Polycom, Inc., recently announced a full-featured, SIP-based attendant phone console for executive assistants, receptionists, secretaries, and administrative assistants who manage and monitor multiple simultaneous calls. The SoundPoint IP attendant phone console comprises the new SoundPoint IP 601 SIP desktop phone and up to three SoundPoint IP Expansion Modules.
Designed to improve productivity and effectiveness of telephone attendants, the attendant console allows users to accept, screen, dispatch, and monitor up to 24 concurrent calls. These advanced call-handling capabilities help augment telephone attendant productivity and performance and improve customer satisfaction through faster, more accurate call routing and fewer dropped calls.
The SoundPoint IP attendant phone console gives our customers the familiar push-button interface as traditional PBX and key system attendant console solutions, and through SIP delivers expanded capabilities that were not available before, says Robert Haley, senior engineer with Alltel. The Polycom attendant phone console offers multiple ways for managing calls, which enables users to adapt the phone to their preferred style. This complements Polycoms existing line of VoIP phones and fulfills the previously unmet customer need for a desktop phone solution that effectively replaces legacy attendant consoles.
The SoundPoint IP 601 SIP desktop phone supports six lines and provides a powerful tool for users requiring an advanced feature set. Based on the award-winning SoundPoint IP 600, the SoundPoint IP 601 delivers high-quality voice with Polycom Acoustic Clarity Technology, the expandability to support up to three SoundPoint IP Expansion Modules, and advanced functionality including multiple call and flexible line appearances, HTTPS secure provisioning, instant messaging, presence, custom ring tones, and three-way local conferencing. The phone features built-in, dual-mode, auto-sensing Power over Ethernet circuitry.
The SoundPoint IP Expansion Module augments the user interface of the SoundPoint IP 601 with a high-resolution graphical LCD and 14 illuminated multifunctional keys that can be automatically configured as a line registration, call appearance, or speed-dial/DSS. The SoundPoint IP Expansion Module is a true plug-and-play device that requires no configuration or dedicated powering as signaling and power are provided by the host SoundPoint IP 601 phone.
When equipped with up to three SoundPoint IP Expansion Modules, the SoundPoint IP 601 delivers the advanced call handling capabilities and enhanced user interface of a high-performance attendant phone console featuring up to four high-resolution LCDs and up to 48 illuminated multifunctional keys that allows users to effectively accept, screen, dispatch, and monitor up to 24 concurrent calls.
AltiGen Dials Up New VoIP Phones
By David Sims
AltiGen Communications, Inc., has announced the release of its IP 710 business VoIP telephone, which AltiGen CEO Gilbert Hu describes as filling the gap between advanced business features on the telephone and IP telephony.
The 710 gives users single-button access to voicemail, activity/presence selection, voicemail greeting selections, call recording, call conferencing, call transferring, and even placing calls to employees in other countries.
The four-line, backlit liquid crystal display of the IP 710 is capable of displaying time, Caller ID name and number, real-time call center workgroup statistics, do-not-disturb, and call forwarding status.
It can be personalized with 15 backlit user-defined keys for any combination of configurable features like, but not limited to, speed-dialing, extension busy/ringing appearances, call appearances, line appearances, and workgroup activity status, company officials say.
The IP 710 is compatible with third-party hands free headsets using AltiGens dedicated headset answering button and amplified industry standard RJ9 and 2.5mm headset ports and also provides 14 combined traditional and melodic ring tones, which can be assigned to line and extension appearances on the programmable keys.
This past May AltiGen announced a partnership with Commtech, a distributor of Internet, networking and security products in Ireland, to distribute AltiGens IP phone systems and call center products to the Irish market as part of what company officials called AltiGens continuing strategic plans for growth in Europe.
Commtech will be a specialist distributor of AltiGen technology and a component in AltiGens plans to sell VoIP and IP convergence products to the small and mid-sized Irish enterprise market. Commtech will also provide independent advisory and installation services to support the AltiGen reseller channels.
FacetPhone Version 3 Announced
FacetCorp has announced feature additions to FacetPhone. With the release of FacetPhone Version 3, significant new features have been added for both call center and multi-location businesses. Version 3 also expands the computer telephony integration capability of FacetPhone, adds T1 support, and offers numerous other features.
Companies with call centers have a host of new options available to help manage their businesses. In addition to call recording, FacetPhone V3 supports call monitoring and call barge-in. Supervisors and managers may monitor calls, and may optionally record calls or barge in to calls on-the-fly as needed. The FacetPhone graphical user interface (GUI) has a new, separate window for the automatic call distribution queues, and new status information to show if a call is in the queue or is being monitored.
Companies with multiple locations now have a tremendous new tool to help their offices communicate easily and cost-effectively. FacetPhone customers may continue to run their local phone system from a local FacetPhone server/controller. But with FacetPhone V3, servers in different locations are aware of, and cooperate with, other FacetPhone servers over the wide area network. Through FacetPhones cooperating server functionality, employees may call co-workers in a remote office just as if it was a local extension.
FacetPhone Version 3 further expands upon the capability provided with the UTAPI (Universal Telephone API) protocol. The original UTAPI implementation allowed customers Linux and UNIX data base applications to quickly and easily dial the phone and retrieve the CallerID from FacetPhone so as to generate a customer database screen pop. With Version 3, the UTAPI protocol has been extended to handle customer applications running on a Microsoft Windows platform.
FacetPhone Version 3 has many other new features, including:
Call Detail Reporting (CDR) Web interface for flexible and quick ad-hoc reports
Soft phone support with dynamically assigned IP addresses
Dialing restrictions both system-wide and station level
SIP T1 PSTN Gateway Support
Direct Inward Dial (DID)
Carry forward original CallerID on forwarded calls
Optionally display the called group name on the telephone CallerID display (and the GUI) rather than the CallerID data
Automatic GUI user login and Telephone User Interface (TUI) login www.facetcorp.com
Switchvox Launches SOHO IP PBX System
Switchvox has unveiled Switchvox SOHO, described as a full-featured, easy-to-use IP PBX solution starting at an affordable price of $995.
Switchvoxs flagship product, Switchvox, has been upgraded to offer a more feature-rich experience for larger companies. Customers with an existing support contract will be automatically upgraded to the full-featured version of the product and continue to receive updates. Customers without a support contract will be given a 30-day option to purchase a support contract in order to be upgraded to the advanced version.
We have been listening closely to our customer feedback and, by adding more advanced features to our flagship product, we are able to meet the unique requirements of growing companies, says Joshua Stephens, CEO of Switchvox. With the introduction of Switchvox SOHO, we are continuing to give small businesses the opportunity to deploy an affordable, easy-to-use IP PBX system. As the market continues to grow, we will work with customers to meet their demands and provide affordable, feature-rich communications solutions.
According to research firm In-Stat, between now and 2009, server-based IP PBX shipments will grow from 9.5 million lines to 28.1 million, at which point such systems will represent over 91% of total PBX shipments.
Switchvox is built on open source standards. It is designed to work with all SIP compatible hardware and software phones as well as standard analog handsets. Calls can be sent over the Internet to VoIP providers worldwide and directly to remote corporate offices, by peering Switchvox systems using the SIP or IAX protocols.
Advanced features in the upgraded version include:
Conference bridge: Set up advanced conference rooms with user-defined private access codes.
