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InGenius Connector and TAPI

TAPI (Telephony Application Programming Interface) is an API provided by Windows computers for the control of telephones connected to your PC. There’s a great overview of TAPI at Wikipedia if you want to learn more.

InGenius Connector, and its cousin Mitel’s Unified Communicator Express can use TAPI in two ways.

  1. InGenius Connector can appear as a TAPI telephony provider to CRM systems,
  2. InGenius Connector can make use of TAPI to control your desktop phone (Connector as a TAPI consumer).

InGenius Connector as a TAPI provider for connecting to CRM systems

 

This is also called the TAPI Plug-in, and is an optional component of InGenius Connector and Unified Communicator Express. This feature is enabled for an existing installation of our product by simply entering a license key. When you’ve done this, InGenius Connector will now appear in the list of TAPI devices that are available on your computer, when you use a TAPI enabled CRM.

This mode is commonly used with CRMs such as Act, Maximizer, and Outlook and many custom CRM systems. From within your CRM, select the InGenius Connector from the list of TAPI devices on your computer, and your CRM will now be able to place calls using the telephone connected to InGenius Connector. You’ll also be able to see the caller ID for incoming calls, and the CRM will be able to pop the appropriate CRM contact automatically. Note that the functionality provided varies between CRM’s. Some CRM’s may not provide the screen-pop functionality, for instance.

On the telephone side of things, the TAPI Plugin is commonly used with Mitel phone systems (using Unified Communicator Express or Unified Communicator Advanced, with the appropriate InGenius plugin), as well as users of Polycom phones, Aastra Phones, Asterisk PBX’s, and Broadsoft PBX’s – systems which are generally quite difficult to control via TAPI.

Using InGenius Connector with a TAPI-enabled phone system

The other way to use TAPI with InGenius Connector is to set up a phone profile within InGenius using the TAPI phone profile (which will be available within InGenius Connector in the first Quarter of 2012). In this case, the customer has a phone system that provides a TAPI interface, and want to use the features of InGenius Connector to control their phone system, or they want to use an InGenius Connector CRM integration with their phone system.

Users will have to install InGenius Connector, as well as the TAPI service provider which is provided by the telephone system manufacturer. In the case of Cisco, this is available for free, and can be downloaded by the Cisco Call Manager administrator.

We are currently developing TAPI support for Cisco phone systems, and will be certifying other phone systems soon.

Our customers generally use this option to connect their TAPI-enabled phone system to Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Sugar CRM.

One Sweet Suite! Mitel Releases Live Content Suite for 5360 IP Phones

It has been a few months since we first mentioned Mitel’s Live Content Suite application, and we are thrilled that the product has finally been released for Mitel 5360 IP phones.

Developed by the InGenius Telephony Software team, this application is truly innovative and forward thinking in the way it embraces personalization and leverages live content.

Live Content Suite has three main parts:

  • Live Desktop Portal, a web-based phone programming portal
  • Live Blogger, an application for using standard blog tools to deliver custom content to phones
  • Live Applications, applications such as LiveTwitter Reader, Live Weather, and Live Flickr that deliver dynamic content to phones

This is just one of the many “Unified Communications 2.0″ applications to come out InGenius and users can expect to see more in the very near future!

Live Content Suite is expected to become available for other Mitel display phone models (5320, 5330, and 5340) in the coming months.

Check out www.livecontentsuite.com to learn more!

Enhanced hotel guest experience with Application Builder for Mitel phones!

Have you ever been to the hotel and needed to rent a car, look for a restaurant, wanted to contact the hotel’s spa, or just needed more towels? Of course you have, but how many times did you have to flip through a huge hotel binder, call the front desk or open your lap top to find what you were looking for? Imagine you go to a hotel and everything you are looking for is already programmed into the hotel’s phone. All you have to do is push a button and menus for car rental businesses, local restaurants, hotel spa services, and housekeeping are all there and waiting to be accessed. Well, this is exactly what InGenius Application Builder was designed to provide! It’s super easy to use and gives you all the amenities you require at the touch of a button. What is really cool about this application is that you can also choose from a variety of languages. If you are in France but don’t speak French, you’ll have no worries if the Mitel phone in the hotel has Application Builder. By the time you get to your room the French phone menu could automatically be switched to English or  it could offer you a language menu so that you could choose to have it display English instead of French. This would be a really great application for any hotel wanting to provide their guests with better customer service and a better all round experience.
Application Builder

SimplER released! Emergency Notification for Mitel 3300 systems

We’re thrilled to announce the general availability of InGenius SimplER for Mitel 3300s – a simple emergency notification application that emails the appropriate First Responders whenever someone calls 911 (or up to 5 emergency numbers).

