Support for IP Phones Expanded

 
 
By Caron Carlson  |  Posted 2002-10-21 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Vertical networks enables businesses to mix phone technologies on a system.

To help enterprises with branch offices and smaller businesses with multiple sites customize and unify communications networks, Vertical Networks Inc. is making its systems fully compatible with IP phones. The upgrade includes updated software and a partnership with Polycom Inc.

Vertical Networks has supported IP phones as standard analog technology through its voice-over-IP trunking capabilities for the past three years, said Scott Pickett, chief technology officer and co-founder of Vertical Networks, in Sunnyvale, Calif. Now, supporting IP phones directly gives users more business-class features and enables phones on the system to be managed from a single Web interface, Pickett said.

"There are still differences between digital phones and IP phones," Pickett said. "With [the new support], you can administer digital phones, analog phones and IP phones all in the same way."

To support IP directly, Vertical Networks updated its InstantOffice software, allowing businesses to mix IP handsets with digital and analog handsets on one network. It standardizes the communications networks by making the same functions available to everyone and allows businesses to tailor phone systems to their needs. The company is targeting most vertical industries, but it is finding particular interest in retail, financial services and health care. The updated system makes calling between offices cheaper, said Vertical Networks.

From the user perspective, InstantOffice System Release 5.0, which will be available late next month, makes IP phones seem identical to other phones by establishing a common dialing plan and set of features. From the perspective of administration, it creates a common management interface, meaning that IP phones can be integrated and administered with remote diagnostics. For growing enterprises that are acquiring new offices, the system facilitates companywide network integration.

Milner Atlanta Brokerage Service Inc. has been using IP phones with Vertical Networks InstantOffice since May. The main advantage over a more traditional PBX is that it allows the flexibility to configure the answering system and features uniformly in the main office as well as at employees home offices, said Fritz Milner, president of the life insurance wholesale agency, in Atlanta. "Ive got a full T-1 pipe coming into my office, but at home Ive got [digital subscriber line]," Milner said. "They were able to put an IP phone on my desk at home so that any time my phone rings at the office, it rings the same at my home. Its as perfect as any phone system. I have zero reduction in sound quality."

For larger enterprises, Vertical Networks this month unveiled an updated, high-capacity integrated communications platform for offices housing as many as 192 users. InstantOffice 6500 allows corporations to integrate branch offices with a mix of equipment and a variety of telephony needs. It lets companies expand InstantOffice features—such as enterprise packet-switched and circuit-switched PBX capabilities, voice mail, auto-attendant, and Ethernet LAN—anywhere on the IP network, including home offices. The upgraded platform supports advanced applications such as customizable call center software.

By working with industry standards, InstantOffice can serve users with off-the-shelf IP phones. Vertical Networks is supporting the SoundPoint IP 500 phone from Polycom, in Pleasanton, Calif., first, but it is working on partnerships with other IP phone vendors, Pickett said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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