At VoiceCon in San Francisco, earlier this month, Evangelyze Communications introduced its new SmartVoIP solution, which uses Quintum Technologies’ gateway products to integrate Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 for the enterprise with Microsoft Response Point small business IP phone systems, in order to eliminate long distance charges between branch offices, and to enable direct extension dialing for those offices.
Evangelyze, which was founded in June of this year, is in the process of announcing a series of applications for OCS and Exchange, including not only SmartVoIP but also SmartChat, a real-time, Web-based chat solution; SmartSearch, a tool for searching and retrieving archived messages; SmartConference, which supports Web-based scheduling for on-premise conferencing; and SmartSpeech, a text-to-speech solution designed to allow hearing-impaired users to participate in conference calls.
According to company CEO Joe Schurman, Evangelyze was started by a group of mostly former Microsoft employees. “We’ve all been focused on the RTC and UC [unified communications] movement at Microsoft since the year 2002 with Live Communications Server 2003, and so we decided to get together and develop a voice application development company, because we feel that’s where the future of all this is going to be in the next couple of years,” he says.
Complete remote office solution
Schurman says he came up with the idea for SmartVoIP while working with Microsoft Research. “I’ve always wanted to have some sort of branch office solution for the enterprise version of voice that Microsoft provides through their unified communications platform… I wanted to see the Response Point system work as a remote office solution for Office Communications Server, [because] as of today, there’s nothing that exists to provide customers with that capability to have an enterprise voice solution but handle the remote office needs as well,” he says.
To enable that type of functionality, Schurman says, he needed the collaboration of a company like Quintum Technologies. “We thought, ‘We’ve got to make this thing work between OCS, which is a Microsoft SIP enterprise server, and Response Point, which is a small business SIP server as well—so why can’t we tie these two together?'” he says. “And we found that the best way to do that was through the Quintum gateway, putting the logic in the gateway itself.”
Chuck Rutledge, Quintum’s vice president of marketing, says his company’s products were a particularly good fit for Evangelyze’s needs. “We’re certified by Microsoft for their unified communications platform, we have been working very closely with Response Point—and we have designed a gateway that is specifically designed to work with the Response Point system,” he says.
The result, Schurman says, should be very attractive for just about any enterprise with branch offices. “They’re able to place Response Point systems out in their remote offices and allow them to communicate directly inbound… and what that means for a normal businessperson is that if you deploy this solution, your remote offices will have direct connectivity back to the corporate office, eliminating any long distance charges whatsoever, because you don’t have to go through the public switched telephony network any more,” he says.
And with a single-digit prefix, employees can use extension dialing to reach any office. “If I designate a two as a prefix for Singapore, or four for London or whatever, it knows specifically where to go, and it never dials out to the PSTN unless there’s a failover need to dial out—if the Internet’s down for whatever reason and there’s no network connectivity, I can fail over to the public switched telephony network if I need to,” Schurman says.
The basic concept is straightforward, Schurman says, but the functionality it enables is impressive. “I can create subsets of contact directories in Active Directory on the enterprise side for those branch offices, I can designate that those have a pre-digit dialing extension of two, four, whatever that location is, and it will recognize those callers coming inbound and place all their call detail info on the missed call notification coming from the Exchange server,” he says. “And that’s built in, out of the box—we didn’t design that, we didn’t add that—it just works through the existing technology. All we’re doing is brokering that SIP communication in between.”