SITA demonstrates community spirit by launching the world's first industry specific voice exchange

SITA, the world's leading service provider of IT business solutions and communications services to the air transport industry (ATI), today launched the industry's first –Voice Exchange – an innovative service designed to allow members of the air transport community to dramatically reduce communication costs and providing a secure, efficient and flexible alternative to the legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Brussels, Belgium – June 23, 2006

New service to allow customers to make free and secure intra-community calls while driving down communication costs

As Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology has become mature and stable, and with the proliferation of IP-based networks, an increasing number of enterprise customers have created their own communication "islands", slashing the cost of communications within their organizations by bypassing traditional communication systems. However, communications need to stretch outside the corporate network – known as "off net" calls, these have remained within the domain of legacy telecom providers who have done little to link neighboring islands and address industry-specific communication needs.

SITA is, uniquely, providing a community service which links these islands and addresses the communication needs of an entire industry. The Voice Exchange delivers "VoIP peering" which completely bypasses traditional PSTN – in other words, calls are kept "on net" within the ATI, reducing complexity, transit costs and delivering rich IP communication features such as:

  • True end-to-end IP-based voice communication
  • Support for multiple VoIP protocols
  • Guaranteed voice quality
  • Electronic numbering (ENUM) directory services
  • Instant messaging
  • A secure business grade softphone

"In many cases, mobile roaming charges (for voice and, increasingly, data) are probably the biggest-ticket items and most-expensive items concerning voice services," said Katja Ruud, Research Director at Gartner. "End users are therefore paying increased attention to alternatives solutions in order to better manage this cost item. Areas of consideration include the roll out of soft phones in particular for traveling workers, and expansion of the on-net area, where it makes economic sense."

"SITA is committed to providing the Air Transport Community with innovative and effective ways of using technology to drive down costs," said Rene Azoulai, Senior Vice President of Business Development Relationship Management and New Ventures at SITA SC. "The Voice Exchange is building upon the IP connectivity SITA has been providing customers for years and related cost savings and productivity increases are considerable, not only from the point of view of money saved, but also by enhancing the ease of access to colleagues, not just within the same company, but within the community."

SITA's Voice Exchange leverages ATI naming conventions for addressing instead of traditional phone numbers, effectively making dialing much simpler and eliminating the need for traditional telephone numbers. This is made possible by leveraging the SITA-managed .aero top level domain – in particular the latest Domain Name System (DNS) technologies such as tElephone NUmber Mapping (ENUM).

Participating ATI customers will be able to call each other through the Voice Exchange using "click-to-call" softphones (on PC and PDA/smartphones), IP phones (hardware) or legacy PBX telephones. They will be able to dial legacy numbers, but calls will stay within the IP network without touching the legacy PSTNs. Off net calls, outside the Voice Exchange community, are provided at attractive, globally negotiated rates.

The Voice Exchange is available today.