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Web sites reach out and touch someone

VocalTec is working on Internet telephone software for Web servers that will let surfers talk back to their Web sites.

VocalTec wants Web surfers to be able to talk back.

The company has released two products that allow users Web sites to incorporate Internet phone technology that lets users initiate phone conversations carried over the Internet instead of regular phone lines.

By using VocalTec's Internet Phone Telephony Gateway Server, companies can establish an Internet connection by connecting one or more Gateway servers to their computer networks, the telephone network, or business phone. Prices for an integrated single line will start at $3,995 and will be available to corporations in September.

Companies who use VocalTec's server will be able to place an "Call" icon on their home. Surfers who click on the call icon will be linked to the VocalTec site to download the free client software, which will be compatible with Windows 95, Windows 3.1, Windows NT, and Macintosh and once the software is installed will be prompted by an automated greeting that says, "Internet Phone call, please hold," while the call is being connected. Companies can either answer the phone or connect the user to their voice mail system.

VocalTec CEO Elanor Ganor said he expects his company's software to become as ubiquitous as an 800-number. "Users don't need to buy extra software or spend any money to make phone calls. The only thing that is required is that companies sign up," said Ganor.

Ganor said many companies, including major Internet service providers, plan to use the service, but declined to name names.

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