Mobile Unified Communications: You Can Take It with You

Mountain View, Calif.-based DiVitas Networks today announced version 2.0 of what has evolved into the DiVitas Mobile Unified Communications solution.

We’ve been following the fortunes of Mountain View, Calif.-based company since before they went public with their initial offering, the Mobile Convergence platform, which was, as far as we know, the first enterprise-based dual-network telephony solution.

In the almost 18 months since we last had an in-depth chat with the folks at DiVitas, they’ve clearly been busy, and the product announced today is far richer and altogether more mature than what we’ve seen in the past.

The emphasis in version 2.0 has clearly shifted from the ins and outs of how, and how well, calls are handed off from cellular networks to wireless LANs—or vice versa—to the applications that run over the platform.

“The key applications we are focused on are the primary business phone, your work voicemail, your work IM, your work presence, and it all comes together with your contacts, which is your company directory,” DiVitas CEO Vivek Khuller told Enterprise

“All that is being put under a single client we’ve developed, and that client now co-exists on a mobile phone with your native applications—your basic cellular voice calling, your cellular voicemail, and your cellular e-mail.”

This creates, in effect, a dual persona for your phone. It can function as your private mobile phone and an extension of your business desk phone at the same time, and all the above-mentioned applications—not to mention PBX functions such as hold, transfer, conference, extension, dialing, etc.—go with you when you leave your desk.

Moreover, this functionality is now available on the handset in both cellular and Wi-Fi modes.

The client itself has evolved from a text-based interface to a fully icon-driven graphical interface that’s packed with information (see image, below). The visual voicemail feature lets you download your voicemail when you’re connected to the network—in either mode—and listen to it off-network, on an airplane, for example, picking and choosing the order in which you review messages, unlike standard voicemail.

The DiVitas client is both customizable (it can “accommodate the logo needs of the customer or a channel partner,” according to Khuller) and “localizable” (it supports multiple languages).

Things have changed on the server side as well—a lot.

First, whereas earlier generations of the DiVitas solution were based on a hardware appliance, the solution is now software-only. The company has certified a number of suitable PCs—so far from Dell and HP, but with IBM in the near future. This will give customers added flexibility, Khuller said.

To address the issue of the large number of domains that the server touches—from PBX to Wi-Fi to SIP trunking to applications such as IM and presence—and the complexity that this brings to the installation process, DiVitas has created a highly automated, fully icon-driven installation and troubleshooting wizard.

DiVitas UC Client interface
The DiVitas UC client interface
(Click to see full-size image)

It has also simplified the process of client installation, which can now be done over the air, and in bulk. “If you buy 300 handsets, you don’t have to provision them one by one, you can do that automatically,” Khuller explained.

To further lighten the administrative load, the company had added extensive monitoring and tracking capabilities to record call history and analyze usage patterns. “That lets customers do RoI analysis and to negotiate better rates with different carriers,” he said.

The company has also expanded the deployment options for Mobile Unified Communications. Joining the basic enterprise deployment are a new service-provider solution, suitable for carriers and managed service providers, and a solution that brings the communications applications to small, distributed companies that don’t necessarily have a PBX or desk phones.

The company claims platform support for more PBXs than any other solution—Avaya, ShoreTel, Cisco, Nortel, Mitel, and Siemens—and the broadest selection of dual-mode mobile phones (go here for a list of supported phones and other equipment). The DiVitas solution also works with any wireless LAN infrastructure. “We don’t need positioning info from the Wi-Fi access point for handoff, and we can work at hotspots without reconfiguration,” Khuller said.

The solution currently scales to about 5,000 users. “If you want more than 5,000 users, you can stack these boxes and network them. And that becomes a redundancy solution as well.” Khuller observed.

DiVitas Mobile Unified Communications v. 2.0 is available world-wide as of today. Solution pricing starts at $10,000 for a system with 25 client licenses.

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