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Technology / AI and automation


Despite reporting losses of $2.8m on Friday, Internet telephone vendor VocalTec Ltd is optimistic for its future, even in the face of competition from a similar product that chip giant Intel Corp gives away for free. And VocalTec CEO Elon Ganor told Computergram last Friday most of its revenues won’t even come from its consumer Internet phone product but from its Internet Phone Telephony Gateway, which it’ll begin selling to corporates this month. The Internet phone product costs about $50 and lets users talk to each other over the Internet through microphones and speakers on their PCs, avoiding long distance charges. The gateway, costing $4,000, will enable companies to speak to each other over public lines on the Internet or private lines within Intranets, so that branch offices and other remote users can gab either over their PCs or from PC-to-telephone. VocalTec will add a Web conferencing server system for use with the gateway, but hasn’t released details. Meanwhile, VocalTec is striking deals with firms to offer PC-to-phone access so that users who hit on those companies’ Web sites can talk to them through their PCs. As a result of those deals, when users with Netscape’s Navigator or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser click on a symbol on a Web page, they will automatically download a free plug-in of VocalTec’s Internet phone software and will be able to call a company, which can then speak to them on a traditional phone. The plug-in is a lighter version of VocalTec’s Internet phone software, which began shipping in May. Ganor said VocalTec’s software was way ahead of what Intel is offering. Ours has real time directories rather than static and Intel’s doesn’t run on 486’s. They’re just putting out a pretty product to push their processors.

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