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4/9/2008
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Verizon Connects Smartphones, PBXes

The company's PBX Mobile Extension software turns BlackBerry devices and other mobile handsets into extensions of the corporate voice environment.

Verizon Business has begun offering PBX software that transfers the capabilities of an office phone to a smartphone.

The company said last week that it's using Ascendent Systems' Voice Mobility Suite as the basis for its PBX Mobile Extension to support secure access for BlackBerry users back to the corporate PBX or VoIP server. Ascendent's parent company, Research In Motion, is also the maker of the BlackBerry.

The software-based service, enables large-business and government customers to avoid the complexity and cost inherent in purchasing and deploying separate hardware," Verizon said, in a statement. "With this offering, companies will be able to use standard off-the-shelf servers."

PBX Mobile Extension will be available in May. Verizon said the software will work with any cell phone from any wireless provider in the U.S. In addition to the usual sets of voice features and applications like caller ID, call-transfer, park, and hold, the software maintain calls in progress as users moved from between cell and desk phones, and features a single phone number that simultaneously rings on up to four devices. It also lets users conduct real-time conference calls and supports Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking on specific IP PBX platforms.

Since PBX Mobile Extension is compatible with BlackBerry Mobile Voice Support (MVS), BlackBerry smartphone users can access enterprise desk-phone functions directly from the menu interface of their handsets. For greater security, businesses can also authenticate BlackBerry smartphone users to an enterprise PBX using Blackberry MVS. This lets IT administrators set voice policies and direct incoming and outbound Blackberry calls through a corporate PBX, and logs all mobile calls.

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