Busy call rules: Set up different messages to play when users are on a call versus normal voicemail recordings.
Unified messaging: Users now have advanced control over their voicemail messages from their e-mail.
Extension groups: Administrators can now group extensions into business groups to help organize communications.
Voicemail forwarding: Switchvox can automatically forward messages to other users or groups on the system when a message is received.
Call API: Allows external programs to send commands to Switchvox and these commands trigger the IP PBX to perform certain tasks.
Call center statistics: Improved queue statistics with real-time graphs give valuable insight into the performance of agents.
Paging and intercom: Contact groups of users easily using one-way paging or two-way intercom features.
Switchvox SOHO is available immediately starting at $995 and the advanced Switchvox IP PBX product is available for $2,495.
Announcing BlueNote Networks
BlueNote Networks announced the official launch of the company and its SessionSuite product platform. Based on open standards, SessionSuite is an interactive communication platform designed as a component-based, distributed software solution, with an eye towards providing a low cost alternative to todays VoIP solutions.
SessionSuite brings together real-time, interactive communications and service-oriented architectures to advance business process productivity. According to a company announcement, BlueNote was created around the premise of fulfilling unmet customer needs for globally-reachable services via efficiently deployable and cost-effective IP telephony products.
Tom Burkardt, Chairman and CEO of BlueNote has some experience in telecom; he has been CEO of Wavesmith, he founded Castle Networks, he served as COO of Unisphere Networks, he was the business unit director at Cascade Communications, founder and director of Cabletron Systems IBM Interconnectivity Products Business Unit, and held various engineering and management positions at Wang Laboratories. He also served as a Venture Partner at Fidelity Ventures, where the concept of BlueNote came together.
While at Fidelity Ventures I became aware of a project to fulfill Fidelity Investments desire for a cost-efficient Internet implementation, allowing global reach and increased flexibility. It turns out that these goals are common to many other enterprises, said Burkardt. Simply put, enterprises wonder why they cant leverage the Internet along with their existing IP infrastructure to realize the same benefits that consumers enjoy from services such as those offered by Vonage and Skype. This is the issue that BlueNote Networks is addressing.
According to a company press release, The traditional IP/PBX is based on a mainframe-like architecture that is fast becoming legacy infrastructure. Businesses with communication-intensive workflows are attempting to integrate communications with data center applications to accelerate business processes. Companies need an easy-to-integrate platform and simple, yet powerful, applications that change the way businesses communicate and operate. The traditional IP/PBX does not easily meet the demands of decentralized or distributed communication needs.
Oki Electric Offers New Mid-sized IP-PBX, IPstage EX300
Oki Electric Industry Co., Ltd. announced the launch of its latest IP-PBX model IPstage EX300, for mid- and small-sized offices. The release adds a new multifunctional IP phone to Okis lineup, which includes Okis original eSound (excellent sound) technology.
As IP networks penetrate into the office environment, demands to link them with various applications and be SIP-compliant have been increasing. This IPstage EX300 is the answer to such needs, responding to the changes we, as the market leader, recognize, says Masashi Tsuboi, President of IP Systems Company at Oki Electric. Not only can users experience the enhanced service functions of the IP-PBX, but they can also enjoy easy-to-use IP phone with excellent sound quality and advanced functions.
IPstage EX300 is a successor to IPstage EX100 launched in September 2002. The newly added IP multifunctional telephone, the MKT-IP-30DKW, has Okis high sound quality e-sound technology built-in. The phone is compliant with IEEE802.3af and enables users to set up to 30 functional keys. The phone also includes address book and call record functions. In addition, SIP terminals, such as Com@WILL Softphone and N900iL the FOMA mobile phone and wireless LAN handset, can be connected to the system. Combing the new phones with Okis wireless LAN access point, MWINS BR2100 Series, users can establish a mobile centrex system at a low cost.
Users can also include Okis IP-compliant PHS (Personal Handyphone System) cell station in the system, which eliminates the need to install telephone systems at each location, and can establish a low-cost mobile environment by controlling the PHS handsets at satellite offices via IP networks.
LineSider Communications Launches SecureVoIP
LineSider Communications has announced the availability of SecureVoIP, a policy-based VoIP security service. LineSiders SecureVoIP solution is designed to provide the enterprise customer with a policy-based security management and network control capability to automatically provision, implement, and manage VoIP communications, to the device and user application level.
LineSider Communications has deployed SecureVoIP at a number of enterprises, including Omni Capital Group, Centennial Insurance, and DecisionOne.
The solution was created to provide any enterprise particularly security-sensitive industries such as healthcare, financial services, and government agencies a policy-based security management and network control capability critical in managing converged VoIP, data, and video enterprise networks.
Security, as well as the reach and economics of the Internet, were critical considerations when selecting and implementing a VoIP platform, says Neal Bibeau, CEO of DecisionOne. Ensuring our VoIP traffic was as secure as our data network was imperative in order to take advantage of network convergence.
At the core of LineSiders SecureVoIP solution is WirePower Converged Control technology, a powerful network operating and directory management system that offers a set of policy features and management capabilities. These capabilities create a secure VoIP networking environment, provision new sites and end users on-the-fly, and provide the management tools critical in controlling a converged enterprise networking environment. SecureVoIP offers Real-Time Security encryption of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) call processing traffic and Real-Time Protocol (RTP) audio streams without compromising voice quality or network performance.
As VoIP becomes a more popular means of communication, enterprises will need to look at ways of making it more secure, says Elka Popova, industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan. Our predictions at Frost & Sullivan are by 2010, IP PBX and hosted IP telephony will account for about 30 percent of enterprise CPE and hosted lines, respectively. As those numbers become reality, there is no question that the need for security in the VoIP space will become a top-of-mind issue for any size enterprise.
Security management is critical to driving widespread adoption of VoIP in the enterprise market; it is one of the top concerns among CIOs who are considering VoIP and seeking a way to reduce their dependency upon costly frame relay and MPLS networks, says Harley Stowell, CEO of LineSider. Our mission at LineSider has been to provide businesses with peace of mind and quality of service through our SecureVoIP platform, while providing a single interface to manage it all. We anticipate that before long, every enterprise using a VoIP network will seek the necessary security safeguards.
LineSiders Zero-1 Enterprise product line, which includes the SecureVoIP offering, delivers Real-Time Security of SIP and RTP, through the use of Policy Enforcement Points (PEPs) located at customer site locations and the BroadSoft VoIP platform, BroadWorks through New Global Telecom (NGT). LineSider provides policy administration and management of the PEPs for the delivery of secured business-class VoIP and IP VPN networking. SecureVoIP is enabled for site-to-site calling across the enterprise network as well as securing the VoIP call from customer premises, through the Internet, to BroadWorks before the call is handed off to the PSTN.
SERVICE PROVIDER NEWS
Telcordia Launches Maestro IMS Portfolio
Building on its growing global momentum in IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Telcordia recently announced the Maestro IMS Portfolio. A powerful set of wireless, wireline, and converged products, services, and applications, the Maestro IMS Portfolio enables carriers to offer any service, over any network, via any device.
The Maestro portfolio is a major IMS initiative for Telcordia as it helps operators fully exploit the emerging capabilities of the IMS architecture and the wide interest and deployment of service delivery environments. With this portfolio, carriers can capture new market opportunities, strengthen competitive position, and rapidly offer revenue-generating advanced services that subscribers demand.
