Siemens launch back office, desktop VOIP wares

New products aimed at VOIP networks

The OpenStage 80 is Siemens' high-end desktop set, and could replace a PC in some cases, the company says. The device includes a nine-inch color LCD; a browser and XML software stack for accessing Web sites and intranet applications; and physical interfaces for USB, Bluetooth, headset and other devices. A small attachable keyboard is available for entering contact data into a directory and information database which resides on the phone. (The phones can also tap into corporate Microsoft Exchange servers to access centralized directory data.) The phone has an optional Wi-Fi extension module, which allows it to connect to a 802.11b wireless LAN.

The OpenStage 60 has a smaller LCD, but most of the same features as the 80 model. The 40 model has a black-and-white LCD, and fewer touch-pad feature buttons. The OpenStage 20 is a basic-model phone with IP connectivity and a two-line LCD screen for caller-ID viewing.

The new phones bring Siemens up to speed with Avaya and Cisco, in terms of phone features and add-on applications, analysts says.

"Improvements in [desktop IP] phones and features are not going to drive IP PBX sales," says Nora Freedman, an analyst with IDC. Instead, the integration of VOIP with messaging applications, as well as business-process platforms -- such as CRM and ERP software -- are the drivers for VOIP adoption, she says.

The ability to access corporate applications or Web portals through the high-end OpenStage devices could play into this notion, Freedman says.

"That could work well in a vertical application, where you may not want to deploy a full PC and phone, but you want to offer an employee access" to network-based services and applications, she says.

Siemens' OpenStage IP phones start at US$295.

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