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Envox 6.1

Envox 6.1
2000 West Park Dr.
Westborough, MA 01581
Tel: 508-898-2600

Envox 6 Studio � $5,000
Envox 6 VoiceXML Studio � $5,000
Envox 6 Development Suite (includes both Envox Studio and Envox VoiceXML Studio) � $6,000
Runtime license � $350/port


RATINGS (0–5):
Installation: 5
Documentation: 5
Features: 5
GUI: 5
Overall: A

TMC Labs has been testing application generators for over 10 years; many � such as Artisoft�s Visual Voice, Parity Software�s VOS, and others � have come and gone. Through all that time however, Envox has continued to penetrate the market, improve their product, and even acquire competing app-gen companies such as Show N Tel.

Each time we examine Envox�s communications development platform we are impressed at how much more functionality they add and how easy they make it to develop VoIP applications, IVR/autoattendant/voice-mail applications, voice portals, unified communications, mobile Internet, and more. Heck if they make it any easier to develop complex telephony applications we may as well tell all programmers to pack their bags and move to India. Oh wait, that�s already...never mind!

In any event, Envox 6.1 is an open, standards-based communications development environment that supports VoiceXML, speech, Web services, and VoIP capabilities all on a single platform. We took Envox 6.1 for yet another test drive and one again we were very impressed.

First we examined the user interface of Envox 6.1 to see if they made any usability improvements over prior versions. Once again it had the same friendly drag-and-drop capabilities. All of the various blocks are broken into menu categories letting you quickly find and place a new block on the screen. The categories include: script, variable, database, datacom, telephony, e-mail, file, and more. The development screen also featured the ability to put �yellow sticky notes� next to each block describing what it does (Figure 1). We also liked that the development screen featured context-sensitive help, which allowed us to double-click a block to open it, then put our cursor into a field we had a question about, next press F1 (for help), and the appropriate help screen was automatically displayed.

You have two choices for development. You can use the renowned Envox Studio 6.1, a proprietary development platform that supports just about any standard you can think of, or you can develop standard VoiceXML applications using Envox VoiceXML Studio. We developed several applications and tested them. We should point out that Envox includes several sample examples both for Envox Studio 6.1 and Envox VoiceXML Studio which made it much easier to get up to speed in developing applications of your own.

After you create your application, you simply assign the application to one of your licensed channels from within Envox Console (Figure 2). We should mention that Envox has both a hardware and software simulator that lets developers emulate telephony hardware/software without having to invest in hardware in order to test their applications. We tested the emulators and they worked quite well. In fact, we set up a VoIP application to accept incoming SIP calls and then used the SIP-based SJPphone softphone client to call the Envox application server using an IP address. The application server answered and played the prompts and accepted our DTMF digital clicks entered via the softphone client. We also tested Voice XML applications, which executed via an application server hosted by Envox, and these applications too performed flawlessly.

Envox claims that their graphical programming environment that reduces development time by 50 percent or more versus coding by hand. The Envox suite has extensive debugging and logging capabilities. You can set breakpoints in your application, which is useful to debug specific parts of your application. You can then step through the application and view various variables and parameters. Source code version control allows the use of Visual Source Safe or CVS directly from the development environment to facilitate change management and version control in large, collaborative development projects. Finally, extensive logs and a hierarchical tree-structure for browsing the logs made debugging applications a breeze.

Envox has an extensive feature-set. It features an embedded VoiceXML browser for executing VoiceXML scripts, numerous integrations for leading telephony and speech products, a runtime environment that supports up to 240 ports per server, support for Web services, and powerful management tools for easily configuring, monitoring, and managing large-scale deployments. The built-in speech APIs offer native integration with ScanSoft and Nuance speech recognition, text-to-speech, and speaker verification technologies. Envox supports a plethora of communications and IT standards including ODBC, XML, SOAP, WSDL, HTML, HTTP, TCP/IP, SNMP, LDAP, SS7, USSD, RADIUS, X.25, IMAP4, POP3, SMTP, and more. In addition, you have the ability to integrate existing IT assets into voice solutions by calling Web services or external applications, hosted scripts and DLLs written in C, C++, VB, Active X, JScript, and VBScript.

Envox supports remote, secure administration across LAN/WAN via TCP/IP. It also supports SNMP agents and alerts. In addition, the company also provides a Watchdog Service so you can monitor parameters you select for fault tolerant operation. Fault tolerance is further enhanced via their domain server, which lets you choose a primary and a backup server.

Other features include:
� H.323, SIP;
� T1; E1; IP; SS7; analog; USSD;
� Station Channels;
� Intel Global Call 4.2, 4.0;
� Intel Host Media Processing 1.1 FP1, 1.1; MP3;
� Intel Dialogic SR 5.1.1 FP1 and SR 6.1 PCI for Windows.

Speech Recognition products supported:

� Nuance 8.5, 8.0 SP3;
� ScanSoft OpenSpeech Recognizer 3.0, 2.0;
� ScanSoft PhoneticOperator 5.8;
� ScanSoft SpeechPearl XML 1.1.
Text-to-speech products supported:
� Nuance Vocalizer 4.0, 3.0;
� ScanSoft RealSpeak 4.0, 3.51 CS;
� ScanSoft Speechify 3.0, 2.1, 2.0.
Speaker verification products supported:
� Nuance Verifier 3.5, 3.0;
� ScanSoft SpeechSecure 3.0.

Envox has over 1 million ports deployed worldwide and for good reason � this is one of the premier communication development platforms on the market today. It is very easy to develop applications such as IVR, unified messaging, VoIP, directory assistance, speech applications, call center applications, credit card fraud alert applications, and more. With its ease of use resulting in rapid application development time and support for more telephony and networking standards than you can shake a stick at, Envox 6.1 earns high marks from TMC Labs. IT

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