CounterPath Launches VoIP Softphone for Outlook

Vancouver-based CounterPath Corp. a new version of its SIP-based Bria softphone client that integrates with the popular Microsoft Outlook personal information manager and e-mail application, providing users with single-point access to VoIP, calendar, contact directory, and other PIM services.

According to CounterPath president and CEO, Donovan Jones, there are two ‘instances’ of Bria for Microsoft Outlook®: It can appear as a toolbar or “deskbar” within the Outlook interface—not interfering with the three-pane design—or run as a separate client but with a tie-in to Outlook.

“You can call right from your calendar,” Jones told Enterprise in a recent briefing. “If you’re setting up a conference, you can use dropdown menus to add people into conferences right from the client. You can even use [your] Contact Manager to check different places to call the individual,” he said. (Bria can track down contacts by dialing a predetermined sequence of phone numbers.)

Bria for Outlook enables click-to-dial from any location within Outlook. This functionality is implemented in a number of ingenious ways. For example, Jones explained, “when you get an email with five or six people on the distribution list, and you want to talk to three of them right away, you can just highlight three of them and add them to a call.”

The client also adds a generous selection of PBX-style telephony features, such as in-call mute, call hold, call forward, and the ability to manage multiple simultaneous calls.

In addition to the calling features, Bria for Outlook supports a wide assortment of narrow- and wideband codecs, installs using a ‘zero touch’ configuration process, and traverses NAT-based corporate firewalls using STUN and ICE.

The bottom line on Bria for Microsoft Outlook, according to Jones, is that it mimics some of the cool new functionality supplied by Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007—”without doing an OCS implementation. It’s a good value for users,” he said.

Bria for Microsoft Outlook will be available for purchase from the CounterPath website as of Tuesday, December 9. Pricing has not been announced.

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