Alca-Lu arms telcos against Google Voice

Alcatel-Lucent is aiming to give its traditional telco and service provider customers a platform enhancement to match some of the web-based features of Google Voice.

At the same time it aims to tie the platform into service provider back office and network systems.

The vendor formally announced Release 2.1 of its 5155 Rich Communications Manager yesterday, and plans to demonstrate the platform enhancements at CTIA Wireless 2009 in Las Vegas later this week.

RCM 2.1 is a web portal-based offering that, similar to the Google Voice unified communications approach, integrates multiple service capabilities, including voicemail, SMS, e-mail and others for access via different types of fixed and mobile devices. Though it does not support VoIP calling in its current iteration, it will in the future.

Google unveiled Google Voice early in March, re-badging gear from its Grand Central acquisition.

As a carrier platform, RCM 2.1 can leverage the customer information inherent in network and back office systems, which is harder to come by for Google Voice and other third-party service providers.

The platform also encourages partnerships with such providers by enabling support for service mash-ups, widgets and other web 2.0 capabilities, according to an Alcatel-Lucent press release.

Alcatel-Lucent says it has signed up Telefonica and at least one North American service provider as customers. The vendor is selling RCM 2.1 as software, a hardware/software bundle or as a hosted offering.