10/31/2005 - Uniqall released the first major overhaul of its flagship Gridborg HMP Server, their voice, fax and conference board replacement software.
HMP (Host Media Processing) is a concept rising in popularity among telephony board vendors over the past year -- boosted by VoIP and Moore's law. Both network connectivity and media processing issues can be resolved by a software solution, freeing the developers of computer telephony applications from the inconvenience and cost of specialized hardware parts.
Of the numerous improvements and added features in Gridborg HMP Server 1.1, the most far-reaching is the opening of Gridborg Protocol, which will give computer telephony developers much more freedom. While the old version raised significant interest, due to the closed specification of its control protocol only a small percentage of developers, those using Envox, were able to use it through the Envox driver supplied by Uniqall.
"This time the Gridborg HMP Server's control protocol is open and well documented. It is ASCII-based, simple, and easy to use. One can use C/C++, VB.NET, Java, Python or virtually any other programming or scripting language," said Borko Jandras, lead developer of the Gridborg HMP 1.1. "Also, vendors of other CT tools are welcome to join the party. Now they can make Gridborg HMP drivers themselves, or contract us to do it for them."
Another major new feature is the ability to originate and terminate faxes on IP networks over T.38 FoIP (Fax over IP) protocol. This will appeal to those fax server and unified messaging vendors who wish to future-proof their products by moving them to IP networks, or simply find the least expensive building block option.
Conferencing also went through a complete overhaul, with three features showcased. The first is the ability of each port to carry out continuous sound energy detection and trigger asynchronous active talker notification events on each significant change of sound energy detected. There's also the ability of each audio source resource to send multiple, differently pre-processed, instances of the same audio stream in different directions and each audio sink resource's ability to seamlessly mix all audio streams that come in its direction.
The number of "conferences" and "conferencing parties" created through these last two features can scale to the host processor's raw processing power. Taken all together it is clear why the Gridborg HMP Server's conferencing abilities will easily spur the imagination and find a warm audience among developers of conferencing, collaboration, and contact center applications.
"It took an enormous amount of hard work. But when we look at the product we had a year ago, and then again at the one we have today, it was worth the effort." said Boris Pavacic, CTO of Uniqall, Inc. "With T.38 fax written from scratch now behind us, SIP is the only major part of the task that is still currently missing. And since we build on top of open source VoIP protocol stacks, we are going to address this sooner than many expect."
On a dual-processor 1.6 GHz (single core) Opteron server the Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 is able to handle up to 240 G.711 voice, or 60 T.38 fax sessions, with a simple client application running from another computer. If sharing a server with client applications, or if client applications are complex, lower port counts may be more realistic. However, it should be taken into account that 1.6 GHz Opterons are hardly state of the art these days. At present, 2.6 GHz single-core and 2.2 GHz dual-core Opterons are available.
Unlike products from most competing vendors the Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 lacks copy protection, thus simplifying management for those running mission-critical applications. Everyone who has experienced the failure of a dongle or of a hardware component that software-based copy protection locks to, followed by frantic midnight attempts to get a dongle replacement or a new software key, will appreciate this feature.
Without a background in the telephony board business, and accordingly without hardware-based revenues to protect, Uniqall has priced its Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 in sharp contrast with competing HMP solutions -- on a per processor basis. The price is $490 per processor, or $20 per concurrent port -- whichever is lower. In both cases all resources are unlimited. According to the license, the use of multi-core processors or server virtualization technologies does not affect the price. All existing customers may upgrade to version 1.1 free of charge.
It is worth noting that the Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 is free to developers for development purposes, as well as for educational and other non-commercial use within educational institutions. Following registration, all interested parties may download it from Uniqall's web site.
Although this release is focused around Gridborg Protocol, Envox users are not forgotten. The Gridborg HMP Envox driver is also updated including T.38 Fax, AGC and Transaction Recording capabilities, and works with Envox versions 5.1, 6.0 and 6.1.
The Gridborg HMP Server 1.1 is available for Windows and several Linux distributions, with an Open Solaris (x86) version following within the next few weeks. Support for other operating systems and processor architectures is planned for subsequent minor releases.
About Uniqall, Inc.
Uniqall's headquarters and development is based in Zagreb, Croatia. It is the world's only Host Media Processing vendor with no legacy telephony board hardware business as well. With its low cost structure, Uniqall is dedicated to providing the best HMP products at extremely attractive prices.
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