What’s New with UNIVERGE BLUE? Now Announcing General Availability for U.S. Partners

Last month, NEC announced the launch of the new generation of our UNIVERGE BLUE™ cloud communications portfolio.

Today, I am extremely excited to share that UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE are now generally available for NEC’s U.S. Business Channel Partner Community. This is phase 1 of a global rollout during 2020 that will ultimately include partners around the globe by 2021.

What is NEC UNIVERGE BLUE™ CONNECT and UNIVERGE BLUE™ ENGAGE?

Businesses need the ability to communicate and collaborate from anywhere at any time, both internally and externally. They need tools that are easy to deploy and use, and provide users with an integrated experience. The need for a flexible and adaptable solution to support a remote workforce will extend beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic and we built this solution with this in mind.

UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE are born-in-the-cloud solutions designed specifically for businesses of all sizes and the channel partners who serve them. Built on innovative and proprietary technology, the solutions are elegant, reliable and easy to deploy, while remaining highly scalable and extremely cost-effective.

Our cloud-based unified communications platform, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT, combines a full-featured cloud-based phone system, team chat, video conferencing and online meeting plus file backup, sync and share, all available to users through desktop, web and mobile applications. CONNECT helps improve the communications and collaboration of businesses, while being easy for channel partners to sell, install and support.

Our fully featured Cloud Contact Center as a Service solution (CCaaS), UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE, combines robust functionality with carrier-grade reliability and world-class deployment and support services. It’s designed to fit business needs from the small, single channel to the large and sophisticated omni-channel environment, and can help any business differentiate from the competition where it matters most – the customer experience.

Brought to Market Exclusively through NEC’s Business Partner Community

NEC prides itself on its commitment to building strong relationships with our channel partner community and delivering true innovation, and our new generation of UNIVERGE BLUE strengthens this commitment.

Last month, we spoke with industry analyst Elka Popova, Vice President at Frost & Sullivan, about the news. “NEC has the opportunity to accelerate the conversion of its vast and entrenched customer base to cloud services such as UCaaS, CCaaS, meetings, and file sync and share,” said Popova. “The partnership will also greatly improve NEC’s and its dealers’ competitive positions as they will be able to capitalize on the ongoing customer migrations to cloud services. This will result in new revenue opportunities, more predictable revenue streams and stickier customer relationships for NEC and its channel partners.”

Available today through NEC’s Business Partner community, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE complement NEC’s existing offerings, while creating new opportunities for partners to earn increased revenue through new programs designed to facilitate deeper customer relationships.

NEC Channel Partners can choose between three different go-to-market models:

  • Customer Ownership
  • Revenue Share
  • Agency Model

The Customer Ownership and Revenue Share models are now available for Channel Partners located in the United States, with the Agency Model being available in June. For NEC’s loyal Canadian Channel Partners, a launch date will be announced very soon.

Here’s What Our Partners are Saying

NEC gave a handful of exclusive partners early access to UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE. The partners were able to test the product first-hand and get it in front of select customers. In just the past month, NEC has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Here’s what they had to say:

  • “Forerunner Technologies is extremely excited about NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and the NEC/Intermedia relationship. Our clients have a pent-up demand for this dynamic delivery model and the migration to the cloud with advanced collaboration applications. This model is unique in comparison to other UCaaS offerings and allows Solution Integrators better ability to control the end user experience while keeping costs in line. Congratulations to NEC on this move!” – Paul Diesu, CEO of Forerunner Technologies

  • “We’re excited to take part in the full launch of the new NEC UNIVERGE BLUE! This will be a turning point in the future of NEC UCaaS solutions and sales, and looking forward to presenting the fresh new look to our current customers and new prospects.” – Scott Ellman, Director of Sales, Advanced Communication Solutions

  • “NEC Blue delivers a complete public, private and hybrid cloud offering to NEC SI Partners. The NEC Blue allows the SI to deliver this offering in an Ownership, Revenue Share or Agency Model. NEC Blue Team provides Inside Sale Support, Marketing and technical support to the SI, allowing the SI to engage in any opportunity. DTC has engaged NEC Blue Team in multiple call center opportunities. NEC Blue can provide a simple to very advance call center solution. A truly SI centric model.” – Gordon Maccani, President, Digital Telecommunication Corp

I couldn’t be more excited for NEC and our partners as we deepen our roots in the UCaaS and CCaaS markets and help our customers transition to the cloud. So come join us, it’s going to be a fun ride! For more information on UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and ENGAGE, visit http://univergeblue.com. Or, if you’re interested in learning more about our Channel Partner Program, reach out to us via the form below.

