Enterprise Telephony News
Aastra Announces IntelliGate 7.8 and MX-ONE Compact for SMBs
Takeaway: Aastra targets small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), announcing an update to its IntelliGate platform (a new Release 7.8) and a new platform, the MX-ONE Compact. The new offers address current SMB needs with important options for mobile workers such as Fixed Mobile Convergence and DECT over IP. Last month, Aastra also rolled out the new Aastra 800 soft switch for SMBs based on the OpenCom 100 PBX (formerly from DeTeWe). The company continues to evolve its portfolio after a series of mergers beginning in 2000, including Ascom’s PBX System Division, the EADS Telecom PBX system division (and the US-based Intecom), DeTeWe Business and Ericsson Enterprise Communications Business. Read more below about IntelliGate 7.8 and MX-ONE Compact and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on the SMB telephony market.
Aastra updates its IntelliGate IP PBX platform, a converged IP PBX platform suitable for very small (up to 10 subscribers) to mid-sized businesses (up to 400 subscribers - 600 networked). The IntelliGate product line, originally purchased in 2003 from ASCOM Holdings AG, includes several current models for varying capacity needs: IntelliGate 150, IntelliGate 300, IntelliGate 2025, IntelliGate 2045 and IntelliGate 2065. The latest Release 7.8 focuses on the mobile user, further enhancing the Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) functionality for businesses that deploy the IntelliGate IP PBX.
Specifically, Aastra adds new support for RIM Blackberry smartphones, broadening the mobile phone options which already included Symbian mobile phones (such as Nokia, LG and Samsung devices that interoperate with the Symbian S60 3rd Edition). With the Aastra Mobile Client application (pictured) downloaded to the Blackberry or Symbian mobile phone, the user has a single phone number for their desktop extension and the mobile device. The Aastra solution actually allows multiple devices to be associated with the user’s desk phone so that all of these can be set to ring simultaneously if desired. Using the Aastra Mobile Client application, IntelliGate PBX features, such as transfer and conferencing, are also accessible from the mobile or associated devices.
Alternatively, mobile users can take advantage of Aastra’s DECT over IP solution with roaming and seamless handover for indoor/outdoor and multi-site communications, using the recently-introduced family of Aastra 600d DECT handsets. Additional new Release 7.8 features include support for voice recording and Microsoft Outlook integration with the Aastra 2360i softphone, as well as support for the latest Aastra 6730i and 6731i SIP deskphones and 60 day trial licenses for applications.
Aastra also introduces the MX-ONE Compact, a new bundled offer for SMBs with up 50 to 300 extensions (single site) and a need for unified communications (UC). MX-ONE Compact is based on the established MX-ONE call control software (formerly from Ericsson and acquired by Aastra in 2008), but is more focused on IP and mobility users and packaged specifically for the SMB market as an all-in-one solution with easy deployment, integrated applications and Web-based management.
The base offer includes the Aastra MX-ONE Telephony Server and Media Gateway, along with the company’s MX-ONE Manager, MX-ONE Messaging (voice), Aastra NOW Business Operator and three years of Software Assurance. Additional solutions can be easily added, including Aastra Mobile Client for Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC), as well as solutions for unified messaging, ACD or contact center, Auto Attendant, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Conversation Record and more. MX-ONE Compact joins the earlier MX-ONE Compact ‘SM’ that supports higher capacity needs, up to 700 IP or mobile extensions.
Today, Aastra IntelliGate is sold mainly in Europe. With MX-ONE Compact, Aastra is targeting existing MX-ONE channels where there is a need for a UC/IP-oriented solution, including the UK, Australian and Nordic markets. www.aastra.com
AltiGen Releases MAX Communications Server 6.5, Enhances Security and Survivability
Takeaway: AltiGen continues to target larger businesses and Microsoft software resellers and customers, a relatively new market for the company that historically focused on the SMB market (25 to 250 employees). With the introduction of the company’s software-based VoIP phone system in July 2008, AltiGen MAX Communications Server, AltiGen began to target larger enterprise organizations with up to 5,000 users. Today, AltiGen reports that their typical customer has between 250 and 2,500 employees. New MAXCS 6.5 features include enhanced security (TLS and SRTP encryption standards) and remote survivability options during WAN outages, as well as support for new certified third party SIP phones from Aastra and Polycom (Cisco and Grandstream phones are being tested). SYNNEX Corporation, an AltiGen and Microsoft distributor in the U.S., offers this system as part of a complete, preconfigured Microsoft-based unified communications solution to Microsoft software resellers and customers. AltiGen partners with other distributors in EMEA and Latin America. Read more about MAXCS 6.5 below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on the IP PBX market.
