Cisco, Citrix expand click-to-call functionality

It allows automatic dialing from any Citrix-based application

Citrix Systems Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. today announced enhanced click-to-call technology that allows users to click on a phone number embedded in any application on a Citrix Presentation Server to have the call automatically dialed on a Cisco Unified IP phone.

The time-saving update expands upon the previous version of the technology, which allows users to click to call on phone numbers in Microsoft Outlook or Web-based page views, a Citrix spokeswoman said.

Barry Phillips, senior director of product marketing at Citrix, said thousands of applications are already deployed by large companies on Citrix Presentation Server, and all of those applications support the new expanded click-to-call capability. Those applications include products from Siebel Systems Inc., SAP AG and Oracle Corp.

Parsram Rajaram, senior systems analyst for the city of Winter Park, Fla., said there are potentially several applications used by more than 200 city workers where a click-to-call function would save users time and increase productivity. One public safety reporting and writing application contains many fields filled with phone numbers, which a public safety officer could click to be connected to investigators around the world, he said.

For the past six months, Winter Park has been using Cisco IP phones and the Citrix click-to-call function to improve productivity for purchasing department workers. Users browse hundreds of Internet sites to find information on products being reviewed for purchase, and can click on a phone number to have it automatically dialed, saving valuable seconds, he explained.

"It's a brilliant technology," Rajaram said. "The purchasing department has a lot of places to call, and they make hundreds of calls a day. This speeds up the process, and they're very happy. They don't complain about sore fingers anymore."

Winter Park added the functionality and related functions for easier calling from Citrix two months after installing Cisco IP phones and Cisco's CallManager IP voice switch, he said.

Phillips said the Citrix and Cisco technology requires Cisco IP phones and Cisco's CallManager, as well as a Citrix Application Gateway and the Voice Office software suite of applications. All are available now, with the gateway priced at $5,115 and the software starting at $50 per user. In addition to click-to-call functionality, other functions in the suite include a phone directory, zone paging, broadcast alerts and visual voice mail. Both Citrix products will be sold through the Cisco Solutions Plus program and Cisco resellers.

Phillips said Citrix is planning future enhancements that include click-to-IM and click-to-conference.

Elizabeth Herrell, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., said click to call is one of a variety of emerging technologies that support unified communications where voice and data are combined to improve user productivity. Other large vendors that also have click-to-call technology or plan to offer it soon include Microsoft Corp., IBM, Alcatel and Avaya Inc., she said.

The Citrix approach, featuring access to any application, requires just one interface, said Brian DalBello, Cisco's director of product marketing for IP communications.

Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon