Lucent Technologies is one of three telecomms equipment vendors to endorse a new Internet telephony platform, Fusion from Natural Microsystems.
Inter-Tel and Netiphone will also deliver products incorporating Fusion, said Natural (known as NMS Europe here) today.
Fusion is a hardware and software platform for building server-based Internet telephony applications. Voice and fax traffic are integrated with Internet and Intranets. Voice is transmitted over IP networks such as the Internet using packet switching so that corporate data networks can be used as low cost voice systems.
For Internet service providers, Fusion can be used to develop edge devices so that they can offer value added services, such as voice messaging or fax distribution, on their Net connections.
Lucent will use Fusion in its Multimedia Communications Exchange call centre, which combines telephony and Internet browsing. Customers can browse the Net and place calls simultaneously - for instance when ordering goods from a Web-based catalogue - using one phone line.
Inter-Tel will embed Fusion in its Vocal'Net server, a device that sets up two-way communications between the public telephone network and a TCP/IP network, for low cost voice traffic.
Netiphone will base its gateways on Fusion. These handle calls between computers and telephones, and between two phones, using the Internet as the carrier.
Fusion supports 24 telephone lines at a time so that multiple T1/E1 and ISDN trunks can be handled by one PC server. Real time voice encoding and decoding improves voice quality, claims NMS, and processing can be offloaded from the PC server to Fusion's on-board processor.
Programming interfaces enable developers to support the Intel-Microsoft H.323 standard for Internet telephony.
"The Internet telephony market is quickly moving from desktop to server-based solutions," said Traver Kennedy, an analyst at the Aberdeen Group.
Fusion will be available later this quarter, priced at about $500 per port using E1 telephone connections.
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