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IBM, 3Com to Deliver First Integrated, Single Platform for Converged IP Telephony, Business and Collaboration Applications


IBM (NYSE: IBM) and 3Com Corporation, a leading provider of secure, converged voice and data networking solutions, today announced the industry’s first solution to integrate IP telephony with email, messaging and core business process applications on a single, secure platform.

The System i Integrated Collaboration solution will feature unified communications capabilities to help customers increase productivity, lower costs and streamline operations. Because it runs on a single System i, it is easier and less expensive to manage than competitive Windows-based, multi-server offerings.

Roland Corporation U.S., a leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments, recently selected the System i Integrated Collaboration solution to further improve its leading customer service to the music stores and consumers it supports. The integration of IP Telephony with Roland’s ERP applications will arm customer service agents with recent client data, allowing them to respond to customer requests more quickly and effectively.

“The new solution will allow us to further evolve the way we do business. With advanced features like find me, follow me and click to call, our sales team in the field will now be able to be reached quickly from a central location, no matter where they are -- in the office or on the road,” said David Williams, IT Director at Roland. “IBM and 3Com, along with our IBM business partner Sirius Computer Solutions, presented us with a very competitively priced solution that allows us to leverage our investment in existing resources and technical skills.”

The new Integrated Collaboration solution builds on the System i IP Telephony solution IBM and 3Com delivered in November 2006. It uses open standards such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to create a platform for innovation by enabling the 3Com® VCX™ system to be more easily integrated with collaboration and business applications running on the System i.

IBM and 3Com have seen substantial interest from the community of System i solution-providers and business partners who want to exploit this integration. IBM and 3Com expect to work with over 100 Independent Solution Vendors (ISVs) to integrate their applications with the new solution. These ISVs will be able to leverage 3Com’s Open Network™ (3Com|ON) Program and Software Development Kit (SDK) to tightly integrate their business applications with 3Com IP telephony and IBM collaboration applications.

For example, iMessaging Systems, Inc., an experienced ISV with a detailed telephony background, provides a native System i IP telephony integration solution by enabling its iNspire™ solution with SIP. Through a cooperative development effort with IBM and 3Com, iNspire has been enhanced to support the System i Integrated Collaboration solution in a more efficient manner that uses SIP to bypass traditional telephone interfaces. System i customers and ISVs can now use iNspire to integrate business applications and telephony even more easily to provide intelligent call routing, screen pops and interactive voice response (IVR).

Further, CRM application provider VACAVA used iMessaging’s iNspire solution to deliver VACAVA Customer Care -- a telephony and call center-enabled solution requiring minimal effort to implement. Other ISVs planning to bring their application to the System i Integrated Collaboration solution include Touchtone Corporation, RJS Software Systems, Inc. and KMR Systems.

The Scott & Co Group, the largest firm of Sheriff Officers and Messengers-At-Arms and provider of comprehensive collection-based services in Scotland, selected the System i Integrated Collaboration solution to enhance its sophisticated call center operations. Working with IBM business partner Triangle, Scott & Co expects the solution will be fully implemented this summer, at which time it will run its entire business on System i.

“We considered competitive, Windows-based IP telephony offerings, but we would have required at least 16 stand-alone servers to support the entire suite reliably,” said David Lyall, CIO for Scott & Co. “We chose the System i Integrated Collaboration solution instead because System i is inherently more robust, fully integrated and has a much higher return on investment compared to Windows servers, so we expect to lower our costs considerably.”

The System i Integrated Collaboration solution will include the following new capabilities.

3Com SDK for System i IP Telephony - Allows systems integrators, ISVs and end-users to integrate telephony into their business and collaboration applications more simply and inexpensively by using new application programming interfaces (APIs).
System i IP Telephony Contact Center - Enables departments that receive high telephone call volumes like help desks to provide better service and increase customer satisfaction. Built-in features use business logic to route calls to an appropriately-skilled agent and then provide “screen pops” with application data such as previous contact or business history.
System i IP Telephony Integration with Lotus® Sametime® 7.5 - Allows System i IP Telephony and Sametime users to make calls using their IP desk phone by simply clicking on a contact within their Sametime contact list. This allows users to quickly connect to co-workers and external associates using existing contact information. Users can also view telephony presence through the Sametime client, viewing whether colleagues are logged onto the client and if they are on a call.
System i IP Telephony Unified Messaging - Enables users to receive voicemails, faxes and email in a single, unified inbox. Voice messages are received as attachments that can be opened and played on a laptop or desktop computer using standard multimedia applications. Unified messaging functionality is planned for both Lotus Domino and Microsoft applications.


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