A Vancouver company is developing a communications system that will bundle a number of technologies into one package, thus eliminating the need to buy separate components, according to the vendor.
The Vortex multimedia office communication system, from Xinex Networks, will integrate a telephone system, LAN, Internet access and videoconferencing. It will run on a proprietary transport mechanism that is five to six times faster than Ethernet-based systems, according to Roger Flowerdew, company corporate secretary.
"Why would a business buy three distinct technologies for their telephony, computing, data and videoconferencing needs, and try to collude them together in some way that was not originally envisaged, instead of buying one of our systems where, from the ground up, we designed the system to be a multimedia communications system?" Flowerdew asked.
He added that buying all the components in a bundled package will prepare businesses for the future. "It doesn't make any sense to buy under the old paradigm when, given the Internet and videoconferencing and all these things that entrepreneurs are aware of, here's a system that provides all of that and gets them ready for increases in various communication needs that will take place from now on."
The transport mechanism has been under development for four years, Flowerdew added, and the system is currently being tested in-house at Xinex. A variant of ATM, it will be beta tested in August and September, for a North American launch in Q3.
The system is composed of two segments, data and video, with the former facilitating the use of commonly used Windows applications such as Excel or Word. This section will also provide Internet access, e-mail, printer sharing and modem pooling.
The video segment will be implemented via Intel Proshare running on Vortex and will allow for simultaneous collaborative work on graphics, spreadsheets, and other documents.
Videoconferencing, including Vortex and non-Vortex-based system capabilities, will also be included on the video side. The Vortex system can also operate with Ethernet-based LANs and PBX telephone systems, allowing companies that use those infrastructures to implement Vortex in one area and gradually phase it in throughout the business. The company will target small- to medium-sized businesses of between eight and 100 desktops, Flowerdew said.
Flowerdew added that savings could be realised in various ways, including a reduction in service charges from telcos. "If someone moves from office A to office B, typically the telephone company has to be brought in to reprogram the telephone and that sort of thing," he said. "Our system automatically configures; you just take it from the first location and plug it in the next and, bang, you're up and running."
The initial release of the system will allow for the carriage of data at 25Mbit/sec, while its data transmission capability will be based on the ATM standard 53-byte cell structure.
The system must be bought with all components included. There will be feature alternatives, as well as various upgrades on a quarterly basis, Flowerdew said.