IP Telephony Offerings On The Way From Trio Of Vendors

Siemens ICN, a subsidiary of Siemens AG, plans to introduce HiPath ProCenter Agile, its first contact center software aimed at small and midsize businesses.

"This unlocks the opportunity to go after smaller businesses that may not be able to afford the capabilities of bigger clients but still want some of that functionality," said Brian Jones, president of Converged Solutions Group, a Nashville, Tenn.-based solution provider.

To target that new market, Siemens ICN will have to rely more heavily on smaller data-focused channel partners, said Al Baker, vice president of product management for global eCRM solutions at Siemens ICN, Boca Raton, Fla. "Our traditional channel partner in the U.S. has been very telecom-oriented," he said.


3Com's 3000-series IP phones will replace the current 2000-series.

HiPath ProCenter Agile is less complicated to use and easier to implement than the vendor's enterprise-targeted HiPath ProCenter Suite, Baker said. The new product also includes presence capabilities that let call center agents see if team members are available and one-click collaboration capabilities that allow agents to easily interact with each other and their supervisors, he said. The product is scheduled to ship next quarter and carries an average price of $400 to $500 per agent.

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3Com, meanwhile, this week plans to introduce its 3102 Business Phone, the first in a new series of IP phones designed to replace the vendor's current 2000-series handsets.

With the 3000-series handsets, 3Com will now support wideband audio, which carries a broader sound frequency than traditional telephony handsets and makes phone conversations clearer, the Marlborough, Mass.-based company said. The 3012, priced at $310, is slated for release at the end of March.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Artisoft, for its part, plans to launch version 6.0 of its TeleVantage IP-PBX, which adds ViewPoint, a new graphical user interface for managing calls and voice-mail messages from any PC. The new version also extends the software's full lineup of call handling features to remote workers' IP, home and cell phones.

TeleVantage 6.0, which runs on industry-standard, Intel-based hardware, is due to ship in March. The average price for a fully configured system runs $500 to $600 per user.