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XO Builds Unified Communications Platform

XO Communications unveiled a new service Monday that turns any phone into part of the enterprise voice system, a possible fix for itinerant users juggling multiple handsets and even more phone numbers.

XO Anywhere bundles several features into its unified communications offering, including simultaneously ringing up to 10 different devices and connecting the call to the first device that answers; a remote office function that lets users set up remotely to make or receive calls and charge them to the office's XO service; and a click-to-dial function that integrates with Microsoft Outlook and multiple Web browsers.

A recent report from the Yankee Group said as many as 44% of small- and midsized-business employees are mobile workers. Of that group, about half are executives and managers; roughly 31% are field personnel; and 21% are "specialty workers" requiring some sort of mobile functionality.

"Solutions like XO Anywhere are necessary as increasing numbers of workers find themselves outside of the office," said Steve Hilton, a VP at Yankee Group, in a statement. "Being able to maintain contact with customers and partners without regard to physical location will help increase worker productivity and positively impact a business' bottom line."

XO Anywhere is available now for a nominal fee as an option for XO's IP Flex, IP Flex with VPN, and XOptions Flex services. Unlike other service providers, XO uses bandwidth-based pricing (1.5- to 45 Mbps), rather than the number of voice lines to determine pricing. Customers select a port size, a calling plan, and any extras like XO Anywhere. IT then assigns licenses to users who can download the software and toolbar. From this same interface, users can change their individual preferences as needed, the service provider said.