AltiGen announces another round of updates for its MAX Communications Server (MAXCS), an enterprise level software-based VoIP phone system, first introduced in July 2008. MAXCS runs on standard Intel-based servers, scales to 5,000 users (1,000 users per single server), and the system supports native SIP integration (no third party hardware gateways required) to both Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS).
AltiGen explains that MAXCS can operate as an IP-PBX plug-in for Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging (voicemail plus more advanced features such as speech recognition, voicemail delivery to an e-mail inbox and text-to-speech access to e-mail, calendar, contacts), and also integrates with Microsoft Office Communicator for presence status information. Standard Intel-based servers (AltiGen certified) allow the system to scale in capacity, but also allow IT personnel to deploy and manage MAXCS in a familiar server environment. And, IT personnel can manage both the MAXCS server and unified messaging as a single system.
A new Release 6.5 improves security for voice communications with support for the TLS and SRTP encryption standards and adds SNMP support for reporting critical PBX events and new features for remote survivability. This includes rerouting calls over the local PSTN if WAN outage occurs and redirecting AltiGen VoIP phone calls to an alternate server if main server is unavailable. MAXCS customers can choose from an even wider range of SIP telephone options since Aastra IP phones 6753i, 6755i, 6757i, 6757i-CT, 6731i, and the Polycom IP-6000 and IP-4000 conference phones have been tested and certified with MAXCS (additional phones from Cisco, Grandstream and Polycom are currently being tested).
MAX Communications Server 6.5 is now generally available from Authorized AltiGen Partners. SYNNEX Corporation, AltiGen’s largest U.S. distributor and a large Microsoft distributor, offers this system as part of a complete, preconfigured Microsoft-based unified communications solution to Microsoft software resellers and customers (the bundle includes MAX Communications Server 6.0, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, and Microsoft Windows Server running on Intel-based servers). Outside the U.S., Datasharp (UK), Boport (Netherlands), Hypercom (Italy), and iFone (Latin America) partner with AltiGen to offer the solution in the EMEA and Latin American markets. www.altigen.com
Avaya Introduces Aura System Platform for Mid-size Businesses
Takeaway: Avaya touts less complexity and lower cost of ownership with its new Avaya Aura System Platform, a single server solution for mid-size enterprises (scales from 100 to 2,400 users and to 250 locations). The new solution, running on Avaya’s earlier S8510 Server or the newly-introduced S8800 Server, utilizes open standards-based virtualization technology that enables a single hardware platform to run multiple applications at the same time. The benefits are clear – simpler installation and maintenance with fewer hardware components, resulting in a 75 percent reduction in hardware with this single server design, according to Avaya. Avaya plans to deploy such virtualized servers for all applications going forward. Read more below about Avaya Aura System Platform and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on Avaya SMB and enterprise telephony platforms.
Avaya announces a new option in the Avaya Aura portfolio, a single server mid-size solution for enterprises that scales from 100 to 2,400 users and to 250 locations. Avaya introduced the Aura architecture and branding last spring as a new approach and new unified architecture for enterprise communications. With Aura, SIP technology and SIP-based session management are used to simplify and centralize complex, multi-vendor environments (new and legacy, IP and TDM solutions from Avaya, Cisco, Nortel or others) and multi-location business networks. The new Avaya Aura System Platform is the company’s first Aura offer using standards-based virtualization technology that enables a single hardware platform to run multiple applications at the same time. Avaya touts a 75 percent reduction in hardware with this single server design and plans to deploy such virtualized servers for all applications going forward.
Specifically, the Avaya Aura System Platform and single server design allows Avaya Communication Manager, Voice Messaging, SIP Enablement Services (SES), Application Enablement Services, Utility Service and Media Services to be deployed on a single Linux-based server. Previously, these required separate servers. Benefits include reduced hardware, power and maintenance requirements, simpler installation and management and high resiliency due to remote monitoring and an optional backup server.
Avaya Aura System Platform for mid-size businesses can run on the earlier Avaya S8510 Server or a new S8800 Series common server which is based on Intel’s latest Xeon E5500 series (Nehalem) processor technology. The S8800 is available in both 1U (Simplex Server) and 2U (Duplicated Server) form factors. Avaya explains that most Avaya applications will use the S8800 1U server chassis; however, applications that require a large number of hard disk drives or plug-in cards will utilize the 2U version.
