Digium recently announced new features and functionality for Switchvox (News - Alert) SMB, an IP PBX designed for small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). The new Release 4.0 adds several unified communications capabilities for SMBs, but without the high cost since R4.0 is available free of charge to current Switchvox SMB customers with a software subscription.
In addition, R4.0 also better positions Switchvox SMB for foreign markets with added support for ISDN BRI, a common trunking interface promoted in many countries outside of the United States.
Digium (News - Alert) describes the Release 4.0 features as “Web-Aware Unified Communications” since the new features focus on multi-media communication across an IP network which facilitates collaboration and the ability to reach others quickly and efficiently. New functionality includes fax integration, instant messaging and presence status information across networked Switchvox PBXs (previously, presence information was visible only to end-users connected to the same Switchvox PBX). A user’s presence status on the Switchvox SMB system reveals whether or not the user is on the telephone, but also displays the user’s instant messaging status (away, available, busy, etc.).
Switchvox Product Line Director Tristan Degenhardt explains, “Because Switchvox has long been leading the pack integrating with web-applications, we consider it a “web-aware” unified communications system, tying data from online sources together with all of the different communications methods now available in Switchvox SMB 4.0.”
With R4.0, end users can also take advantage of some new devices. Switchvox SMB 4.0 adds support for video phones that are compatible with H.263 and H.264 protocols (more information on certified video phones is forthcoming). And, Switchvox Notifier is a new Windows-based desktop client that enables interaction between Microsoft (News - Alert) Office applications, Microsoft Outlook and the Switchvox SMB system. Users can view screen pops based on Microsoft Outlook contacts when an incoming call arrives, but also view pending e-mail, tasks or appointments related to the incoming caller. In addition, Notifier enables smart tags to dial a phone number from any Microsoft Office application (i.e. the user can click to dial a phone number within a Microsoft Word document).
New functionality also includes IMAP integration that enables the e-mail client to better manage voicemail, turning off the message waiting indicator on the telephone once the user listens to the message within the e-mail client. Switchvox Extend is an XML-based API that enables third party integrators to build custom applications quickly and easily, and R4.0 adds auto provisioning of snom IP telephones similar to that of compatible Polycom telephones (auto-detection and configuration, custom phonebook enabled on the phone, etc.).
Switchvox SMB 4.0 is available as of March 3, 2009 free of charge to current customers with a software subscription (support and software updates). Pricing for a new system begins at $3,390 for a 10-user system (hardware, software, one-year subscription and warranty).
TelecomTactics Takeaway: Digium is helping its customers improve business continuity and collaboration with new features for its Switchvox SMB IP PBX. Dubbed “Web-Aware (News - Alert) Unified Communications,” the new Release 4.0 functionality enables multi-media communication across an IP network so workers can reach others quickly and efficiently using fax, instant messaging and presence status information, in addition to voice, across networked Switchvox PBXs. In 2007, Digium acquired IP PBX provider Switchvox to expand the company’s market position as a telecom equipment provider. Switchvox has tailored Digium’s Asterisk (News - Alert) telecommunications open source software to develop a turnkey PBX solution with server hardware and pre-installed Switchvox software. This complements Digium’s commercial business that sells and licenses Asterisk open source PBX software.
Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Michelle Robart