XT glitch sparks innovation at PBX specialist

Free iPhone app fixes XT issue and generates revenue for Vadacom

Issues with Telecom’s XT network led open source PBX provider Vadacom to develop an iPhone application that enables businesses to manage their corporate PABX extension via the device.

Vadacom started developing the application because of a fault that stops DTMF (dual-tone multi-frequency signalling) tones from being passed between devices on the XT network, says Vadacom CEO Igor Portugal.

If you are making a call from one Telecom XT mobile to another and during the call press a digit on your key pad, that tone gets removed from the network, Portugal says. In the corporate PABX world it is common to use DTMF tones for functions like call transfers, but that doesn’t work on the XT network, he says.

The company shifted from Vodafone to Telecom’s XT network last year after having conducted some tests that showed that, from an iPhone perspective, the XT network worked better, he says Portugal.

“If we had known about this glitch, we would never have switched to Telecom,” says Portugal. “However, instead of throwing the XT network out, we decided to fix the problem by developing our own innovative software.”

The VadaXchange app makes the iPhone into an extension of a company’s phone system, potentially saving organisations a big chunk of money, he says.

“When you are away from your desk, the iPhone becomes an extension of your PABX. You can make calls from your iPhone via your corporate PABX and have the call billed to your landline provider.”

The app also lets you make desk phone calls by tapping the contact in your iPhone contact list. In addition, users can check their desk voicemail via the iPhone and see all extensions on the phone system – much like a corporate directory, he says.

The free app has been approved by Apple and is available on the iTunes App Store.

A software developer himself, Portugal rolled up his sleeves and helped his technical team build the app, even though he has been out of the development practice for about seven years, he says.

Although the app is free, it is bringing in revenue for the company. In order to get all the advanced features of the app, customers need to have purchased the mobile extensions module of Vadacom’s business phone system, VadaXchange, which is sold on a per-user basis. However, the basic features work with other phone systems, he says.

The company has experienced a surge of interest in its phone system since releasing the iPhone app.

“It has given a boost to our business and is paying for all the hard work,” he says.

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