VoiceCon Calling: Hot Phones From The Show Floor
VoiceCon Orlando 2008's entire message is around enabling voice communication, then wrapping in video, instant messaging, conferencing and a host of other applications. And nothing facilitates voice communications better than the phone.
But the phones showcased at VoiceCon this year weren't your run-of-the-mill rotary-dial antiques. Instead, the phones blanketing the VoiceCon show floor integrated video, applications, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and myriad other nifty gadgets and gizmos to connect one person to another.
Here are some of the hottest and coolest phones from VoiceCon Orlando 2008, wired and wireless devices that make it more a pleasure than a chore to make and receive the barrage of daily calls.
Here, Nortel Networks displays its wall of phones.
MOTOROLA TAKES IT TO THE WLAN
Motorola demonstrated its yet-to-be-named Wi-Fi handset that the vendor says "takes Voice over WLAN beyond voice." The device, which should be released sometime in the in the second half of this year, uses the corporate Wi-Fi network for voice access and features push-to-talk capabilities. The smartphone, which may change a little as it goes through the production process, also features access to email through ActiveSync or Good Mobile Messaging and other applications via the Windows Mobile operating system. Designed for on-campus use within the Wi-Fi network, the device supports voice from most major PBX vendors and currently interoperates with Wi-Fi gear from Cisco Systems and, of course, Motorola.
"It's taking the voice over Wi-Fi experience beyond the voice," said Russ Knister, Motorola senior director of business development, Enterprise Mobility Solutions.
MAKING THE PBX GO CELLULAR
Along with the Wi-Fi device, Motorola also gave VoiceCon attendees a sneak peek at an upcoming dual-mode device that it's dubbing as a "PBX extension to cellular." Knister said the smartphone is for the road warrior. This device, which will also be available sometime by year's end and may be modified from its current form, falls in line with Motorola's "mobility for everybody mantra."
"The idea is that you can have lots of modes for mobility without adding a lot of point solutions," Knister said.
NOKIA'S E90 SMARTPHONE GETS PUBLIC DISPLAY
Nokia showed off its recently released E90 Communicator smart phone, which features mobile broadband, email and a host of other office functions. Nokia has taken to calling it "a laptop in your pocket."
The clamshell device uses high-speed 3G mobile broadband connections for browsing the Web and transferring files. It also enables opening and editing documents and email attachments on the go.
Pictured here is the E90 closed, ready to move.
E90 OPENS UP
While the Nokia E90 Communicator looks like a typical candy bar style smartphone at first glance, it opens up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. But the device also features shortcut keys to access voice and data functions quickly and easily.
Additionally, the E90 uses quad-band GSM international roaming to enable talking on every continent. It also features calendar functions and integrated GPS.
GRANDSTREAM ADDS IP VIDEO
With its GXV-3000 series, Grandstream showed off a desktop phone that adds IP video into the mix. The next-generation phone, based on the SIP standard with an H.264 video codec, is sleek way to video conference from the desk. It interoperates with major third-party SIP products and features video delivery from 32 Kbps to 1 Mbps. It features and adjustable 5.6 inch LCD screen and camera to view at various angles and allows zoom, auto-focus and picture-in-picture. The GXV-3000 also features dial 10/100 Mbps auto-sensing Ethernet ports.
SHORETEL BRINGS A SPLASH OF COLOR
ShoreTel, which took home the Best Of VoiceCon award for its solutions and demonstrations on the show floor, demoed a pair of color-screen desktop phones combining style with functionality.
The ShorePhone IP 265 is a compact, six-line phone with a back-lit color display. It has eight feature keys and four soft keys to access the ShoreTel IP telephony system feature set. It also offers a full duplex speakerphone and integrated headset jack.
COLOR DISPLAY FOR THE EXECUTIVE
ShoreTel also offered up its IP 565g, the most advanced phone on its roster. Featuring a color display and a Bluetooth interface, users can connect with their Bluetooth headset for cordless, hands-free calling.
VOICE GOES HIGH-DEFINITION WITH POLYCOM
High-definition voice sure is crisp. At VoiceCon, Polycom set up its own phone booth to give the audience a taste of the difference between HD and traditional voice calls using its SoundPoint IP 650. The high performance IP phone, fitted with HD voice, integrates new applications from Polycom's Productivity Suite. The 650 features six lines in standalone and 12 with an expansion module. The phone features a 320 by 160 pixel backlit LCD screen, 26 hard keys and four context-sensitive soft keys. IT also features a USB port for future applications.
MICROSOFT OCS ON A DESKTOP PHONE
Polycom also displayed the CX family of phones, desktop and IP phones that integrate with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.
The CX700 IP Phone (pictured) offers a color touch screen with an embedded Microsoft Office Communicator Client without the need for a PC to use Office Communicator's VoIP capabilities.
The IP phone provides call status, visual presence and voicemail indicators on the display for information at a glance. It adds in high definition audio and integrates with Microsoft Outlook and OCS 2007 contact lists with click-to-call.
SMBS GET ENTERPRISE-GRADE WI-FI
Polycom showcased its line of wireless SIP and DECT technology phones for the enterprise and SMB. The latest release, the SpectraLink 8002 Wireless Telephone (pictured far right) is a Wi-Fi phone strictly for the SMB, giving workers the freedom to roam the workplace without missing a call. The entry-level Wi-Fi handset gives enterprise-grade Voice over WLAN and supports open SIP VoIP. The device is certified for interoperability with the SIP-based Digium Asterisk Business Edition IP PBX.
ALCATEL-LUCENT CUTS THE CORD
Alcatel-Lucent showed off the IP Touch 4068 phone, which offers integrated IP connectivity and telephony. Offering data and VoIP capabilities, the 4068 supports Web-based XML applications and a high-resolution screen. The 4068 model has a color display and offers Bluetooth wireless technology. The Bluetooth handset can roam the office without a pesky cord and stay connected to the device for 50 feet or more. It also features a full QWERTY keyboard.
MITEL SHOWS OFF IP PHONES
Mitel displayed its 5200 and 5300 series of IP phones, which offer a range of functionality, including an application feature set in the 5300 that integrates desktop devices and tools and offers unified communications features allowing "presence anywhere."
NEC UNVEILS NEW TERMINALS
NEC Unified Solutions, which just a week before outlined new product sets and direction for its unified communications offerings, demonstrated its latest terminals, the DT700 and DT300 series, at VoiceCon. The series include IP and digital terminals that add new features to desktop phones including SIP support, support for VoIP and traditional voice and XML open interface support for applications.
Pictured is a sampling of NEC's latest terminal releases.
AVAYA TIPS CAP TO RED SOX NATION
While the Avaya's one-X Deskphone Edition family isn't necessarily new, we couldn't pass up this fire engine red IP desk phone that works with both the H.323 and SIP protocols. And, while the phone itself doesn't come equipped with that classy Boston Red Sox sticker, the color is perfect to compliment one that can be added after-market, spicing up any work environment, especially if that environment happens to be within the confines of the New York Yankees' evil empire.