ntl:Telewest Business has launched IP Multimedia, a new range of communication services that integrates video calls, phone calls, voicemail, email and the presence-based benefits of instant messaging into a online working environment.
The company says IP Multimedia provides a platform for more effective communication with teams, both large and small. The new service uses IP phones as well as a voice and video softphone application. The main features are instant messaging, which provides a secure online ‘talk’ environment with correspondence displayed live; video calling and conferencing from PC-to-PC using web cameras. Additional features include IP telephony call and voicemail services supported by extensive phone directories; and presence indicators, providing a live list of which colleagues are available at any one time. The service can be used from any office or location via a secure internet connection.
Additionally the ntl:Telewest say that IP Multimedia is a complete suite of tools designed for communicating with colleagues more efficiently. The new services make it easy to determine whether colleagues are available through an online Presence information, enabling questions to be answered quickly, group dialogue to be undertaken faster and many meetings to be conducted online rather than in person. Seeing the person you talk to enhances communication effectiveness.
Stephen Beynon, MD, ntl:Telewest Business, said: “The IP Multimedia service takes converged communication to another level. It
enables people to make the maximum use of their existing network infrastructure to support more effective team communication.”
“Often the root of reduced day-to-day efficiency is that you don’t know whether people are available when you want to communicate with them. IP Multimedia overcomes the communication inefficiencies that result from not knowing whether people are busy or in meetings and having to try several numbers to reach them,” he said.
Chris Barnard, analyst at IDC said: “Companies that are moving to IP telephony increasingly see that it’s not just about replacing the functionality of the traditional PBX system, but to move further and add functionality to voice in the form of IP applications, specifically around collaboration and presence. IDC’s annual WAN manager survey (660 respondents in 10 European countries) show that there are significant plans to buy enhanced hosted VoIP services, especially in the United Kingdom and Denmark, and in the financial and retail vertical markets.”
IP Multimedia users connect over their Local Area Networks (LANs) to the ntl:Telewest core IP network in order to utilise the managed services, which have undergone internal and customer trials involving over 300 personnel across over 50 locations.
Sandra O Boyle, Current Analysis commented, “If collaboration between virtual teams and offices is important and users require ubiquitous service functionality across hot-desking, homeworkers and small branches, ntl:Telewest Business has a rich feature set in terms of unified messaging, video calling, instant messaging and conferencing. IP Multimedia can provide a centralised dial plan, supports analogue and IP phones and does not require a significant CapEx investment, instead customers can try out the service with one group of employees and pay on a monthly per-seat basis”.