Agito agitates for FMC world

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In April 2006, a team of Californian Cisco workers from the wireless LAN and unified communications departments pulled away from the global networking technology vendor to set up as a modest start-up and fill a gap in the market Cisco was missing.

Agito Networks came about because co-founders Pejman Roshan (pictured) and Tim Olson, former Cisco staff, reckoned unified communications products being launched by the likes of Cisco ha a major flaw.

“We’d see routers come in and out of the business on a daily basis. None of them were able to transfer a call between Wi-Fi and cellular seamlessly. You had to physically switch the call over yourself,” says Roshan.

Most routers that handover between the two transmission technologies experience a break in service, a time delay, or “dead air”.

Agito’s RoamAnywhere router switches a call between networks in 100 milliseconds – 20 milliseconds faster than the human ear can hear, apparently, so users do not face a delay in switchover.

This is Agito’s unique selling point, claims Roshan. “Cisco, Avaya, Shoretel, Nortel and so on – they all have routers similar to ours, but the cross-over isn’t up to scratch. Modern businesses require better.

The test for me is when I’m driving my car; I don’t want to have both hands off the wheel to change the call over. If you need to do something manually, businesses will not bother. The expectations are much higher these days,”  he argues.

Since launch, Agito has developed three versions of its RoamAnywhere router, which enables automatic switchover between Wi-Fi and cellular networks and calls to ring simultaneously on both mobile and landline phones when a geographic number is called. 

It also incorporates Microsoft’s corporate instant messaging service on a mobile device allowing users to instant message colleagues and track their location.

Agito’s RoamAnywhere router is now compatible with 40 mobile phone models, with four new RIM BlackBerry handsets (the Bold, Curve 8900, 8800 and Curve 8300) added to the list last month.

New BlackBerry software will also work with it, as upgrades are released. Nokia Eseries devices and Windows Mobile phones also work with it.

Agito claims its unified communications router supports three times as many handset models as rival solutions from Cisco and Avaya.

Roshan says the RIM support has been Agito’s biggest improvement, and really its breakthrough in terms of roll out of the technology.

BlackBerry handsets are entrenched in US business, and have also scored huge success in the European business market.

“When you’re pitching your product to the enterprise market, the most important thing to do is make sure it’s compatible with the mobile handsets enterprises use. With the BlackBerry compatibility, we can now reach a much wider audience. Supporting key devices is crucial. With future software updates, we’ll be compatible with 99 per cent of all enterprise handsets,” he says. 

Full article in Mobile News issue 445 (August 10, 2009).

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