Don't Miss A Meeting While On The Road

Software from Octave Communications could make it easier to arrange conference calls
Businesses that have staffers scattered around the country or employees who are always on the road may find it difficult to set up teleconferences. Octave Communications Inc. says it can help.

Octave intends to make teleconferencing easier through software called MeetAbout, which combines technologies that can track users' availability. MeetAbout includes a type of instant messaging that locates participants signed up on a buddy list, which contains all the users' various phone numbers, a software engine that automatically calls participants, and speech-recognition technology.

Octave's software, designed for wireless carriers and telcos that will integrate MeetAbout into their teleconferencing services, uses technology from PresenceWorks Inc. to glean the information found in the buddy list to see if a user is available for a conference call via traditional phones or cell phones. It also uses a wireless gateway from Teltier Technologies that determines if a cell phone is turned on.

Because users have to input the information about their various contact points into the buddy list, "it's more about changing the habits of the workforce so they use this technology," says Alpa Shah, research manager at analyst firm Frost and Sullivan.

British Telecom and its BT Conferencing North America division are testing MeetAbout, and Octave expects carriers to provide the service by early next year. Octave says carriers will pay about $695 per customer.

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