Hot Products From VoiceCon San Francisco

VoiceCon San Francisco 2009 was the gathering place this past week for some of the industry's most established enterprise communications players -- and also some of its most exciting upstarts and niche players. Here's a look at 15 vendors that brought their products to VoiceCon or were featured, as part of the adjacent Enteprise 2.0 conference, in the joint VoiceCon-Enterprise 2.0 exhibit hall.

VoiceCon San Francisco is a production of TechWeb, which, like Everything Channel, is owned by United Business Media.

MeetingPoint is VoIP specialist snom's first VoIP conference phone, allowing management of up to four external participants, LDAP, contact listings, optional Snom Flexor CTI integration, and sound by OmniSound 2.0. The MeetingPoint has a recording range of up to 30 m(squared), or up to 10 participants, and according to Snom is optimized for Microsoft Open Communications Server 2007 R2 and can offer multiple SIP registrations.

Acme Packet is touted as "the leader in session border control (SBC) solutions" -- it makes IP-based communications products designed to ease the flow of voice, video and multimedia across IP network borders. Net-Net 4500 is a member of its Net-Net 4000 series, and operates on Acme Packet's Net-Net OS to control traffic across and between various IP network boundaries. According to Acme Packet, the Net-Net 4500 can process 160 percent more messages per second for SIP, H.323, SIP-H.323 interworking and MGCP protocol SBC configurations than its predecessors in the series.

Skype, the popular Internet telephony service, has in the past year been stepping up its focus on Skype for business use, including releases of Skype for Windows (Business version), Skype for Mac OS X and Skype for Linux. Its Skype for SIP, currently in beta, allows users to tie existing SIP-based communications to the Skype service and benefit from the discounted international calling rates Skype provides, as well as receive inbound Skype calls without additional hardware upgrade. It's one of two Skype releases specific to PBX systems, the other being the recently released Skype for Asterisk, a version of Skype optimized for the Digium-developed open-source PBX.

RedSky Technologies used VoiceCon to launch RedBox, an all-in-one E911 compliance product geared to businesses that need Multi-Line Telephone System E911 compliance or are seeking a speed-response IP telephony product for emergency situations. RedBox, according to RedSky, comes bundled with RedSky's E911 Anywhere Network Services, its national 911 call routing and location update service, which can route 911 calls to any public safety answering point in the country. Additional features include the ability to send SMS text and e-mail to security and administrators simultaneously with a 911 call. RedBox can also be used with RedSky's separately sold Softphone Location Determination Application for updates while traveling.

Alcatel-Lucent's OmniTouch 8600 MIC is a collaboration and unified communications platform offered as a single user license. It ties together telephony services like IBM Lotus Sametime, messaging services like Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook, instant messaging, video, VoIP, one number call routing and screening service, and presence services. Its specific telephony services include Alcatel-Lucent 4635/4645 or VxML voice mail ports, Text to speech ports in 10 possible languages, fax server ports or embedded fax option, Alcatel-Lucent 4980 Softphone (a Windows telephony client), and voice encryption.

Siemens Enterprise Communication (SEN) Group used VoiceCon to promote Twitter integration for its OpenScape Unified Communications application -- a mash-up between OpenScape and Twitter that in essence allows OpenScape users easier access to Twitter. The hope, according to Siemens, is that users of OpenScape will be able to better use Twittter and other social networking tools like Facebook and LinkedIn as part of their unified communications infrastructure. SEN Group is also offering OpenScape as a cloud deployment to allow software developers access to the OpenScape platform and the ability to create their own mash-ups for an hourly, per-instance fee.'s storage, document sharing and collaboration tools are favorites of the CRN Test Center. Through SaaS-based appllications, the company enables businesses to not only move large volumes of data around using a SaaS application but also allows users to collaborate in various workgroups on content in various formats, including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel files, PDFs, TXT and CSV files. Devotees compare as a much cheaper alternative to established enterprise collaboration software like Microsoft SharePoint, and the company earlier this year began an expansion of its channel program.

