Viseon Launches World's First Digital Home Telephone for VoIP

Jan 04, 2005

Viseon, Inc., a global developer of broadband personal communications solutions, today announced the launch of the next generation VisiFone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 6th. The newly designed VisiFone, a significant improvement on the previous generation VisiFone, is the first digital consumer telephone designed to dramatically enhance the features offered by virtually all VoIP carriers in the U.S. and abroad. VisiFone development partner Texas Instruments and launch partner Vonage, the leading North American broadband telephone service provider, will showcase the VisiFone at CES.

In addition to enhancing less expensive, unlimited calling plans, the new VisiFone will enable Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) carriers to provide all of the premium communication features made possible by a consumer's digital broadband connection. Using the VisiFone, consumers can now experience digital CD-quality audio, TV-quality two-way video telephony and conveniently control and manage the features of their VoIP service right on the screen of their telephone. The power of broadband and VoIP is further expanded with a number of new consumer friendly features never before available on any telephone, PC or videophone.

"The new VisiFone is the result of Viseon's 10 years of broadband communications development experience. We believe the VisiFone will literally revolutionize how tens of millions of consumers make telephone calls from home," commented John Harris, Viseon's president and CEO. "With 17 million new consumer VoIP subscribers projected in the U.S. alone over the next 48 months, we have a unique opportunity to write a new and exciting chapter in the history of personal communications."

Digital WideBand 3Dsound

Analog telephones currently found in every U.S. home suffer from extremely poor, monaural AM radio quality sound. The VisiFone's revolutionary digital WideBand 3Dsound provides CD-quality audio, allowing consumers to literally hear the benefits of digital VoIP over both the VisiFone handset and on its unique integrated speakerphone.

Consumers today watch Digital Video Discs (DVDs) and digital cable on digital televisions. They listen to digital compact discs (CDs) or digital satellite radio and talk on digital cell phones. Yet, until the advent of the new VisiFone and VoIP service offerings from carriers such as Vonage and others, consumers have been forced to communicate from home on 100-year-old analog telephone technology. The VisiFone finally brings the digital world and all of its benefits to the home phone.

Bill Simmelink, general manager of Texas Instruments' VoIP business commented, "As one of the earliest pioneers in VoIP, TI is excited to see our technology innovations come to fruition in leading edge communications products, such as the VisiFone. Viseon's introduction of a digital home phone fulfills the vision of providing a superior VoIP consumer communications experience in a digital world. The digital WideBand audio can truly revolutionize the end user's telephone experience."

TV-Quality Video Telephony

The VisiFone finally delivers on the age-old promise of TV-quality, two-way video communication that is as easy-to-use as a telephone.

Due to the physical constraints of analog telephone networks, previous attempts to market a consumer "videophone" have failed due to poor audio and video quality. However, with the near-global availability of digital broadband connections from cable modem and DSL carriers, as well as dramatic advancements in chip technology from Texas Instruments, crystal clear video telephony to and from anywhere in the world is now possible. The VisiFone meets the new International Telecommunications Union H.264 standards for video, thus making it fully compatible with millions of existing video communication systems globally.

On-Screen VoIP Feature Management and Plug and Play Installation

The list of features made possible by VoIP includes the ability to preview voice mail on screen, send calls directly to voice mail and to have certain calls follow you to another phone number or location. These compelling benefits are sometimes inconvenient for consumers to use since many of them must be controlled from a PC. The VisiFone enables consumers to conveniently access these features directly on their VisiFone instead of from a separate device. It also includes a simple, on-screen set-up wizard to make the initial install of VoIP and the VisiFone literally "plug and play."

New Features for VoIP Now Possible with the VisiFone

The VisiFone incorporates a number of unique, patent pending features that enable VoIP carriers to offer many exciting new services including:

-- Full Duplex, Digital WideBand Speakerphone

-- Voice and Video Mail

-- Visual Caller ID (Photo or Video Clip)

-- Downloadable Ring Tones

-- 999 Name, Address and Number Directory with Auto Add

-- Connections for Sharing Photos and Live or Stored Video with Far End Viewers

-- Multi-Party Calling

-- Output to Any Size Television

-- Customizable Voice and Video Greetings

-- Inputs for Additional Cameras for Security or Monitoring

-- Plug Existing Home Phones Into the VisiFone to Enable VoIP Everywhere

"By the end of 2008, the Yankee Group projects that more than 17.5 million new U.S. consumers will be using VoIP phone service," said Kate Griffin, senior analyst at The Yankee Group. "A key factor in achieving this growth expectation is delivering a differentiated telephony experience to the customer. This differentiation can be delivered not only through advanced IP-enabled features, but also through next-generation devices like Viseon's VisiFone."

The VisiFone Allows VoIP Carriers to Differentiate Their Services

Just as cellular phone carriers joined with handset manufacturers to offer unique packages that highlighted their enhanced capabilities, the VisiFone was designed to allow VoIP marketers to audibly and visually demonstrate the superior benefits of VoIP. The VisiFone/VoIP service package will offer consumers many new reasons to switch to VoIP and can improve broadband carriers' marketing efficiency. It is also a valuable platform for future revenue generating services from VoIP carriers.

"We developed the VisiFone with input from many of the leading VoIP carriers and paid careful attention to the possibilities of future premium service offerings," said Patty McCaskey, senior director of product development for Viseon. "The VisiFone is a powerful multi-media device connected to an 'always on' broadband Internet connection. We are working with the various VoIP providers to develop exciting new services that will take full advantage of the VisiFone."

Jeffrey A. Citron, chairman and CEO of Vonage Holdings Corp. commented, "As the launch carrier for Viseon's new endpoint, Vonage is pleased to begin offering the new VisiFone to our existing and future subscribers. Once again Vonage continues to lead the industry with consumer friendly, unique devices motivating consumers and small businesses to switch to broadband telephony."

The VisiFone will be available to consumers at Vonage.com and at over 7000 retail locations.

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