IMS is the path to true convergence in the industry and our Maestro portfolio will make it a reality, says Scott Erickson, President, IMS Service Delivery Solutions, Telcordia. Global operators are already relying on Telcordia to guide them through the complexities of adopting IMS so that they can remain competitive, maximize their network and find new ways to generate revenue.
As a result of its Elementive approach, which offers products and services that are open, flexible, and configurable, Telcordia provides an IMS-compliant and ready-to-deploy portfolio that incorporates its access independence, strong knowledge of OSS systems integration, and exceptional reliability and flexibility in service platforms. The Maestro portfolio includes new products and upgrades of existing ones, complemented by Telcordias professional services capabilities to enable operators to develop and launch converged services at their own pace. Telcordia Maestro portfolio products, including the Telcordia Converged Application Server and Telcordia Converged Real-Time Charging, are already deployed globally at Oi, Telus, Swisscom, Tata Teleservices, Virgin Mobile USA, and others.
IMS is clearly where the market is heading and represents significant revenue opportunities for vendors and operators alike, says Sanjay Mewada, Vice-President, Telecom Consulting & Research at The Yankee Group. As competition intensifies and consolidation continues, the ability to quickly deploy profitable services like push-to-talk and personal information services, will be critical for customer retention and revenue growth.
The Maestro portfolio is designed to enable wireless, wireline, cable, and converged operators to realize the broad advantages of complete convergence and to benefit from added revenue potential, greater network and operational efficiencies, reduced churn, and increased customer satisfaction and retention. There are also distinct benefits for each market segment. For instance, wireless carriers can realize increased speed-to-market for new services, protection of their existing customer base, and increased ability to compete with emerging carriers for enterprise customers. Wireline carriers can be better positioned to offer seamless wireline and wireless services to their customers. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) can experience increased speed-to-market and simplified service creation. Cable operators can evolve their content delivery and charging capabilities with a converged infrastructure.
Service Providers Doing A Poor Job Of Selling VoIP To SMBs
By Ted Glanzer
It is no secret that Voice over IP service providers have not tapped the enormous potential of the small- and medium-sized business market.
What appears to be a secret is the reason why.
Indeed, according to a study by technology consulting firm Savatar, service providers have done a poor job marketing and selling VoIP to the 1.8 million or so SMBs in the United States, focusing too much on features rather than the services reliability, lower cost, and ease of administration.
Why no one has figured it out is shocking, John Macario, Savatar CEO and study co-author, told TMCnet in a telephone interview.
The study, in which 300 SMB decision makers were surveyed, revealed that the SMB market is ready to migrate to IP telephony; that market, however, is poorly educated with regard to VoIP service.
While 75 percent of the SMBs surveyed are generally or somewhat familiar with VoIP, a whopping 25 percent are unfamiliar with VoIP and its advantages.
Another major problem is that SMBs are all over the map with regard to identifying who is a VoIP provider.
Indeed, the survey data reveal that 25 percent of the respondents said that nontraditional telecoms are VoIP providers; 17 percent said telcom equipment providers are; and 10 percent thought that ISPs are.
The general confusion is highlighted by the following: 13 percent of the respondents viewed cable companies as VoIP providers, even though they are not major players in the SMB market as of yet.
In what can only spell bad news for the Verizons and SBCs of the world, just 14 percent of the respondents said that traditional telecoms are VoIP providers, just one percentage point above the 13 percent who responded that they were not sure who offered VoIP.
[SMBs] dont know who to turn to, Macario said. It is a marketing and selling failure.
Service providers, according to the study, are not doing themselves any favors by having sales forces that are not educated on their VoIP offerings and by having Web sites that do not highlight their VoIP services.
Also, Macario said that if someone is interested in obtaining VoIP service, It is incredibly difficult to find a person to talk to.
The end result is that providers who understand the market have a unique opportunity to cash in on the chaos.
The traditional telcos do not understand what it takes to sell this stuff, Richard Grange, CEO of study co-sponsor New Global Telecom, said in a telephone interview. It takes a new approach.
The telcos do not have effective channels to sell to market, Grange said. He added that, instead of direct sales forces or telemarketing campaigns, telecoms should be using effective channel partners, such as NGT, to deliver the product.
NGT has over 45 service provider customers and 39,000 end-user seats, 75 percent of which are business seats.
Better training and understanding the portfolio is really what is needed, Grange said. Weve spent a lot of time working on the delivery process.
And while features such as click-to-dial and remote capability are not important to SMBs initially, they become an important issue downstream, Macario said.
Those features become very sticky, Grange said. People love that stuff.
Qualcomm Turns To Philips For Dual Mode Chipsets
By Robert Liu
Qualcomm announced recently that its Mobile Station Modem (MSM) chipsets will support Philips wireless local area network (WLAN) module allowing users to connect to 802.11b and 802.11g hotspot networks. However, while dual-mode phones are popular in Asia and Europe, it remains a big question whether North American mobile operators will embrace handsets utilizing both WLAN and cellular technologies. Operators have already invested billions to build out their own high-speed networks based on EV-DO (Verizon, Sprint) or WCDMA (Cingular, T-Mobile) protocol.
Qualcomm said the dual-mode capabilities will initially be supported on the MSM6550 chipset. The 802.11b/g-compatible broadband capabilities enabled by Philips WLAN module are scheduled to be commercially available by the end of 2005.
This strategic relationship delivers a number of new possibilities, which we look forward to making a reality, says Mike Concannon, vice president of strategic products for Qualcomm CDMA Technologies.
In order to make the solution more operator-friendly, the company says the integrated solution will offer connectivity to WLAN networks as well as to existing cellular networks on both CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) networks.
FCC Chairman Calls For A More Resilient Communications Network
By Ted Glanzer
The destruction left in Hurricane Katrinas wake demonstrates the need for a more resilient and redundant communications network in the United States, Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin told a U.S. Senate subcommittee recently.
Martin reported that, as a result of Katrina, more than three million customer telephone lines were knocked down in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama; thirty-eight 911 call centers were out of service; one thousand wireless cells were inoperable, and a hundred broadcast stations were off the air.
It was at times like these that we were reminded of the importance of being able to communicate, Martin said. While no communications network could be expected to remain fully operational in the face of a direct hit from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane, that fact was little consolation to the people on the ground.
Martin offered several suggestions to the members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation to improve communications services in the event of another disaster, including the following:
Create a comprehensive emergency alert system that enables national, state, and local officials to reach affected citizens more efficiently.
Require all service providers to comply with the FCCs 911 rules, regardless of whether the provider is wireless, wireline, cable, or VoIP, Martin said. The 911 system is quite literally one of life or death. It is critical to our nations ability to respond to a host of crises.
Ensure that all Public Safety Answering Points are redundant.
Enhance network resiliency by having communications providers develop and use best practices to maintain service in the event of a disaster.
Provide first responders with an interoperable, mobile wireless communications system, using multiple, flexible technologies and truly mobile infrastructure.
If we learned anything from Hurricane Katrina, it is that we cannot rely solely on terrestrial communications, Martin said. Smart radios would enable first responders to find any available towers or infrastructure on multiple frequencies, and WiFi, spread spectrum, and other frequency-hopping techniques would enable them to use limited spectrum quickly and efficiently.