Released in mid-October, ArtusLabs' Ensemble Docs is a Web-deployed document management application, available in hosted or behind-the-firewall configurations. Among its features are drag-and-drop capability, customizable user groups, templates, views and searches, a number of collaboration tools that show who's doing what to what document and when, messaging systems and built-in document editors. ArtusLabs is positioning the tool for enterprise infrastructures that lack comprehensive document management and document sharing solutions.

Xobni is an Outlook plug-in designed to help users make better and more organized use of their Microsoft Outlook accounts. Xobni offers a basic version for free, and also Xobni Plus and Xobni Enterprise editions. The latter, which is Xobni's business tool, includes access for IT administrators through Xobni's Admin Portal and Xobni Servers, and such features as AutoSuggest (for accessing all Xobni contacts when composing a message), advanced filtering, customized search results for messages, attachments, data files and appointments, and tools for Outlook Calendar. Xobni also offers support for Skype integration, and extensions for social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter. Xobni offers the Enteprise edition through its Xobni Partner Program.

One of Avaya's VoiceCon debuts was Avaya Notification Solution (ANS), a SIP-based application designed for quick and speedy communication in case of a critical event or emergency -- such as a retailer needing to know about product back orders immediately and communicating that info to staff, or environmental monitors needing to issue rapid alerts during, say, an earthquake or hurricane. ANS runs on Avaya Aura, Avaya's enterprise communications platform.

Polycom's many VoiceCon 2009 debuts include the Polycom SoundPoint IP 335 desktop phone (pictured) and Polycom CX300 desktop phone, part of Polycom's ongoing expansion of its desktop phone portfolio. The SoundPoint IP 335 is an open SIP phone utilizing Polycom's HD Voice, while the CX 300, according to Polycom, is like all of Polycom's CX phones intended for use with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The SoundPoint IP 335 is available immediately for $199 and the CX300 is available for $169, both available through the channel.

Jive's latest update to its enterprise social business software platform includes Jive Mobile for iPhone and BlackBerry -- a native application offering fuller support, Jive says, for data sync, location and contacts. Other SBS 4.0 releases include Jive Bridging Module, a conversation monitoring, collaboration and capture tool, Jive Connects for Microsoft Office, which allows users to work on, save and share Microsoft Office applications in Jive and on their desktop, and Jive Analytics Module, a tool for community managers to measure growth and activity in Web communities.

Pulse, which made its debut at Enteprise 2.0 this week and was featured in the joint Enterprise 2.0.-VoiceCon exhibit hall, is a realtime collaboration platform that according to Novell is optimized to work with Google Wave and combines e-mail, document authoring, messaging and social networking tools. Pulse will be available in the first half of 2010 as a cloud-based deployment, Novell said, and sees the company continuing to push collaboration tools for the enterprise.

KickApps is a Software-a-as-Service platform designed to help users customize their Web sites for social media, building communities using KickApps tools like WYSIWYG Site Styler and Theme Builder. The company also allows users to configure KickApps solutions with their own HTML, custom CSS and JavaScript -- the goal being to tailor Web sites to exact user specifications and collaborative messaging needs, according to KickApps. At left is a sample KickApps back-end dashboard.

First introduced at Lotusphere 2009, Lotus Sametime 8.5 is the latest version of IBM's Lotus Sametime software and a key component of IBM's unified communications portfolio. Sametime 8.5 offers users the ability to interact through a Sametime Connect client and set up meeting rooms devoted to different topics, with customized files, transcripts, action items and other tools. Sametime 8.5 also ties in a browser-based instant messaging client, UC access through web applications, video integration with SIP endpoints, better mobile device support (including for iPhone), and a centralized management console.

Avistar C3 Unified is the latest addition to Avistar's videoconferencing portfolio -- a desktop product designed to work with Microsoft's Office Communications Server using multiparty videoconferencing. C3 Unified also offers support for various third-party endpoints and existing video room products and includes H.323 to SIP interoperability -- the latter a key requirement, according to Avistar, because it allows users to eliminate the Microsoft Mediation Server that would otherwise be needed to supply that interoperability.