Buried in the Yahoo assets that Microsoft covets is recently acquired Zimbra, “a leader in Open Source, next generation messaging and collaboration software”. Amongst Zimbra’s product line, the initial offering of Zimbra’s Unified Messaging is based on a partnership with Asterisk, the open source VoIP provider. Zimbra has an extensive list of service provider, business and education customers; Comcast has teamed up with Zimbra to offer Comcast’s Unified Messaging portal. And I have personally heard positive comments about Zimbra from a couple of third parties.
Yesterday, OnState Communications, provider of the OnState Call Center for Skype announced an expansion of their product line to add OnState Unified Messaging for Skype – a mashup of OnState, Skype and Zimbra. Basically this is a hosted service that involves, for the user, a web client along with an agent that captures Skype chat sessions, on-demand voice recording and voice mail, allows tagging of these conversations and integration with email, a calendar and an address book such as to provide one point access to all your messaging activities. An integrated and advanced search engine with a simple WYSIWYG feature allows for rapid recovery of relevant communications in any mode. From the press release:
OnState Unified Messaging for Skype routes, manages, stores and archives a range of business communications to expedite business processes and drive improved customer-contact management. Features include:
- Web 2.0 Ajax client
- integrated Skype voicemail
- dynamic call recording
- online business chat logging
- enterprise-class email and calendaring
- push-mail for mobile devices
- support for Outlook™, Thunderbird and other mail clients
- cross-mailbox search and compliance features
“With this latest offering, OnState advances its charter to deliver Web-based, enterprise-class, customer-contact management solutions at an industry-redefining price point,” noted [Pat] Kelly, [CEO of OnState].
OnState is already configuring its Unified Messaging for current OnState Call Center customers. Some of the above features, such as “push-mail for mobile devices”, will come with an upgrade incorporating Zimbra 5.0 in about a month. I am in the course of evaluating OnState’s Unified Messaging and hope to provide a full review once the upgraded edition is released.
In closing it is important to note the value of a service provider’s reliance on an Open Source application when it comes to mergers and acquisitions. Being Open Source, Zimbra’s source code is readily available to any third party. Zimbra is a classic example of building infrastructure and enhanced services around an open source application that can survive any consequences of a merger or acquisition.
Tags: Skype, OnState, Zimbra, OnState Unified Messaging, OnState Call Center, Yaho