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TMC Labs Innovation Awards – Part II

By: Tom Keating (News - Alert)

Innovation is defined as the introduction of a new idea into the marketplace in the form of a new product or service, or an improvement in organization or process. TMC (News - Alert) Labs has been testing, examining, and reviewing products since 1994 and the favorite part of our job is seeing new products and technologies. It has been truly remarkable to witness the evolution from proprietary PBXs with CTI (News - Alert) links to PC-PBXs, then from PC-PBXs to IP-PBXs, and finally to unified communications platforms. As such, one of the most exciting parts of the year is to review the most innovative and unique products and services in IP communications for the TMC Labs Innovation Awards. While others have tried to copy the premise of these awards recognizing the true innovators in IP communications, only the TMC Labs Innovation Awards goes back 9 years. Further, TMC Labs takes great pride in the stringent selection process for this award which typically only grants a couple dozen recipients as winners. 2008 was no exception with only 24 winners for this prestigious award.

This year marked several strong contenders in these specific areas: mobile, testing tools, video, and unified communications. In the unified communications space we had winners from Iwatsu, Mitel, Siemens (News - Alert), and Toshiba. We had some interesting HD (high-definition) video offerings from LifeSize and Polycom.

TMC Labs is proud to announce our 24 picks for this year’s TMC Labs Innovation Awards, which has been published in two parts in order to accommodate our in-depth write-ups for the winners. The complete winners list have been published in both issues, however we published the detailed write-ups last month starting in alphabetical order — beginning with Adtran and ending with Polycom. This month, we start with Radware (News - Alert) and end with Zed-3.


SIP Director v2.0

The SIP protocol has helped spawn hundreds of VoIP products and services. Many businesses rely on the SIP protocol for their voice and video communications. As such, security, reliability, and redundancy are of utmost concern. Radware’s SIP Director is a SIP Application Delivery Controller (ADC) guaranteeing the high availability, performance and security of SIP-based applications, services and SIP-aware network entities. It provides optimal call completion, failure recovery and disaster recovery. SIP Director provides carrier-grade performance across all IMS network layers — from the Service Plane through the Control and Signaling Plane to the Transport Plane. SIP Director is designed specifically for SIP-based applications and guarantees SIP service delivery. SIP Director works with a wide range of applications, including application/feature servers (IVRs, conference applications and 911 services), and is also optimized for pre-IMS networks and entities, including softswitches and SBCs.

SIP Director claims to be the first-to-market, fully SIP-aware ADC with advanced Layer 4-7 policies and granular packet classification to eliminate traffic surges, bottlenecks, connectivity disconnects and downtime. Maintaining high Quality of Service (QoS) is key to ensuring customer satisfaction. Importantly, SIP Director yields revenue-generating opportunities for operators by enabling them to deliver new services (VoD, IPTV (News - Alert), VoIP, mobile advertising, etc.) with advanced SIP-aware load balancing/distribution and advanced SIP protection. Service providers can offer premium services based on guaranteed QoS or even tiered service services with SLAs.

It supports true layer-7 transport-agnostic load balancing including UDP (News - Alert), TCP and TLS along with transport conversion (SIP / SIPS or TLS / TCP / UDP) for secure communication support and TCP/TLS processing offload and acceleration. This includes support for connection reuse, aliasing and multiplexing. There’s also advanced SIP-aware persistency by call/conference/user ID or a user-configured parameter.

Redback Networks (News - Alert)

SmartEdge 1200

The SmartEdge 1200 is a unique router platform that can deliver any combination of triple-play services and business services using a single router. Other network vendors require up to five different boxes to deliver the same combination of services as a single SmartEdge router. Redback claims it’s the only single router platform that can deliver any combination of broadband, phone, video and mobility services over any access technology (Cable, DSL, Ethernet, Fiber, GSM+HSPA).

New to the SmartEdge in the last six months are industry-first in-service software upgrades (ISSU) which allow DSL carriers to upgrade the operating system for broadband routers without taking them out of service and disrupting customers’ services. As Redback Networks explained it to us, “In the PC world, this would be like upgrading to a new version of Windows without shutting down PC or web applications. The ISSU functionality is an integral part of the SmartEdge operating system and is uniformly supported on all SmartEdge platforms [100, 400, 800, 1200].”

