Digium upgrades IP PBX capabilities for SMBs

Digium, which sells a commercial version of open source Asterisk IP PBX software, has upgraded the small-business version of the product to support more modes of communication.

The latest version of Switchvox SMB PBX supports faxes, instant messaging and video calling as well as better integration with Web applications, a combination the company characterizes as new support for unified communications. (Compare IP PBX products.)

Video calling consists of support for H.264 video phones, and the IM chat can be accessed via the Switchvox Chat Panel or whatever XMPP-based chat users choose, the company says.

Multiple Switchvox boxes in company offices can share presence information with the new software release. Before, users at extensions within the same office could tell if another user was on the phone. Now the PBXs can open channels to each other and share presence information for all users they serve and all modes of communication. So a worker in one office can tell whether a worker in another office is on the phone or chatting.

Digium is expanding its Web-aware interactive voice response (IVR) to interact more with business applications. So a person calling the business, say, to find out an account balance, could punch in the account number and the PBX would tap the database, which could be programmed to trigger the PBX to read the balance.

In addition, the new version of software enables creation of multiple central directories that are available to all employees. For example, a company might have one directory for each department, making it simpler to find extension numbers. Before, users set up their own individual directories.

A feature called Switchvox Notifier interacts with Microsoft Office Applications to show incoming caller information and also allows one-click addition of caller information and phone numbers to Outlook. It also supports Smart Tagging, which enables dialing phone numbers that appear in office files by right clicking on them.

Switchvox Extend is a new feature that enables interaction of call logs with other applications. So a registration application at a hotel could automatically set up an extension for guests as their registration information is entered. When they check out, their call detail records could automatically be tapped by the billing application to assess a phone charge.

(From Network World U.S.

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