PolyCom last week announced an IP phone that is compatible with Cisco's CallManager software, the first third-part enterprise IP handset to be certified on Cisco's IP PBX system.
The PolyCom SoundPoint 500CS handset gives Cisco IP telephony users another option for purchasing IP phones, as CallManager systems previously only worked with Cisco IP phones.
The new IP phone comes with 12 programmable keys and supports standard CallManager features such as call transfer, conferencing, speed dial, redial and call lists, and is comparable to Cisco's 7960 and 7940 phones, according to PolyCom.
The SoundPoint 500CS has a two built-in 10/100Mbps Ethernet switch ports for connecting a PC and the phone to a network over a single network drop. The phone can also be powered Category 5e network cable when connected to a Cisco switch with Inline capabilities and Cisco Discovery Protocol, eliminating the need for the use of an AC adapter at an end-user's desk. The phone also supports Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IP address registration. XML support and an LCD text display allow the phone to run applications such as directory information, broadcast messages, stock quote tickers and even limited Web browsing.
The SoundPoint 500CS has been certified to work with CallManager Versions 3.0 and 3.1. CallManager is the IP phone system software that runs Cisco's line of IP PBX systems. The Windows-based software is supported by Cisco's Media Convergence Server and Integrated Communication System hardware platforms, and can also run on Intel servers from Compaq and IBM.
While IP telephony has offered the promise of making phone systems as interoperable as Ethernet and IP-based network equipment, most enterprise IP voice systems from vendors such as Cisco, Nortel, 3Com and Alcatel only support their own brands of phones. Cisco's carrier VoIP systems, which are based on session initiation protocol (SIP), have been compatible with third-party SIP phones such as Pingtel since last year. PolyCom is the first enterprise IP phone vendor to offer a handset compatible with Cisco's CallManager, which runs the H.323 protocol and a proprietary Cisco VoIP protocol.
Cisco was the top seller of IP handsets in 2001 in a market that reached $US1 billion in sales last year, according to research firm In-Stat.
The PolyCom SoundPoint 500CS is available now and is priced at $US400.