CommuniGate Wants to SIPify the World

CommuniGate today announced the release of CommuniGate Pro v5.1, an upgraded version of its Internet communications solution with improved scalability and added functionality. Key to the new version is the ability to access IP communications from a wide variety of platforms, including mobile devices.

Thom O’Connor, CommuniGate’s Director of Product Architecture, says the central aim of the new release is to use SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) to help users connect between different clients and different platforms. “We want to open up IP-to-IP or endpoint-to-endpoint calling—voice, video, and instant messaging—throughout the Internet landscape,” he says.

That kind of interoperability, O’Connor says, is sorely lacking in the market right now, with proprietary VoIP solutions dominating. “We have a vision, with CommuniGate Pro, and with other types of standardized servers, that your e-mail account should be fully enabled for voice, video, instant messaging, connectivity with the PSTN, and potentially a 10-digit number assigned to that as well,” he says.

Imagine, O’Connor says, a “global community for voice and video and instant messaging.” CommuniGate is using the term ‘SIPify,’ saying that all of the world’s Internet users should be ‘SIPified’ for voice and video in addition to e-mail. “It’s a far-reaching vision of the market, but we’re really looking to push absorption of these protocols around the world,” O’Connor says.

As part of the launch of CommuniGate Pro v5.1, the company is releasing a free ‘community edition’ of the solution, which will be licensed for up to five accounts with full functionality—”e-mail, obviously, and collaboration, but also the PBX and SIP-based functionality, and also the XMPP functionality that we’re introducing in 5.1,” O’Connor says.

The goal of the community edition, O’Connor says, is not only to attract small businesses to the solution, but also to get more technically minded users to check out the product—and, ideally, to “create network nodes around the globe that will be enabled for SIP and XMPP, and that will interoperate with other standards-based servers,” he says.

For larger businesses, O’Connor says the aim is to help companies and service providers ‘SIPify’—there’s that word again—their existing systems to add voice, video, and instant messaging without necessarily having to overhaul their legacy messaging infrastructure. “It’s about targeting service providers to enable this functionality for their consumer subscriber bases,” he says.

In terms of functionality, one key feature of the new release is the Communify Flash skin, which provides access to the full IP communications suite through an intuitive Flash interface. Communify also includes the XIMSS standard interface, an XML API for development of new clients and applications. “We’re hoping to see service providers provide very lightweight Web interfaces using it,” O’Connor says.

And the new release also adds IPv6 support. “CommuniGate Pro can now bridge IPv4 and IPv6 networks,” O’Connor says. “We’re really looking at the long-term deployment of Wi-Fi phones and IP nodes in the mobile space—we feel that will be an arena through which SIP-type applications get rolled out to the end users.”

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