Become a Partner

We welcome your interest in our products, solutions and services. If you have any questions about the Channel Partner Program, please submit your query below.

NEC Extends Special Offers to Customers During COVID-19 Outbreak

As we all attempt to come to terms with the effects that the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) is having on our nation, protecting the safety of our communities, medical professionals and those that are working to provide essential services must be an unwavering priority. For those organizations that have found themselves struggling, NEC is here to help as best as we can with communication needs. As a global leader in advanced communications and collaboration technology, we are working with customers who provide essential public services to keep the lines of communications and cooperation open. We stand by our corporate pledge to deliver solutions and services of social value to provide safety, security and operational efficiency—and this commitment has never been more relevant.

In support of nationwide efforts to keep those working safe and connected, we can assist in solving communication issues as they arise, as well as provide economic and cost-effective remote communication tools to keep businesses operating and employees contributing when working from home.

As part of NEC’s commitment to our customers, partners and society, we are extending a variety of offers to our existing customers to provide relief to those affected by COVID-19. These offers aim to assist those who are on the front-line and those working remote by providing organizations and employees with the resources needed to stay connected, efficient and safe during these unprecedented times; and we are pleased to announce that we have already been able to assist hundreds of customers through these programs. While today’s circumstances have created many societal and professional challenges in the world, NEC is committed to helping organizations minimize the effect of communication restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus.

Supporting Remote Workforces

While many organizations have implemented mandatory work-from-home policies to adhere to local social-distancing guidelines, effective and flexible remote voice communications is a requirement now more than ever. To help support the massive number of organizations whose employees suddenly transitioned towards a work-from-home environment, NEC is extending special offers to help keep remote employees safer, more connected and efficient while working at home.

IP Station and Softphone Licenses:

An IP station and soft phone capabilities can turn an employee’s PC into a virtual business telephone. A softphone and IP station are ideal for those working remotely and now have the need for alternative and additional means of communication.

NEC is offering customers the option to utilize IP Station and Softphone Licenses on their NEC voice communications platform systems now through June 30, 2020 with the option to return these licenses with no restocking fees. This offer includes all of our softphone offerings including the UNIVERGE SP350 softphone, UNIVERGE ST500 smartphone client, Multiline Client Mobile (MLC) and UNIVERGE 3C soft media phone (SMP).  If you are an existing NEC IP communications platform user, your system already has the technology to immediately begin deploying remote softphone clients.

NEC will waive the add-on Software Assurance (SWA) requirement for these licenses at the time of purchase. Licenses may be returned to NEC for credit at any time prior to June 30, 2020 and NEC will waive all restocking fees.

Reduced Collaboration Pricing:

NEC Meeting Center (NMC) provides a ‘suite of applications’ which includes, audio conferencing, web collaboration, predefined dial-out conferencing and mass notification for all of NEC’s communications platforms. This comprehensive suite equips your employees with the tools they need to help them remain connected, efficient, and informed. Your employees can remain responsive and productive through real-time sharing of information and most importantly, remaining safe while servicing customers from their own home.

We have reduced the price of NEC Meeting Center (NMC) conference and collaboration solution in order to support those who had to make the sudden transition to a remote work environment. NEC Meeting Center (NMC) special discount offer is available through July 1, 2020 in response to COVID-19.

