Siemens Raise the Curtain on NextGen SIP Phones

Siemens Enterprise Communications today announced OpenStage, a new line of IP telephones that bring an open communications hardware platform to the desktop for the first time.

With four different models ranging from basic to advanced, OpenStage phones feature a revolutionary new design that combines ease-of-use with PC functionality – the biggest change in the telephone interface since the pushbutton phone replaced the rotary dialer.

In addition, OpenStage phones utilise SIP to integrate wired, wireless and IP communications to invoke new conferencing and call features such as “push to conference”, desktop call management, “presence” based calling and more. The phones also support compatible third-party applications through standards-based technology such as Java, HTML, WML and XML so that they can become a key interface for everyday enterprise business applications.

OpenStage introduces a touch sensitive wheel, called TouchGuide that allows easy access to the menu-driven user interface. The TouchSlider controls the volume of the handset, ringer and speaker phone, and there are touch sensitive pre-set and programmable keys that provide easy access to frequently used applications and features, such as address books, voicemail, conferencing, and speed dial. OpenStage also lets you dial using hands-free voice commands or a conventional keypad. It features a high-quality speaker phone that has been specially designed for conference calls, and can operate multiple connections from the same desktop.

“End-users in business environments are faced with an ever-increasing variety of communications capabilities, devices, interfaces and modes. Efforts to streamline and integrate these capabilities, and to make the most of the latest in navigation techniques, are welcome and will get the attention of buyers,” said Jerry Caron, Vice President, Current Analysis. “Innovative systems, such as the Siemens Enterprise Communications OpenStage portfolio, make access to sophisticated capabilities easier and more intuitive, thus inherently raising the relevance of the capabilities themselves.”

Built-in Bluetooth support also lets you use a Bluetooth headset with the OpenStage deskphone for hands-free operation. A V.Card exchange even allows you to transfer contacts between compatible mobile phones and the desk phone. A USB port is available to backup data, such as personal contacts, as well as to connect to a wireless LAN using a WLAN dongle. With network support, you can readily access a corporate phone directory using an LDAP client, or gain public phone directory access using XML to look up new contacts.

“OpenStage is the missing link that integrates cellular, the Internet and the wired desktop,” said Thomas Zimmermann, Chief Operating Officer of Siemens Enterprise Communications. “We designed OpenStage to deliver mobile convenience in a fixed device, providing instant access that is always available and easy to drive. And this line of IP telephones offers a new, rich communications experience that combines style elements with the convenience of a mobile phone.”

OpenStage is designed to help organisations improve productivity and streamline workflow by integrating system-wide communications into the most-used office device, the telephone handset. Since it is an open application platform, OpenStage gives IS departments and third party developers more flexibility to write and deploy a wide range of value-added applications that can make the phone a key interface for enterprise applications and that can speed communications and workflow.

For example, Java applications that run on a PC, mobile phone, or PDA can now be readily ported to run on the OpenStage phone. Using HTML, the phones can be used as an interface for hosted applications, such as timesheets, calendars, or public phone books. WML support makes it compatible with applications developed for mobile phones, such as access to traffic news. Support for XML also makes it easy to customise OpenStage for any number of users, such as an interface for building controls, to customise responses to incoming calls, or to create “tell me when” applications that monitor for specific conditions, such as inventory running below a preset threshold. OpenStage is part of LifeWorks, Siemens’ vision for open communications and seamless collaboration across multiple protocols, networks, and devices.

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