The SmartEdge as a single router platform can deliver any combination of broadband, phone, video and mobility services over any access technology (Cable, DSL, Ethernet, Fiber, GSM+HSPA). The SmartEdge is the first single router to deliver triple-play over wired and wireless networks. It uses a converged network architecture to manage several broadband services over a single routing platform, eliminating a whole category of single-service, single-access edge routers.

Redback claims they invested $400M on a network operating system and hardware built to deliver multiple broadband services. Other features include a full suite of management and security tools help service providers deliver triple-play services, including deep-packet inspection, ability to monitor and control peer-to-peer sessions, firewall protection, and better security tools, such as VPNs and VoIP session management.

The SmartEdge 1200 delivers more bandwidth for HD video and excellent session control. In addition, the SmartEdge delivers a better video experience by allowing carriers to dynamically provision different services by specific user during peak demand periods. They claim to be the first and only router that can manage broadcast-TV size audiences (up to 2 million flows) from single network box. The SmartEdge also enables ‘video-like-voice’ service guarantees, targeting 99.9999 percent reliability for video, a higher standard than the old circuit-switch networks. (News - Alert)

Salesforce Call Center and Salesforce Customer Portal

There is one company that pioneered the hosted CRM model and made the hosted CRM market what it is today. You don’t have to be a psychic to know that the company I’m referring to is, whose hosted CRM application is deployed by small, mid-sized businesses and large businesses alike. Salesforce Call Center recognizes that for customer service and support agents to be as productive as possible, they must have all of the customers’ information in one centralized location. Salesforce Call Center is an easy-to-use unified agent console that provides a true 360-degree view of the customer and a powerful agent desktop. Salesforce Call Center also provides up-to-the-minute reporting. The tools and functionalities offered through Salesforce Call Center ultimately reduce the length of calls and increase first call resolutions, further driving customer loyalty while decreasing call center costs.

Salesforce was designed to bring the simplicity of the web to every agent. Its dream agent desktop combines the best of Computer-Telephony Integration (CTI), agent console technology, and workflow automation to maximize your agents’ productivity. Salesforce’s easy web interface lowers training time and increases agent adoption. tells us that, “These dramatic improvements in agent productivity are highlighted by one of our customers who were striving for a solution to resolve 400 cases per day for their agents, and have actually completed over 128,000 cases successfully in a single day. The response time of this customer has dropped from 8 days to a committed 72 hours.”

Salesforce Customer Portal enables every department to collaborate directly with the customer to elevate the customer experience and improve internal productivity. That includes document sharing, project management, collaborating via spreadsheet mash-ups or custom applications. New features in the last 6 months include Dashboard Scheduling, Drag-and-drop Calendaring, and Email-to-Case Workflow. Finally, partners have delivered over 70 CTI connectors for telephony systems on the AppExchange. These connectors enable Salesforce customers to connect to either VoIP or traditional telephony systems, PBXs such as Avaya, Cisco, Envox and Genesys — the most in the on-demand industry

Siemens Enterprise Communications (News - Alert)

HiPath Wireless 802.11n

Siemens HiPath Wireless has solved the Power over Ethernet (PoE) challenge for 802.11n deployments.

The HiPath Wireless 802.11n solution from Siemens Communications, Inc. is the industry’s first 802.11n solution that delivers full dual-concurrent, dual-band 3x3 MIMO 802.11n while being fully 802.3af PoE compliant. The HiPath Wireless 802.11n solution has an innovative architecture and power consumption capabilities.

Additional power is required for dual-band 3x3 radios (those functioning in both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands) to work at optimum performance levels. Most enterprise WLANs rely on 802.3af switches, but the six radios used by 802.11n access points tend to draw more power than these switches can provide over a single PoE connection. Some existing 802.11n solutions use a reduced number of radios or frequency bands, or force customers to simultaneously upgrade to higher-wattage, proprietary non-standard PoE switching infrastructure, or even using multiple PoE network cables. This results in significantly reduced performance and more complex and costly deployments.