We also should take full advantage of IP-based technologies to enhance the resiliency of traditional communications networks, Martin said. IP technology provides the dynamic capability to change and reroute telecommunications traffic within the network. In the event of systems failure within the traditional network, greater use of these technologies will enable service providers to restore service more quickly and to provide the flexibility to initiate service at new locations chosen by customers.
Report: VoIP, Cost Reduction Driving Fixed-Mobile Convergence
By Ted Glanzer
The VoIP industry and cost reduction are the two major drivers behind the fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) market, where a consumer has dual-use, home/mobile phones, according to a new ABI Research study.
The report, Fixed-Mobile Convergence: Comparative Business Plans, Implementation Scenarios and Capital Expenditure, includes a forecast of the FMC market through 2010, outlines the technologies, explains the benefits for subscribers, and analyzes business scenarios that make FMC attractive to operators, according to an ABI Research press release.
The case for FMC rests on the availability of low-cost, dual-use (cellular and WLAN) handsets, said ABI analyst Ian Cox in a prepared statement. The first models are nearing commercial launch, and their prices should be competitive with conventional mobile handsets early in 2006. That will be the trigger for offering the service.
Two standards will lead the way: UMA for the consumer market and SIP for enterprises according to the release. FMC will most likely catch on overseas first.
We expect FMC to take off in Europe and Asia rather than in North America because of the greater prevalence of GSM and 3G services in those regions, said Cox. However, any operator using a suitable network can gain a competitive edge by early adoption of FMC, and . . . up to a fifth of all broadband subscribers will be taking advantage of FMCs convenience and lower costs by 2010.
XO Joins Stealths Voice Peering Fabric
By Johanne Torres
XO Communications, Inc. has interconnected with Stealth Communications Voice Peering Fabric (VPF), a peering network that allows members to exchange VoIP traffic without relying on traditional telephone networks, the companies jointly announced on Tuesday.
The VPF allows the trading of calls on different VoIP networks without the need to be traversed through the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The VPF is a distributed Ethernet network that functions as an exchange or meet-point for VoIP traffic by allowing enterprises and service providers to establish peer-to-peer connections in a secure, quality-of-service environment, notes the companies news release.
VoIP providers need access to the traditional phone networks and, through the VPF, XO can offer members a cost-effective way to deliver their VoIP calls to the public switched telephone network, says Ernie Ortega, president of carrier sales at XO Communications. With our national IP network and VoIP infrastructure, XO can deliver VPF members calls to any domestic location on the public switched telephone network through a single connection to our network.
The agreement will enable XO to belong to the VPF ENUM Registry and exchange VoIP traffic directly with other VPF members. XO will also be able to offer VoIP Origination and Termination services nationwide through the VPF to its members needing to deliver VoIP calls to the PSTN.
We are very excited to have XO to join our community. Their participation in the VPF Minutes Market will no doubt provide competitive services and add value to our marketplace. XOs use of the VPF ENUM Registry will decrease their operational costs and benefit our members by allowing VoIP calls to remain within the IP domain. says Shrihari Pandit, president and CEO of Stealth Communications.
XO made news earlier, when it was picked by SunRocket for VoIP termination services.
By selecting XO to terminate VoIP traffic, companies virtually hand over their VoIP calls directly to XO for termination to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
That agreement will allow SunRockets voice traffic to be routed across the XO OC-192 class of service-enabled networks at a higher priority level. The traffic will pass through an XO softswitch gateway and will be carried across the XO IP network to an XO softswitch gateway nearest the final destination of the call. The process will convert the traffic by a XO softswitch to a format accepted by the terminating local service provider.
AOL Rolls Out TotalTalk VoIP Service
AOL announced that it will begin its roll-out of a new VoIP service, TotalTalk. The TotalTalk service transforms any high-speed Internet connection into a quality phone service that is simple to use and affordable, with savings of up to 40 percent off monthly phone bills, compared to traditional landline service. No AOL subscription is required and current AOL Internet Phone subscribers will receive this upgrade to the new and enhanced service automatically.
Combining the savings and convenience of a VoIP phone with a suite of advanced communications features, available at no additional charge, TotalTalk includes: a soft phone (free PC-to-PC calls and PC-to-Phone calling capabilities via a Preview Edition of the AIM Triton client), unified voice, e-mail and instant messaging, enhanced voicemail and call management capabilities, and the ability to make and receive calls on a home phone line from anywhere users have access to AIM.
The service includes, at no additional cost, many phone features such as: Call Waiting, Caller ID, 911 emergency calling, Star Codes, voice mail integrated with e-mail, and Three-Way calling.
A Web-based Dashboard provides flexible, easy to use call management features such as: on-screen call alerts with call handling, call forwarding preferences, at-a-glance logs of incoming and outgoing calls, a frequently called number list, click-to-call features, and integration with address books.
TotalTalk makes it possible to manage and retrieve both voice and e-mail messages, anytime, anywhere from any touchtone phone or Web browser. Voicemail messages appear together with e-mail messages, and SMS alerts can be sent to mobile devices when a voicemail is left.
AOL also announced three new partnerships to bring industry-leading audio and video conferencing to its suite of voice and instant messaging products. AOL has worked closely with open source solution provider Pingtel, Global IP Sound, and On2 on custom-developed solutions designed to deliver state-of-the-art audio and video quality, simplify connections behind firewalls, and provide SIP compliance and more to TotalTalk and AIM.
Pricing is as follows:
Local Plan: $18.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) for unlimited local calling, plus $.039/min for domestic long distance.
Unlimited Calling Plan: $29.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) includes unlimited domestic long distance and Canada.
Global Calling Plan: $34.99 per month (plus taxes and additional fees) includes unlimited domestic long distance plus low international rates.
WiFi TELEPHONY NEWS
Aruba: The Largest WLAN Installation In The UK?
By Johanne Torres
Aruba Networks of Sunnyvale, CA claims to have created what is believed to be the United Kingdoms largest single wireless network.
The project was part of a major overhaul of IT infrastructure at the University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Trust. The network covers 7,000 users in eight hospitals, including UCLHs new flagship hospital on Euston Road, London. It comprises three Aruba 5000 mobility controllers and more than 300 centrally managed access points (APs).
According to the companys news release, it was installed primarily to accommodate UCLHs move to a completely paperless, Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system over the next few years, and will enable doctors and nurses to access patient information on the move anywhere within the hospitals, from bedside to operating theater.
This is a great illustration of the vital role that wireless technology has to play in a modern hospital environment, said Kevin Jarrold, director of information management at UCLH. Moving away from paper-based patient records to a wireless-accessible electronic system really frees up the way that medical staff work. Not only is information more accurate, but notes can be referred to and updated in real time from anywhere in the hospital. This is particularly useful when a patient is being moved and the doctor requires access to his or her record en route.
The network is also supposed to be able to protect patient info through a centralized multi-layer security protection system, which requires any user or device attempting to connect to a corporate system to obtain authentication before being allowed onto the UCLH network. Additionally, all encryption is implemented by a centralized hardware-accelerated encryption engine rather than in individual access points.
UCLH is at the forefront of both technology innovation and clinical care, says Bob Vickers, head of sales UK, Aruba Networks. Not only will the wireless network immediately increase the efficiency of information access, but it also represents the foundation of future converged communications advances. For instance, the network is fully ready for VoIP over wireless.
Aruba made news back in June, when it was picked by Microsoft to deploy next-gen networking equipment serving over 25,000 simultaneous users each day across more than 60 countries around the world.
