Telecommunications guru Harry Newton has delivered a blisteringvana. attack on telecoms equipment manufacturers. "The PBX industry is a disgrace," he said.
He explained that PBX systems use proprietary protocols and cannot cope with simple functions like recovering erased messages.
Newton, widely acclaimed as the founder of the computer telephony (CT) industry, said the development of standards could make CT a very powerful tool for building networks.
"You can build systems in two or three months that Northern Telecom or Lucent took 20 years to build," claimed Newton.
During a keynote speech, The Incredible Future that is Computer Telephony, at the Computer Telephony 98 Conference (CT Expo) in Birmingham last week, Newton outlined his vision of a technological nirvana. In the future, unified messaging systems will record voice conversations that could be transcribed into any format and international telephone calls will cost less than 1p a minute. These applications will be achieved by the use of technologies for digital signal processing, IP telephony and fibre transmission using Wavelength Division Multiplexing.
Newton said that CT could build customer satisfaction in business where "everyone in the company is working in a call centre".
He gave a special message for network professionals. "Network managers should focus on using voice as a competitive edge for the company," he said.
CT is typically used in advance call centres to improve customer service and increasingly used by individual professionals to manage their phone, e-mail, voicemail and fax communications.
The technology embraces speech recognition and the internet telephony field. Datamonitor predicts that the European CT market will grow at an average annual rate of 55 per cent between 1997 and 2002, with a potential of almost 9,000 call centre sites equipped by 2002.
Newton compared the state of the CT industry to the networking industry in the 1980s. Margins in the CT industry are as high as 2.5 compared to 1.1 in today's networking market, he said.
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