HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE and any other Asterisk IP-PBX!

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Tom Keating
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HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE and any other Asterisk IP-PBX!

I spoke with Kerry Garrison last week at ITEXPO and he gave me a news scoop that Fonality would soon offer the HUD 3.0 Unified Communications client for the open source trixbox CE Asterisk-based platform. trixbox CE is one of the most popular Asterisk distributions. I recently commented in my trixbox Pro review (paid version),"The feature-rich HUD Pro client is certainly a competitive advantage Fonality has over many other Asterisk-based solutions." As such, offering HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE is a major move by Fonality.

In fact, Kerry told me that once HUD has been ported to trixbox CE, the new HUD will work not only on trixbox CE but should also work other Asterisk flavors, i.e. Switchvox, PBX in a Flash, Voiceroute, etc. Fonality plans to license the HUD 3.0 client, however, pricing has not been set. While Fonality loses the "exclusivity" of their feature-rich HUD client, they will certainly gain revenue from other Asterisk distros that license HUD.

Update: Kerry emailed me to say, "once HUD is working on trixbox CE, the new HUD can be made to work on most any Asterisk-based product, only the interface to manage users and groups would have to be adapted to specific platforms." Thus, some work will be involved in getting HUD to work - it's not plug-and-play. Still, it shouldn't be that hard to customize existing web interfaces (such as FreePBX) to add a HUD admin interface.

The new HUD 3.0 will provide trixbox CE users with presence management and detection in a single interface for all types of office communications, including SMS, instant message, landline calling, mobile calling, chat, voicemail, email, conferencing, recording, and barging.

HUD 3.0 permissions in the Group Manager:

"Open source rarely lacks in features, but often lacks in ease-of-use and polish. Our intention with this announcement is to bring the polish of the HUD 3.0 unified communications platform, which is in use by more than 100,000 paid users, to the trixbox community. This should allow them, now more than ever, to compete with the high-prices of the big-iron oligopoly," said Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality.

HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE delivers a unified communications dashboard that shows availability for onsite and remote employees, eliminating wasted time created by busy signals, voice mails and phone tag. Users can easily drag and drop calls onto a colleague's desk or mobile phone, quickly convert IM chats to voice calls, and even personalize calls with photo caller ID.

One caveat with the new HUD 3.0 client that some may object to is that it uses a hybrid-hosted model for the sign-in process. It uses Fonality's hybrid-hosted data centers to authenticate the sign-on process to determine if you have a valid license. I asked Kerry what happens if the Internet is down and he said you can't sign-in to HUD. However if Internet goes down after you sign-in, HUD still works.


The new capabilities of multi-lingual HUD 3.0 include:
• Integration with Google Talk from any desktop, BlackBerry, or iPhone. Users will now be able to chat and exchange presence with any of Google's more than five million Google Talk users.
• Deep and instantaneous Web 2.0 integration with all applications such as CRM, Google, ticketing, billing, and financial systems. Web pages can either actively launch upon call activity or send silent (background http) notifications to web-based applications.
• Mobile presence displays mobile users to the rest of the company when they connect to the trixbox CE phone system. Mobile presence also supports Busy-Ring Back™ so as not to disturb a fellow employee who is on a mobile device.
• Personalized photo caller-ID displays photos of all inbound and outbound callers, and displays caller photos when listening to voicemail or joining a conference bridge.
• SMS one-way text messaging is now included, in addition to the already supported one-click call, mobile call, voicemail, email, and chat.
• Visual conferencing for the easy creation and recording of conferences. Drag users in, kick, and mute all with a single click. Each conference bridge participant has a face photo displayed, which makes it easier to talk to them, see them, and communicate with them using HUD 3.0 built-in instant messaging.
• Visual voice mail allows users to receive voicemail directly on their PC or Mac desktop. A MWI (message waiting indicator) provides notification when a new voicemail has arrived and, with a few simple clicks of the mouse, messages can be played, fast-forwarded, rewound, or saved to disk. Also, voicemail contacts can be easily added to Outlook, and users can click to return calls, or click to chat.
• HUD Queues take trixbox CE and HUD 3.0 into larger call centers without the typical associated costs. HUD 3.0 now supports big call center features such as real-time queue displays, up-to-the-second queue stats including ASA, dragging-and-dropping any holding queue call to an agent, call center alarms, abandon alerts, broadcast agent messaging, virtual wall boards, and much more.
• Seven languages at launch including English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Russian, and simplified and traditional Chinese.

An open beta program will begin in a couple of weeks. HUD 3.0 for trixbox CE will be available in October.

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