InGenius SimplER is designed to work with Mitel’s 3300 systems.

Not only do you know that someone called 911, you also know who that person is and where they sit so that you can respond fast.

How Does SimplER Work?

1.      User initiates emergency call.

2.      SNMP trap picks up the emergency call at the 3300 switch.   SimplER server is notified.

3.      SimplER initiates look-up in Active Directory.

4.       SimplER generates email to appropriate First Responders.

InGenius exhibiting Mitel solutions at IT Expo

Internet Telephony Logo

We’re heading off to IT Expo tomorrow (Booth 501) to show off our new Mitel product line, including:

  • Unified Communicator Express
  • InGenius Broadcast Alert
  • InGenius App Builder
  • InGenius simplER

So, what the heck is this stuff?

Mitel Unified Communicator Express

The marketing blurb goes like this:
<blurb>    Mitel Unified Communicator® (UC) Express is a lightweight, serverless unified communications client that connects your Mitel business phone with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Active Directory, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Desktop Search on your PC. Productivity enhancements like click-to-dial, incoming caller ID pop-up, PC-based missed calls and speed calls list, and personal (Microsoft® Outlook®) directory integration. Available at Mitel.  </blurb>

UCX is cool, because it’s a PC telephony client done right. It can optionally run right in your Windows taskbar, and can even be fully utilized from the tray icon. We have spent hundreds of hours trying to make the UI simple, yet extremely functional. You won’t find a huge app popping up every time the phone rings, or when you want to make a call – simply type in a few characters of the name of the person you want to call – and the app will find the number and dial. Nothing pops up or distracts the user.

Unified Communicator Express

UCX is the new version of Mitel’s Integrated Office Companion. UCX is an incredible upgrade to IOC, adding many cool features such as:

  •  Multiple phone profiles: If you have phones at your office, home, and on the road, you can set up phone profiles. UCX will automatically sign onto the phone appropriate for your location,
  • Support for Mitel 5330, 5340, and the new 5312 and 5324 phones,
  • Excellent support for Vista,
  • And, we’re very excited to announce that UCX will soon have a built-in softphone, which you can use when you’re away from your desk.
  • UCX is also extendable through TAPI, or our plugin API which we can adapt to your CRM solution, even if web based like salesforce.com. It’s a powerful tool for all employees, not just sales or call center agents.

InGenius Broadcast Alert

Broadcast Alert is a mass notification system that can send alerts to 10′s of thousands of your employees, via alerts that pop up on their PC’s, and their Mitel phones. Features include:

  • PC client that’s easy to role out in large installations,
  • PC client can display an alert, including an audio alert, and text and graphical instructions, and can even completely lock out the user’s PC – so the user is compelled to leave their office.
  • Alerts can be displayed on Mitel’s 5300 series phones – currently supported on the 5340 and 5330 models, and soon on all 53xx phones.
  • Alerts can be sent to user specified zones,
  • Each Zone can have a custom exit instructions and graphic, allowing you to specify exit instructions for each floor of a building, or each building on campus,
  • The system is EXTREMELY easy to maintain – new clients show up in the right zones automatically, without any administrator involvement.
  • Users automatically change zones if they are mobile – so a laptop user will automatically join the zone of whatever building they are in as they move about the campus.

InGenius Application Builder

Build HTML applications for your Mitel and Polycom phones using a wizard based online tool.

App Builder is an online tool that makes it easy to create HTML applications for the hospitality industry, with other verticals coming soon.

You simply follow through the wizard, then click on download to obtain a sophisticated HTML application customized for your property.

We’re excited to be demonstrating new support for Polycom phones at IT Expo. Polycom’s phones include colour models which are perfect for use with App Builder. Stop by and check it out!

InGenius simplER

simplER is a great product for users of Mitel’s 3300 series of switches. simplER monitors your 3300 looking for calls to 911 or any other emergency numbers you specify. When it detects an emergency call in progress, simplER looks up the caller in your Active Directory database, determines the caller’s location and name, then alerts approriate first responders for that office area, building floor, or campus building.