Protecting in-office workers

In industries such as healthcare, hospitality, retail, food service, manufacturing, non-profit organizations government agencies and critical infrastructure, there are employees who do not have the luxury to transfer their work to their home. For roles in these industries such as nurses, doctors, warehouse personnel, store managers, government personnel and restaurant staff – the need for on-campus mobile devices still exists.

Reduced IP DECT Handset Pricing:

NEC’s IP DECT i766 and G577 handsets have an IP65 rating (IP65 Enclosure Rating – IP rated as "dust tight" and protected against water projected from a nozzle), meaning they are water spray protected. As such, they may be cleaned easily without concern of damaging the units. This rating is not common for on-campus mobility solution devices.

NEC is currently offering an introductory bundle at a significantly reduced price to help protect those who are on-campus providing essential services. We are extending the IP DECT intro offer through June 30, 2020 in support of the men and women that are going into work every day during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please let us know if we can assist you in anyway during this unprecedented time and if you would like more information about NEC’s communication and collaboration solutions. If you would like to learn more about the special offers, please reach out to your NEC account manager. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide you with any relevant information as it becomes available. The safety and health of everyone concerned is NEC’s main priority. On behalf of every NEC employee, stay healthy and thank you!

How can we help?

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Fill out the form, and we will get back with you.

Hybrid Cloud: An Alternative State for Enterprise Unified Communications and Collaboration

nec-hybrid-cloud-optionDespite the recent success of Unified Communications (UC) providers utilizing the public cloud in the SMB space, enterprise IT stakeholders can still be hesitant to make the move in taking their business communications entirely to the public cloud. Explanations for this often include reasoning based on a misunderstanding of the advancements made in public cloud security and availability, previous investment in costly on-premises equipment, or simply, their corporate culture.

The hybrid cloud could be the answer for businesses either investing in Unified Communications solutions for the first time, or that are looking to re-tailor their solution to better address certain business concerns.

According to Gartner VP Distinguished Analyst, Thomas J. Bittman, in a September 3, 2013 report titled, ‘Private Cloud Matures, Hybrid Cloud is Next,’ “While actual hybrid cloud computing deployments are rare, nearly three-fourths of large enterprises expect to have hybrid deployments by 2015.”

Hybrid Cloud for Enterprises

By definition, the Unified Communications & Collaboration (UCC) hybrid cloud is the combination of both private cloud and public cloud UCC components.  And its appeal is the wide array of options that it presents to enterprises.

Private Cloud for Enterprises

The private cloud offers enterprises secure solutions that are designed to keep data and resources safe on-premises. Enterprises generate a lot of sensitive information—customer data, voicemail, and email copies—and, depending on the corporate policy, confidential data analytics and mission-critical systems can be deemed too important to run on the public cloud. Having a private cloud in place is necessary for many enterprises to perform these and other functions, keeping them well within the bounds of the compliance procedures set by an individual company.

Main Drawback: Private clouds are expensive and are often inflexible. They often cannot scale to meet growing demands, and add more to the organization’s budget in infrastructure and maintenance costs.

Public Cloud for Enterprises

The public cloud, very simply, offers scalability and flexibility that the private cloud cannot easily match. Public cloud service providers are able to make resources, such as applications and storage, available to enterprises at any time.  They also use the newest technologies available, providing an organization with new services without ruining the bottom line. And, public clouds typically have better utilization rates and are flexible enough to meet the demand of your enterprise while still keeping infrastructure costs low.

Main Drawback: In many cases, when a quality provider is chosen, no drawback exists.  Unqualified providers, however, are often questioned on their ability to provide security, compliance, and data protection.

Hybrid Cloud for Enterprises

Sometimes the best infrastructure for UCC requires both public and dedicated environments. The Hybrid cloud, once thought of as the bridge to the public cloud has, in fact, become the last stop for many medium and large enterprises.

Best-Fit Infrastructures: Hybrid Unified Communications and Collaboration

Hybrid UCC allows enterprises to procure UCC services through several deployment models while supporting the service integration needed to deliver a UCC experience in much the same way as can be done with the public cloud. The main difference is that hybrid UCC allows an enterprise to tailor the cloud deployment model to their specific communication needs, security policies, or budget in the case of companies who have investments in existing premises equipment (e.g. PBX).  Hybrid also gives premises-based users the ability to migrate to the cloud at a pace that suits current business needs, and can strengthen a business continuity strategy.