Siemens 802.11n solution enables enterprises to realize the full benefits of 802.11n, without costly upgrades to the backbone network and wireless controller infrastructure, thanks to its unique VNS (Virtual Network Services) architecture. The VNS architecture provides performance optimization for high-bandwidth applications by intelligently routing network traffic between the edge of the network and the core, depending on the application and available network capacities, to maximize the bandwidth attainable on the network. This architecture is designed to achieve optimal high-bandwidth performance without requiring upgrades to the existing wired network controllers, making it easier and more cost-effective to deploy and integrate the solution across the enterprise.

With the combination of HiPath Wireless 802.11n, HiPath Mobile Connect (Siemens’ enterprise FMC solution) and a SIP PBX (News - Alert), Siemens Communications offers a complete end-to-end solution for enterprise mobility. At the core of this lineup is the HiPath SIP platform. On top of this infrastructure is the HiPath Wireless WLAN solution, which includes innovative technologies for Voice-over-Wireless LAN (VoWLAN) optimization. The last piece of the solution is the Siemens HiPath MobileConnect appliance, a powerful, intelligent platform for merging diverse communications into one easily manageable and cost-effective network. Together these systems form a unique, open enterprise mobility solution that extends SIP PBX features and presence to “dual-mode” WiFi (News - Alert)/cellular handsets in both the VoWLAN and cellular networks, increasing employee productivity, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing telecommunications bills.

Siemens Enterprise Communications

OpenScape Unified Communications (News - Alert) Server

OpenScape Unified Communications (UC) Server is available in three different “editions” to meet the needs of three different segments of the LME market. The Medium Edition is a single-server solution for voice and UC for up to 1000 voice, video and advanced UC users. There is also a voice redundancy option which uses a second server. The Large Edition is a distributed multi-server option. Enterprises with up to 100,000 users can be supported with voice, video and basic UC capabilities (OpenScape Personal Edition), or, up to 20,000 voice, video and advanced UC users (OpenScape Enterprise Edition). Lastly, the Hosted Edition is based on the same configuration as the Large Edition and has the same scalability, but features additional software to support the unique needs of hosting organizations.

OpenScape Unified Communications Suite is a presence and mobility-driven set of software applications that unify all aspects of customer’s communications — such as voice, video, messaging, mobility and call centers — enabling communication and collaboration which is integrated into business process. It includes OpenScape Voice, OpenScape Video, OpenScape Messaging, OpenScape UC application, OpenScape Mobility, and OpenScape Contact Center. Further, OpenScape has extensive integration services capabilities including integration into Microsoft (News - Alert) OCS, IBM SUT (Sametime UT) and other UC solutions, as well as the ability to integrate into other line of business applications through Communication-Enabled Business Processes (CEBP) leveraging their OpenSOA capabilities. OpenScape works with any client, IP, IT or telephony infrastructure — from legacy TDM to convergence IP-PBX, or a modern SIP softswitch.

OpenScape UC Server only needs the implementation of a single software server — OpenScape UC Server — then you simply purchase and “switch on” software license keys for the family of applications that operate on that server. The applications already reside on the UC Server when it’s implemented — they just need to be licensed, switched-on and programmed. After seeing a demo of this solution, my fellow TMC co-worker Richard “Zippy” Grigonis, Executive Editor of TMC’s IP Communications Group of Magazines, commented, “This is the most impressive thing that I have seen anywhere.” Finally, it features a comprehensive, modular, native SIP UC software platform and enterprise-class voice with carrier-class resiliency and scalability.

Soapstone Networks

Soapstone Networks PNC (News - Alert)

Soapstone develops solutions that are designed to manage the complexities between carrier service offerings and applications and the underlying transport equipment and technologies. The Soapstone solutions are based on key industry standards including Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), the TeleManagement Forum (News - Alert) (TM Forum), International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and next generation networks (NGN) among others, and utilize open APIs between the network and OSS, such as Multi-Technology Operations System Interface (MTOSI). Soapstone is building a multi-vendor software-based network control plane, to take advantage of the opportunities created by the emergence of Carrier Ethernet, the need for service automation and the adoption of next generation network architectures.