The companies ambitious project will be deployed in 277 buildings covering more than 17 million square feet. The deal called for Microsofts new WLAN to be constructed using Arubas mobility controllers, mobility software, and some 5,000 ultra-thin Aruba wireless access points.
QUALCOMM Bundles WLAN Into Mobile Headsets
By Johanne Torres
Wireless technology provider QUALCOMM Incorporated will support Royal Philips Electronics wireless local area network (WLAN) module, the companies announced. The integrated system will connect to WLAN networks as well as to existing cellular networks, featuring compatibility with 802.11b and 802.11g protocols on CDMA2000 and WCDMA (UMTS) networks.
Our work with Philips helps us to address the demand for additional functionality in mobile devices, notes Mike Concannon, vice president of strategic products for QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies. This strategic relationship delivers a number of new possibilities, which we look forward to making a reality.
The WLAN system will enable mobile devices to use high-speed wireless local area networks when available for connections of up to 54 Mbps. Initially supported on the MSM6550 chipset, the 802.11b/g-compatible broadband capabilities enabled by Philips WLAN module are scheduled to be commercially available by the end of this year. WLAN technology supports VoIP apps, voice calls with simultaneous data transfer, and other data-intensive apps.
We are pleased that QUALCOMM has chosen Philips WLAN solutions to help meet the growing demand for greater connectivity in mobile devices, says Paul Marino, vice president and general manager, Connectivity, Philips Semiconductors. Combining our highly-integrated, low-power WLAN solutions with the industry-leading QUALCOMM MSM chipsets brings a new level of mobile functionality to wireless users.
QUALCOMM made news back in May when it was hit by a lawsuit filed by Broadcom for alleged patent infringement. Broadcom claimed that QUALCOMM infringed the companys patents related to wired and wireless communications and multimedia processing technologies.
QUALCOMM then hit Broadcom back with a lawsuit in July for infringement of seven QUALCOMM patents. QUALCOMM noted in a news release that it was suing the company because Broadcom is infringing six of the patents by the manufacture and sale of integrated circuits for use in GSM Standards handsets and is infringing the remaining patent by the manufacture and sale of semiconductors for WiFi devices.
QUALCOMM is in the process of seeking an injunction against Broadcoms continued manufacture and sale of these products as well as monetary damages.
VoIP DEVELOPER NEWS
Arista Unveils Industrial Motherboard
Arista Corporation recently introduced its new ATX-865G Industrial Motherboard. The motherboard is specifically designed for Industrial computing applications. The computer features a Pentium 4 Prescott (90nm) CPU with 400/533/800M FSB selectable speed and is Intel VRD 10.1 compliant to support future advanced processors. Ideal applications include computing functions for factory automation process, computer automation, medical devices, and custom integration solutions.
Aristas new ATX-807 CPU comprises an Intel Pentium 4 processor and four DDR DIMM Sockets supporting DDR 266/333/400 unregistered non-ECC Memory up to 4.0 GB. The ATX-865G has an integrated Intel Extreme Graphic Engine with 266MHz Core Frequency and a 100/10 Intel 82547GI and 82541GI Ethernet controller on-boards with two LEDs to display speed, link, and activity. The motherboard is also equipped with eight USB ports compliant with USB Specification Rev. 2.0 and support USB Hot-Plug function. The ATX-807 also provides two ISA slots for applications that need to use ISA legacy cards.
The ATX-865G is a state-of-the-art motherboard with the latest computing technology and the ability to upgrade to future technologies, says Stewart Austin, director of sales for Arista Corporation. Backed by Aristas two-year worry-free warranty, Pentium 4 products, and one of the industries highest MTBF, the high-quality ATX-865G is ideal for industrial, medical, and a variety of different computing applications.
Pricing for the ATX-865G starts at $365 for North American sales and is available for immediate delivery.
Sangoma Seeks Patent For Echo Canceller Controller
By Ted Glanzer
Telecommunications and routing equipment provider Sangoma Technologies Corp. announced that it filed a patent application for enhancing the efficiency of echo cancellation hardware and software.
Specifically, the application titled Echo Canceller Controller covers the techniques of measuring echo on incoming voice streams and controlling the echo canceller.
According to a press statement, Sangomas Echo Detection and Control (EDAC) is an algorithm that examines each call as it is connected and, within about one second, determines whether the call has echo or not. It then enables or disables the echo canceller as necessary.
The end result, according to the statement, is that echo cancellation loads on HMP systems can be reduced by 80 percent or more.
EDAC will be implemented as a standard application in our on-board firmware at no cost, says David Mandelstam, Sangomas CEO. We expect EDAC to become a must-have feature in the delivery of practical HMP and low-cost hybrid HMP/hardware-based VoIP gateways, PBX and IVR systems, and other telephony systems.
Uniqall Offers New Gridborg HMP Release
By David Sims
Uniquall is announcing the fourth beta of its upcoming Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 software available for free evaluation and download. With T.38 FoIP (Fax over IP) working, the Gridborg Host Media Processing Server targets vendors of fax board-based applications who are looking for products advertised to both cut prices and enable their products for the boardless VoIP world.
According to a recent New York Times article cited in the Uniqall news advisory, the Consumer Electronics Association says there were 1.5 million stand-alone fax machines sold in the US alone in 2004.
The popularity of VoIP brings a problem to light, according to Uniquall, based in Zagreb, Croatia: The need to attach those fax boards directly to analog or T1/E1 digital telephone lines made VoIP deployment within an enterprise more complicated and expensive than it should be.
Heres where their T.38 Fax over IP enabled HMP product, Gridborg HMP Server, comes in. By upgrading their products to support HMP in addition to fax boards that are already supported, Uniqall officials maintain, fax server software vendors will ensure that their existing customers have a smooth and simple transition path once when they start their VoIP deployment.
Once HMP technology is incorporated there is very little, if anything at all, that prevents vendors from releasing stripped-down, software-only, versions of their products. Such versions will allow them to conquer market segments that were previously completely out of reach due to the disparity between what potential customers were willing to spend and the total price of expensive fax board-based solutions.
Drazen Dimoti, lead developer on Uniqalls Fax over IP effort says, it should also be noted that vendors of T.38 building blocks have to put in additional work to ensure standard compliance in order to avoid spoiling their own party.
Other new and upcoming features in the Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 include support for plugable codecs, Redirect Number, and dramatically improved conferencing capabilities. Gridborg HMP 1.1 works on x86 processors within both Windows and Linux environments. Support for additional operating systems and processor architectures will follow in subsequent releases.
GIPS Launches ATA Voice Quality Enhancer
By Johanne Torres
Audio processing vendor Global IP Sound (GIPS) introduced Voice Quality Enhancement (VQE) for ATA recently. The module cancels echo and noise by adjusting speech levels, thereby improving voice quality in low-complexity ATA box systems.
The demand for VoIP equipment is poised to explode over the next several years as home users adopt the technology and chip makers and ATA manufacturers are anxious to bring their products to market quickly, says Jan Linden, vice president of engineering at Global IP Sound.
In the same way that our earlier VQE modules empowered applications vendors, VQE for ATA utilizes GIPS unmatched, field-proven technology to put the highest-grade echo and noise cancellation technology available today into the hands of the ATA market, adds Linden.
