On the device end, DiVitas primarily supports Nokia E-Series and N-series smartphones, as the company advertises support for just pair of Windows Mobile devices from HTC- the TyTN II (also known as the AT&T Tilt) and the HTC S730. In tests, I found that Nokia devices-specifically the Nokia E51 and the E71-worked out of the box with the DiVitas solution, but the AT&T Tilt required a special firmware upgrade I received from DiVitas (a test build that required me to unlock the phone, at that) in order to get going.
The on-device user experience with the DiVitas Client is where the full solution really shines, at least on the Nokia side of things. From the DiVitas Client, I could easily place calls using either the business extension or the phone's mobile carrier number (the client presents the option on every call). I could also easily access either the phone's local contact store or conduct lookups from the corporate directory, and I could view separate lists of missed, incoming and outgoing calls.
The Nokia phones typically made the transition from Wi-Fi to cellular and back seamlessly, although I did occasionally experience a handoff delay where I heard a few seconds of stock music before the call could continue. Audio quality on Wi-Fi calls was typically excellent-noticeably better than the typical cellular quality-as DiVitas utilizes G.711 codecs for all calls.
I could quickly parse through voicemails using DiVitas' Visual Voicemail feature. On the device (with a data connection to the DiVitas server), the Client displays an icon for every message in my mailbox. Clicking on a bar downloaded the audio file to the device, allowing me to play and pause the message, or return the call. Unfortunately, the Client would not let me fast forward or rewind within a message, which to me is the best feature of such a visual voicemail implementation.
I found the unified communications features also worked quite well. The integrated text messaging services were easy to use, allowing users to pass short messages back and forth IM-style. Meanwhile, presence updates are pushed quickly throughout the network, allowing users to define which modes of communication are currently accepted (voice, text, both or neither), and convey a quick message about their current disposition (out of office, taking a nap, etc).
On the other hand, the DiVitas experience on my AT&T Tilt was terrible. The phone had bad audio quality and a massive amount of trouble staying connected to the Wi-Fi network despite good coverage. Because this particular device has been through some wars, I am willing to chalk this experience up to a faulty device. However, it should be noted that DiVitas has scaled back the number of supported Windows Mobile devices over the last year as different models have not been able to provide the experience the company wants to deliver, which makes me question how interested the company is in continuing to support the Windows Mobile platform.
Given the overall quality of the client components and the somewhat complicated, under-developed management capabilities of the system, the DiVitas experience is one that translates exceptionally well to a hosted model-letting someone else take care of system management. Indeed, DiVitas has partnered with VOIP carrier Sawtel to deliver FMC features to the carrier's customers as part of hosted suite of unified communications services.
eWEEK Labs Senior Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at [email protected]