The new platform comes in Avaya Standard and Enterprise Editions. Standard Edition is for single-site businesses or mid to large distributed enterprises that require advanced capabilities and standard survivability, while the Enterprise Edition is for multi-site, highly distributed mid to very large enterprises that require 100% survivability at remote locations. The Enterprise Edition includes the Avaya Unified Communications All Inclusive package with a range of UC applications from Avaya (the package is free with the Enterprise Edition or $60 per user license for Standard Edition, up from $50 per user initially). Customers can also add the Avaya Contact Center Express (CCE) multi-media contact center solution; Avaya plans to enhance the CCE administration tool so that contact center data and capabilities of Avaya Aura Communication Manager can be managed from CCE.
The Avaya Aura System Platform is expected to be available globally in November 2009. www.avaya.com
Cisco Unified Communications System R8.0 Improves Collaboration
Takeaway: At the recent Cisco Collaboration Summit, Cisco announced a broad range of new and updated products and solutions with a focus on new ways to collaborate, including the entrance into two new markets, enterprise social software (new social video system) and hosted e-mail (Cisco WebEx Mail based on the Postpath acquisition). Within a larger Cisco Unified Communications ‘System’ R8.0 announcement, Cisco also introduces a new version 8.0 of the enterprise-level Cisco Unified Communications ‘Manager’ (CUCM) call processing platform, concentrating on three key areas for this IP PBX – open interfaces, the user experience and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Among the enhancements are additional smartphones (Apple iPhone and Blackberry) for Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator, as well as two new IP telephone Series, the Cisco Unified IP Phone 8900 Series (the first model is 8961) and the 9900 Series with an integrated Cisco Unified Video Camera (models 9951 and 9971). Read more below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on Cisco IP PBX systems and associated applications.
Cisco announces Cisco Unified Communications System Release 8.0 with new and updated solutions across all product categories, focusing on four main areas: (1) business to business communication (new Cisco Intercompany Media Engine and Cisco Unified Presence 8.0), (2) additional communication options (new 8900 and 9900 Series video phones, Apple iPhone and Blackberry smartphones for Cisco Unified Mobile Communicator and a new Session Management Edition which aggregates services for legacy PBXs, devices, and applications), (3) flexible deployment (new options for server virtualization and cloud-based configuration) and (4) the user/customer experience (Cisco Personal Communicator 8.0 and Cisco Unified Customer Voice Portal for speech and video self-service).
Within the myriad of new solutions is a new version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager or CUCM (formerly Cisco Unified CallManager), the enterprise IP telephony call processing component of Cisco’s Unified Communications Solution that scales to 30,000 users. Version 8.0 addresses three areas for this IP PBX: open interfaces, the user experience and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). With Version 8.0, the extension mobility capability is improved to work across clusters so that users can log into any phone inside or outside their home cluster. Cisco’s new Unified IP Phones Series, the 8900 and 9900 Series, target collaborative work environments and those looking for a multimedia experience. The new IP phones are designed to be both ‘user- and eco-friendly’, touting an ergonomic design (rounded buttons) and a Deep Sleep option that cycles power by time of day (can use 50% less power in off-hours compared to when the phone is idle during normal business hours). Also, the new Cisco phones are made of reground and recyclable plastics like Cisco’s 6900 Series introduced last spring (two new 6900 models are also introduced; the 6901 and 6911 join earlier 6921, 6941 and 6961).
Specifically, the Cisco Unified IP Phone 8961 has five programmable line/feature buttons and five call-session buttons and features a high resolution color display, high definition (HD) voice, 2-port Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (10/100/1000Base-T) and support for an 18-key color expansion module. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 9951 and 9971 models are similar, but add support for Bluetooth, and a Cisco Video Camera (available separately) can be attached for interactive 2-way video calling (multiparty video requires the Multipoint Control Unit). Model 9971 also supports WiFi connectivity (802.11 a/b/g) as an alternative to wired Ethernet. Model 9951 has five programmable line/feature buttons and five call-session buttons; model 9971 has six programmable line/feature buttons and six call-session buttons. All models handle 200 concurrent calls.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) 8.0 is expected to become available in the March/April 2010 timeframe. Cisco Unified IP Phone 8961 (US$625) and 9951 (US$795) and 9971 (US$995) endpoints are targeted for availability by year-end 2009 and are supported on Cisco Unified Communications Manager System Release 7.1(3) and later. The optional Cisco Unified Video Camera for the 9900 Series endpoints is expected to become available in the first half of 2010. www.cisco.com
eOn Debuts Server-based eConn IP-PBX
Takeaway: At the recent VoiceCon San Francisco show, eOn showcased the forthcoming eConn IP-PBX, a scalable server-based telephony platform built on commercial off-the-shelf hardware and utilizing the Linux operating system and industry standard SIP and TDM technologies. Telephony software features and applications are based on eOn’s established and proven Millennium platform on the market since 1992. The IP Messenger application (developed by Esnatech) adds forward-looking messaging and unified communications functionality such as the UC Mobile application that runs on the Apple iPhone, Motorola Android phone (running Google software), RIM Blackberry, Windows Mobile OS and Symbian OS phones (future plans include bundling the eConn IP-PBX and IP Messenger onto one virtualized server). Beta testing begins in December, and eConn is expected to become generally available worldwide in first quarter 2010 for under $500 per station, including the desktop device and messaging platform. Read more about eConn below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on eOn platforms and other IP PBXs on the market.
