communication channels have become more diverse and the means of transmission more technical. Analogue lines , ISDN standards and transmissions based on IP are all in use. The channels, as previously described, need to merge for optimum IP communications over short or long distance. Also, speaking of locations within the same network for IP telephony, independent accessibility on a number, the voice quality and savings, such as free calls are all possible.

Without SIP trunks, the underlying transmission techniques of data, many forms of modern corporate communication would be unthinkable. But SIP trunks have a catch: they are available in different forms - a standard has not been established yet. If one wants to connect a call from one IP phone to another, it may be that the two terminals do not speak the same language, but when the OfficeMaster Gate is used, the media gateway acts as a translator. In the case of IP telephony, controls and monitors are built for the use of telephone conversations or other interactive media that are involved in a communication.

No cloud? No problem

Not all companies can or want to relocate their communication completely to the cloud. For these cases, there are hybrid scenarios; a combination of cloud services and one's own solutions, so-called 'on-premises'. Thus, for example, the telephony solution Skype for Business, as part of Office 365, is available. The individual makes calls, but the hardware is routed in its own data centre and the OfficeMaster Gate from Ferrari electronic (also available as Session Border Controller). This is the only media gateway from a European manufacturer that is certified by Microsoft Gold.

Stability and security are also a given in the cloud. Another advantage is that if the call is not mediated through the cloud, an even better voice quality can be achieved.

Operate more efficently in the cloud

Corporate communication is a key factor for success and innovation is a company's key to competitiveness.

In a phase of growing diversity - from the fax via email to video conferencing or chat - UC solutions are required, such as the offering of Ferrari electronic. It offers a bundle of channels to companies and users as an easy and efficient communication infrastructure.

Thanks to UC and IP, transmission can be simplified, the underlying framework is strong, and all the channels and forms of communication remain. Cloud services like Office 365 amplify the resulting positive effects such as cost savings and streamlined processes. Combined with a flexible expansion such as OfficeMaster from Ferrari electronic, all channels in the cloud are displayed and operate with maximum security.

Stephan Leschke, CEO of Ferrari electronic.