IM, Home Dial Tone

By Ellen Muraskin  |  Posted 2004-11-05 Print this article Print

Petramala also showed me how the buddy list of Esnas enterprise-focused IM system showed phone extensions, organized buddies by department and sent SMS messages to those on cell phones. Launching a Mitel softphone so I could see it on his Webex-shared desktop, he soft-dialed his own company number to reach the dial-by-name auto attendant. We asked for an employee and heard his voice-mail greeting say–because the system works with presence–that he was in a meeting.
The Client Manager applet can automatically pop up the contact record of a caller, using Outlook, Notes, or GroupWise, Goldmine, Act! and other popular contact managers. It also can be integrated with Siebel or other full-blown CRM systems.
The ultimate degree of PBX integration varies with the model, says Petramala, but CSTA compliance assures interoperability with all PBXes at a basic level and gives the IM client extension status. Esna Tech has particularly strong reseller arrangements with Panasonic and with 3Com dealers, who sell the all-IP NBX system. Office-LinX SBE runs on a Windows 2000 PC and comes with two ports of Scansoft text-to-speech to read e-mails aloud; it optionally uses Nuance speech recognition for extension connection (auto attendant) by name. It can be clustered for scale and redundancy. Most of the IP PBXs now on the market offer Web-accessible e-mail and voice mail, as well as presence and IM, but typically, its on an additional, optional server, such as Mitels Your Assistant or Cisco Call Managers Unity. They typically dont work in as many categories as this box, however. And while I cant swear to it, I doubt they come in at this price. For businesses that can be happy with eight simultaneous voice-mail users, its worth looking at this third-party alternative. E-mail Technology Editor Ellen Muraskin. VOIP/Telecom Topic Center Editor Ellen Muraskin has been observing and illuminating the murky intersection of computer intelligence and telephony since 1993. She reaches for her VOIP line when the rain makes her POTS line buzz. Check out eWEEK.coms VOIP & Telephony Center at for the latest news, views and analysis on voice over IP and telephony.

Ellen Muraskin is editor of's VOIP & Telephony Center. She has worked on the editorial staff at Computer Telephony, since renamed Communications Convergence, including three years as executive editor. Muraskin's work has also appeared in Popular Science magazine and other publications.

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