With a heritage that spans over 20 years, New York-based Consolidated Technologies Inc. (CTI) was founded by a group of industry veterans with the foresight and knowledge to provide superior communication networks. CTI has built a solid reputation by offering a sophisticated spectrum of products backed by comprehensive service and support. Today, CTI provides the highest quality communication products to customers nationwide and ranks as one of Avaya's fastest-growing business partners.
The company is currently getting the word out about one of its newest applications called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), an interactive method to move voice and data. Neil Brenner, vice president of Consolidated Technologies, uses AOL's Instant Messenger platform as the best analogy to describe the SIP service, as "buddy lists" can now be integrated into the world of voice.
"In the old days, a button on the phone might let you know that your associate was busy, which is a mechanical attribute," says Brenner. "With SIP, you have what is known as 'present' and 'buddy' lists for voice. This means I am sitting at my desk, my computer is on, and I see my lists of friends and associates within my community." If an "X" appears through a person's name on the list, it means they are on the phone. "There's no sense in calling him or her because I will get his voice mail. But I could IM that person with an urgent message," says Brenner. "Then the person could choose to take your important call."
The concept of SIP is to provide a presence — what people are doing at any moment in time — combined with Instant Messenger functionality, which is why Brenner uses the "AOL's-Instant-Messenger-connected-to-your-phone analogy. "Wherever I am, it tracks my presence no matter what phone or office I am hooked into," says Brenner.
CTI has installed the SIP service in a handful of call centers, an area that benefits greatly from the application, especially when customer service reps need to track down managers in a discrete manner. "It provides a community within your business — it doesn't reach out to other businesses. But in my own enterprise, whether one or 10 offices, 20 people or 20,000 people, I can do things relative to that community that I could not do before," says Brenner.
SIP is also supported by open standards, which means it is being derived by companies such as Cisco, Avaya and Nortel. Brenner says SIP's open standards take companies' voice capabilities to a new level of operability. Major carriers such as AT&T, for example, are using the SIP technology to connect to customers at a highly reduced cost, instead of using traditional voice lines and paying for cabling in the streets.
"They'll be using data connections that exist and fiber optics to transport SIP connections between phone systems and carriers," says Brenner. "This service is available today, but it is not robust."
CTI is an Avaya platinum business partner, so the firm only recommends Avaya for voice. But Brenner believes that CTI is plugging into today's application-oriented world as opposed to the "buy a phone from us" mentality. "It's more about investing in a system that has these applications that encourage collaboration and a higher degree of productivity," says Brenner.