The Soapstone Networks (News - Alert) PNC framework automates the service lifecycle by providing state-of-the-art provisioning, monitoring and repair, operations support, network fault-to-service correlation, performance, optimization, and planning software to carrier and enterprise customers through a services control plane. Soapstone told TMC Labs, “We are bringing centralized control to transport by providing a comprehensive resource and service control framework for various technologies including Carrier Ethernet, MPLS, and Optical as well as Integrated Optical Ethernet technologies. By decoupling services from the underlying transport network, customers can achieve maximum flexibility in their choice of technology and equipment vendor.” They continued, “The Soapstone PNC bridges the gap between the centralized transaction model for services and the completely decentralized model that exists for transport by delivering dynamic, centralized control and end-to-end coordination.”

The Soapstone service control framework is designed specifically to interoperate with equipment from multiple vendors. Their strategy is to interoperate with major network equipment components, without limiting the customer’s choice of, or competing with, equipment vendors. By delivering an external, multi-vendor control plane, Soapstone enables carrier and enterprise customers to deploy best-in-class heterogeneous networks.

One of the first applications of the PNC framework is the dynamic provisioning of services across a multi-vendor network. In addition to simple, best-effort shortest path routing, the PNC performs complex path computations involving a variety of constraints and equipment limitations (for example, bandwidth, delay, jitter, latency, lawful intercept) and other constraints dictated by network policy rules. Constrained optimization problems require knowledge of the state of the entire network and are ideally suited to a separate dynamic control plane. The PNC uses a combination of algorithmic, heuristic, and rule-based approaches to route each flow subject to the service constraints and limitations of the network equipment.

After a network event (link/node/fiber failure) the network equipment responds in less than 50 milliseconds (ms) to provide service protection. After sub-50ms fail-over on the switch hardware through path protection capabilities, the PNC, which has a database of the network topology, determines which service(s) was affected by the outage and recreates both a primary and secondary path to restore the service and ensure that it remains protected.

Chart 1. Full winners List

Adtran, Inc. NetVanta 1335 Multiservice Access Router
Audicodes Mediant 1000 MSBG
Mobile Business Challenger MBC AB Challenger mobile
Citrix Online (News - Alert) Citrix GoToMeeting 4.0
Digium (News - Alert) Digium Switchvox SMB 3.5
EMC (News - Alert) Corporation EMC Smarts VoIP Performance Manager
Iwatsu (News - Alert) Voice networks Iwatsu Enterprise Suite 1.0
Junction Networks (News - Alert) onSIP Hosted PBX
LifeSize (News - Alert) Communications LifeSize Express with Focus
Mitel (News - Alert) Mitel Communications Suite
Phybridge (News - Alert) UniPhyer
Polycom (News - Alert) Polycom HDX 4000 v2.0
Radware SIP Director v2.0
Redback Networks SmartEdge 1200 Salesforce Call Center and Salesforce Customer Portal
Siemens Enterprise Communications HiPath Wireless 802.11n www.enterprise-
Siemens Enterprise Communications OpenScape Unified Communications Server www.enterprise-
Soapstone Networks Soapstone Networks PNC
Sylantro Synergy (News - Alert) Web Attendant Console
Toshiba (News - Alert) America Information Strata CIX1200 IP Business Communications System
Verizon (News - Alert) Business Burstable Enterprise Shared trunks (BEST) for IP Trunking
Vertical Communications (News - Alert), Inc. Vertical SBX IP 320
VoiceObjects (News - Alert), Inc. VoiceObjects 7.2
Zed-3 (News - Alert) GS8 Modular gateway


Synergy Web Attendant Console

The Synergy Web Attendant Console is a carrier-grade browser-based attendant console application. It allows a receptionist to efficiently screen and dispatch incoming call traffic using a standard desk phone and an Internet browser. Sylantro’s Web Attendant Console thus offers an innovative approach to a very common business application — the receptionist console. Current functionality is based on having a hard phone on the receptionist desk with a series of sidecars attached to it as the enterprise grows. This can be difficult to install, manage, and is very cumbersome for the end-user.

