If a sales representative from Cisco Systems rings your bell, don't shout, "No solicitors. Can't you read the sign?" That salesperson may be selling something your company will want to buy.
A company called IP blue Technology Solutions has a software application that turns a Compaq Computer iPaq equipped with an IEEE 802.11b wireless interface card in its add-on sleeve into a full-duplex phone. The IP blue software, VTGO, works with Cisco Aironet wireless network access points.
Some 30 Cisco sales executives are evaluating VTGO. If they like what they see, Cisco will offer it as part of a VoIP (voice over IP) solution.
VTGO will include all of the standard telephony features such as call answer, transfer and hold. When it finally ships in September, it will also include such advanced features as multi-line capability, directory services and command-level speech. Thus it can read an incoming number and say the name of the person calling by looking it up in your Outlook directory.
The "softphone" VTGO application will run on Cisco's CallManager platform, which can, among other things, intercept an outside call and send it to an 802.11 device.
There's a lot of history behind this application, which was created by IP blue co-founders Dave Sullivan, the CTO, and Terrence White, president. White worked for IPC, a company that owns the desktop trading turrets, as they are called on trading floors. These turrets are the mission-critical telephone system for traders. In the financial market it's called a hoot n' holler; the market is run by listening to trading around the world using an open circuit. So, on the floor you might get a broadcast message that says, "I'm looking for 500,000 shares of IBM." One trader jumps in and says, "I have 100,000, meet me on line six," and then they communicate privately.
Are you getting the picture?
The concept is being ported to
other markets. Cisco will sell this solution to, say, Target, one of
Using the multi-line, multi-tasking capability, for example, here's how it might work.
The heavy-appliances department manager gets a page on his iPaq from the operator saying there's an outside call. The manager takes the call on his iPaq and speaks with a customer who is looking for a certain freezer model. The manager puts the customer on hold and sends out a broadcast page to everyone in the department, while checking the CRM package to see whether that freezer is in stock. A sales representative returns the page, gets an update from the manager, and takes over the call with the customer. The sales representative closes the sale, puts the credit card number into the system, and everyone is happy.
Sounds to me like another reason why 802.11 will be a roaring success. What do you think? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org