eOn Communications Corporation is set to begin beta testing the eConn IP-PBX, a new server-based IP platform based on applications and features from the company’s earlier Millennium PBX, but built on commercial off-the-shelf hardware and utilizing the Linux operating system. Designed for growing small to mid-size businesses with scalability from 10 to 1,000 users, eConn supports traditional TDM technology (T1, E1, ISDN PRI and analog trunks), and SIP trunking is in interoperability testing now. Early customer feedback on the design and implementation is positive, according to Jack Dienno, Vice President of Sales at eOn.
In addition to a comprehensive list of telephony features, eConn also supports the IP Messenger unified messaging and unified communications platform developed by partner Esna Technologies Inc. (Esna’s Telephony Office-LinX). With IP Messenger (which comes in two versions for small or larger businesses), users can access and manage voicemail, e-mail and fax messages from any SMTP, POP3, or MAPI compliant mail package, including Microsoft Outlook, IBM Lotus Notes, Novell GroupWise and hosted Google Applications. Messages can also be accessed from the Web. Features include auto attendant, IVR, text-to-speech, follow-me, remote login, screen pops, instant messaging, hot desking and presence management. With the UC Mobile application (no additional charge with the IP Messenger UC license) that runs on the Apple iPhone, Motorola Android phone (running Google software), RIM Blackberry, Windows Mobile OS and Symbian OS phones, mobile staff can communicate as they do at their office desk. Users can see who has called their office phone in real-time and see who is online and available. In the future, eConn and IP Messenger will be bundled to run on the same virtualized server.
A number of notable features and applications are included and standard with eConn such as mobile twinning with an office phone (single number reach to up to 19 mobile devices or landline phones), built-in ACD for up to 576 agents and 100 groups, meet-me conferencing for up to 256 parties per conference, a multi-site networking (TDM or IP-QSIG for 512 nodes), and a graphical programming application. Third party applications can also be added via the CSTA interface.
Customers can choose from a range of telephone options, including IP phones and softphones, WiFi or IP DECT wireless handsets and full duplex audio conferencing units. The eConn system supports eOn’s eNterprise 7022IP and 7032IP telephones and third party SIP hard and soft phones such as recommended models from Yealink, CounterPath, Ascom, snom or Linksys.
Beta testing begins in December, and the eConn IP-PBX is expected to become generally available in first quarter 2010 worldwide. The MSRP will be under $500 per station, including the desktop device and messaging platform. Current Millennium customers who wish to migrate to the new eConn platform can retain their eNterprise IP phones, but hardware components are not compatible. Or, the customer can network (over IP) an existing Millennium to the eConn for additional functionality. The company also offers two other telephony systems, the eOn Office Solutions based on Microsoft RP and the eQueue multi-media contact center solution. In the future, eConn will support the eQueue Contact Center application, in addition to the Millennium telephony applications. www.eoncommunications.com
Nortel BCM Release 5.0 Adds New UC Features
Takeaway: Amid the pending merger with Avaya, Nortel continues to enhance its SMB offer, announcing several new Unified Communications (UC) features and other improvements for its Business Communication Manager (BCM) converged voice and data telephony system. With new Release 5.0 software, Nortel focuses on employee productivity and customer service with several value-added UC features, including the InTouch application that integrates with Skype and MSN for Instant Messaging and presence services – popular capabilities that were unavailable with the previous release. Nortel’s announcement of BCM Release 5.0 comes on the heels of the news that Avaya was selected to purchase Nortel’s global Enterprise Solutions Business. The merger is said to become final soon in December 2009. Avaya’s competing SMB system, IP Office, was also recently upgraded (a substantial release also numbered Release 5.0). TelecomTactics will follow the product developments as the two leaders integrate their product portfolios. Meanwhile, read more about Nortel BCM Release 5.0 below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more information on current Nortel and Avaya business telephony systems and other IP PBX market offers.
