Unify GmbH & Co. KG

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Unify
Founded 1 October 2008 (2008-10-01)
(Berlin, Germany)
Headquarters Munich, Germany
Area served Worldwide
Key people Dean Douglas (CEO)
Products Unified Communications and Collaboration, Voice, contact center, Small and Medium businesses, Devices and clients, Network infrastructure and security, Cloud Computing
Services Business services, financing, project engineering and construction
Owners The Gores Group (51%)
Siemens AG (49%)
Website www.unify.com/us/

Unify, formerly known as Siemens Enterprise Communications, is a joint venture between the American private equity firm The Gores Group[1] and German industrial conglomerate Siemens AG.[2]

Unify is headquartered in Munich, Germany and is present in over 100 countries.[3] The company provides software-based enterprise unified communications including voice, Web collaboration, video conferencing and contact center, networking product and services.

The joint venture was announced July 29, 2008, and started operating October 1, 2013, with The Gores Group holding a 51% stake, and 49% held by Siemens AG. Dean Douglas is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unify. Hamid Akhavan, former CEO of Unify, remains as part of the executive board. The full executive management team can be found on the Unify website.

History[edit]

Background : Heritage (1847-2006)[edit]

Siemens Communications traces its origins to Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company (German legal name : Telegraphen-Bauanstalt von Siemens & Halske) founded by Werner von Siemens on 12 October 1847. Siemens' first invention was the pointer telegraph.[4] In the latter half of the 19th century, the company built long-distance telegraph lines, encompassing major projects in Germany and Russia, and the monumental Indo-European telegraph line stretching over 11,000 km from London to Calcutta.[5] In 1897, Siemens & Halske went public.

During the first half of the 20th century, the company undertook a series of mergers and spin-offs, leading to the formation of three separate companies. The original company, Siemens & Halske, focused on communications engineering. Siemens Schuckertwerke GmbH was founded in 1903 to develop electric power engineering. Finally, in 1932, Siemens-Reiniger-Werke was founded to specialize in electro-medical equipment.[6] In 1966, through a major restructuring process, these main companies merged to form Siemens AG.[7]

In the late 1970s, Siemens AG focused on information and communications technology (ICT). In 1978, it established Siemens Communication Systems, which, in 1985, was reorganized into two divisions: Siemens Communication Systems for public network products, and Siemens Information Systems for PBX and computer-related products.[8][9] Entering the globalization era of the 1990s, these two divisions made acquisitions. In 1989, the PBX division initiated a structured purchase of ROLM from IBM, renaming it ROLM Systems, and compled the purchase in 1992 as Siemens-ROLM Communications.[10] The same year, the company acquired a 40% stake in GEC-Plessey Telecommunications (GPT) which evolved into the UK operations of the current company. In 1991, the carrier networks division acquired Stromberg-Carlson from The Plessey Company plc.[8] In 1996, the PBX businesses of Mercury Communications Ltd, a subsidiary of UK-based Cable & Wireless were also acquired.

In late 1998, Siemens AG undertook a major restructuring into four main divisions: power generation, industry, rail systems, and information and communications (ICN).[11] As part of the ICN Division, 'Siemens Information and Communication Networks' (SICN) — later to be commonly known as Siemens Communications (Siemens COM) — became Siemens AG's biggest business unit.[12] Its focus was to Internet-based network technologies, as it was predicted that global data traffic volume would surpass voice telephony traffic in the early part of the 21st century. In addition, Siemens COM placed greater emphasis on the US market, dominated at the time by Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies, and the emerging Cisco Systems; to that end, the company made two American acquisitions, Castle Networks Inc and Argon Networks Inc in 1999.

In March, 2002, Siemens Communications was divided into two major business units - one for public mobile networks and fixed networks; and the other for enterprise networks.

Siemens Enterprise Communications (2006 - 2013)[edit]

Logo when it was known as Siemens Enterprise Communications

The evolution of Siemens Enterprise Communications began in June, 2006, when Siemens AG divided Siemens COM into two pieces. On June 19, 2006, the carrier networks business was merged with Nokia's Network Business Group to form a new joint venture, Nokia Siemens Networks. On October 1, 2006, Siemens Enterprise Communications was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Siemens AG. Since then, the business focused on unified communications.

In late July 2008, Siemens announced a joint venture with American private equity company The Gores Group (headed by Alec Gores), integrating two Gores Group businesses, Enterasys Networks and SER Solutions.[13]

Enterasys operated as a subsidiary of Siemens Enterprise Communications until 12 September 2013, when Extreme Networks, announced that an agreement to purchase Enterasys in an all cash transaction valued at US$180 million.[14]

Unify (2013 – Present)[edit]

In October 2013, Siemens Enterprise Communications was rebranded to Unify, to better reflect the company’s vision to harmonize communications systems, business processes, and people.

Products and services[edit]

Unify is a communications provider that develops, deploys, and manages unified communications, network infrastructure and security and managed and professional services for large enterprises and small and medium enterprises, both directly and via partners.

Its primary product brands are OpenScape (unified communications applications), HiPath (converged enterprise communications) and Circuit (SaaS Team Communication). The company announced OpenScape with Microsoft in 2003.[15][16] Unify demonstrated SIP and service-oriented architecture with OpenScape. The company’s services cover managed services, professional services, and maintenance and support services.

OpenScape scored in the Leaders Quadrant in Gartner's Magic Quadrant surveys for both voice and UC. OpenScape UC received the top rating in Enterprise Connect's UC RFP session in 2012 and 2013.[17]

On 28th of October 2014 Unify launched a SaaS Team Communication product called Circuit which was previously codenamed Project Ansible.[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Gores Group
  2. ^ An inventor portrait of Hans Maghon. "Siemens Global Website". Siemens.com. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  3. ^ "Company | Unified Communications for Business in US". Unify.com. 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  4. ^ "Beginnings and initial expansion (1847 - 1865)". Retrieved 29 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Siemens history". Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "Company History - Siemens Ltd.". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Funding universe - Siemens AG History". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "Siemens Stromberg-Carlson Changes Name to Siemens Telecom Networks". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Siemens history". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "Siemens AG: From Small Workshop To Global Company". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Siemens AG - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Siemens". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  12. ^ "ebiber.net - Siemens Information and Communication Networks History". Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Duffy, Jim (29 July 2008). "Siemens Enterasys". Network World. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Extreme Networks Announces Agreement to Acquire Enterasys Networks". Press release. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013. 
  15. ^ Bennett, Russell (13 June 2011). "Solution Review: Siemens Enterprise Communications OpenScape Session Border Controller". Unified Communications Strategies. 
  16. ^ "Top 10 Enterprise Communications Market Events of Past Decade - Post". Nojitter.com. Retrieved 2014-02-07. 
  17. ^ "Enterprise Connect UC RFP". Siemens Enterprise Communications. October 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  18. ^ http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240233555/Unify-launches-Ansible-as-Circuit-UC-SaaS-platform
  19. ^ http://www.eweek.com/networking/unify-launches-ansible-now-known-as-circuit.html

External links[edit]