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November 30, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

British Telecom offers host of enhancements for voice network and message systems

As the UK’s premier telecommunications company, British Telecommunications Plc is on show more than most at the annual Telecommunications Managers Association bash, and the company took plenty of space at the Brighton Metropole for this year’s staging of the event, which closed its doors yesterday on a decidedly wet and windy seafront. British Telecom’s communictions facilities management division took the opportunity to announce a new public switched telephone network facility for its HuntsMan voice network management and testing system. Offered as standard, the new facility enables network managers to monitor all inter-PABX links, no matter where they are situated on the network. For example an organisation with a private network in England and another abroad, and which uses the public telephone network to link them together, can now use the HuntsMan to test every line and branch exchange from a single central site. British Telecom also demonstrated a new IBM AT-compatible version of HunstMan, which offers call management facilities for up to 56 lines and is reckoned to be on average 25% cheaper than the previous XT-compatible system. Among the other systems and services on show at the British Telecom stand was a new voice messaging variant of the Unix-based Mezza computing and communications system. Once connected to the existing PABX, Mezza VM offers extension users voice messaging facilities so that recipients can hear the irritated tone of voice of the message sender rather than trying to discern their correspondent’s mood electronic mail message – and Voicegrams can be deposited from standard telephones. Mailbox owners may interrogate and action messages left for them from any multi frequency telephone; messages can then be forwarded to other users, filed, new ones created and old ones thrown away. Adding Mezza VoiceStations, an integrated telephone and visual display unit, the voice messages can be extended into a range of office automation tools including electronic mail, word processing and spreadsheet – integrating voice and data.

AT&T’s System 75 PABX finally goes on public display in the UK

AT&T announced its PABX debut in the UK with the availabilty of its System 75 (CI No 1068), three years after its US launch. AT&T says the modular telephone system – which gained interim UK approval back in August – was introduced in response to the changing needs of international businesses seeking switch and network commonality. The company claims the System 75 integrates diverse product ranges, interfaces to its international network, Acunet, features an architecture that supports future integration, and has a layered software approach that helps it to conform to ISDN standards. Olivetti will manufacture the system’s switch under licence from AT&T, who is seeking further expansion into Europe for the System 75. However, Dirk Henson, of AT&T (UK)’s systems marketing centre, said that in comparison to the UK, continental European markets present considerbly tougher barriers to entry – so who are really the good Europeans in the Community?

Relay Communications has the tools to create your own user interface

Slough, Berkshire-based Relay Communications Ltd chose to present its software development kit, the Relay Gold Customiser’s Toolbox at the Brighton early event, claiming that the product enables users to create their own communications user interface. The software package covers the design of screens, menus and help panels for IBM PC, XT or AT machines.

Mercury Communications enhances its Centrex, promises to take it Up North Mercury Communications Ltd, number two in a two-horse race, and naturally trying harder, still has the UK field to itself in one key telecommunications service, that of Centrex, where British Telecom’s plans are still on hold while it tries to work out just what kind of service it should offer, and how it should market it. But Mercury is not standing still, and at Brighton announced that it is now offering i

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ts Centrex customers the option of service connection by either digital microwave or optical fibre cable. As an alternative to investing in traditio nal company networks Centrex customers rent part of the digital exchanges located within the Mercury network. As well as looking after internal communications, Centrex provides access to the public switched telephone network for national and international communications, without the need to buy PABXs. Mercury says the service will be expanded to cover the North and Midlands early next year.

Orbitel takes first step to UK-wide dealer network for mobile phones

It must be very difficult to concentrate at any of the companies that make up Plessey Co Plc’s far-flung empire while the Sword of Damocles wielded by GEC Plc and Siemens AG hangs over it, but the Brussels bureaucrats may be about to do something about that, and meanwhile, life must go on. And Plessey’s 50-50 joint venture with Racal Electronics Plc, Orbitel Mobile Communications Ltd, has some news to impart in the form of the first major contract for its new range of ETACS cellular telephones. The contract is with ECT Cellular Ltd, which will distribute the new 300 Series of mobile and transportable telephones in the Greater London area through its London Car Telephones subsidiary. The contract is the first step in a planned UK-wide network of dealers planned by Orbitel, which will be adding digital phones to its range once the pan-European second generation cellular system comes on stream in 1991. The company is also extremely interested in the CT2 generation of cordless telephones for use on the planned Telepoint systems, and both its parents are separately applying for operators’ licences, Plessey in partnership with the City of Hull’s commercial telephone arm, and Racal through its Racal Telecommunications Group Plc subsidiary.

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