Teo launches single-server unified comms system

Teo UC allows universal voice mail retrieval, voice conferencing, integrated presence and more

Teo Technologies today announced a unified communications (UC) platform that relies on a Linux-based server to provide multiple applications, including voice mail, across a variety of devices.

Mukilteo, Wash.-based Teo, which has been making telecommunications equipment for 30 years, said the Teo UC relies on a single server, a single administrator's portal and a single user interface to track calls, e-mails, voice mails and more.

Teo didn't disclose pricing for a single server, but said the system averages about $500 per user for a setup with 200 users who each communicate using several different devices, such as smartphones, desk phones and laptops.

A single server will handle as many as 2,000 users, while a multiple-server system can handle up to 100,000 users, said Tom Beck, business strategy executive at Teo. The company said the Teo UC could cost 30% less than conventional systems, which tend to rely on many server boxes, each serving a single communications function.

Beck said the new offering supports many major UC applications, giving users access to features such as voice mail, voice conferencing, integrated presence and more on all of their devices. Teo UC does not include webconferencing.

The system includes an emergency 911 console view. With this feature, if an employee of an organization uses a business phone to place an emergency call, a central administrator can identify the location from which that call was placed. The emergency console also helps administrators track other information useful to emergency response crews.

Teo identified two beta customers that are using Teo UC: a real estate company and Proactive Marketing Group, a marketing firm based in Seattle.

Frank Rigsby, vice president of sales and marketing at Proactive, said that his company's eight-person sales force has found Teo UC to be especially helpful. With the system, salespeople who are out on the road can take calls as if they were at their desks.

Proactive has been using Teo UC for four months, said Rigsby, noting that the system makes it easy for him to use his BlackBerry to retrieve voice mail messages left on his desk phone, eliminating the need to call his office phone to retrieve messages. The messages are transferred to his BlackBerry as a WAV files.

"Teo creates a larger presence for us and helps us a lot because we don't have inside people manning the phones," Rigsby added. He wouldn't say how much Proactive spent on the system, but he did note that Teo UC cost less than some other products on the market.

Beck said Teo UC will compete mainly against systems from Shoretel Inc. and Australia's Mytel Voice & Data Pty., which target midsize businesses. Cisco Systems Inc., Avaya Inc. and IBM target larger companies.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at  @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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