Zultys Nails UC For iPhone
What customers are asking me for is a client for either their iPhone or Blackberry and they want the client enabled as an extension off their IP-PBX.
A couple of weeks ago Zultys announced their iConnected client for the iPhone and of course I asked my buddy Dennis Moran over at Zultys for a test run with the new client. iConnected is another free application available for downloading from iTunes.What customers are asking me for is a client for either their iPhone or Blackberry and they want the client enabled as an extension off their IP-PBX. Then, they want voice to be VoIP/SIP/IP-something other than the cellular carrier's "rate plan." Will the carriers eventually respond to customers' shifting away from pre-set rate plans to minimum voice plans attached to unlimited data usage for only $20-30?
The Zultys iConnected client comes with a dial pad that retains the look of the iPhone yet it's very distinctive. The client uses Apple Mobile Bridge Server to push notifications from the corporate IP-PBX, in my case Zultys in Sunnyvale, California. The iConnected client requires use of a separate license with the Zultys IP-PBX.
iConnected was easy for me as a user to setup and then use. There are five tabs: Contacts, Chats, Calls, History and Profile. The contacts tab is a corporate directory that is extended to the iPhone user, and all users in the directory have presence shown as: Available, Busy, In a meeting, Not available, At lunch, Be right back or Appear offline. This feature alone removes the aggravation associated with getting up to date extension and DID numbers of fellow employees, and I can see value for company sales and support people in the field. Chats is easy to use and fast--I really like having it because it can reduce unnecessary telephone traffic billed against the cellular plan. The Calls tab is nicely done with a Rolodex icon displayed to get fast access of the corporate phone directory. The history tab reveals all calls and missed calls, just like the iPhone does with cell calls. There is instant familiarity in using the application because it retains the Apple look and feel.
Now, for traditionalists, a separate point was brought up from another project I'm working on involving iPhones and Mac servers--whisper page and one-way agent talk-over (voice assist) isn't necessarily needed when UC is deployed, and I agree. UC is a better fit with desktops because it doesn't interfere or act invasively with the voice stream. Some customers still insist on using the old features and that's okay, just be prepared to be able to offer both because changing customer behavior isn't as easy as you think. The important thing to consider is when using the disruptive voice features in legacy systems: how do they make your customers feel?
Reducing station counts for hardwired phones is great but the cost of using the cellular networks for voice extensions isn't. The WSJ reports that there are over 12 million iPhones and iPod touch devices with Skype. Another workaround is to run a dual mode iPhone--so you can place calls using a .99 cent application from Toktumi and pay $14.95 monthly subscription ($19.95 month pay-as-you-go) for unlimited US/Canada dialing. The app Line 2 (version 2.2) is available from iTunes.What customers are asking me for is a client for either their iPhone or Blackberry and they want the client enabled as an extension off their IP-PBX.