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May 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 5
Publisher's Outlook

A Spring of Innovations

Fonality Trixbox 2.0 Launches

According to Chris Lyman (News - Alert), the Founder and CEO of Fonality, the brand new Trixbox 2.0 is the “look mom, no hands, reseller version.” The company is doing its best to make sure resellers have to touch these phone systems less and less. Indeed, Lyman tells me candidly that resellers are their future and they are thrilled to have their margins double by selling software systems like those supplied by Fonality (News - Alert).

Added features in Trixbox 2.0 include sophisticated, presence-enabled find-me, follow-me, with remote features such as call control and record. There is also support for E1 and BRI autodetect. Think of this as the wizard-based approach to open-source communications.

To upgrade, the data center gets the new version of the software and you get it the next time you log in. Of course this is one of the benefits of the hybrid-hosted model Lyman espouses.

Chums: Google (News - Alert) and SalesForce

It was over a year and a half ago when I had a chance to listen to Marc Benioff talk about how his company’s software would be integrating with Google to provide a mashup allowing companies to better track their Google advertising. Using the services together, companies would be able to utilize the CRM portion of the software to track where customers came from... Which ad, which keyword, which landing page, etc.

The two companies have taken their collaboration an additional step forward. Thus, you will now be able to purchase Google Applications via and there will be tighter integration between the two companies. For example, emails sent to customers via Google’s mail application will be connected to customer records in

This collaboration sounds terrific, but there will undoubtedly be companies who worry about how to maintain security when their vital corporate data is stored on the servers of another company. Still, this move may make customers more comfortable with the hosted approach.

The real meat of this news is that Google and will collaborate to make their solutions better. They will integrate more effectively and do their best to ensure they have solutions that are very competitive with those sold by not just Microsoft (News - Alert) but every other company on the market.

In addition to the obvious synergies between the two companies the real winner here is Google which now gets a dynamic outside spokesman for their applications in Benioff. This man has proven to get under the skin of the competition and he seems to drive competitors crazy.

It would be interesting to see if Adobe, Apple (News - Alert) and RIM somehow get involved and announce partnerships with and Google. A stretch, perhaps, but an updated form of the ASP-type model seems to be coming back with a vengeance.

Callwave’s FUZE

It’s heartening to see that innovation in unified communications is not confined to big players like Microsoft, IBM (News - Alert), Nortel and Avaya. I recently met with Jeffrey Cavins, Richard Roberts and Michael Buday from Callwave, which now offers a FUZE, an easy-to-use, personalized communication service that lets you communicate and collaborate in any way, from anywhere, from your computer or mobile phone. Fuze is a browser-based UC platform with a nice-looking GUI. Unlike many other services, FUZE works on a variety of devices, such as the Nokia (News - Alert) N800 and N810 internet tablets.

As a UC app, FUZE can handle the usual merging of email, voicemail, etc. There is also high quality videoconferencing and Skype (News - Alert)-based conferencing allowing up to about 1,000 people to be on a call at the same time. Furthermore, there is Internet fax, media sharing, Outlook synchronization, voicemail transcription, support for Yahoo! and Google mail, find me/follow me functionality, and more.

One particularly interesting feature is the ability to schedule conferences so that participants are called when it’s time for the conference to begin. Yes my friends, FUZE could end up retiring the conference call-in number and PIN code. (I am positively thrilled at the prospect of never having to dial into one of these calls again.)

A Blackberry version is coming soon and the service will soon have offline capabilities similar to Google Gears, thus enabling you to work on an airplane or subway. IT

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