CounterPath to broaden availability of audio conferencing application

Until now, Quick Conference, a server-based audio conferencing application from a Canadian software communications firm, has only been available from one source, IP PBX maker Mitel Networks.

However, CounterPath Solutions, which makes the Linux application, has announced an upgrade to the software as part of a strategy to sell it to a broader number of customers. Vancouver-based CounterPath said Monday that Quick Conference now includes integration with its Bria softphone as well as smartphones, and support for Fedora Linux and Novell Suse Linux Enterprise.

The moves are part CounterPath’s new goal of white-labeling Quick Conference to more telephony makers than Mitel, including server manufacturers who want to create specialized telephony products.

CounterPath is pitching Quick Conference as an easier to use and less expensive audio conferencing option pay-as-you go hosted offerings such as WebX. “We found that there was resistance from the [executive] powers that be that pay to allow the rank and file to host conference calls when they need,” said Dave Coughey, CounterPath’s director of server products.

With an on-premise solution that pressure is gone, so audio conferencing is used whenever staff need it, he said.

Quick Conference is a reservationless service can be integrated with any PBX through SIP trunking or a SIP/TDM gateway. It needs a dual-core CPU with at least 2GB of memory and can support up to 200 conferencing ports. It comes with a version with basic functions at $150 a seat, with the price increasing for features such as the ability to record conferences in stereo. Conferences can be easily set up through a simple PC interface, says the company, and can be moderated or unsupervised. Through a Web-based dashboard, a moderator can add participants, mute participants, annotate or record the call. Web-based statistical reports are available.

While intended as an in-house solution, there’s also a version with tenanting capability for service providers.

Jayanth Angl, an industry analyst at Info-Tech Research of London, Ont., noted that the trend in online conferencing today is to add online capabilities Quick Conference doesn’t have, such as the ability to share slides and see video, features integrated into conferencing products from Microsoft and IBM/Lotus. However, audio-only conferencing can be enough for some organizations that possibly same money over hosted solutions.

Quick Connect was one of the products CounterPath acquired last August when it bought New Heights Software of Ottawa. The conferencing product was specifically made for Mitel. Mitel and CounterPath are part of Canadian entrepreneur Terry Matthews’ stable of companies.

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