Agito Networks has announced a new version of its location-aware converged voice product that turns mobile phones with Wi-Fi into extensions to a company's PBX.
RoamAnywhere is an appliance that lets dual-mode phones such as the Nokia E-series connect to the company's PBX over Wi-Fi and act as extensions. Version 2.2 supports encrypted tunnels to users on home Wi-Fi networks or in remote offices, and increases the number of handsets and PBXs supported. It also has more intelligent least-cost routing and lets users set up "dual personalities" on their phones for personal and business use.
Agito uses location technology to determine when to hand over between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, and claims to switch between networks in less than 100ms. It also supports other methods where handsets decide when to switch based on signal strength - and allows IT managers to set policies based on battery life or time of day.
"Agito is the only one with all three methods for handover," said Pej Roshan, Agito's vice president of Marketing. "And we have the guts to stand behind our claims of sub 100ms handover times. As a primary metric, signal strength falls flat, as it causes voice a call to degrade to a state where unsuitable for business calls before making the handover. It's a distress metric."
Rival DiVitas Networks takes a different view, arguing that signal strength - or "environment aware" - switching, is a better method. "Roam decisions based solely on location in the Wi-Fi cloud cannot take account of network vagaries and can impact roam effectiveness," it says in a White Paper.
Agito's roaming is not "solely" based on location, counters Roshan, saying it also takes into account the same environmental issues as DiVitas, making it a better solution.
Agito's Secure Remote Voice feature lets users make calls from Wi-Fi locations out of the office, such as hotspots or home offices - encrypting the voice traffic using SSL, so the solution can be used by companies which have to comply with stringent security regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley. The product also lets users have their own mobile number as well as the company's number, on a single mobile phone.
Dynamic least cost routing can handle sophisticated decisions, for instance routing international cellular calls over the company PBX even when the phone is on the cellular network.
Agito's product supports around 30 Windows Mobile and Nokia handsets - with support for iPhones and Blackberries promised for the future. "We are working through their developer programmes," said Roshan.
Although FMC has not taken off rapidly so far, Roshan believes this is set to change, largely due to the availability of more dual-modephones: "The number of handsets has grown five fold this year," he said. "There hasn't been much awareness at a mass scale that such a solution is available till now."
Agito's product, launched in October 2007, will be available very shortly in Europe, said Roshan - and the number of Nokia handsets backs up that claim. In the US, it starts at $10,000 (£5,670).
DiVitas spokespeople said by email - before the Agito launch - that their product was more than a match for anything Agito has, and challenged Agito to a competitive bake-off.