Citrix Systems is making it easier for its Application Gateway users to benefit from VoIP on their IP phones and desktop computers.
New Smart Agent technology is being included in Citrix Application Gateway release 6 that is supposed to easily allow for click-to-call functionality in any web application that can be accessed via the Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser. It will also support Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express e-mail applications, as well as web based e-mail systems.
The Citrix Application Gateway is a hardware appliance that enables voice and data application delivery to IP telephones. With the new Smart Agent technology that footprint is expanded to PC desktop users as well. Smart Agent is essentially a user client that is downloaded onto the users' device and is auto-updated once installed. Smart Agent with click-to-call functionality simply turns standard telephone numbers in web applications and e-mails into click-to-call links.
Citrix has also announced a new packaged VoIP services offer that runs on the Citrix Application Gateway, designed specifically for the hospitality industry. Citrix Hospitality Voice Services enables application delivery to IP phones and wireless devices, that hotels can use to offer and promote value-added services to guests.
Gordon Payne vice president of marketing for Citrix's gateways group, explained that the announcements were made now, given that the Application Gateway Release 6 is in Beta and will be generally available by the end of the year.
Citrix sees the VoIP opportunity and is working to leverage it now.
"The strategic imperative is that with the increasing deployment of IP telephony in the enterprise, there is now an opportunity to leverage applications on this infrastructure," Payne said. "Shipments of IP telephones have now eclipsed shipments of traditional TDM telephones into enterprise customers."
Payne doesn't see any particular vendor as being his main competition.
"The main competition for Smart Agent and Hospitality Voice Services would be in-house or custom development," Payne said. "The Citrix product solution creates packaged applications that can be deployed in a cost effective plug-and-play model rather than the cost and complexity associated with custom development."