3Com to upgrade IP PBX software

3Com is expected to release an update to its NBX operating system, as well as four IP phones aimed at deployments as varied as a CEO's office and a warehouse loading dock.

Version 5.0 of 3Com's NBX operating system introduces more automatic call distributor (ACD) features for call centre applications, which in the past had to be added as separate software products. The software also supports advanced call and message features.

The new software let up to 900 agents operate off of a 3Com NBX, with full call-centre capabilities such as call queuing and routing, the company said.

Up to 100 call-centre management stations could also be deployed with the software. This let managers listen in on calls taken by agents, interrupt calls for training purposes, or whisper into a call - where the agent can hear the manager's voice but the customer/caller on the outside line cannot.

Version 5.0 also has built-in call centre reporting, which in the past required third-party software packages. It is required in order to use the four new phones. Older phones will also work on the new platform.

Among the new handsets is the 3Com 3103 Manager IP phone, which includes a large LCD display for viewing directories or call logs. It also has a built-in, two-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, which lets a user connect a PC via Gigabit Ethernet to the phone, and then access a LAN from another switch port in the phone - thus requiring only one network cable at a user's desk.

Other new phones include the 3101, an entry-level model with minimal features, and two cordless IP phones that let users roam up to 300 metres with a 900-MHz handset, attached to a base unit that plugs into an Ethernet link and AC power plug. The 3107C cordless phone includes a speakerphone in the base station.

3Com's NBX competes with products from Avaya, Cisco and others.

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