Ericsson is negotiating ?with a number of parties in Europe? to host the world?s first global directory enquiries system that will locate an individual?s complete contact details using the Web. The Swedish telecoms equipment giant is negotiating with unnamed national telecoms regulators and operators to set up a system that will allow users to find email addresses, plus numbers for faxes, and fixed and mobile telephones, at the touch of a button. The information could be held with a number of different operators. Called Directory Access Gateway (DAG), participating telcos are required to offer protocols to subscriber information held on their databases. The system will then query the database and the results are sent directly to the user. Ericsson said the operator?s database would be protected because DAG cannot replicate the information. It merely contacts the database to send the details to the end user. Because of the competitive implications of giving operators access to their rivals? databases, the system would need to be hosted by an independent body such as a national regulator, or a separate alliance formed by a number of participating telcos. The company said it is close to announcing deals with a number of unnamed organisations that could host the system. Said Per Jomer, vice president and general manager of Ericsson Telecom, ?All an operator needs to do is hand over an index [something that will enable DAG to pinpoint] to the subscriber details, but all the personal information is kept with the operator.? The system claims to be able to find an individual?s complete contact details in one attempt, regardless of where the information is held. DAG is one of a number of products announced under Ericsson's intelligent networking umbrella. It has developed software that enables businesses to nominate telephone numbers, either disparately or centrally located, to carriers that could be used to form virtual call centres. This would replace the need to lease private lines to set up helpdesks. Ericsson also announced a fixed, mobile and mail service which enables subscribers to keep a single number but have calls routed to either a fixed or cellular phone, when one is busy. If both are unobtainable calls are diverted to a common voicemail box. Other applications include the ability for subscribers to update their profile held by operators securely using the Web, plus a system to enable EU operators to meet their number portability regulatory obligations by 2000.
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