Siemens Communications has added new features for enterprises, developers and managed service providers in support of its belief that unified communications as a managed service is set to explode as a market sector.

Siemens worked with Accenture and Ensim to build out provisioning, billing and management software interfaces to turn its OpenScape unified communications functions into a SasS platform. It’s also added a new Toolbar Desktop to OpenScape Enterprise to provide access to unified communications functions without taking up space on the user's desktop. The toolbar allows Siemens’ client to co-exist with other clients such as Microsoft’s Communicator.

Siemens isn’t the only UC firm looking at the link with the SaaS market. Apptix has just bought out IM specialist WebMessenger for $7 million in cash and stock to create a package of unified communications tools, delivered via the SAAS model. Apptix argues that UC make sense for SasS given the complexities facing companies that try to meld together such tools on their own as well as the costs of trying to support a wide range of different mobile platforms used by various types of workers.

Apptix hopes to convert demand for hosted applications into future marketing services to enterprises. It hopes to become, “a company bigger than Saleforce.com for on-demand business communications”. Its first hosted communications service is scheduled for the end of 2007 and will include email, voice mail, IM, voice conferencing and web conferencing tools.