Zultys adds Android client for its IP PBX

The new client offers presence, access to company directories, call log and secure IM

Zultys has upgraded the software in its MX family of IP PBXs and added a Mobile Communicator client for Android-based smartphones, the company said on Tuesday.

Zultys first offered a mobile client for BlackBerry OS, and then in 2010 the iPhone.

"At the time when we were releasing the iPhone client, we were getting demand for Android as well," said Steve Francis, chief marketing officer at Zultys.

Developing for BlackBerry and the iPhone was straightforward, but the fragmentation of the Android phone market made it a bigger development task, according to Francis. However, that work has now been done, he said.

The Mobile Communicator for Android offers a presence indicator, allowing users to see if their colleagues can talk or chat. The client also provides access to corporate directories and call logs, and gives users the option to be contacted with a single number. Users get call handling features, including hold and transfer, as well.

"It is a perfect substitute for your desktop phone. I can see the presence of everybody that I call, so I know whether they are on the phone or not, and then IM them," said Neil Lichtman, CEO at Zultys.

The communication between the smartphone and the IP PBX is encrypted.

The Mobile Communicator client costs US$99 per mobile license and is compatible with Android version 2.2 or higher. A client for Android 4.0 is currently in testing, according to Zultys.

Today, the installed Zultys mobile user base is a 50-50 split between Apple and Research In Motion, but the challenges RIM faces are becoming evident and Apple's share is growing. Looking at current sales, the iPhone is more popular than BlackBerry.

"The BlackBerry still has its loyal fans out there, but even the loyal fans are moving on," said Francis.

So far, the company has had zero requests for a Windows Phone client, according to Francis.

In MX Release 7.0, Zultys has also improved the integration with Outlook and Salesforce.com. The Outlook Communicator now allows users to log in to different groups, for example an inbound call center group for sales or customer services. In Salesforce, users can now switch between different phone lines.

The goal with the improvements is to let users stay in Outlook or Salesforce, instead of having to use Zultys' own MXIE client to make changes, Francis said.

Users that prefer the MXIE client can now customize the look of the user interface, to better fit the way they work.

The MX Release 7.0 software update will become available in February.

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