Microsoft takes stake in NZ-developed telephony technology

Microsoft has licensed Kiwi-developed technology from computer telephony company Dialogic in a bid to extend Windows NT to the world of network convergence and computer telephony. In a four-year agreement, New Jersey-based Dialogic has licensed its New Zealand-developed CT Media server to Microsoft, which will also retain the development services of the Dialogic New Zealand team.

Microsoft has licensed Kiwi-developed technology from computer telephony company Dialogic in a bid to extend Windows NT to the world of network convergence and computer telephony.

In a four-year agreement, New Jersey-based Dialogic has licensed its New Zealand-developed CT Media server to Microsoft, which will also retain the development services of the Dialogic New Zealand research and development team. In addition Microsoft has made a 5% equity investment in Dialogic, to the value of $US24.2 million.

Peter Robson, Dialogic New Zealand engineering manager, says under the deal Microsoft will extend the Windows platform to include CT Media as a component of its computer telephony platform.

“New Zealand’s opportunity will be in authoring and doing the development,” he says.

The Auckland-based Kiwi team, which has been working on CT Media since 1993, numbers 32 development staff and is expected to expand to 40 by next year.

Robson says integrating computing systems, telephone systems and data networks is often difficult and time consuming and both companies hope that the agreement will accelerate the use of open platforms and standards such as Windows telephony applications programming interface (TAPI).

“With computer telephony applications such as voice mail or fax back, a call usually goes through the PBX and is sent to a PC sitting behind it. CT Media enables you to put all applications on one box, share resources, handle calls and direct them between different destinations. Under the Microsoft deal, instead of having a PBX, calls will go straight to the communications server.”

Microsoft will announce product plans resulting from the agreement at an unspecified date later this year.

Dialogic’s New Zealand connection began when the US company bought local computer telephony company Procor Data NZ, 10 years ago. Dialogic New Zealand became a development group specialising at that stage in Unix device drivers and libraries and in 1993 started working on systems software products.

Robson says through its US parent company, Dialogic New Zealand contributed heavily to the development of a computer telephony standard called "signal computing systems architecture".

“That work was given to the Enterprise Computer Telephony Forum and became the S100 standard - a programming interface that standardises the use of computer telephony resources.”

CT Media, which is written in Visual C++, is based on the S100 standard. Robson says it has 1.5 million lines of code and represents 100-plus man years of development time.

Other companies which are basing computer telephony products on CT Media include Rockwell with its Transcend Call Centre, Nortel and Ericsson.

Dialogic has also partnered with communications giant Alcatel to develop a new standards-based hardware and software convergence platform to be offered by Alcatel later this year. The new communication platform will be designed to meet the communications requirements of small-to-medium sized companies.

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