With Sylantro’s Web Attendant Console, the receptionist needs only an Internet browser and a regular SIP phone. No additional software or hardware needs to be installed on the customer premises for enabling the application. For the service provider this means a single instance of the application can be offered to multiple businesses using a Software as a Service (SaaS (News - Alert)) paradigm, thereby significantly reducing the operational costs.

Some of the features include: the display of callers in queue with queue statistics; rich call control capabilities ranging from basic transfers to conferencing, park, and pickup; real-time presence indication of monitored contacts; logical grouping of contacts; and search-and-log capabilities. The Web Attendant Console uses Flash to achieve a feature-rich GUI that is also cross-platform.

The Web Attendant Console is based on the Sylantro standards-based Synapps Web Services. The core foundation is designed to integrate with other third-party web services such as Google (News - Alert) mapping or to easily extend the application’s functionality in the future. Sylantro told TMC Labs that the Web Attendant Console required Sylantro to pioneer uaCSTA (TR-87) standards-based device control capability to enable SIP phones to work more seamlessly with the browser-based call control interface.

Toshiba America Information Systems

Toshiba Strata CIX1200 IP Business Communication System

Toshiba’s Strata CIX1200 IP business communication system offers an impressive capacity of up to 1,000 users or 440 trunks and 1,152 total ports. As with Toshiba’s other Strata CIX offerings, the new Strata CIX1200 offers Toshiba’s FeatureFlex adaptability capabilities, can be TDM-enabled and can be networked with any other Strata CIX system, including the CIX40, CIX100, CIX200, CIX670, and other CIX1200 systems. This allows large companies to use the Strata CIX1200 for their main site, and smaller Strata CIX systems for branch offices, and allows smaller companies to expand as they grow. Importantly, the Strata CIX1200 and all Strata CIX systems are compatible with Toshiba’s IP and digital telephones, Attendant Consoles, Toshiba SoftIPT soft phone for laptops and PDAs, and even third-party SIP telephones. This last point about SIP phone support is important since Toshiba doesn’t lock you into using their phones.

Toshiba told TMC Labs, “Probably the really unique feature of the Strata CIX1200 and all Strata CIX systems is Toshiba’s FeatureFlex adaptability tool, which allows users to customize their own individual features to help them be more efficient with their communications solution. FeatureFlex makes the system resources available to create new or blended features and applications. It allows enterprises to create user-definable features company-wide, by department, or for individual users.”

Toshiba Strata CIX1200 and all other Strata CIX models use Toshiba’s Media Application Server (MAS) for value-added application processing. The MAS is one of the first application servers to use Host Media Processor (News - Alert) (HMP) technology resources as an alternative to Intel Dialogic boards in the server. HMP is more cost effective and does not require card slots, making the server more compact and potentially trouble free. The MAS integrates all value added applications such as voice mail/unified messaging, IVR, ACD and reporting, Video Conferencing and Collaboration, Web-based Personal and System Administration, and FeatureFlex customization tools all on one platform. This provides better application integration and significant cost savings over designs that require separate servers for each application.

Verizon Business (News - Alert)

Burstable Enterprise Shared Trunks (BEST) for IP Trunking

Leveraging your existing IP-PBX, Verizon Business IP Trunking services eliminate the need for additional TDM enterprise gateways or cards and associated maintenance costs, offering inbound and outbound call routing to the PSTN network. A company’s IP PBX connects to the IP network to handle both voice and data traffic, allowing the Verizon VoIP platform to either route those calls across the VoIP VPN to other sites on the network, or out to the PSTN network through a network PSTN gateway. All current features are retained with existing IP PBX equipment.

Verizon Business IP Trunking features include: SIP signaling, centralized or decentralized designs, enhanced survivability, extensive geographic coverage, multiple access options (Public IP, Private IP and Ethernet), support for multiple IP PBX platforms, a rich feature set (E911, local/national/international service, directory assistance, voicemail, auto attendant, etc), and more. Currently, Verizon Business IP Trunking has a nationwide footprint covering more than 350 metropolitan markets in the United States. In addition, the local service supports local-to-global coverage in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, and Australia, with plans to further expand in Europe and Asia.

