• August 25, 2006
  • By Coreen Bailor, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Product Roundup: VoiceCon Fall 2006

Players in the IP telephony industry assembled in San Francisco this week, making product splashes at VoiceCon Fall 2006. Some of the offerings include: Avaya unveiled several new products including VPNremote for IP Phones 2.0, the latest installment of its software solution that embeds virtual private network (VPN) capabilities into Avaya IP phones, providing communications to employees working from home or temporary locations. Avaya also unveiled Interaction Center 7.1, intended to simplify multimedia customer interaction for CSRs, and revealed enhancements to Avaya one-x Quick Edition, a product aimed at enterprise branches and small offices rather than the contact center. The VPNremote phone now interoperates with Cisco Systems and Juniper Networks environments. "This release is continuing our efforts to make it easier for you to have communications anywhere whether [you're] mobile, [in a] remote office, or sitting at your home, with a low cost, secure phone," says Lawrence Byrd, director of IP telephony and mobility at Avaya. With Avaya Interaction Center 7.1, organizations can use a new software development kit (SDK) to customize agent screens so complex customer interactions via phone, email, or Web chat can be managed through one portal. The SDK comes integrated with Avaya Interaction Center, which integrates with existing Web services based apps. The company adds that it offers prebuilt, pretested adapters for incorporating Interaction Center functionality into CRM applications from vendors like Oracle's Siebel Systems and PeopleSoft, and now SAP. NEC Unified Solutions
has made available its Managed IP Telephony (MIPT) service, which is designed specifically for the SMB space. NEC is offering the MIPT service in two options: Essential and Comprehensive. Some of the features of the Essential MIPT include ongoing monitoring and incident management of IP telephony and data network for availability and performance, and Web portal access to information at the customer's network and on-demand historical reports, according to NEC. The Comprehensive MIPT includes the features of its Essential counterpart, adding capabilities like Change Management for routers and switches and trend analysis for IP Telephony and supporting data network. NEC also announced the availability of its eTHOS Contact Center offering, a solution that provides users with an open development platform. Verizon Business has incorporated additional IP functionality into its Contact Center Services and VoIP portfolio: Verizon IP Tollfree Services, Verizon IP IVR, and added capabilities to Verizon Business' IP Trunking. IP Tollfree is a network-based service that routes incoming toll free calls over IP. "We're allowing customers to migrate at their own pace," says Jim Tyrrell, executive director of advanced voice services in product management at Verizon Business. "We know that they're not going to rip out TDM and go to IP in a 100 percent swoop. We know that there's a journey to make." IP IVR provides call processing in a pure IP network environment to help companies benefit from efficiencies like voice compression and bandwidth allocation, and can direct calls to both TDM and IP endpoints, according to the company. Verizon Business adds that both IP Tollfree and IP IVR are compatible with Avaya Communication Manager with SIP enablement services (SES) 3.1 software and other SIP enabled endpoints. IP Trunking lets companies with investment in Avaya IP phones to connect on one converged access line for internal and external traffic. "From a contact center standpoint Avaya has clearly been a leader, so interoperability and connectivity with Avaya was a great starting point," Tyrrell says. "We'll continue to build interoperability [with] other vendors as well." Other product news included the launch of Apparent Networks' AppCritical SME, network performance software for that market; new SIP integrations to Applied & Voice Speech Technologies' (AVST) CallXpress unified communications platform; and an upgrade to Clarus Systems' ClarusIPC Operations software featuring enhanced security for IP telephony. Additionally, Aastra Intecom announced a strategic alliance program with VARs and partners to offer its Hosted Contact Center solution. Related articles: AntiSIPation VoIP protocol SIP's potential in the contact center comes with both benefits and caveats. Virtual Contact Centers Are Connecting VoIP's Mainstream March
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