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In the IT world, we've always had to "do more with less," and often do it faster. In the world of voice, this means VoIP, or Voice Over IP. VoIP is the transmission of voice over standard network systems, including the Internet. VoIP serves two business needs: take advantage of new applications, and reduce costs by using existing networks. An added benefit is extensive connectivity and mobility.

VoiceRD provides a complete open source VoIP solution. VoiceRD is the rapid deployment of a fully featured open source PBX. It reduces telephony-related operating costs while providing more features, connections and integration than traditional VoIP offerings. The open source community is rapidly developing and integrating new applications into VoiceRD.

The software is based on Asterisk open source PBX software, SUSE Linux, Novell eDirectory, Novell Identity Manager and AppArmor. It runs on an appliance, or a low-cost hardened HP server where all unnecessary operating system services are eliminated to increase security. It runs hassle-free and securely, and integrates into virtually any IT infrastructure, large or small.


> Components
VoiceRD partners with HP, Novell and Digium to create the solution. A combination of open source and proprietary code connects a full set of telephony functions to SugarCRM for customer relations and to Alfresco for enterprise content management (ECM).

At the bottom of the stack is a hardened HP hardware appliance. You can choose from two models. Model 1 handles up to 150 handsets, and Model 2 handles anything above that. Each scales to support trunks and connections. Telephony cards from Digium support digital (T1) and analog (POTS) connections. The hardware is fully supported by HP.

On top of the hardware appliance is a completely integrated software appliance you can purchase separately. The operating system is SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 from Novell. Bundled with the OS is AppArmor from Novell, the open source security framework that creates mandatory access control for programs.

The telephony platform is Asterisk, an open source VoIP PBX. (For a full list of telephony functions in Asterisk, see asterisk.org.) Asterisk includes call conferencing (bridging) and call center functions, such as call queuing. The appliance also has a Web management tool to run all of the system and user operations.

You can add identity management licenses to provision the extensions directly from the network directory services (eDirectory or ADS) or other authoritative user source. Provisioning includes voicemail, user conference center for call bridging, and the configuration of individual user handsets. All adds, changes and deletions are managed from the directory services interface, which can be either iManager or a neutral graphical interface.

It works with today's hardware, protocols and applications, yet was designed to be flexible so it can grow as your enterprise needs change. You can also get a soft appliance, which consists of all software, including the OS and OEM licenses.

> Rapid Deployment
VoiceRD is based on fixed price, limited engagements with specific added value. An example is a multisite or international deployment where all servers and extensions are integrated and networked. In this example, VoiceRD proceeds through four phases:

  • Phase 1: Assessment and design considers the entire project, including all sites, protocols, hardware, features and applications.
  • Phase 2: Preimplementation moves from comprehensive design to a limited scope of, say, specific geographic implementation.
  • Phase 3: Implementation implements the limited scope.
  • Phase 4: Training and support obviously trains and supports staff.

The layered support is as complete as the list of voice functions. The base code is SUSE Linux and Asterisk. Both platforms are supported by a global open source community. Innovation and bug fixes happen at warp speed compared to traditional development models. Novell develops SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and prepares it for the enterprise. The Asterisk community develops the telephony code and VoiceRD prepares it for application. Novell Technical Services provides 24/7 support, so support is a single call.

> Application Integration
Integration continues up the stack. Far from a mere VoIP system, VoiceRD integration can be mixed or matched into three key application arenas:

  • customer relationship management (CRM)
  • enterprise content management (ECM)
  • enterprise messaging

SugarCRM is the CRM component and Alfresco is the ECM component. Both are built upon the model of commercial open source. A global community of programmers writes the code. Additional code and support can be purchased on top of what is downloadable and used for free. It is fast, quality development with dedicated support.

Novell GroupWise on Linux is the third arena. It is a complete collaboration software solution that provides e-mail, calendaring, instant messaging and task management. VoiceRD integrates voice functions with all three.

For example, in a sales-driven scenario, all integration functions happen in Sugar, the CRM module. Outbound phone calls originate from within a contact record in Sugar. You click a phone icon to dial the contact's number. When the user picks up the receiver, the voice session begins. The date, time and duration of the call are recorded in the client's record.

The call itself can also be recorded in Alfresco, outside of Sugar, with access from the contact's record. All recorded voice calls are stored and indexed and made available to the enterprise work flow rules found in Alfresco. You can turn any conversation into a voice object managed by the ECM.

Actions in Sugar also drive events in Novell GroupWise. An outbound call initiated from within a contact record in Sugar can, at the caller's discretion, schedule a future call. When the call is scheduled, VoiceRD integration creates a GroupWise appointment. If you've implemented BlackBerry support for GroupWise, it can deliver an alarm to the BlackBerry device.

Voicemail is also integrated with GroupWise. As voicemails are left, a message is sent to the user's GroupWise Inbox. The caller ID is in the message body, along with the time, date, length and a link to an audio file (WAV). The voicemail can then be forwarded through GroupWise internally, or stored in Alfresco.

VoiceRD is fully integrated up and down the complete stack: hardware; operating systems and security; a PBX appliance; and lateral integration with customer management, enterprise collaboration and complete content management. red N

For more information about VoiceRD, please visit voicerd.com.



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