In December 2007, Verizon Business introduced several major enhancements for its IP Trunking customers with on-demand networking via Burstable Enterprise Shared Trunks (BEST), more IP PBX vendors and releases (added Nortel (News - Alert), Avaya), a new path to VoIP through its Ethernet to Private IP access option, and automated rerouting of calls to maintain business continuity.

With BEST, you can order concurrent call ports for each of your locations to reduce or replace your local PSTN lines and benefit from Verizon’s view of local line ‘resources’ across your enterprise. BEST’s enterprise level capacity tracker capability can dynamically monitor use of all your concurrent call port resources and allow those resources to be shared across geographic boundaries. Essentially, Verizon Business will dynamically monitor use of concurrent call ports across all locations and allow a location to ‘burst’ over the quantity ordered/billed for that location, if ports are idle at other locations and customer has sufficient bandwidth to support. This capability can help customers better manage utilization of their local and long-distance traffic by sharing capacity on demand

Vertical Communications, Inc

Vertical SBX IP 320

The SBX IP 320 is a telephone system for single- or multi-site small businesses (scales to 32 users per system with networking of up to 72 sites through IP networking on a standard data network) and supports digital and IP phones, soft phones and WiFi phones for mobile users. Vertical’s SBX IP 320’s ease of use, flexibility, and cost effectiveness make it a good choice for SMBs. The SBX IP 320 incorporates a host of productivity enhancing applications and features often not available in small business systems, including integrated voicemail and auto Attendant, one touch call recording, 15-party conferencing, and Uniform Call Distribution (UCD), which provides call center functionality to automatically route calls to the next available representative. Other powerful call center functionality includes 10 agent groups with on-hold announcements, agent wrap up, supervisor functions (monitoring, recording and re-routing) and key statistics. Additionally it supports SIP trunking to help reduces communications expenses. It also features powerful mobile capabilities, such as with the Nomad IP handset, which gives you the ability to roam around the building on a wireless network while still receiving calls from an extension.

They also offer Nomad SP Soft phone which is can be installed on a laptop or PC to provide a low-cost telecommuter or road-warrior option. Similarly, they offer the ezPhone Desktop Call Manager,a Windows-based desktop call manager that operates seamlessly with Vertical IP and digital phones. ezPhone gives workers a point-and-click tool for handling inbound calls and is available for every user, not only the operator.

One innovative feature is ‘Hot Desk’ which is perfect for businesses with multiple shifts, allowing multiple user profiles in order to maximize the use of office phones. As far as administration, the system you can configure and service the SBX IP 320 system remotely via the IP network or traditional modem. A Windows-based configuration tool allows fast setup and quick settings changes. Supports administrative profiles so system managers can delegate responsibilities. One nifty feature in the admin tool is a speed dial editor tool make the receptionist and office manager’s jobs easier.

Vertical told TMC Labs, “It is the first digital-converged system of its size to offer PC-based first-party call control without the hardware CTI interface box. This is provided by the ezPhone program, which uses the local network to talk to the SBX system via its built-in network port. No CTI box and no server are required.” Additionally, Vertical claims that the SBX IP 320 is the first key system of its size to offer the ability to add up to 8 Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (SIP) trunk lines, providing the benefit of subscribing to Direct Inward Dial numbers (DID) in smaller increments than available with ISDN-PRI.

VoiceObjects, Inc.

VoiceObjects 7.2

VoiceObjects is software used by enterprises and carriers to create personalized automated phone systems, also known as self-service phone portals. In particular, VoiceObjects products are used to deliver over-the-phone applications using all the channels that are found on today’s mobile phones — voice, video, text, and mobile Web. VoiceObjects 7.2 contains new features and capabilities including VoiceObjects Media Mixer, a dynamic video rendering engine for creating multimodal video-based applications. The solution can deliver personalized, dynamically-generated video. The VoiceObjects Media Mixer enables the dynamic rendering of video. Video clips, audio clips, text, images and HTML snippets are dynamically assembled and rendered at call-time, creating high-quality video for delivery to phone screens. Video contents can be selected in response to caller behavior or in accordance with information contained in CRM or other databases, providing per-caller personalization. Dynamically generating video also enables other customization, including the intelligent selection and delivery of a particular video from a library of available advertisements.

