TelstraClear launches IP Telephony service

TelstraClear is launching its new IP Telephony service, Private Voice, targeting New Zealand's small to medium enterprise (SME) market and has plans to offer a residential solution in coming months .

TelstraClear is launching its new IP Telephony service, Private Voice, targeting New Zealand's small to medium enterprise (SME) market and has plans to offer a residential solution in coming months.

Private Voice, a product based on Broad Works from US industry leader Broad Soft, is an IP Telephony solution rather than a simply Voice over IP (VoIP) system, according to product manager for private voice Chris Hardaker. Private Voice will contain the same service level agreements as TelstraClear's regular business offerings.

"There is no difference, stability wise, between Private Voice and our existing analogue network today."

TelstraClear has long touted the viability of IP Telephony and boasts the country's largest IPT client, the Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP) with its 8000 users.

Private Voice, however, is designed to scale downwards, to target the 90% of New Zealand businesses with fewer than 10 employees.

"Our smallest customer unit at the moment will be four users, however we have plans to extend that all the way to the single user and that of course opens up the residential market."

Private Voice offers full call manager functionality to the desktop PC, individual user's phone or cellphone and can be extended to the user's home phone if required.

Functionality like caller ID, integration with Microsoft Outlook's address book, prioritising of calls, and a voice activated auto attendant, known as AVA, are included in the service which TelstraClear plans to offer for the same price as existing services.

"This is additional functionality for the same price. We will match or beat existing products on the market today."

TelstraClear is conducting a series of customer launches in the next fortnight and will release its pricing schedule then.

Users are able to control their calls and phone systems with the kind of functionality that was previously only available to the larger corporate phone infrastructures. Even users who are working from home or on the road will still be able to access and control their incoming calls using the Internet Explorer based interface.

"Callers won't know where you are or what phone you're answering on, so if you're in your office or in Phoenix, Arizona talking on your hotel phone it won't matter. You maintain all the functionality of the office phone."

The automated voice attendent can be used to centralise a user's various phone lists under the one number. Users are given a single number to call and can then simply state the recipient's name to be connected. TelstraClear has already been using this feature in testing internally and at least two employees are greatly impressed with the results.

"We have Murray McLean and Marie McLean. Phonetically they are almost exactly the same. Our existing telephonists have a 92% success rate but Ava with a little tweaking gets it right 98% of the time. Without the tweaking it had a 95% success rate".

Eventually Ava will allow users to change settings on their phones using voice commands only – a feature that should be released in around three to six months' time.

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