DiVitas' mobile desk phone

DiVitas' mobile desk phone

DiVitas Mobile Unified Communications taps Wi-Fi and VoIP to marry the mobile smartphone with the company PBX

When we tested the DiVitas Mobile Convergence Appliance in May 2007, the value proposition was straightforward. By leveraging VoIP, wireless LAN connections, and dual-mode Windows Mobile phones, the DiVitas solution allowed mobile users to save precious minutes on their voice plans and even turn long distance into local calls. It was all about the mobile phone bill.

Reducing phone charges is still important, but the solution -- now called DiVitas Mobile Unified Communications -- has taken on new dimensions. Integrating the mobility client with the customer's existing PBX and adding presencing and instant messaging to the mix, DiVitas takes a respectable stab at eliminating the second-class status of the smartphone within the enterprise phone system. In short, no more juggling the smartphone and the desk phone -- the smartphone becomes the desk phone.

On the minus side, only Nokia and Windows Mobile handsets are supported. Plus, the DiVitas software and its use of Wi-Fi are a big drain on a smartphone's CPU and battery life. Users will have to be diligent about recharging their handsets.

Home on the range

The scenario the DiVitas solution was built for is an all too familiar one: The salesperson or executive on the go sitting at a hotspot trying to catch up on e-mail and burning up cellular airtime returning voicemails. With the DiVitas solution, that same mobile warrior hops onto the hot spot, immediately becomes present to co-workers, and even becomes accessible via his or her office extension number. In short, on any Wi-Fi network, the mobile user's voice communications work just as if he or she were in the office.

DiVitas also leverages the power of presence. For instance, if the salesperson is busy pitching the company's new super widget to a customer, a change to the presence setting will route all incoming calls to voicemail, while still allowing contact via instant messaging -- very handy if someone from the office is trying to reach our salesperson with changes to the widget pricing due to a rise in the cost of palladium. Of course, DiVitas allows IM

My testing was done using an Asterisk PBX and an SMB version of the DiVitas server installed on a 1U Dell server in my lab at the University of Hawaii. The handsets were a collection of Nokia phones running DiVitas' Symbian client, and a single HTC phone running DiVitas' Windows Mobile 6 client. Apple's AirPort Express ably served as the wireless LAN. Any Wi-Fi network will do.

On top of installing each DiVitas client and the DiVitas server, setup consists of configuring a dial plan in the server. My dial plan combined five-digit internal dialing and seven-digit local Honolulu dialing through a Mediatrix FXO connected to the University of Hawaii's POTS (plain old telephone system) and pushed all the long distance dialing out through an AGN Networks SIP trunk.

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