Alcatel's latest release of its all-in-one IP telephony server for mid-side business, the Alcatel OmniPCX Office release 5, plays heavily to multi-site offices and those looking for improved wireless access.
For distributed offices, the new release ships with a PC-based console, the Alcatel PIMphony Attendant console . The software allows users to initiate, receive and control calls from their hard phone. A softphone is also included. Similar capabilities can be found in other IP PBXs, such as the Heads Up Display (HUD) from Fonality.
While this sort of software is helpful for single user, attendants can really benefit. PIMphony enables businesses to reduce head count by consolidating receptionists from multiple sites into a single location. Real time presence information enables attendants to avoid putting users into phone-tag-hell by being able to see the status of a remote PIMphony telephone before transferring a call to that phone.
Alcatel also claims that troubleshooting has been improved. The new Office Management Console is a troubleshooting tool for remote engineers. The software provides a wizard that enables data configuration and phonebook sharing among sites.
On the wireless front, The OmniPCX added support for WiFi handsets. Those sets reportedly are the Mobile IP Touch 300 and 600. Alcatel is also working with Nokia and Motorola to integrate dual mode handsets. However, don't expect much on that front. Getting service providers to distribute those sorts of handsets hasn't been simple. A more realistic solution has been to use their extension-to-cellular options that forwards call to any telephone. Similar capabilities are offered by many vendors, including Avaya, with Ericsson being the first vendor to provide extension-to-cellular.