Nortel continues to develop and enhance its Business Communications Manager (BCM) portfolio of IP telephony systems, recently announcing some new Unified Communications (UC) capabilities that improve productivity and customer service. With the new Release 5.0 software release, Nortel focuses on employee productivity, collaboration and customer service with several value-added features for this all-in-one appliance for SMBs, including FindMe/FollowMe, InTouch for instant messaging and presence services and Professional Call Recording (no additional equipment required). There is also a common software stream for BCM50 and BCM450 which simplifies purchase, installation and provisioning for SMBs and Nortel channel partners (this includes common software, applications, operating system, training, accreditation, user interfaces and documentation).
For mobile workers, the new FindMe/FollowMe feature allows the simultaneous ringing of a desk phone and up to five different external destinations such as a cell phone, home phone, or other phone. Calls can be picked up at the primary extension or at one of the five external destinations, transferred back and forth between the desk phone and the other devices, and the user can configure the external destinations to ring according to day and time schedules. Earlier this year, Nortel added another mobility feature called Message Forwarding that sends an e-mail notification of a voice or fax message to the user’s device of choice (PDA or PC e-mail client), including to a RIM Blackberry or Apple iPhone (pictured), Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Mac OS Mail or other e-mail client. Optionally, a compressed .WAV file can be attached and forwarded, so the user can play the voice message or display the fax message on the destination device.
Perhaps the highlight of the new capabilities is InTouch, a new Microsoft Outlook add-in user application (due out in December) that runs on a Windows-based PC. The InTouch screen (an activity pane located on the side of Microsoft Outlook screen) provides consolidated presence information and one-touch access to voice, e-mail, calendar and instant messaging communications (Skype or MSN is required for IM and presence services). InTouch is purchased separately through a software authorization code and downloaded from Nortel.com.
Last year, Nortel launched BCM450 to extend the capacity of the BCM portfolio to 300 users and offer a scalable version that targets the larger segment of the small and medium business (SMB) market. The BCM portfolio now handles from three to 300 users with BCM50 (3-30 users) and BCM450 (30-300 users) and provides a migration for legacy Norstar customers, as well as a growth option for earlier BCM200 and BCM400 platforms.
With R5.0, BCM450 also adds integrated IVR and support for RAID (mirrored) hard disk redundancy which were previously available only with the earlier BCM400. With these differences resolved, Nortel issued a Manufacture Discontinue notice for BCM200 and BCM400 on September 1, 2009. Note, however, that BCM200 and BCM400 can be upgraded to Release 5.0 with the purchase of an upgrade kit (this is a software and hardware component upgrade). www.nortel.com
Vertical Communications Releases SBX IP 3.0, Increases Capacity
Takeaway: Vertical responds to requests for increased scalability by expanding the capacity of its SBX IP telephony system to 48 telephones (up from 32) and trunk lines to 33. The new Release 3.0 functionality builds on an earlier release last spring and adds some new software features in addition to the increased capacity. SBX IP is one of several platforms introduced, following the merger of four telephony vendors (Artisoft, Vertical Networks, Comdial and Vodavi) into one company, now known as Vertical Communications Developed with partner LG-Nortel, the SBX IP was rolled out as a forward-looking alternative to the earlier Starplus STS key system (formerly from Vodavi) and DX-120 key system (formerly from Comdial) that do not support IP telephony. Vertical supports its dealer base with V-Connect, a channel partner Web portal for sales support and direct access to Vertical technical, sales and marketing personnel and other registered Vertical dealers. Read more about Vertical’s SBX IP below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on the SMB telephony market.
Vertical Communications announces new software for SBX IP (formerly called SBX IP 320), an IP-based key telephone system for single- or multi-site small businesses with scalability to 48 users per system (up from 32 users in the previous version) and networking of up to 72 sites. The SBX IP was introduced in 2008 as a forward-looking alternative to Vertical’s Starplus STS key system (formerly from Vodavi) and DX-120 key system (formerly from Comdial) that do not support IP telephony. SBX IP supports an IP Resource Card for SIP trunking, IP telephones (desk sets, soft phones and WiFi handsets) and networking over IP, as well as traditional digital key system features and popular productivity features usually associated with larger systems such as hot desking, conferencing (15 parties and nine conference rooms) and call center functionality.