With the hybrid cloud, many UCC components can live behind the corporate firewall. Other components, that need the elasticity and quick provisioning that the public cloud offers will have that too. Instead of choosing one option or the other, the hybrid cloud provides enterprises with another alternative for secure, scalable UCC solutions.

Rationalizing the Move to Hybrid Cloud UCC

If you’d like to learn more about hybrid UCC and how it can work for your business, NEC experts are more than happy to help. We can provide you with consulting services and quotes that can help you determine what a customized cloud strategy could do for your long and short term business goals.

How a Zero Percent Lease can Enhance Your Communications System

nec-zero-percent-communications-leaseMany organizations find that they need to update their existing communications systems, but lack the Capital budget to do so, or they’re simply apprehensive to make an investment in technology which seems to be ever-changing.  However, in our current business climate, the status quo when it comes to technology upgrades quickly leads to reduced productivity, poor customer service and increased cost. For this reason, many leading organizations have moved their technology upgrades from their Capital budget to their Operating budget by leveraging financing.

To replace or not to replace?

Let’s face it, advances in technology are designed to make us more productive and give us the ability to perform more efficiently while enhancing responses to our customer’s needs. That being said, if you’re not leveraging technology to provide better service, you may be at a disadvantage when compared to your competitors.

Technology is changing so rapidly that whatever you acquire today may be obsolete within five years. If you’re wrestling with the dilemma of whether or not upgrading seems worth it, you’re not alone. More and more businesses are reaping all the benefits of new technology while simultaneously hedging against technology obsolescence through a Fair Market Value lease. A Fair Market Value lease option allows your organization to obtain all of the productivity benefits and enhanced customer service capability delivered by today’s Unified Communications, Mobility & Collaboration tools while giving you the ability to retain your hard-earned cash and providing you with the least-cost option to deliver a solid ROI.

A good example of this is NEC Financial Services’ current offering of Fair Market Value leases with rates at or even below zero percent. For many organizations, these rates produce a monthly cost figure on a new solution which often falls well below what the organization is currently spending for maintenance alone. With these figures, finding the elusive ROI becomes easily achievable. Additionally, this financing structure provides all the benefits derived from the use of the new technology without having to worry about ownership and the risks associated with long-term investment in ever-changing technology.

You don’t have to spend money to make money!

If you think you have to expend large amounts of capital just to grow your business, think again. Financing opportunities like the one mentioned above lends other options. Are you wondering how this is possible? Take a look at the following example:

ABC Company has identified that upgrading their outdated PBX provides an opportunity for significant cost savings. But there’s a problem. With no funds left in this year’s Capital budget, their IT Department will pay more for their existing, inefficient infrastructure until funds are available. Not to mention the risks associated with operating an outdated system that exposes the business to equipment failure.

What now?

With the help of NEC Corporation of America, ABC Company performs a cost analysis and determines that by leveraging NEC Financial Services’ 0% Fair Market Value promotional lease, they’re able to obtain the technology they need now at a rate that falls below what they’re currently spending for maintenance alone! Moreover, the improved productivity and enhanced customer service experience they’re able to produce by implementing Unified Communications and Collaboration is helping them to retain and acquire more customers. This makes the new solution a revenue producer rather than a cost burden.

Don’t get stuck in a rut like ABC Company – leverage a technology financing partner who offers the most accommodating (and cost reducing) structure for you. With NEC Financial Services, it’s a win-win with 0% FMV offered for 48 or 60 months on select communications systems. You’ll want to take advantage of this offer quickly. The savings are great but they won’t last. The offer ends August 30, 2013. For additional details, click here.
For more information and to learn how you can take advantage of a 0% Fair Market Value Lease, ask your authorized NEC Associate, or click below. If you don’t have an Associate, you can find one here.