VoiceObjects 7.2 features significant enhancements to VoiceObjects Server and VoiceObjects Analyzer, enabling organizations to track and analyze the completion of business tasks by phone self-service users. Using these features, business users, rather than programmers, can monitor and optimize the performance of phone applications, reducing the time and resources required for these tasks. The software automatically logs business task execution results in the VoiceObjects Infostore for analysis. Key performance indicators for business tasks are also automatically logged, including number of attempts, success rate, caller behavior during task completion and metrics related to voice recognition quality.

In addition, VoiceObjects 7.2 can track and analyze a phone application’s per-caller personalization, providing information on, for example, “gold” customer caller behavior vs. “platinum” customer caller behavior. VoiceObjects 7.2 supports Cisco IOS VXML 2.0, Edify EVIP, Holly Voice Platform, Envox (News - Alert) 7,Voxeo Prophecy Voice Platform, VoiceGenie, and others. VoiceObjects Media Mixer is the first solution for phone self-service applications that enables the creation and dynamic generation of personalized video applications for 3G phones. It mixes multiple content types — such as text, images, HTML, audio and video files and generates video clips in 3gp or Flash video (flv) format.

The personalization engine uses layers to dynamically generate one-off dialogues or prompts based on caller input and/or customer preferences and interaction history stored in a CRM database. Core application logic is separated from the way the application is presented to the caller, reducing the complexity of designing individual dialogues and application ensuring consistency and quality. VoiceObjects explained, “VoiceObjects is the only software company that has applied Internet standards in its software to such a degree, that it can deliver an (News - Alert)-like user experience to self-service phone portals. Every call can be personalized — presenting personalized menus, prompts as well as up-sell or cross-sell offers.”


GS8 Modular Gateway (News - Alert)

The Zed-3 GS8 modular gateway is a standalone gateway for VoIP, PSTN, and mobile (cellular) phone networks. It converts the format of a phone call to allow it to pass among these networks. The device connects to the PSTN using analog, the mobile network using GSM or CDMA, and the IP network using SIP.

There are two working modes in which the GS8 modular gateway connects with other SIP devices, including interconnection with other GS8 modular gateways. The basic working mode is similar to that of a SIP phone in which the GS8 modular gateway registers to another SIP device, such as a softswitch or IP PBX. Calls are placed by the PBX in a manner similar to the way a normal phone call would. In this case, however, the call is routed over the cellular phone network to a mobile phone instead of to a desktop IP phone.

The second working mode is to connect to other SIP devices without registration. This permits the GS8 modular gateway to operate independently of an IP PBX and also permits the clustering of GS8 modular gateways to transparently create a virtual gateway that has more than four wireless ports. In this mode, the calls may originate from an analog system instead of an IP system.

This is the first gateway that offers IP (SIP), analog (FXS and FXO), GSM (U.S. and the rest of the world), and CDMA in a single modular product. It also has a unique clustering feature allowing calls to pass between any of these interfaces even if they are not on the same box and even without an IP PBX.

Zed-3 told TMC Labs, “To our knowledge there exist other GSM gateways but no gateways that offer CDMA.” Further, they explained, “The mixed technology of IP, analog, and wireless is a challenge to this complex system, especially the software design. As a mixed gateway, but more than a gateway, it involves a SIP stack, different state machines for analog and wireless modules, and DSP technologies.”

Zed-3’s product is modular in the field by the customer making it easy to expand the product. While a single or dual port product may be cheaper initially, once the customer has to buy an additional unit to get to three or four ports, the cost and complexity involved make it expensive and difficult. If the customer is using an ITSP as the standard means of communication, the GS8 modular gateway can provide connectivity to the mobile phone network and also to the PSTN. These can be used as backup (emergency) routes or as a means to obtain least cost routing (LCR) for all calls. The product can also send and receive SMS (text) and MMS (rich) messages. Finally, an automated attendant (IVR) can be attached to incoming calls. This can authenticate the caller by caller ID, password, or both, before being passed to the SIP network, a security feature not found in other devices. IT

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