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Letters To The Editor
November  2000


In This Month's Mailbag: 

VoIP Business Integration

I have recently started receiving your magazine, and am amazed at the changes taking place in the world of telephony. My goal is to find an "IP addressable" softphone to support my remote sales force. Currently, each member of the team accesses our corporate network via a local ISP and invokes a VPN tunnel. Once on the network, I would like to know if a PBX can assign an extension to an IP address so each user could use a headset connected to their laptop as their telephone. This would provide the ultimate flexibility to my telecommuting endeavor while keeping the costs as low as possible. Based on your experience in this industry, please let me know if you think this is possible and provide suggestions for making it a reality.

My goal is to support a geographically dispersed sales force via an Internet connection to our internal network and have them use their computer as the telephone. I would like to accomplish this without the use of a traditional telephone. Additionally, I would like to have this work with a traditional PBX system. The traditional PBX will handle all of the routing of phone calls for those employees in the main office as well as the remote employees. I would like to stay the PC-based route, so I suppose I will need client software capable of supporting IP telephony. Is it true that the client software may be stand-alone, standards-based IP telephony, multimedia software (such as Microsoft's NetMeeting), or may it be part of a broader IP telephony family? What product might you recommend for my applications?

The way I envision this is each remote employee is assigned an extension, when he connects his computer to our network he "registers" as his extension, and when the PBX routes an incoming call to that extension, the PC will inform him of the call and he can then perform all traditional telephony functions: Answer, hold, transfer, etc.

I would greatly appreciate your assistance in helping me understand this technology as it will enable me to deploy a truly mobile work force.
-- Mike Steinmetz

Tom Keating, TMC LABS Executive Technology Editor, responds:

You should check out Data Race, now IPaxess, Teltone's OfficeLink 2000 product, as well as MCK Communications' product line, all of which might suit your telephony needs.

No Fear Of A WAP Planet: Responses To The Wild, Wild World Of Wireless In The September 2000 Issue:

Hello! Just tried your WAP page and it worked like a champ! It didn't have a whole lot on it, just one headline, but your article points out some things that have my brain turning over ideas. One of the things that I have finally been able to get is DSL (at least, I will once they install it!). With an "always on" connection, and a DSL router/firewall, I have plans for some home control apps over the net. One thing I need to be very sure I have right first is security! But WAP means I could do these things from my cell phone! Oh no, more projects!

Thanks for the interesting article!

-- Charles Dunn

Hi Robert,

I just tried to view your site from my mini-browser and I got an "invalid content type" error.

For the sake of interest, where do you see the future of WAP-enabled phones and the call center? It seems that WAP-enabled phones have some potential to take the place of the IVR.

Thanks for the article.

-- Glenn Abel

Robert Vahid Hashemian responds:

Thanks so much for your e-mail Glenn. There was a database change, which was not correctly distributed to the WAP area of the Web site. It has been corrected.

As for your other inquiry, I can't see how PDA's would dethrone IVR's. The technology is still immature and too fickle to allow us to offer a definitive opinion. But I have no doubt that the wireless technology combined with e-service and e-commerce has begun to change the way we do business and that would invariably include the call center.

We invite readers to send their input and advice to ggalitzine@tmcnet.com.

[ Return To The November 2000 Table Of Contents ]

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