Release 3.0 expands capacity with a new Basic Key Services Unit (KSU) that supports three CO trunks, one T1/PRI interface and 16 stations. If the new Expansion KSU is added, this allows for three additional 3x16 cards for a total of nine CO trunks and 48 stations. The new 24-channel T1/PRI digital trunk card supports one T1 or PRI trunk interface and eight hybrid stations, and fractional T1 is also possible (8-, 12- or 16-channels). As before, an IP Resource Card can be optionally added to support 16 remote IP extensions (two IP phones per port, with eight phones in use simultaneously; however, maximum stations remains at 48 total per system. For larger capacity requirements, up to 72 sites can be networked.
R3.0 enables several new software features, including CO Line Preset Forward that allows a CO line which is ringing at one or more stations to be forwarded to another station, mailbox, hunt group or other programmed destination. Remote recording of auto-attendant greetings and a coverage button for a hunt group are also new.
R3.0 is shipping now for new systems sold in the North American market. A free download is available on the Vertical partner support websites for existing customers looking to upgrade. Also, R3.0 software features are available for existing customers who do not require the new hardware KSUs. www.vertical.com
AVST CallXpress 8.1 Addresses Disaster Recovery
Takeaway: AVST continues to enhance its CallXpress unified messaging solution, responding to customer demand for another disaster recovery solution. CallXpress 8.1 adds support for a redundant System Server at a remote location. CallXpress already supported the Neverfail local disaster recovery solution which includes a redundant server co-located with CallXpress. Now, an additional tertiary System Server can be deployed at a remote location to further ensure continued business operations in the event of a disaster. CallXpress 8.1 is currently in field trial and expected to be generally available in first quarter 2010. Read more below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on leading unified messaging platforms.
Applied Voice & Speech Technologies, Inc. (AVST) responds to customer demand with new functionality for CallXpress, the company’s flagship unified messaging solution. CallXpress is a multi-server architecture with scalability to 384 ports and 40,000 users on multiple servers (up to 96 ports per Call Server). The architecture ensures high availability and minimizes points of failure; ports are distributed across multiple survivable Call Servers (up to eight).
New Release 8.1 features focus on disaster recovery with a new ‘tertiary’ System Server that provides a redundant solution at an alternate location. CallXpress already supported the Neverfail local disaster recovery solution which includes a redundant server co-located with CallXpress. The CallXpress multi-server architecture can be combined with a Neverfail® Server, a fully synchronized hot standby server that contains a real-time copy of the CallXpress System Server data and which can immediately take over if failure is detected. Now, an additional tertiary System Server can be deployed at a remote location to further ensure continued business operations in the event of a disaster.
CallXpress also supports multiple e-mail clients and stores such as Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Novell GroupWise and any IMAP4 compliant e-mail system, and now adds support for Google Gmail and other Secure IMAP e-mail servers and services. Earlier in 2009, AVST added some productivity features for mobile users such as schedule-based presence functionality. CallXpress Personal Assistant and Find-me/Follow-me capabilities can automatically route calls based on the user’s current presence, such as routing calls to a cell phone if presence is set to ‘mobile.’
CallXpress 8.1 is currently in field trial and expected to be generally available in first quarter 2010. CallXpress integrates with more than 250 different switch configurations (IP and TDM) and can simultaneously integrate with multiple telephony systems including up to 10 telephony integrations on a single CallXpress platform. www.avst.com
Iwatsu Voice Networks Partners for WeLink Conference Server
Takeaway: Iwatsu Voice Networks continues to add value for customers that deploy its Enterprise-CS IP/TDM telephony platform for SMBs. A new option, the WeLINK Conference Server SIP-based service from partner Esnatech, enables flexible, on-demand voice conferencing without the monthly expense of a hosted conferencing service. Used in conjunction with the unified messaging platform from Esnatech (Telephony OfficeLinX), users can take advantage of additional conferencing features such as viewing the presence status of others and using voice-to-text transcription. The Esnatech TOL integration also affords other advanced capabilities for Iwatsu customers, including recently-announced Mobile UC Client software for the Apple iPhone and voice-activated dialing, as well as capabilities on Esnatech’s roadmap that Iwatsu will likely incorporate. Read more about WeLINK below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on the SMB telephony market.
Iwatsu Voice Networks is partnering with Esnatech to offer a new SIP-based meet-me conference server for SMBs, called WeLINK, which eliminates the expense of hosted conferencing services from an outside vendor (no monthly fees or fee per use). WeLINK is a new option for Iwatsu's Enterprise-CS (Communications Server), a converged TDM/IP communication system for small and medium businesses that scales to 1,024 IP ports in a single gateway cabinet. WeLINK connects to the ECS via SIP to enable multi-party conference calls and secure voice meetings.
