What About Unison?

Unison Unified Communication server is getting a bit of airtime lately. Why? Cheap, Simple and combines pbx, email, IM and directory server in one box. I did some quick reading and these are some of my comments and questions.

-Doesn’t appear to have Windows Mobile Presence / Voice Client?
-Server does not work with MS Outlook.
-It doesn't have a webmail or webIM client (Note2)
-It doesn't do Desktop sharing
-It doesn't appear to support video calls or video conferencing.
-No low bandwidth codec (such as G729)

-Presence ubiquity is a BIG question I have
-Will it Sync to Windows Mobile Calendar? Tasks? (Note1)
-API’s? Application Integration? Can I easily build presence into my apps?
-Will it support existing Line of Business Application Integration?
-I see very little hardware assistance on support site. PBX will require phones, gateways...
-It is based on Linux (which is infrastructure I'm not familiar with)

It looks like Unison has a clean, start over approach. It looks like they may be nailing the simple, cheap (OCS Small Business Server market? ;-) solution--but missing that people need to accomodate some existing infrastructure. It appears they are the "new kid on block" with a ways to go to maturity.

In all reality at the moment we are using OCS Hosted to supplement an existing IP PBX or tradition PBX. At the moment Unison appears to have some big things missing-- at least for our needs.

Note1: It appears like it does for $10/user/month. Which is more than we charge for OCS hosted! Source.
Note2: The training shows a web client, but the FAQ says there is none. Maybe it is just not in hosted edition?


  1. I used a demo of Unison, it is really nice how all the features are integrated into one client. You cannot obviously use outlook because of the phone and calling features. OCS federated with a PBX system is way to hard to set up and maintain. I found the Unison demo easy to use, and the interface much cleaner than outlook.

  2. Thanks for that input!

    I'm sure it is a tight, simple system,and the UI does look very clean from what I saw. But my guess is that the "cleaner" could be another word for "missing features"?

    Also there it might be noted there is no need to integrate a PBX to get Voice with ocs2007 and needed even less in ocs2010.

    For a small company my thought is OCS hosted is a slick solution. It seems some other hosting companies think UC for small business hosted is the answer too. ;-) Setup of OCS hosted can take as little as an hour! Consulting another couple hours. So you can have the latest in communication efficiencies in half a day! And still be integrated into the solutions you already use. (outlook, exchange, sharepoint, windows server) Let us know--we can get you going.

    If anyone has anymore input on Unison I am very interested.

  3. Hi Matt - this is Rurik Bradbury with Unison. You are quite right that we're taking a 'clean, start-over approach'. Our view is that Outlook is too clogged with legacy features and that the user interface has become far more complex than what most SMB users would like.

    In terms of hosted OCS, I have not yet seen any offerings which combine Exchange/OCS and a PBX in a simple and cost-effective hosted service. There are quite a few providers offering plain vanilla hosted OCS (I launched the first such offering at Intermedia in Feb 2008) but these are quite limited in scope: IM and presence, PC-to-PC calling; but no POTS connectivity or PBX features.

    All the full unified communications ones I saw to date cost $70-120 per user per month - the Unison equivalent, from our partnership with Intermedia, costs $10 per month. Could you point me to any lower-cost 'full OCS' hosted offerings? I'd be curious if anything like that is out there yet.

    BTW Unison will be selling through partners, not direct. Our first joint offering with a partner is here:

    Best regards



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