VQE for ATA technologies include Network Echo Cancellation Integrated Access Device (NEC IAD), Noise Cancellation (NC), Noise Suppression (NS), Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Voice Activity Detection (VAD), and Comfort Noise Generation (CNG). The NEC-IAD in VQE also complies with the G.168 standard for echo cancellation.
Global IP Sound has also inked a deal with Skype recently whereby GIPS will provide Skype with components of its voice processing technology not only for use in the companys software for PCs but also for pre-installed versions of Skype on certain hardware devices.
The company was also tapped by America Online Inc. (AOL) to work behind the scenes with the dial-up ISP as it launched an enhanced version of its Internet Phone service.
GIPS had also announced earlier this year it teamed with Logitech to jointly develop and launch the Logitech ViewPort AV 100. GIPS integrated its Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) technology to equip the device with audio and video, making it the foundation for a desktop video communications system.
RADCOM Adds Software Development Kit To Its SIPsim
By Johanne Torres
RADCOM Ltd. just added a Software Development Kit (SDK) to the companys SIPSim, an SIP services simulation tool.
The SDK-enhanced system allows customers to define call flows, thereby simulating conditions of extreme stress. The systems Call Flow Library feature can be deployed as is or with customer-defined modifications to stress-test any SIP entity. Customers can also control call flow run-times and other relevant parameters via GUI commands.
Because of its flexibility, developers and service providers use SIP to create a variety of devices, services, and applications. The diversity of these SIP-based products makes testing SIP architectures increasingly more complex. RADCOMs solution offers a variety of testing functionalities for these many and varied SIP implementations, from VoIP calls, to instant messaging to multimedia applications. This solution is in line with our strategy of providing customers with a high performance, carrier-grade solution that also offers maximum session-tuning flexibility, says Ofir Michael, director, Product Management, VoIP and IPTV solutions, RADCOM.
RADCOMs SIPSim helps vendors to develop and service providers to evaluate SIP-based network elements. It enables them to conduct benchmark and performance testing in a real-world, high-volume call environment. By discovering the devices breaking point and revealing what happens at that point, the solution reliably predicts the behavior of network elements under extreme stress conditions, notes the companys news release.
AudioCodes Intros ATA VoIP Chip
By Johanne Torres
AudioCodes announced that it had teamed up with Jungo Ltd., a gateway software developer, and Legerity, in order to introduce the Tulip AC494 ATA, a VoIP chip with fully integrated software and hardware reference design.
The developer trio plans to market the product to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), original design manufacturers (ODMs), and designers of analog telephony adapters (ATAs) and broadband access devices (xDSL, cable, wireless, FTTH) seeking to add VoIP capabilities to their products.
With the rapid deployment of Voice over IP in the world, more and more companies are looking to add voice capabilities to their products, while maintaining and improving their data capabilities, says Shaul Weissman, vice president, VoIP processors and modules business line manager at AudioCodes. Combining our VoIP chip and proven voice quality with Jungos excellent data solutions and Legeritys high-performance VE880 VoicePort Series gives us a winning combination for the market.
The Tulip AC494 ATA integrates two 10/100 baseT Ethernet ports and one to four VoIP ports with two FXS analog interfaces. The product can support various configurations of FXS and FXO ports using pin and software-compatible devices from Legeritys VE880 VoicePort Series.
Integrating Jungos market-leading OpenRG software platform with the award-winning VoIP solutions from AudioCodes creates a compelling offering for OEMs, says Yaal Eshel, Jungos director of sales and business development, Europe and the Middle East. The highly integrated design will help OEMs bring to market high-quality ATAs and voice gateways in the shortest time possible.
Legeritys VE880 VoicePort devices are revolutionizing the VoIP industry. They allow designers to create reference designs with groundbreaking performance at the industrys lowest total system BOMs, says Mike Stibila, vice president of marketing and applications at Legerity. The Tulip AC494 ATA design maximizes the features of the VE880 Series and is propelling the VoIP market forward with the high performance/low cost design necessary for residential and SOHO VoIP market saturation.
The Tulip AC494 ATA is currently available for under $25.
www.audiocodes.com www.legerity.com www.jungo.com
IP CONTACT CENTER NEWS
NetSuite Adds CRM+ To Portfolio
By Tracey Schelmetic
NetSuite states that the new CRM+ forecasting capabilities are not possible with many other SFA applications since competitors solutions are not built to handle sales transaction-related processes such as booked orders or incentive compensation. CRM+ is built on the foundation of NetSuites Order Management & Commissions platforms, and the new capabilities allow companies to measure sales teams using more than just gross metrics of total sales or total bookings. NetSuite provides examples of how this functionality is useful: many companies desire to have one quota for product sales and another for services sales. Companies that offer an ongoing subscription service may wish to incent their sales force on the revenue recognized from a single year of a contract, as well as the total value of the booked order.
This announcement marks the death of the Excel forecast. Simple, single metric quotas and forecasts are rare in any size business, but the SFA tools offered both on premise and hosted cant handle this basic requirement. As a result, most forecasting and commissions happen in Excel, not the SFA tool, says Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite. Because NetSuite CRM+ captures the actual sales transaction in the form of an order, that order can now be sliced and applied against multiple quotas, forecasts and commissions schedules automatically. No more Excel.
Microsoft Absorbs Unveil Speech Solution
By Tracey E. Schelmetic
Speech marches on at Microsoft.
The Redmond, Washington-based behemoth today announced it has acquired certain intellectual property assets from Unveil Technologies, Inc. Unveil was, until recently, a builder of a product called Unveil Conversation Suite, a speech application environment manager. Conversation Suite allows the 99.9999 percent of business people who are not speech software engineers to build and tune speech applications like pros.
Using the Unveil product, call centers can quickly build customized virtual agents to help offload common transactions from real agents.
With the acquisition, Microsoft plans to integrate the Adaptive Learning and Conversation Assist components of the Unveil product into future versions of Microsoft Speech Server. According to Microsoft, this is a key step in its path to delivering the most flexible and integrated speech platform at the lowest total cost of ownership.
Microsoft believes that, when integrated into the Speech Server platform, Unveils innovative learn-by-example and agent assist technologies will make it easier, faster, and less expensive for customers to develop and optimize speech applications.
Unveils technology is a natural fit with Speech Server because it is in line with our vision of making speech applications affordable and easy to develop and maintain, said Rich Bray, general manager of the Speech Server group at Microsoft. By supplementing our toolset with Conversation Suite technologies, even a non-technical call center manager can prototype and develop robust speech applications.
As part of the acquisition, Microsoft will retain some Unveil development employees. Unveils existing customers will have the opportunity to participate in future programs that include the acquired technology.
Telephony@Work Inks Deal With Marconi
Telephony@Work announced a partnership with Marconi Corporation plc., whereby the latter will deploy the formers hosted contact center application, CallCenterAnywhere, in conjunction with Marconis Impact SoftSwitch, to deliver Impact UltraContact, which will enable service providers to generate new revenue streams by offering a hosted contact center solution to small to medium enterprises.
Marconi Impact UltraContact is a hosted software application that handles all interaction between customers and a business, including telephone, Web chat, and e-mail. It can deliver all the features of a contact center, including automatic call distribution, computer telephony interaction, and interactive voice response. As a hosted solution, it does not require SMEs to make the investment in time, money, and expertise associated with rolling out a premises-based contact center.
