Fonality Talks Services, Search and Storage

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  August 01, 2010

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Unified Communications magazine.

Fonality (News - Alert), which may be best known for its HUD desktop communications platform, is gearing up for some important announcements, Aron Aicard, senior director of product management, told Unified Communications (News - Alert) Magazine in a late June interview.

“We’re going to be a new kind of company,” he says. “We’re going to be making a lot of noise starting next month.”

The six-year-old company traditionally has sold to the small business market, and for most of its history it has delivered hybrid hosted/premises-based solutions. But last summer Fonality got into the pure hosted space, mostly targeting small business customers. “And that area of our business has just exploded,” says Aicard, indicating the company is expanding its target to also include more medium businesses and enterprise customers.

HUD, a component of the service, is a client interface and comes various tiers – for example, a call center rep that spends a lot of time on the phone and needs specific functionality might use a higher-end tier. HUD can be integrated with other applications like (News - Alert) and SugarCRM as well.

Fonality also offers mobility features, so users can have their cell phones as an extension, in effect, of their business’s phone system. And it enables centralized chat logging for enterprises that need to archive chat and various other desktop options.

Aicard says that while unified communications traditionally has been about taking what already exists in customer environments and letting those systems communication, moving forward UC is expanding to do even more. For example, UC could potentially be leveraged to enable users to access multiple interactions across various communications modes with a particular customer, he says.

“There is an emerging gap in the UC space with search, content aggregation and social networking,” he adds. “People are using all sorts of mediums to communicate. For example, I’m using HUD with a colleague, while he is chatting with the president of a worldwide telephone manufacturer using Skype (News - Alert). This illustrates how major business negotiations are being held in an unconventional manner nowadays. Files are exchanged via e-mail, there are internal chat discussions and external social/consumer tools in play.“So, in a month from now, how do I recall that collective body of communications? It seems ridiculous to search e-mail, HUD, file systems, Skype logs, voicemails, etc.,” he says. “Users need their content aggregated. The UC market is falling behind the user curve. Users need all their communications to come together in a new wave of unification. This next wave has to focus on content aggregation, storage, search and legal compliance.”

Edited by Stefania Viscusi