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2/1/2012
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Zultys Adds Android Support To Unified Communications Software

New end-user features in MX 7.0 UC software include unusual "barge-in and whisper" feature for call centers.

Zultys has introduced MX 7.0 unified communications (UC) software, adding support for Android mobile devices--it already supports Apple and BlackBerry devices--and delivering mobile features that had previously been limited to office phones. An industry analyst says Zultys is on par with other similar infrastructure vendors such as ShoreTel and Mitel in adding features and capabilities to their platforms.

The Zultys is also deployed in call centers and, with this release, adds a feature that lets call center managers join a call to advise an operator without the customer hearing what's being said. It's called "Barge In and Whisper," said Steve Francis, Zultys' chief sales and marketing officer.

"The name is derived from human behavior that is mirrored in the call center environment. Specifically, when a supervisor is monitoring an agent's call, and needs to interject, or 'barge in,' to provide counsel directly to the agent without the third party hearing, hence the 'whisper,'" Francis said.

Put another way, it's the equivalent of someone putting their hand over the telephone mouthpiece to just talk to someone on their end of the call.

[ What's coming in unified communications? Read CES Sleeper Tech: 3 Mobile Collaboration Breakthroughs. ]

Zultys added support for Android because it is quickly growing as a mobile operating system on smartphones and tablets used in UC environments, said Martin Trigg, a regional director for Zultys in Australia and New Zealand.

Besides adding support for Android, MX 7.0 adds new functionality to all three mobile OSes including full real-time instant messaging, presence, and directory access--features previously limited to office phones, Trigg said.

The mobile capabilities in MX 7.0 are collectively called Zultys Mobile Communicator and also include access to a call log and the ability to hold and transfer calls using a mobile phone.

MX 7.0 also continues the integration, delivered first in version 6.0, with the Salesforce.com customer relationship platform, a software-as-a-service offering, and with Microsoft Outlook for calendaring. Salesforce.com Communicator runs in browsers such as Mozilla Firefox version 4.0 and higher and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and 9.

MX 7.0 also strengthens security based on the session initiation protocol (SIP) to monitor data packets and dynamically block suspicious traffic. Network administrators can also modify network access controls and thwart denial-of-service attacks through their management consoles.

But it's the enhancement of end-user features that are the most compelling in this latest release, said Blair Pleasant, an analyst with UC Strategies/CommFusion. "The idea is to give workers the same capabilities when they are mobile as they have when they are in the office. Letting them access their corporate telephony capabilities from the device that they are using," said Pleasant.

However, unlike some of its competitors, such as Mitel and Cisco Systems, Zultys does not offer its platform as a cloud-based service, only on premises.

"They are targeting the [small to midsize business] market so you would think they'd want to offer cloud because SMBs will more likely to go to cloud than enterprises because it's cheaper," she said.

Zultys does not currently have a cloud offering, but doesn't think it needs to offer one at this point, said Neil Lichtman, the company's CEO, in an e-mailed statement: "The majority of our clients prefer to manage their own Zultys UC system and since our system is so easy to deploy, use, and manage they don't find it necessary to move to the cloud."

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