Startup provides phone link to the desktop

Startup provides phone link to the desktop

By John Cox, Network World, 29 July 2007

A startup called Varaha Systems has launched software to help small and medium companies link their smartphone users to company systems.

The uMobility software is a set of client applications, including a
secure VPN connection, and server applications that run behind the
enterprise firewall. Depending on which components are selected, a
smartphone user can access corporate PBX features, email, voicemail and
other services via cellular or Wi-Fi links. The software creates a
common user interface to work with these services as well as the
phone’s call logs, contacts, calendar and other applications.

A key element in uMobility is a set of "Service Quality Aware"
algorithms, which constantly checks variables such as radio strength
and quality, and manages the voice hand-off between Wi-Fi and cellular
networks. The software maintains the voice call, and quality, without
losses, delays or interruptions according to Varaha.

The company was founded in 2003, with R&D based in India. The
name is taken from a Himalayan mountain, "one of the harder ones to
climb," said CTO and co-founder Prasad Govindarajan. "It’s a metaphor
for what we’re trying to achieve in cellular/Wi-Fi convergence."

They’re not alone. Start-ups such as DiVitas and established vendors like Siemens are tackling convergence.
Recently, Avaya and Nokia said they were teaming to link cell phones
with corporate VOIP systems. And last year, Cisco bought Orative, a
start-up whose client-server software lets cell phone users make calls
and handle messages as if plugged into a wired IP phone, or as if
working via a PC application interface.

Varaha’s approach is similar in some respects: it’s an enterprise
product, so nothing is needed on or from a mobile carrier’s network.
But the company is emphasising its secure VPN capability, the ability
to work with a wide range of enterprise applications that traditionally
run on desktop PCs and desktop phones, and support for cellular-only
phones as well as the more complex phones that can have both cellular
and Wi-Fi radios.

The four applications in the product set are:

  • Mobility VPN, a VPN client that creates an encrypted link to about 20 popular third-party VPN concentrators.

  • uMobilityDeskPhone, a smartphone client with a GUI for accessing both smartphone applications and corporate PBX features.

  • uMobility GlobalTalk, a client-server application for
    cellular-only or cellular/Wi-Fi phones, including the service quality
    algorithms for cellular/Wi-Fi handsoffs, and an interface to the
    corporate PBX.

  • uMobility Multimedia, which lets mobile phones access IP data,
    voice and video applications over wireless LAN or cellular networks.

"Enterprises need publish only one business number," Govindarajan says.
"Anyone who calls that number can reach you anywhere. You can have push
voicemail, email, and so on. You’re ‘at your desk’ wherever you happen
to be." 

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