Fonality Introduces HUD 3.0 UC Solution

A dizzying array of new features enriches the graphical interface, which now supports all of Fonality's PBX offerings—including free, open-source trixbox CE.

By Jeff Goldman | Posted Oct 3, 2008
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Fonality this week announced version 3.0 of its HUD (Heads Up Display) unified communications client, not only for its commercial PBXtra and trixbox Pro offerings, but also for its open-source trixbox CE solution.

Chris Vuillaume, Fonality's vice president for business development and channel relationships, says this is the first full version of HUD to be made available for trixbox CE. "We think we've filled a big hole in open source on the telephony side by bringing the commercial, ruggedized, proven technology that we've built over the years on the commercial side to the open source project," he says.

The point, Vuillaume says, is that the growing community of trixbox CE users needed a more advanced solution. "CE is a great PBX for a lot of people, but there's no unified communications in the CE world," he says. "So we decided, 'Why don't we just bring the product that we've been selling very successfully on the commercial side of our PBX, and give that to the CE world with a license fee?' "

Key improvements in HUD 3.0 include integration with Google Talk from any desktop, BlackBerry or iPhone—as well as Web 2.0 integration with a wide range of applications including CRM, Google, ticketing, billing, and financial systems, allowing HUD to launch Web pages or notifications automatically in response to a call.

Visual conferencing, integrated with instant messaging, is another significant addition. "We didn't have conferencing management on HUD 2.0," Vuillaume says. "Now you really can visualize your conference bridges—you can drag and drop people from the conference, you can mute people, you can manage conferences on your screen."

Visual voicemail has also been added. "We didn't have that in HUD 2.0," Vuillaume says. "Now, in HUD 3.0, you are able to listen to your voicemail, save it if you want to, send it by e-mail, and you have the capability to chat with the person who left the voicemail if that person is available, SMS to that person—it's a complete module around visual voicemail."

Other new features include photo caller ID, allowing a photo of each user to be attached to voicemails as well as calls and conferences, and Busy-Ring Back, which enables the system to alert a caller when another user is available—as well as the addition of multiple language support, including English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, and simplified and traditional Chinese.

Mobile presence has also been added to the offering, allowing other users in the company to see when you're on your mobile phone. "And if you have a Google Talk client on your mobile—and this is a demo I'm doing every day—you can now integrate a mobile user… so if I'm on the road with my BlackBerry or my iPhone, I can now chat with my employees," Vuillaume says.

For call centers, HUD 3.0 now offers real-time visual call center queue displays. "Whoever is managing the organization has the capability to, in real time, see who is waiting in a given queue with a caller ID or a name, see how long the person has been waiting in the queue, what are the real time statistics about operator speed of answer, call completion, abandon rates—and in real time, see who are the agents logged in the queue, chat with the agents logged in the queue, and send desktop alerts," Vuillaume says.

And for trixbox CE users, Vuillaume says, the introduction of permission-based rules is another key benefit. "In the open-source world, permission is not really deployed—almost everybody has the same permissions," he says. "And in real life, even in the SMB space, execs… don't want to have their calls recorded, and they want to be able to see what their staff is doing… so we have built inside HUD 3.0 for CE a series of permission rights. In the open-source world, that's unique."

Vuillaume says the plan is to launch HUD 3.0 later this month, with various editions available. "Beta testing will start in one or two weeks, and we anticipate a full release in October… and based upon the needs of the customer, you will be able to license the product from free to paid versions—we'll have multiple editions for every single need," he says.

Last week, Fonality announced a partnership with Gizmo5 under which Gizmo5 will provide SIP trunking services to trixbox CE, as part of Fonality's FACE (Fonality Authorized / Certified Ecosystem) program. Whether it's through the addition of new features like HUD 3.0 or through partnerships like the one with Gizmo5, Vuillaume says, trixbox CE is a very active project. "We are enhancing the platform on a monthly basis," he says.

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