As the name implies, simplER is incredibly easy to configure and maintain, and is extremely flexible in it’s notification options. You can customize the notifications that are sent, and easily manage the notification groups by simply creating Active Directory groups following a simple naming convention.

simplER is an essential tool for EVERY Mitel 3300 system installation.

New and Exciting Stuff we can’t talk about here!

We’ll be highlighting some other exciting new stuff at IT Expo – including solutions for Asterisk users, advanced SIP softphone functionality and more. Please stop by at booth 501!

We’ll be posting photos and more blog entries from the show. Keep checking back for more exciting news from the show!

InGenius Application Builder up for VON Award!

VON Innovator

InGenius is proud to be one of the finalists for a VON award for our innovative online application – the Mitel Application Builder. Winners will be announced at the VON show.

Application Builder is a tool used to build HTML applications which run on Mitel’s large-screen 5330 and 5340 phones.

Currently, you can build screen saver applications, and hospitality applications – and we’re planning to add many more applications over the next year.

Application Builder is innovative in that dealers or customers can sign up for free, and build trial applications for free. The tool supports online demos – you and your customers can see what your application will look like in our online phone simulator – then when you’re happy, download the application to your Mitel 3300 switch, and phones.

InGenius is happy to be in the company of many excellent finalists, including Alec Saunder’s iotum, another Ottawa firm.

Update: Well, we didn’t make the top 10, but we’re pretty happy with the exposure and recognition of our hard work. Thanks VON!

Intelligent Directory for Mitel 5330 and 5340 phones released!

We’re pretty excited around here! Our Intelligent Directory product is now available through Mitel. I’ve talked about Intelligent Directory before (check out the details here) – ID is an application that runs on your Mitel 5330 or 5340 phone, and provides a simple on-screen searchable directory of all your corporate contacts (from your corporate Active Directory), as well as your personal Outlook contacts.

Intelligent Directory Detail

The application has been in trials since May – it’s solid and really useful.

We have had to work very hard to make the application as responsive as possible when running on a Mitel phone. The CPU in the phone is nowhere near as fast as a desktop PC’s CPU – so you have to apply a ton of optimizations and special techniques to ring every bit of performance out of the device as possible.

In fact, we’ve made performance improvements throughout our beta cycles, improving performance by 5 times. We’ve also streamlined the User Interface, and added features as requests came in from our beta trial customers.

Some examples:

  • The application used to run in “Corporate Contacts” mode or in “Outlook Contacts” mode. We found a way to largely get rid of this modality, and allow you to choose where your search will take place right when you are entering the characters you want to search for.
  • We introduced the concept of “Favorites” and made it easy to add any Outlook or Corporate contact to your favorites list.
  • Doing queries of your Outlook contacts through the exchange server was quite slow – something people complained about. So, we have changed the product to cache any Outlook contacts you save as “Favorites” so that they pop up very quickly.
  • We added the ability to refine a search – if you enter a few characters of someone’s name, and get back too many results, you can easily refine your current search to narrow down your choices.
  • We added AJAX style interactions on the phone pages, so as you click between pages, only the data on the pages change – none of the graphics or underlying code on the page have to reload.

The application has ended up being very usable and friendly.

Intelligent Directory is available here - download the application, the user guide and installation guide.

If you want to purchase the application, the Mitel part numbers are:

  • Intelligent Directory 30 Pack:  51011224
  • Intelligent Directory Presence Option 30 Pack:  51011225 (This upgrade to the basic product provides LCS presence indications on the phone beside each directory entry that is shown)

Have fun!

Heading off to Mitel Forum 2007

We’re heading off to Las Vegas Sunday for Mitel’s Forum 2007 show. Last I checked it was only 105 degrees in the shade…

We’re hoping that it will be a pretty exciting show for us. We’ll be demonstrating the following:

  • Integrated Office Navigator
  • Integrated Office Companion (Just became generally available Friday June 22!!!!!)
  • Intelligent Directory (Coming out next month)
  • Our New Online Hospitality Application Creator (See below)
  • Our Emergency Broadcast Application

Find all this, and download it to play with at www.ingeniussoftware.com/mitel.

