Lucent Technologies has made a fresh attempt to push unified messaging, desktop videoconferencing and other multimedia-friendly applications into enterprise networks.
The initial iCosm suite of applications, introduced at the Computer Telephony Expo, is designed largely for buyers of Lucent's IP Exchange Systems - the vendor's open-standards alternative to the classic Definity PBX. It begins a suite of four offerings that will be a stand-alone alternative to Lucent's own Intuity Message Manager and other add-ons to Lucent's traditional PBXs and voice-response platforms.
The first iCosm product, called iCosm Interaction Manager, is a rules-based set of applications for what Lucent officials call "informal call centres" - sets of employees responsible for customer relations but who aren't grouped in a typical telephony 800 phone bank. The second product is iCosm Collaborative Video, a client application that provides multipoint videoconferencing over the Internet or IP virtual private networks without requiring a centralised conferencing server.
The third application, iCosm Liaison, is personal agent software that ties into users' contact databases, calendars and other productivity tools. Via a Web interface, individuals can set rules for forwarding calls received over IP exchange systems to other telephony devices, depending on calling party, time of day and other factors.
The fourth application, iCosm Messaging, is a unified-messaging overlay on Microsoft Outlook and Netscape Communicator. The system converts voice mails to .WAV files and faxes to .TIF files for an integrated presentation on Outlook or Communicator. It also provides text-to-speech translation, including e-mail by phone.