Webley Announces Internet-Based, Voice-Activated Audio Conferencing Service
BANNOCKBURN, IL - Webley Systems Inc. introduced an Internet-based audio conferencing service using speech recognition technology. Called CommuniKate Conferencing, the service lets people conference instantly with multiple callers, anywhere and using any communications device, including on computers via the Internet. Starting this month, CommuniKate users can simultaneously talk and modify conference set-up options, connecting with one another using either Internet or standard circuit-switched telephony. Webley is developing other features that will enable users to exchange documents, send instant messages and communicate multilingually. "Webley is blazing a new trail that will redefine how people do conferencing," said Taj Reneau, Webley's president and chief executive officer. "We're offering unprecedented control, convenience and efficiency for users at a price that's especially attractive for their employers." The service costs as little as seven cents per caller per minute, a substantial decrease compared to the typical domestic conferencing rate of 19 to 22 cents per minute and international calling rates of $3 or more. Volume discounts are available for global conference users who want to further reduce costs. Webley's new conferencing platform uses next-generation session initiation protocol (SIP), a flexible, application-level call control and signaling protocol. SIP integrates diverse communications devices and platforms for the exchange of voice and data, enabling real-time interactive communications for an enhanced audio conferencing experience. The service utilizes Webley's proprietary, voice-activated communications platform that has powered its unified communications offerings since 1997. With it, participants can be connected without the help of an operator or without having to dial any numbers. Conference leaders tell "Kate," Webley's virtual assistant, who to call and she'll connect them. Similarly, when they receive an invitation, participants tell "Kate" whether they want to participate. Under development for two years, the platform's logic enables the following conferencing capabilities: ·Conferences can be held instantly without advance notice. Callers no longer need to first link to a centralized bridge at a preset time. ·If a person wants to arrange a conference in advance via the Internet, the service synchronizes contacts, calendars and events, interfacing with handheld devices such as a Palm pilot and with software applications such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes. ·Conference leaders can establish personal conferencing options that allow easier set-up features for self-managed conferencing. ·If they connect to a conference via the Internet, conference participants interact using a browser-based Webley SoftPhone(TM). Beginning later in June, it can be downloaded free of charge at signup.kateconf.com. ·For billing purposes, conference leaders can capture call detail records (CDR) so they can bill back by client, department or project. Among the groups Webley expects to find the service most attractive: clients services personnel such as legal professionals and public relations managers; high-volume conferencers who want to reduce costs; and global conferencers seeking to eliminate international calling charges. BWW, a North Carolina-based network marketing company that regularly conferences with people overseas, had paid about $336 to conference with nine people in three countries. With CommuniKate Conferencing, BWW will pay $42 for the same 60-minute conference, a $294 savings. "Webley's conferencing service will be a lifesaver in helping me get my costs in line, while offering me a superior way for me to interact with my remote staff," said Al Bala, president of BWW. "We've been using a scaled-down version of the service for two years and it has helped me better manage my business." To talk over the Internet, callers will need a Web-enabled computer that has a microphone and a sound card, plus the free Webley SoftPhone. Every customer gets a dedicated, password-protected conference call number when they register. There is no initial or recurring fee, nor a minimum service commitment.