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NetSpeak inks telephony pact

NetSpeak announces a development partnership with Rockwell to build Net telephony systems.

David joined Goliath as NetSpeak, the maker of WebPhone Internet telephone software announced a development partnership with multibillion-dollar conglomerate Rockwell, makers of, among other things, military aircraft and microchips.

These strange bedfellows are teaming up to add Internet telephony capability to mission-critical call centers, pioneered two decades ago by Rockwell's Switching Systems Division. With the jointly developed systems, customers will be able to browse a Web site and place a voice call to a company's sales staff, either by dialing directly via the WebPhone software or by clicking on a company's Web site icon that automatically activates a WebPhone call.

The companies will work to implement the technology in existing call centers, which Rockwell has developed for large airlines, mail order companies, and other services where agents handle large volumes of customer calls. Ultimately, the technology will allow callers and company staff to have two-way voice conversations over the same phone line that supports an online connection. This will allow staff members to, for example, send a customer URLs that point to relevant product information, NetSpeak president Robert Kennedy said.

The companies did not discuss a timetable or price structure for upcoming products.

Rockwell is currently transforming itself into a commercial and international electronics company, announcing August 1 that it is selling its aerospace and defense businesses to aircraft maker Boeing for $3.2 billion.