Impact UltraContact is hosted by the service provider and is essentially rented to SMEs, which are charged a usage-based fee or a monthly rental amount, ensuring that the service provider has an ongoing source of revenue.
The partnership with Telephony@Work forms part of Marconis ongoing strategy to partner with best-in-class companies to deliver applications that will help service providers better serve their customers, says Kevin Hourigan, vice president of Marconis SoftSwitch product group. Impact UltraContact will help service providers fulfill the demands from SMEs to provide hosted voice applications, which have the same functionality as the most comprehensive contact center system, but do not require a costly outlay, ongoing maintenance, or upgrades.
Telephony@Work, Inc. is a provider of multi-tenant and adaptive IP contact center technology for enterprises and service providers.
The partnership with Marconi will enable Telephony@Work to expand its market reach to new service providers, who are becoming increasingly important as both SMEs and larger organizations look to their service providers to supply value-added voice services, says Eli Borodow, CEO of Telephony@Work. Marconi has expertise and relationships in this market and their customers are looking for exciting new applications that can provide customer value and generate additional income in managed and hosted services.
Marconis SoftSwitch offers carrier-class reliability in an open-interfaced IP platform that meets the increasing needs of network operators and large enterprises.
THE CHANNEL NEWS
Pandora Networks Deploys IP Communications Service Globally
Pandora Networks announced that VCOMM UK Ltd., a distributor of IP Telephony solutions to the UK and Irish channel, has partnered with Pandora to distribute Worksmart services, an integrated VoIP, video, messaging, and collaboration service for small and medium size businesses (SMB).
Under the terms of the agreement, VCOMM UK will act as the Master distributor to resellers and service providers throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Worksmart is a complete IP communications solution designed to enable SMB IT managers to immediately self-provision and manage a wide variety of integrated communications and collaboration services including a VoIP-based telephone network and hosted PBX service.
We recognize that the UK market is an important step in our objective towards making Worksmart a global business communications service. VCOMM was chosen to distribute our service in the UK market because they have the technical and marketing expertise that we require when expanding into new markets, comments Walter Snell, chief executive officer of Pandora Networks. Its customer base, coupled with their extensive VoIP knowledge and partnerships with carriers, resellers, and ISP network partners, make VCOMM an ideal European partner for Pandora.
Worksmart is not just another IP Centrex platform, claims Scott Dobson, managing director of VCOMM UK Ltd. It incorporates innovative value added hosted services such as instant messaging, presence, desktop share, and Web contact center capabilities in concert with all of the standard IP PBX services such as IVR, ACD, and Follow Me call routing. Dobson adds, VoIP service alone is not what small and medium sized business customers in the UK are looking for. They want a supplier to solve all of their communications needs and Worksmart uniquely delivers that in one service without a capital equipment expense.
VoIP Inc. Intros VoiceOne Carrier Direct Program, Expands Net
By Johanne Torres
VoIP Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida is hailing the launch of its VoiceOne Carrier Direct Program. The new program is designed to enable carriers to provide IP-based services with no CAPEX or other requirements.
Through our new Carrier Direct Program, VoiceOne provides carriers with media gateways at no charge, and installs and connects them to the VoiceOne network. This enables carriers to immediately begin selling IP-based services, such as hosted IP centrex, broadband voice, IP origination/termination, 800 service, CNAM, 911 services, etc., over the VoiceOne network, explains VoIP Inc.s CTO Shawn Lewis.
The VoiceOne is a protocol agnostic network that supports SS7, PRI, H.323, SIP, and MGCP protocols utilizing both circuit and packet switched technology.
Our Carrier Direct Program enables carriers to increase their level of service offerings and recognize an immediate ROI, utilizing our technical expertise to support them as they quickly gain entry into this fast-paced market, said VoIP Inc.s CEO Steven Ivester. The best part of this service for carriers is that it is integrated back into their existing TDM infrastructure with no changes and no CAPEX requirements, Ivester added.
The company also announced the expansion of its VoiceOne direct network to an additional 48 CLEC customers and cities. The companys network, which has been running for more than two-and-a-half years, currently interoperates with Netrake, Sonus, Cisco, Asterisk, Quintum Technologies, and others.
Through this expansion, we are increasing our direct network footprint providing our customers with the necessary tools and network services to begin servicing the exploding IP services marketplace. Not only does the expansion benefit new and existing customers of VoiceOne, but it further builds upon and strengthens the quality of service aspects of IP communications in general, says Lewis.
AudioCodes Launches Partner Portal
By Johanne Torres
Voice over packet equipment maker AudioCodes has launched a new channel partner Web-based portal. The new portal is an extension to the companys current Marcom portal, and includes sales and marketing tools for AudioCodes channel and application partners worldwide.
Channel partners will now be able to use the new portal to locate info required in order to sell and support AudioCodes technology and networking products. Information available through the portal includes product and solution presentations, data sheets, white papers, case studies, and many other sales and marketing tools for the channel.
AudioCodes special position in the market, providing both technology products to OEMs and ISVs and networking products to systems integrators, enterprises, and service providers, allows us to play a key role in the new VoIP ecosystem, says Haim Melamed, AudioCodes director of Channel Marketing. Using our key position in the market, we can act as the point of contact between an expanding network of channel partners and a large number of application partners.
IPN Resells ShoreTels IP PBX In The UK
By Johanne Torres
IPN Consultants, a vendor-independent IP Centric telecom company, announced that has it become an authorized ShoreTel Channel Partner in the UK.
The new partnership will enable IPN to now offer a combination of products and services including ShoreTels IP PBX Telephony services, WAN infrastructure, an OEM VoIP offering, and IP telephony.
Our focus is to deliver IP centric global networking solutions that add real value to the corporate marketplace, says Stuart Smitherman CEO of IPN Consultants. We believe IP-based converged solutions should not only offer a definable cost benefit but one that makes life easier for the organization. Better controls, easier management, improved service, and the like. ShoreTels IP PBX fits into this category and greatly supports and enhances our unique WAN and VoIP offerings in this respect.
ShoreTel made news recently when it announced it had unveiled ShoreTel 6, the sixth generation of its distributed IP PBX voice system. The company introduced a new Office Anywhere feature, which supports mobile users regardless of location or device used. The company also delivered two new telephone devices, a low-end IP phone and a 24-button programmable button box for operators and assistants.
ShoreTel 6 is designed to enable users, system administrators, and managers to have a work identity and profile. It can be put on any device, including cell phones and PDAs, which eliminates the need for multiple phone numbers and voicemail accounts. The ShoreTel 6 has a native SIP interface that can support a variety of third-party applications.
Black Box To Sell Siemens VoIP Products
By Johanne Torres
A new multi-year distribution agreement will enable Black Box Network Services Corp. to sell, deploy, and support the Siemens Communications, Inc., portfolio of HiPath Real-Time VoIP systems, devices, and applications, the companies recently jointly announced.
The new partnership will make Black Box a Siemens Authorized Reseller and, therefore, one of Siemens largest distributors. Black Box completed the acquisition of Norstan, Inc., a 2005 Siemens channel reseller.
Siemens is an integral part of our voice services business, says Fred Young, Black Boxs CEO. With our new agreement, Black Box will continue to expand its installed Siemens customer base throughout the United States and Canada.