Our stuff will be highlighted in a ton of booths at Mitel Forum – though we’re not personally in any booth, we’ll be wandering around and available to talk. Look for our red InGenius shirts.

I’m giving a couple of presentations (Tuesday June 26 4:00pm and 4:20pm) on developing HTML applications for Mitel’s phones, and on Integrated Office Companion and Intelligent Directory. It totally sucks that I only have 20 minutes per presentation I’ve got an hour’s worth of slides…

If you’re interested, here’s the slide decks: Forum 2007 HTML Toolkit Presentation, Mitel Forum 2007 IOC and ID Presentation.

We’ll be demonstrating our Emergency Broadcast Application as well. This HTML application allows a centrally based administrator to trigger an emergency broadcast to every 53xx phone in a building or a whole site. The phones display an emergency message, with an escape route map or other graphic, and the phones play back an audio message at full volume. You can choose from a bunch of pre-defined broadcasts, or create one on the fly. This is a really terrific application for getting the message out in an emergency – whether or not people have PC’s or are near a PC. Simply put a bunch of Mitel 53xx phones throughout the buildings or campus. This product is in development now.

Another terrific application we’re demoing is an online hospitality application development tool. This is just SO COOL, you have to see it. We’ll be putting a demo online pretty soon. This application allows dealers to go online to our web site and create a complete Hospitality HTML Application for a hotel. Basically, you answer a series of questions online, fill in the appropriate extensions, choose the options you want, and it spits out a file ready to be uploaded to a Mitel 3300 Switch. You can demo the application on line – show it to the customer, test it, tune it, then deploy it when you’re done. It comes with tons of ready-made content like a welcome page, green statement, restaurant templates, airline speed-dials, LIVE weather forecasts, etc. YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY by this application, and the dealer’s customers will love it. Very cool.

screen selector

phone screenIf you want to meet up in Las Vegas, get in touch with us at “rich at ingeniuspeople dot com”

Patent App picked up – again!

I mentioned a few days ago that my patent application had been picked up by ZDNet and Alec Saunders. I’m excited to report that today, it was on Engadget! It’s interesting to be mentioned on a blog I read daily!

References:

And HERE on this blog.

Intelligent Directory in trials now!

Our latest application, Intelligent Directory, is in customer trials now – and should be released to the public in June!

Intelligent Directory

To quote the marketing material:

The Mitel 5300 Intelligent Directory application provides a simple, intuitive on-screen searchable directory of both corporate and personal contacts right on your phone display. The 5300 Intelligent Directory application is available on Mitel 5330/5340 sets.

The 5300 Intelligent Directory Application and Presence Upgrade automatically pull information from three different sources:

  • Microsoft Active Directory Server for corporate phone numbers
  • Microsoft Exchange Server Contacts for personal contact phone numbers
  • Microsoft Live Communication Server for presence information in the case of Presence Upgrade.

The 5300 Intelligent Directory application lists names and phone numbers, and allows users to search on the phone for names and numbers, using the very familiar keypad search that users are accustomed to on their cellphones and handheld devices.

Key features:

  • Extremely intuitive and easy to use – phone numbers are where you need them, on your phone.
  • Instant phone number updates. When a new person is added to the centralized Microsoft Active, their phone numbers are automatically available to all 5300 Intelligent Directory users.
  • Less administration, less expense, more accuracy. No more need to separately maintain corporate phone books for internal use.
  • Up to 5 phone numbers can be displayed per person (corporate, cell, home, etc.).
  • One-touch dialing – numbers selected are instantly dialed.
  • Automatically displays a dynamic list of recent calls on default home screen.
  • Add your favorite numbers to your home screen.
  • Uses Microsoft dialing rules to automatically insert dialing prefixes when numbers are dialed.
  • Supports Hot-Desking. 5300 Intelligent Directory requires users to enter their password to access personal contacts in Microsoft Exchange.

With Presence Upgrade, LCS Presence status is displayed beside the contact name, indicating whether he or she is available. With just a glance at the phone, users can determine whether and when to make that important call.

Intelligent Directory with Presence

The application is structured as a .Net application that runs on Microsoft’s IIS Web Server, and uses a web service to connect to Active Directory, Exchange, and LCS. The architecture is shown below:

Intelligent Directory Architecture

The application will be available soon – check HERE for updates.

And, if you just can’t wait, try it out on our HTML application demo page HERE!

