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A PDA...in an Office Phone

Boot Camp feature for Thursday, February 20, 2003

A PDA as part of an office phone. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Office phone equipment maker Mitel Networks has introduced what it calls the 5230 IP Appliance. It looks like an office phone... but above the keypad is a docking cradle for an HP iPAQ handheld computer. The idea, says company president Paul Butcher, is to let people move from desk to desk... and have their telephone preferences and address book move with them... just by popping in the PDA...

"And by doing that, I can now dial those contacts directly. And also what we can do is, because my personality is now in that PDA, if I move locations and I go to another office and plug that PDA into a PDA set there, the whole network now knows that Paul Butcher's not in Boston anymore, he's in San Francisco. And all of my traffic, all of my calls, all of my routing, would now start appearing on that desk top."

The system is designed to route inter-office phone calls, even those to remote locations anywhere in the world, through the Internet. Outside calls still use regular phone lines...

"So if you've got an office in Boston and one in San Francisco and one in New York, if you call Boston you can go over that IP network, it's going to reduce your costs. But if you make a local call in Boston or want to call Atlanta, then those calls are traversing over the public switched network and obviously being tariffed."

The technology is being looked at by more and more companies to save money. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.