) Business announced this week that it will be using technology from Ascendent Systems, a subsidiary of Research In Motion, to enable PBX
services to mobile devices including the ever-popular BlackBerry (News
The deal reportedly represents Verizon Business’ first entrance into the fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) market. By including Ascendent’s Voice Mobilty Suite in with its portfolio of business communications offerings, Verizon Business will give its customers an easy path to adopting FMC technology which enables all the functionality of a company’s PBX (News
) to be extended to PDAs, smartphones, handheld computers and other mobile devices. Verizon is calling this new offering PBX Mobile Extension.
Ascendent’s popular, standards-based technology, which also pushes PBX functionality to landline phones, works on practically any PBX, plus there is no need to load client software onto the mobile devices. In this sense it is fairly easy to install and integrate with existing systems.
Ascendent’s Voice Mobility Suite lets companies securely push out all of the features and functionality of their PBX to any mobile device. That means mobile workers have access to features including four digit extension dialing (including dialing via the corporate directory); park; hold; call transfer; conference calling; and voice mail. In other words, just about anything you can do at your office desk phone you can also do on your BlackBerry or other mobile device while you’re on the road.
The system also allows users to be reached via one single number which can ring through to multiple devices simultaneously, or if programmed as such, individual devices in tandem. You can even set the system so that incoming calls ring on a certain device for a certain number of rings (duration). This is a key feature because if, for example, you want numbers to ring through to you home phone, you might want your phone to ring a few extra times so you can get to it in enough time (whereas you might want the number of rings on your mobile device held back to two or three rings). If a call rings through to all devices but you don’t pick up, the call will automatically be forwarded to your voicemail. Similarly, the system can programmed so that only certain calls get through to certain devices, while other calls are automatically forwarded to voicemail. This enables you to filter out low priority calls during periods where you don’t want to take them. All of this can be programmed by the user using a simple graphical user interface on the mobile device or at your office PC – or by a system administrator.
The system also enables “seamless handover” of calls between different end devices. In other words, a user can easily transition a call from one device to another –such as from a desk phone to a cell phone - without having to disconnect and re-establish the call. PBX Mobile Extension works with new or heterogeneous PBX (Private Branch Exchange) and IP-PBX (Internet Protocol
PBX) environments, as well as with existing voice mail systems.
Another key feature of this system is that it let’s users record phone calls while they are on the road. This can be important for companies in financial services and other markets where compliance is required. The recording takes place on the PBX, is stored, and can be retrieved at any point later. In addition, all call records can be neatly categorized by the device user and also by the parties who dialed (or were dialed), thus giving companies a much easier way of keeping track of calls. Perhaps most importantly, the system offers user authentication so that all connections are secure and protected from intrusion.
All of this is what makes Ascendent’s Voice Mobility Suite (i.e. Verizon’s PBX Mobile Extension) ideal for businesses with users that are mobile and who need to be productive while away from their desks. According to analyst firm IDC (News
), about one in every five business calls are now made from mobile devices. Therefore the enterprise is reaching a critical point with regard to the need to integrate fixed PBX and mobile telephony systems.
“Working with Ascendent, we are able to offer a solution that works with any PBX to enable business-grade voice communications across a customer’s wired and wireless enterprise,” said Mike Marcellin, vice president of product marketing for Verizon Business, in a press release. “With this new offering, we aim to help customers increase business responsiveness and productivity with capabilities such as single number reach and consolidated voice mail on any device. This sort of flexibility and innovation are trademarks of the Verizon Business customer experience.”
For more information about Ascendent Systems (News
), visit www.ascendentsystems.com
For more information about Verizon Business, visit www.verizonbusiness.com
Patrick Barnard is Associate Editor for Customer Interaction Solutions magazine and Assignment Editor for TMCnet. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.