By Jeff Owen

This month, Digium, developer of the Asterisk open source telephony system, released version 5.0 of Switchvox UC. Among a number of welcome updates, 5.0 will offer mobility options. Mobility has emerged as a necessary part of migration, but one that comes with stiff licensing fees. 5.0 offers Digium users a license free path.

Current subscribers of Digium’s Switchvox can now download and upgrade to version 5.0 free of charge to avail themselves of all the new features including converged phones and the InCall menu, queue logs and new criteria in queue reports, concurrent calls report, bulk modify for phone-type extensions, outgoing call rules with failover options, caller ID rules and incoming DID rules, and reminder notes.

Telecom Reseller was able to speak with Mark Amick, Angie Reed, and Tristan Barnum of Digium to get the lowdown on this new release.  In a nutshell, Version 5.0 builds on previous versions of Switchvox and enhances many features including;

  • main menus
  • phone setup (no longer creates extensions)
  • managing phone-type extensions
  • enable extension dialing is now handled in each IVR
  • extensions groups are more flexible and available in more areas
  • queue status is now just for the current day (queue reporting offers historical data)
  • charts, flexibility, number, and granularity of reports
  • Extend API function for easier 3rd party application integration
  • user and administrator interface (GUI)

One key element of version 5.0 is its support for mobility, which, according to Reed “includes fixed/mobile convergence without any extra licensing, application, cost, or requirement to upgrade the network or add additional gateways.”  Switchvox 5.0 integrates this function and handles the convergence of up to 6 phones per extension.  Thus, one extension can be associated with multiple phones to facilitate UC Presence.  Barnum provided a powerful demonstration of this feature by seamlessly transferring our call from her cell phone to her desk phone. I say this was a powerful demonstration because the only noticeable indication that she had switched phones was the change in quality we usually see between cell phone and landline connections.  Other than that, there was no pause, tone, or other discernable indication that the call had been switched to a different device or network.  Switchvox 5.0 allowed Barnum to use her cellphone keypad to dial a code to make this change without anyone else on the call hearing a thing.   Barnum further stated that this feature could be used to transfer the call to another extension or department, or even record the call via the InCall menu from any of the up to 6 devices (any type of phone) converged onto a single Switchvox extension.

More information on Switchvox and Asterisk can be found at www.digium.com

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