IceWarp mail: An Outlook replacement for Cisco collaboration tools?

IceWarp's new Web-RTC-based IceWarp mail platform will integrate with Cisco collaboration tools and is being pitched as a Microsoft Outlook replacement.

IceWarp, Inc. a messaging, voice and collaboration software provider has announced the pilot version of its new platform, IceWarp mail for Cisco -- an offering that uses WebRTC to connect multiple real-time communication channels into email. IceWarp will integrate the platform with Cisco collaboration products.

The Springfield, Virginia-based company is positioning its Cisco-integrated IceWarp email platform as a Microsoft Outlook replacement on the front end and Exchange server on the backend. Microsoft's Lync collaboration portfolio has always enjoyed a market advantage thanks to its native integration with Microsoft's Outlook email software. The WebRTC-based IceWarp email could potentially boost Cisco's efforts to displace Lync.

"[IceWarp mail for Cisco] is a very good complimentary tool for Cisco's collaboration tools and could help them differentiate themselves like Microsoft has done with Lync and Outlook," said Özcan Yıldız, founder and CEO of AcademyTech, an IT training and consultancy services company located in Turkey, and the largest Cisco reseller in Turkey and the Middle East.

IceWarp mail: Combining multimodal communication options into email

IceWarp mail for Cisco is built on the IceWarp Messaging Server, a technology that uses the emerging WebRTC standard to give users access to voice and video communications from inside several different applications -- including Cisco collaboration offerings.

The IceWarp email platform is available for both Windows and Linux operating systems, and combines email, SMS, instant messaging (IM), voice and video communications into one secure platform for users. It also has mobile synchronization capabilities, said Ladislva Goc, president of IceWarp.

IceWarp's email's ability to offer multiple modes of real-time communications on one Web mail server is an attractive option for businesses, AcademyTech's Yıldız said. In addition to being a Cisco reseller, AcademyTech is also an IceWarp partner. "Microsoft Exchange users cannot communicate in any form [other than email] using Outlook, but IceWarp [mail for Cisco] users can make voice or video calls in one click from their inbox," Yıldız said.

IceWarp's WebRTC-based real-time communications capabilities can either work with different communication applications -- like Cisco's Jabber for IM, or even Microsoft Lync -- or take the place of any third-party communication product or application.

"IceWarp users can tie existing functionality into [the mail platform]," Yıldız said. "They don't have to remove or uninstall anything, and it's not about just one solution. They can use any collaboration tools, but they don't have to use them in separate places."

IceWarp's iteration of its email platform for Cisco collaboration will be made generally available in September, IceWarp's Goc said.

Is IceWarp mail a viable Outlook alternative?

IceWarp said that its new email platform can serve as a Microsoft Exchange replacement within several Cisco products, including Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity Connection, Cisco Unified Presence and Cisco Business Edition 6000. IceWarp also has plans to develop a training and certification program for Cisco system integrators, Goc said.

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According to the company and AcademyTech, IceWarp mail for Cisco will cost "significantly less," -- typically a third of what Microsoft Exchange would cost businesses -- and can be integrated with third-party applications in under a half hour by filling out one page in IceWarp's administration console within the messaging platform.

IceWarp, like many other partners within Cisco's developer network, is introducing integrations between its products and Cisco's UC and collaboration tools. Despite IceWarp's claim of having over 50 million users worldwide on its email platform, the company still doesn't have the market traction that Microsoft has with its Exchange email server and won't likely be wooing existing Outlook users off of the platform, said Bill Haskins, partner and senior analyst of Duxbury, Massachusetts-based Wainhouse Research LLC.

"It's going to be very hard for an 'unbranded' company to come in convince mid-to-large enterprises to get rid of Exchange," Haskins said.

In the meantime, UC federation providers are also stepping up to help enterprises link real-time communications and WebRTC into their email platforms -- like EsnaTech's integration offerings between Cisco and Google's Gmail -- to help users have access to multiple communication modes in one place, Haskins said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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