Siemens Enterprise Communications, a leading provider of enterprise communications solutions and services, today offered the first public glimpse of Project Ansible, a dynamic communications and collaboration platform designed to extend beyond the promises of unified communications (UC) to redefine how today’s #Anywhere Worker interacts, communicates and collaborates. Project Ansible will empower teams to engage in rich and meaningful conversations across virtually any communications channel or device resulting in dramatically improved team productivity. The new platform is designed to deliver increased business performance through real-time engagement by unifying voice, video, social communications, search, business process applications, and other channels into a seamless, immersive, intuitive experience.
Developed over two years in collaboration with frog, a world-leading product strategy and design consultancy, Project Ansible is an immersive platform that erases the boundaries separating multiple communication channels and business process applications and integrates them into a ‘single pane of glass’ providing visibility across a workgroup, an enterprise and the Web at the same time. With Project Ansible, challenging or time-consuming tasks such as searching for information across multiple sources (e.g. text, email, and social channels), conducting live/virtual meetings, or generating transcripts of conference calls becomes as easy as making a phone call.
“Project Ansible is designed to address core challenges faced by so many organizations today: enterprises are at the center of a complex web of interconnected systems that are hard to manage; companies are failing to drive the full value of those investments; and, while communications tools increasingly play a more central role in business, the user experience is broken,” said Hamid Akhavan, CEO of Siemens Enterprise Communications. “Building upon our leadership heritage of innovation in business communications, our aim is to define a new industry category through aggregation, experience and integration into business processes. Project Ansible defines a clear path forward to next-gen solutions through an evolutionary approach for our existing customers and creates an opportunity for Siemens Enterprise Communications to reach a wide range of new customers while leading our industry to the next generation of user experience.”
Siemens Enterprise Communications said it was providing an early look at the platform to provide customers, prospects and partners a view into its vision while also allowing customers time to plan a roadmap for an easy and seamless extension of today’s technology to take advantage of the benefits of the next-gen solution. Project Ansible is expected to begin limited customer trials at the end of 2013 and be generally available later in 2014.
Project Ansible is the result of a research and development partnership with frog, working collaboratively with the company’s internal product teams to shape the new platform’s design approach and features. That research clearly showed that CIO’s will be measured not simply by how smoothly new technology is rolled out but by how enthusiastically it is adopted by the workforce. Today’s stove-piped solutions are fragmented and incomplete, and do not adequately serve the needs of teams, departments, enterprises or public organizations. While the markets for collaboration, conferencing, CRM/ERP, content management, social, and communication applications continue to mature, they remain unique and segmented, leaving customers with the task of cobbling them together.
The assessment by frog and Siemens Enterprise Communications validated Project Ansible’s market viability by focusing on user experience and designing and building a platform that both buyers and users would value. “We are passionate about bringing to market meaningful solutions designed to advance the human experience,” said Justin Maguire, Executive Creative Director, frog. “Today’s emerging millennials and knowledge workers are working in new ways, but are using yesterday’s tools, spending so much time orchestrating work, they have little time to actually do work. Project Ansible will reduce frustration and boost the performance of a company’s biggest asset – their people – because employees will love using it. Its delightful user experience will encourage enterprise-wide adoption and seamless integration into business processes to drive dramatic productivity improvements.” To meet these challenges, Project Ansible leverages thousands of interactions with end-users and industry experts to identify and address three key customer requirements of next-generation solutions: aggregation and interoperability; a powerful, intuitive user experience; and deep business process integration. While unveiling selected features of Project Ansible and indicating more details will emerge over time, Siemens Enterprise Communications said the new platform will offer a seamless experience across desktop, tablet and mobile devices to amplify team collaboration and enable new ways to work. The company plans a range of deployment options for customers in both private and public clouds and offered as-a-service from partner providers.
Project Ansible will offer a comprehensive approach to enterprise collaboration and communication that will be differentiated from today’s industry offerings through:
- Ease-of-Use – Project Ansible pulls together and manages the daily flow of communications into rich and meaningful conversations in an intelligent, intuitive and personalized way. With unparalleled ease-of-use, organizations can anticipate higher adoption rates, reduced training time and expense, and enhanced team productivity. Smart, intelligent design lets Project Ansible adapt to the user rather than the other way around
- Persistence – Project Ansible turns meetings into automatically-created, persistent, shared Ansible Spaces, with associated files, transcripts of voice and video, conversations and participants. Keeping all conversations and content available, Project Ansible makes meetings more meaningful.
- Contextual Search – Project Ansible will redefine search within communication and collaboration applications and extend it beyond traditional boundaries to include, for example, transcribed voicemails, emails, social aggregated content, text messages, and beyond. With Thought Trails™, users will have real-time, searchable access to the content they need by topic and conversation, even easily finding colleagues who are working on similar projects and topics.
- A Single View – Project Ansible will bring together synchronous and asynchronous communication channels into one, intuitive, frictionless, “rich canvas” view. With Project Ansible, users will no longer have to jump in and out of applications, but can communicate and collaborate within a single application seamlessly across desktop and mobile devices.
- Integration – Project Ansible will be designed to work the way business works by tying into common business processes. Project Ansible comes with built-in Connectors for out of the box integration to leading applications, like Microsoft, Salesforce.com, and Google, and to several social media platforms. Powerful APIs and SDKs will enable in-house IT teams and third-party developers to easily build enhancements and industry-specific solutions, while broadening integration opportunities to other business process solutions.
Siemens Enterprise Communications will unveil more Project Ansible features over time as the company continues development and moves toward general product availability. The company established a dedicated micro-site for Project Ansible (www.ProjectAnsible.com or at www.siemens-enterprise.com/ProjectAnsible) where interested parties can register to receive the latest news and updates.
“Project Ansible integrates all the bits and pieces that we have been talking about in UC, but never saw delivered,” said Nicole Dufft, Pierre Audoin Consultants. “Based on WebRTC, Project Ansible integrates and puts into context all the tools we use in our daily work routines: voice, web and video communication, team collaboration, social networking, business process applications, content management, enterprise search, and even some analytics. Equally important to this ‘contextual integration,’ usability has been a key focus in developing Project Ansible. Project Ansible actually looks like a product people would love using.”
“Project Ansible is Siemens’ way of providing an ‘it just works’ experience to the user, delivering a full aggregation of the traditional UC stack, social software, and business applications in an easily consumable interface on the desktop as well as mobile devices,” said Michael Brandenburg, Frost & Sullivan. “As it turns out, Project Ansible is not about ripping and replacing existing back-end UC platforms, but instead, focuses on making user consumption of these platforms a much more engaging experience. Project Ansible is a solid representation of what the promise of unified communications was, or is, supposed to deliver to the end-user and a great example of how enterprise communications should work and how we as users want it to work. For me at least, it redefines how I want to interact, communicate, and collaborate as part of daily work.”
In keeping with the open systems heritage of Siemens Enterprise Communications, Project Ansible will avoid the user “lock-outs” of proprietary solutions, and will offer the industry’s first true use of WebRTC, the new standard for embedding voice, text, and video communications within web browser communications. With its strong track record of “never leaving customers behind,” the company said one of Project Ansible’s key design considerations was providing an evolutionary approach to helping customers achieve the benefits of next-gen solutions, safeguarding technology investments made by its customers now and in the months to come in its existing, industry-leading OpenScape and HiPath portfolio for small and large enterprises.
“I chose Siemens as my communications system based on price and architecture,” said David Nettles, Director IT Operations, Rayonier, a leading international forest products company. “Project Ansible is a game changing vision that really drives home that decision!”