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Siemens launches cloud experiment at VoiceCon

Siemens is announcing at VoiceCon Orlando a unified-communications-in-the-cloud experiment with Amazon.com, which could result in services that avoid capital costs and provide an easy exit plan if customers decide to bail out of individual service elements.

The company has ported its voice, UC, unified messaging and management platforms to virtual servers within Amazon.com's cloud-service data center for a proof-of-concept trial. Customers could sign on for any or all of the applications.

Siemens is seeking trial customers at VoiceCon that would sign on for dedicated instances of the company's communication software to determine whether it meets business needs.

The goal is for the service to be less complex to provision than it would be if customers bought the software, as well as less expensive because there would be no up-front expense for hardware and software, the company says. Customers would also have to compile less in-house expertise, the company says.

Siemens says it isn't committed to providing these services yet, but wants to get a sense of whether customers find it useful and to fine-tune how it is presented.

The company has talked to IBM, which offers its WebSphere business application platform within Amazon.com's cloud, with the goal of collaborating on combined services. Integrating business applications with communications applications and offering the combination as a joint service is being considered, Siemens says.

With no investment costs, customers might be more likely to experiment with services before deciding whether to sign on for them long-term. If unified messaging didn't work out for a particular business, for instance, they could cancel with no expense other than the cost of the service.

Siemens says it has plans to add a Session Initiation Protocol-trunking service soon, contact center services later and is weighing whether to offer Web conferencing.

The company also says it plans to expose its software development kits to the Amazon.com developer community, which might come up with more business applications based on Siemens' core applications.

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