Patent App Picked Up!

I was surprised this week to discover that a patent application we had submitted a year ago was “in the news” on a few blogs.

We first got wind of it through Alec Saunder’s excellent VoIP blog – HE was surprised to see a reference to the Ottawa Senators in a patent application – just our little nod to the team!

And Alec found the patent app through Russel Shaw’s IP Telephony blog over at ZD Net. Russel apparently scans all new patent applications, looking for interesting VoIP applications, and ours made the grade.

Our patent application covers some of the applications that InGenius’ TelML technology makes possible on IP Phone sets with larger screens. Stuff like News, Weather, Sports, and advertizing on you kitchen phone. Very cool stuff – that we’re implementing now for a number of customers.

In fact, we’re releasing our first TelML-based product in the next couple of weeks – it’s called Intelligent Directory, and it allows access to your corporate Active Directory, including presence, from the screen of your phone! Think of it as a super intelligent and useful phonebook, that ties into your Active Directory,your personal Outlook contacts, and LCS/OCS for presence info – with easy searching based on name or company. It’s a great application, only possible due to Mitel’s adoption of our TelML technology on their desktop screen phones.Rich Loen IP Phone Patent Application

In San Francisco – at COSN

I’m down in San Fran for COSN – a networking show for school teachers, and adminstrators. Mitel has a booth here, showing a cool school telephony app we put together, and a broadcast app that the Mitel Custom Apps group put together that uses IP speakers to broadcast throughout a school.

Feedback is along the lines of:

  • “COOL” you can take attendance using a phone.
  • OR, uhm, WHY would I want to take attendance using a phone?

Really, the coolest stuff we’ve done is the broadcast alert using the phones themselves. You can go to a web page on a PC, select a broadcast alert message, click “Send” and the alert shows up on every phone in the school – complete with blinking lights, a message on screen, including an evacuation route map, and an audio announcement that plays an alert sound, and says what to do. What’s cool, is that this uses the built-in voicemail system in the 3300 for the announcement – so no extra hardware required. Very cool.

One company with some cool stuff here is Promethean – they have a very nice looking educational application, with lots of interactive stuff, and these really cool little remotes that let the class interact, vote, and contribute to what’s going on. Their UI looks REALLY good – very clean and easy to use, yet powerful.

Promethean Activote

My brother is flying down tomorrow – we’ll be touring the town, including dinner at Chez Panisse, one of the best restaurants in the US! I’ll let you know how that goes…

Here are some pictures from San Francisco.

Summing up from VoiceCon Spring 2007

We spent the final day of the Expo part of the show doing tons more demos of our software, and zipping around to all the other exhibitors, checking out their wares, and scoring some freebees for the kids back home.

Some thoughts:

  • Microsoft is really entering the VoIP market. They’ve clearly identified this as a major source of revenue for themselves, and are demoing a pretty solid solution. But, not perfect. The phones they’re using do demo their stuff are really cheap USB phones. Sure, they have a handset and speakerphone, but these are not business quality phones by any means. At a time when most phone manufacturers are adding hi-fi audio, these phone sets just don’t cut it. Also, their system is good for basic business use, but the larger manufacturers have been spending years adding needed features for hotels and businesses that really take advantage of the telephony platform – from things like sophisticated voicemail features for hotels (clear your voicemail when you check out) to things like twinned cellular phones that cleanly handle a call being answered on the cellular. Also, your phone system is dead when your server or your PC is dead. This is really a show-stopper for anyone with some real-world experience with Microsoft’s product line. Microsoft is certainly a force we’ll all have to deal with, but they aren’t there yet for anything but the 3-10 user office.
  • I was really surprised at the offerings from Cisco, Avaya and Nortel. From the point of view of the services we can provide on a phone (full, sophisticated, web applications) – the competitors offerings are terrible. Many of them rely on a Citrix backend – you need to set up and install a full Citrix server to use it. And the applications you can develop can only use plain HTML. So, forget any of the cool live presence applications we’ve developed. You are stuck with static content on the phone. And, all three have terrible displays – very small, hard to read, very difficult to format content for, and they have very few push-buttons – so it’s terrible for navigation. Really the dark ages. If you are interested in any sort of interesting content on your phone, forget about Cisco, Avaya and Nortel. Go with Mitel.
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