Where are the VoIP apps? Connecting you and your partners, that's where!

Federation is another application that leverages VoIP, as Adam Turner explains in part three of our VoIP applications feature.

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The new generation of VoIP-enable applications and services will also bring businesses closer to their customers by embedding VoIP into websites.

VoIP can link people browsing a business' website directly to its call centres, capitalising on the fact that many consumers tend to research products online before making a purchase, says Cisco's Peter Cox.

"If a potential customers is surfing a home loans site, now there is technology that pops up in the website asking "hey, would you like to talk to someone about this?" and offering to connect them to the call centre using VoIP."

"The call centre operator can now see what they've been looking at on the site and talk them through their options. The operator could even instigate a collaborative browsing session, so they can see the pages the customer is browsing, or perhaps even take over and move the mouse or draw on the screen."

Presence is also helping link organisations with the outside world.

While intra-office presence is often touted a key VoIP application, presence is now reaching beyond the office walls to integrate with suppliers, customers and business partners.

Siemens' unified communications software suite OpenScape enables organisations to form a confederation with other organisations - allowing for workflows that extend across such boundaries, says Siemens Enterprise Networks chief technical officer Mark Anderson.

"If you have a look at all the products and solutions we're putting together, such as our flagship product OpenScape, it's about opening the boundaries of communication. They're opening the boundaries between tools that I have on my desk - whether it's my mobile phone, my wifi device or my desktop software," Anderson says.

"The concept of confederation extends this beyond the single enterprise.

Imagine I'm someone like a courier company, I've got lots of suppliers and agencies that work for me and I need to stay in regular contact with all of them. I need those communication facilities to work not only within my organisation but with my key partners, and that's this concept of confederation which OpenScape brings into play. Confederation allows for controlled, secure integration between organisations rather than employees circumventing security procedures by resorting to consumer instant messaging applications for work purposes."

Next: VoIP applications aren't just for the big end of town


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