As an in-house audio conference solution, WeLINK supports up to 48 simultaneous SIP sessions (24 participants per conference) on a single system with 1,000 conferences or ‘rooms’. The conference host can notify participants of the conference start time, the conference bridge phone number and the access code by using applications such as Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar, according to Iwatsu. The audio conferences can also be recorded for later review.
Additional conferencing features are available if WeLINK is used in conjunction with the Iwatsu Enterprise Suite that packages the ECS IP-PBX with a unified communications platform from Esnatech called Telephony OfficeLinX (TOL). The integration of WeLINK and Esnatech’s TOL allows users to view the presence status of other users, view conference reports and utilize voice-to-text transcription for archiving recorded conferences (requires the speech-to-text module). www.iwatsu.com and www.esnatech.com
OAISYS Enhances Tracer Digital Recording Solution
Takeaway: OAISYS continues to focus on customer needs, enhancing its digital recording solution that creates digital media documents from business telephone calls that can be centrally stored, organized, retrieved and annotated, allowing this call information to be shared quickly and easily. This provides valuable insight into agent-customer communications and helps businesses evaluate sales techniques and regulatory compliance among other benefits. The OAISYS Tracer call center management software is enhanced (version 6.0) with a number of new features for live call and auto call monitoring and agent coaching and evaluation. A unique Owner’s Report provides business owners with a high level view of all manager activity. Tracer call center management software is deployed with a number of leading telecommunications telephony systems from Avaya, Mitel, NEC, ShoreTel, Toshiba and integrates tightly with the prairieFyre customer interaction solutions portfolio. Read more below about Tracer 6.0 and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on current contact center solutions.
OAISYS announces Tracer 6.0, a new version of the company’s digital recording solution for contact centers. Tracer call center management software is deployed with a number of leading telecommunications telephony systems from Avaya, Mitel, NEC, ShoreTel, Toshiba and integrates tightly with the prairieFyre customer interaction solutions portfolio. Tracer 6.0 adds new features for live call and auto call monitoring and agent coaching and evaluation, as well as improved quality control and call organization. The new features are based on direct feedback from customers, according to Brian Spencer, president of OAISYS. In addition to customer responsiveness, Spencer cites the company’s focus on channel sales (no direct sales) and an emphasis on customer service with pre- and post-sales support (Jump Start Services) as key advantages and differentiators from the competition.
Tracer builds on the company’s Talkument® call recording and voice documentation software that utilizes the patent-pending OAISYS Portable Voice Document (PVD™) technology for storing and organizing call recordings. The Tracer call center management software includes the core Talkument feature set, but adds advanced capabilities for quality assurance, real-time coaching and employee evaluation.
New Tracer 6.0 functionality includes the Live Call Monitor, Live Notes and Live Auto Monitor capabilities that allow managers to see calls taking place on the network, control call recordings and add notes, as well as set rules to automatically flag calls. Live Evaluations allows managers to evaluate calls while these are in progress and several new or enhanced capabilities are available to support agent coaching. Work Queues automatically generates a random sampling of calls that meet predetermined evaluation criteria in order to streamline agent performance management and ensure an objective evaluation. A new Owner’s Report (screen shot pictured) provides business owners with a snapshot of all manager activity for a specified period (daily, weekly, monthly), including Live Calls Monitored, Calls Reviewed, Calls Evaluated, Calls Coached and Reports Run.
The OAISYS Talkument and Tracer software recording solutions are available as a pre-bundled rack-mount appliance (48 ports and 56,000 hours of recordings) or as a built-to-order server-based system that scales to 192 ports and 200,000 hours of recordings. OAISYS appliances and servers can be networked together to create a seamless recording system network.
Tracer 6.0 is generally available on November 10, 2009. Existing customers enrolled in the OAISYS support services program can get a free software upgrade from their dealer. In 2010, OAISYS plans to target larger enterprises with increased capacity, as well as the public sector (government) and the healthcare industry. www.oaisys.com
|Telephones and User Devices
Aastra Introduces Color Touch Screen Phone, Highlights Hi-Q Audio Technology
Highlights: Aastra (www.aastra.com) expands its 673xi SIP desk phone series with the Aastra 6739i, a color touch-screen SIP business desk phone that targets power users and business executives (though the advanced feature set and competitive price point will likely appeal to all levels of an organization, according to Aastra). Notably, the new 6739i delivers high definition audio and voice clarity using Aastra’s recently introduced Hi-Q™ audio technology based on the industry standard G.722 wideband codec. Aastra Hi-Q™ is available for all Aastra 67xi telephones, but the 6739i goes further, incorporating High Definition (HD) hardware to maximize the acoustic performance of the handset, hands-free speakerphone or headset port. Additionally, Aastra 6739i has a large 5.7 inch full VGS color touch screen display, integrated Gigabit Ethernet ports (10/100/1000), Bluetooth headset support, a USB port and expansion modules, 55 programmable softkeys, Caller and Calling Line information with picture ID, XML support for additional productivity applications and more.
