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April 26, 2007

Interactive Intelligence Completes Microsoft Exchange Integration

By Patrick Barnard, Senior Web Editor, TMCnet

Interactive Intelligence (News - Alert) Inc., a leader in unified communications systems for businesses, today announced that it has completed integration of its popular IP PBX (News - Alert) platform with the Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging solution.
With this combined solution, customers will gain the productivity efficiencies afforded through Microsoft’s (News - Alert) tightly-integrated suite of unified communications software with the advanced contact center and enterprise applications offered via Interactive Intelligence¹s standards-based IP telephony platform.
With Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging, users have access to continuously-evolving server-based tools that integrate with desktop and mobile clients that give them fast access to voice, fax and e-mail data — regardless of their location. This powerful solution gives workers the ability to manage their e-mail, calendar and personal contacts via their mobile devices just the same as they were sitting at their PC (providing, of course, that high-speed wireless broadband service is present). In addition, support for SIP means reduced complexity and cost for implementation and integration with existing communications systems.
Meanwhile, Interactive Intelligence’s IP telephony platform offers advanced, SIP-based voice-over-IP switching, automatic call distribution, speech-enhanced IVR and additional communications applications which increase employee productivity and improve customer satisfaction.
As such, the combined solution is ideal for mid-sized to large organizations - particularly those with distributed and mobile workers.
Joseph A. Staples, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Interactive Intelligence, said interoperability between the two solutions gives Microsoft customers a clear advantage because they can now make use of the advanced features afforded through Interactive Intelligence’s all-in-one unified communications software suite. Interactive Intelligence’s scalable, standards-based, single-platform architecture has already been deployed by more than 2,500 customers worldwide, including large, multinational firms, such as Amway, BMW, Ceridian, Computershare, Eli Lilly and Company, Honda, Oracle (News - Alert), Research In Motion and Volvo.
The news follows Interactive Intelligence’s announcement on Tuesday that it has acquired the professional services group of Alliance Systems (News - Alert), a provider server and storage solutions which has been partnering with Interactive Intelligence for the past 10 years. Specifically, Alliance has been providing high-performance, reliable and energy-efficient pre-certified servers for Interactive’s unified communications software suite, which was designed to eliminate the cost and complexity introduced by individual point products.
As part of the agreement, Interactive Intelligence has gained 14 professionals from the Alliance team which will assist the company in carrying out large and complex installations and integrations. This will be key as Interactive Intelligence continues to push further into the large enterprise market. These personnel will help support Interactive’s channel of about 250 value-added resellers, as well as its approximately 2,500 global customers.
"This acquisition will help us continue our initiative to aggressively expand into the high-end contact center and enterprise markets by giving our largest customers access to an even broader pool of qualified and experienced professional services personnel, including access to increased on-site managed resources," said Interactive Intelligence founder and CEO, Dr. Donald E. Brown in a press release. "We’re fortunate to be able to immediately add a competent, experienced, well-trained group of people, and look forward to giving the Alliance professional services team even greater career opportunities by working for a company whose business is the development and licensing of software on which they are already certified."
"This acquisition does not represent a departure from our core strategy of cultivating a strong reseller channel, but does enable us to better compete for larger opportunities where the customer requires a direct relationship, or where our partner channel requires augmented services," Brown added.
For Alliance, the acquisition will enable the company to focus on its core business of server design, manufacturing, support and distribution.
Interactive Intelligence has been enjoying a growth spurt as of late — and can now boast 525 employees, most of which are based in the company’s Indiana headquarters. The company reports that it saw 32 percent year-on-year growth last year - and, in addition, USA Today rated ININ the second best performing stock on the NASDAQ last year.
The company is reportedly gearing up to announce version 3.0 its flagship Customer Interaction Center (CIC) software platform this summer. This new version will include enhancements to security, improved scalability, reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), and increased ease of deployment.
New security features will include support for sRTP (to secure the audio stream) and TLS (for securing packet headers). And, in the case of calls made to legacy endpoints that do not yet support SRTP, version 3.0 will offer a configurable alert that would notify call participants that their conversation might not be as secure as they might expect.
Other new features will include improved certificate generation, increased security reporting, and more, in an effort to improve system security and reduce the opportunity to spoof and eavesdrop on calls. In fact, the new version will reportedly scale to up to 15,000 users, which is triple what is currently available.

Patrick Barnard is Assignment Editor for TMCnet and a columnist covering the telecom industry. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.

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