The agreement will allow Black Box to continue selling and supporting Siemens complete communications systems including the HiPath Real-Time IP systems, which provide centralized control of features, access, configuration, and call-processing functions. The Siemens portfolio also includes HiPath Wireless, a secure and mobile management system for voice over wireless LAN networks. The HiPath portfolio also includes the DirX family of access and data management systems, the optiPoint family of IP and wireless phones, the ProCenter portfolio of contact center systems, the Xpressions unified messaging family, and the HiPath OpenScape, a presence-enabled and permission-based unified communication portal.
Black Box, with its acquisition of Norstan, continues to expand its operational footprint and is a leader in providing enterprises with the next generation of converged voice, data and multimedia solutions, says Rick Fitzgerald, vice president and general manager of the Siemens Channel Solutions Group at Siemens. Black Box is a strong technical services partner. Their sales and operational teams, coupled with a strong commitment to customer service, also make them a valuable enterprise partner.
This channel news follows Siemens recently inked deal with Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. The companies joined forces in order bring a single, centralized platform of rich contact center and communication systems to large enterprises. Siemens and Genesys will do this by integrating the SIP-based Siemens HiPath 8000 Real-Time IP System and the SIP-based Genesys 7 portfolio of contact center management applications.
The joint solution consolidates contact center applications on a SIP infrastructure and can help deliver key customer benefits such as centralized management operations and reduced total cost of ownership, says Nicolas De Kouchkovsky, senior vice president of marketing and business development for Genesys. This combination of SIP-based solutions means that all the resources of an enterprise, regardless of location, can be enabled with applications that produce high-quality contact center service and customer care.
BEA Sets SIP Routing Benchmark With Intel Hardware
By Robert Liu
Eight months after coming to market with a standards-based suite of carrier-grade infrastructure software for the telecommunications industry, BEA Systems recently touted its capabilities when applied to Intels Pentium architecture.
At its annual users conference dubbed BEAWorld, the middleware vendor said its BEA WebLogic SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Server using Pentium hardware was able to process and route SIP-based voice messages at breakneck speeds with an extremely small amount of network latency.
As voice networks begin to evolve and assimilate Internet technologies, applications server performance and scalability become crucial factors in the design of network architectures, said Michael Stanford, director of VoIP strategy, Digital Enterprise Group at Intel.
BEA WebLogic SIP Server is a component of the BEA WebLogic Communications Platform, formerly code-named Project Da Vinci. The BEAWorld event and a batch of related announcements come at a time when middleware vendors are hoping to capitalize on the rejuvenated activity in the telecom sector. Due largely to the widespread proliferation of SIP as an industry standard, BEA is hoping the migration to packet-switched technologies from a circuit-switched world will lead to new avenues for applications and hence new markets for its applications server.
But on top of the likes of WebMethods or IBM, BEA also faces new competition in the form of Microsoft, which has also announced plans to explore interoperability with JBoss Enterprise Middleware System, an open source Java-based application server. Microsoft has its own Communications Sector practice targeting wireline and wireless telecommunications providers, hosting companies, cable operators, and media and entertainment companies.
In a press statement, BEA said the industry standard for voice calls is often measured in Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA), or the number of completed calls during a Busy Hour. The BEA/Intel SIP application server solution clocked in at 10 million BHCA with bandwidth to spare, exceeding industry expectations by 9 million calls. With regard to message latency, the combined BEA/Intel SIP application platform processed messages in less than 40 milliseconds (ms), equal to one thousandth of a second. The performance breakthrough (as the company describes) beats latency standards by 160 ms.
No competitive data were provided.
The BEA WebLogic SIP Server and Intel benchmarks represent a new and exciting high-performance and scalable platform for next-generation VoIP and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) communication and collaboration services, said Mike McHugh, vice president and general manager, BEA WebLogic Communications Platform, BEA Systems. This standards-based, open platform combining the rich programming environments of J2EE, SIP and IMS addresses the key challenge operators face in moving to their next generation networks: dramatically lower costs, unprecedented performance, and a tremendously simplified services development and deployment model.
Persona Software Introduces Solution For FMC
Persona Software, Inc., has announced a new version of its Persona OnePhone solution for Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC). Persona OnePhone 2.0 provides support for an expanded range of dual- mode (WiFi/cellular) handsets and operating systems including Symbian OS. In addition, this latest version of Persona OnePhone adds several new end user features, increases security capabilities, and integrates seamlessly with IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which is the basis for FMC and future converged services.
Persona OnePhone 2.0 further enhances Persona Softwares leadership in the FMC market and gives carriers a robust FMC solution based on mature, proven SIP-based technology that they can deploy in their networks now.
The FMC market is ready to explode. For service providers to attack the FMC opportunity now, they need a carrier-grade FMC solution that meets their requirements for reliability and scalability, offers differentiated mobility features; and is based on the open SIP standard that is the heart of next-generation IMS/3G networks, says Rob Fuggetta, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer for Persona Software. Persona OnePhone 2.0 meets and exceeds these needs, giving service providers a unique and truly commercial-grade FMC solution they can go to market with now.
Delivered on Persona Softwares SIP Application Server, Persona OnePhone enables mobile users to roam seamlessly between WiFi and cellular networks with one phone, one identity, and one phone number. With Persona OnePhone, mobile users can access advanced IP voice features anywhere, anytime plus a new world of multimedia Personal Mobility Applications that provide users with unprecedented mobility choice, control, and savings.
Expanded OS Support
Persona OnePhone 2.0 adds support for three additional operating systems, including Symbian OS, Windows Mobile 5.0, and Micro Linux Mobile. Persona OnePhone will continue to provide support for Microsoft Windows 2003.
Other important new features:
Adds new business, consumer, and regulatory features such as emergency service support, call transfer, ring-back when free, click-to-dial, and many other features that expand the mainstream market appeal of FMC services.
Strengthens security capabilities, a key requirement for mobile enterprises, by expanding support for IP Sec over both WiFi and GPRS networks.
Integrates seamlessly with the IP Multimedia System (IMS), enabling service providers to start delivering IMS/3G applications now while migrating to IMS at their own pace.
Meets the key requirements stated recently in the product requirements document issued recently by the Fixed-Mobile Convergence Alliance (FMCA), a group of approximately 30 leading carriers worldwide that are promoting adoption of FMC. These carriers serve more than 440 million customers worldwide.
Nuera Intros Small SIP VoIP Media Gateway
Nuera Communications, Inc. introduced the SGX-100 SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) media gateway with an eye on helping small-scale service providers and large enterprises establish cost effective points of presence and connect legacy systems to the public telephone network. The SGX-100 is a carrier-ready small SIP media gateway that distinguishes itself with low price and redundancy. With list pricing starting at $5,000, the SGX-100 scales in capacity from one to four E1 or T1 ISDN circuits. The hot-swappable redundant power supplies of the SGX-100 are designed to provide high system availability typically found only in medium and large media gateways.
The SGX-100 is the first member of Nueras SIP media gateway product line, which will also include gateways with higher capacities.
Nuera has a long history of helping service providers and large enterprises take advantage of advancements in VoIP technologies says Bill Ingram, president and chief executive officer of Nuera Communications. The success of SIP in enabling both advanced subscriber features and cost-effective PSTN connectivity marks an exciting stage in our industry. We expect the SGX-100 and our upcoming SIP gateways to help build the excitement and grow the industry.
The SGX-100 is available as of November 1, 2005.