Availability/Compatibility: Aastra 6739i (MSRP $529.99 USD) is expected to start shipping by the end of November 2009. All 67xi Series phones, including the 6730i and 6731i models introduced last spring and earlier 675xi models, work with Aastra IP systems, as well as SIP-compatible IP platforms from other vendors. For more on VoIP telephones from leading manufacturers, visit www.telecomtactics.com .
Cisco Debuts Unified IP Phone 8900 and 9900 Series Media Endpoints
Highlights: The new Cisco (www.cisco.com) Unified IP Phones Series, the 8900 and 9900 Series, target collaborative work environments and those looking for a multimedia experience. The new IP phones are designed to be both ‘user- and eco-friendly’, touting an ergonomic design (rounded buttons) and a Deep Sleep option that cycles power by time of day (can use 50% less power in off-hours compared to when the phone is idle during normal business hours). Also, the new Cisco phones are made of reground and recyclable plastics like Cisco’s 6900 Series introduced last spring (two new 6900 models are also introduced; the 6901 and 6911 join earlier 6921, 6941 and 6961).
Specifically, the Cisco Unified IP Phone 8961 has five programmable line/feature buttons and five call-session buttons and features a high resolution color display, high definition (HD) voice, 2-port Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (10/100/1000Base-T) and support for an 18-key color expansion module.
The Cisco Unified IP Phone 9951 and 9971 models are similar, but add support for Bluetooth, and a Cisco Video Camera (available separately) can be attached for interactive 2-way video calling (multiparty video requires the Multipoint Control Unit). Model 9971 also supports WiFi connectivity (802.11 a/b/g) as an alternative to wired Ethernet. Model 9951 has five programmable line/feature buttons and five call-session buttons; model 9971 has six programmable line/feature buttons and six call-session buttons. All models handle 200 concurrent calls.
Availability/Compatibility: Cisco Unified IP Phone 8961 (US$625) and 9951 (US$795) and 9971 (US$995) endpoints are targeted for availability by year-end 2009 and are supported on Cisco Unified Communications Manager System Release 7.1(3) and later. The optional Cisco Unified Video Camera for the 9900 Series endpoints is expected to become available in the first half of 2010. For more on VoIP telephones from leading manufacturers, visit www.telecomtactics.com .
Polycom Expands Desktop Portfolio with SoundPoint IP 335 and CX300
Highlights: Polycom (www.polycom.com) expands its portfolio of high definition voice devices with two new desktop options, the SoundPoint IP 335 SIP-based desktop telephone with Polycom HD Voice and the CX300 USB desktop phone optimized for Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 Release 2.
A high-quality and cost-effective solution for cubicle workers and call center operators, the SoundPoint IP 335 is an entry-level SIP phone similar to Polycom’s earlier 330, but with Polycom’s High Definition (HD) Voice technology (incorporates wideband audio (G.722), enhanced signal processing, Acoustic Clarity Technology and a specialized system design). The SoundPoint IP 335 also has a backlit, 2-line display and an RJ-9 headset adaptor, differentiating it from the earlier 300 series versions. This entry-level model completes Polycom’s HD Voice portfolio of full HD Voice enabled endpoints.
Suitable for most office workers, the CX Series desktop IP phones are USB desktop phone peripherals for Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 that include a handset, a full duplex speakerphone and a headset port, providing full access to the presence-enabled features of OCS 2007. The new CX300 USB peripheral is similar to the earlier CX200 model, but includes a backlit display, a full keypad and an improved speaker phone. CX300 is also optimized specifically for use with Microsoft OCS 2007 R2.
Availability/Compatibility:: The Polycom SoundPoint IP 335 ($199 U.S. MSRP) and Polycom CX300 ($169 U.S. MSRP) are available now through Polycom’s global channel partner network. Polycom SoundPoint IP and SoundStation IP desktop and conference phones communicate with any SIP- based IP PBX or hosted call server. The Polycom CX300 Desktop Phone is designed specifically for use with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, so Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 must be installed on the PC with which the CX200 Desktop Phone will be used. For more on VoIP telephones from leading manufacturers, visit www.telecomtactics.com .
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