UK start-up takes on Unified Comms giants

UK start-up takes on Unified Comms giants

Summary: Recently formed British unified comms specialist StarLeaf has marked the launch of its UK business with the first public outing of its end-to-end video and voice system at UC Expo in London

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TOPICS: Hardware
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  • StarLeaf unified comms PBX 6000 Series

    UK-based start-up StarLeaf has shown off its range of unified communications products at UC Expo in London, which also marked the official launch of its UK business.

    The company gave ZDNet UK a look at the StarLeaf Phone during its first UK public outing on Tuesday. Details had previously been announced when the company launched in the US in July.

    Unlike other vendors in the sector, StarLeaf is not trying to shake off the PBX (private branch exchange) label of voice communications and has instead developed its 'Telepresence PBX 6000 Series' back-end, which the company said is the first telepresence PBX "built from the ground up" specifically for voice and video.

    The company aims to challenge industry behemoths such as Cisco, Tandberg and Avaya with a combination of the PBX 6000 Series, StarLeaf desk phone and 21-inch StarLeaf personal telepresence monitor.

    "The video world is inherently difficult to use and [has] some concepts that have come about historically that really do not suit users well. We've looked at the voice space, which we're familiar with, and we've stolen lots of ideas from the voice world and applied them to video," Will MacDonald, chief technical officer at StarLeaf, told ZDNet UK.

    Image credit: Ben Woods

  • StarLeaf unified comms desk phone

    The desk phone can be easily used to make video calls to either another StarLeaf phone or the personal telepresence monitor, and includes features from the smartphone world such as touchscreen displays for call handling and management.

    "[Building the system from the ground up means] you don't have to decide what technology you are using to call me, you can just call me. You don't have to decide whether it's on speakerphone or headset, until part way through if you want to," MacDonald said.

    The company first announced a pre-production version of its suite in the US in July, but the StarLeaf software will leave beta for general availability at the end of March, MacDonald said. At that point, the company hopes to start extending the functionality of the platform by releasing APIs for third-party developers and customers.

    MacDonald said that future versions of the platform could include more voice-focused features, such as a call-centre app for customer service workers, or an app for tracking billable hours in legal offices.

    Image credit: Ben Woods

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Topic: Hardware

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

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