Verizon Enhances Enterprise Mobility With New Software-Based PBX Mobile Extension

LAS VEGAS - Verizon is making it easier for on-the-go professionals to answer calls on the first ring while away from the office, with a new unified communications service that transfers the capabilities of an office phone to a cell phone.

The new PBX Mobile Extension offering, announced Tuesday (April 1) at the CTIA Wireless 2008 trade show here, uses the latest version of the award-winning Ascendent® Voice Mobility Suite from Ascendent Systems (a subsidiary of Research In Motion), to deliver an advanced, enterprise-grade unified communications system.  In addition, PBX Mobile Extension now directly supports the BlackBerry® Mobile Voice System (MVS) from Research In Motion, providing BlackBerry smartphone users with secure access to a company's PBX functionality.

The software-based service, which replaces Verizon Business' PBX Mobile Extension offering announced in June 2007, enables large-business and government customers to avoid the complexity and cost inherent in purchasing and deploying separate hardware required with the prior offering.  With the new offering, companies will be able to use standard off-the-shelf servers.

"Busy professionals today are demanding new devices and services that help them improve their productivity whether in the office or on the road," said Nancy Gofus, chief marketing officer for Verizon Business.  "By combining the power of Verizon's wired and wireless networks with Ascendent Systems' leading voice mobility software and BlackBerry smartphones, we are enabling a new level of collaboration and productivity for an increasingly mobile workforce."

The new fixed-mobile-convergence (FMC) offering, available next month in the U.S. to enterprise customers of Verizon Business and Verizon Wireless, works with traditional or IP-based private branch exchange (PBX) service, including Verizon IP Trunking and Verizon Managed IP PBX.  Among other features, it works with any cell phone from any wireless provider in the U.S. and enables mobile workers to move seamlessly between cell phones and desk phones to maintain calls in progress; conduct real-time conference calls; and initiate mass notifications enabling businesses to quickly respond to urgent situations. 

When used in conjunction with BlackBerry MVS, users get intuitive and visual desk-phone features through menus built directly into the BlackBerry phone application.

PBX Mobile Extension features a single phone number that simultaneously rings on up to four devices; greater scalability for rapidly growing companies; support for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking on specific IP PBX platforms; and seamless integration of a corporate PBX. With this integration, users of Blackberry smartphones from Verizon Wireless can have a secure mobile extension of their desk phones.

According to a December 2007 report, "U.S. Fixed/Mobile Convergence Services 2007-2011 Forecast: The Beginning of Next-Generation Enterprise Voice," IDC forecasts that FMC services in the United States will exceed $80 million by 2011.¹  With PBX extension services like PBX Mobile Extension from Verizon Business, users of mobile devices have access to features typically associated with desk phones, or solutions that allow users to hand off voice calls from wired phones to a mobile phone.

PBX Mobile Extension Support for BlackBerry MVS

PBX Mobile Extension delivers the power, performance and scalability to fully support the integration of multiple devices in the wired and wireless worlds, while providing a consistent set of voice features and applications such as caller ID, call-transfer, park, hold and more.  The service provides a framework that enables businesses to preserve existing investment in voice infrastructures such as PBX and voice mail, while integrating with cellular, remote or home office, and office desk phones.  

Since PBX Mobile Extension supports BlackBerry MVS, BlackBerry smartphone users on the go can access enterprise desk-phone functions directly from the menu interface of the BlackBerry phone application, leveraging Verizon Business' IP network.  

To maintain security of enterprise telephony systems, businesses can also authenticate BlackBerry smartphone users to an enterprise PBX using Blackberry MVS.  This gives information technology (IT) administrators the control to set voice policies that can ensure both incoming and outbound calls made from a BlackBerry smartphone are passing through the corporate PBX, allowing organizations to log all mobile calls.

"As businesses become more mobile and organizations look for additional ways to improve communications, collaboration and productivity, IT departments are increasingly embracing fixed mobile convergence solutions," said Theron Dodson, director of sales and marketing at Ascendent Systems.  "Together, Verizon Business and Ascendent Systems are providing the same types of mobility benefits for enterprise voice systems that BlackBerry smartphone users already enjoy for e-mail and data systems."

The new software edition of PBX Mobile Extension is the latest addition to Verizon's comprehensive suite of Mobility offerings, which leverage both the Verizon Business global IP network and Verizon Wireless domestic network to enable professionals to seamlessly and securely conduct business while away from the office. The offerings include: Wireless Office, wireless voice and data, managed wireless LAN, and Secure Gateway, which provides mobile users with access to their company's virtual private network.

In addition, Verizon Mobility services feature advanced meeting tools including Net Conferencing, Mobile Conference Connection, Conferencing in High Definition (HD) and support for telepresence.  Verizon Business also offers secure instant messaging and managed e-mail to help workers enhance collaboration and productivity.

About Verizon Business
Verizon Business, a unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), is a global IP leader and network-based partner for delivering integrated communications and information technology (IT) solutions to large-business and government customers worldwide.  Combining unsurpassed reach with managed services, security, mobility, collaboration and professional services capabilities, Verizon Business delivers global solutions that power innovation and enable its customers to do business better.  For more information, visit www.verizonbusiness.com.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 65.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 69,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

About Ascendent Systems
Ascendent Systems, a subsidiary of Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM), is the premier provider of enterprise voice mobility solutions that allow companies to be more responsive to customers and crisis by giving them the power to reach anyone, anywhere, immediately. The Ascendent Voice Mobility Suite of applications provides single number reachability, real-time notification and conferencing, and voice continuity. These solutions allow users to automatically extend the identity and functionality of their business desk phone to any other device. Partnered with major mobile carrier and infrastructure providers, Ascendent has solutions deployed in Fortune 500 corporations across many industry verticals including manufacturing, finance, healthcare, government, hospitality, and education. For more information: http://www.ascendentsystems.com.

Ascendent is a registered trademark of Ascendent Systems. The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.

¹ IDC, US Fixed/Mobile Convergence Services 2007-2011 Forecast: The Beginning of Next Generation Enterprise Voice, Document # 209800, December 2007