Bell Mobility Investments (BMI) Tuesday invested $500,000 in a research and development project by a Montreal-based firm to develop a new wireless application for call centres.

The money will help Elix, a provider of interactive business solutions, bring its Opus Applications for Mobile Interactivity (AMI) platform to market. Opus AMI is a platform that acts as an intelligent bridge between wireless network and call centre infrastructures, including interactive voice response (IVR), Web sites, automatic call distributors (ACD), PBXs and customer relationship management software.

Francois Rainville, Elix CEO, said there is a need for wireless devices and Web sites to be tightly integrated with call centres. “The convergence is happing in the (call) centre.”

Rainville said the investment by BMI has accelerated product development. “For us, it almost twice as quickly as we expected.”

Elix expects the technology platform to be adopted in a number of different vertical markets, particularly in the financial and travel sectors.

Opus AMI will complement Elix existing products based on its Opus Maestro platform, which manages interactive business applications and call centre solutions, and Rainville sees the wireless platform being quickly accepted by its installed base. Elix has customers in 46 countries and offices in Toronto and Vancouver.

BMI is a corporate venturing company created by BCE and Bell Mobility and was launched in 1999. It makes two kinds of investments: equity investments and R&D investments. Elix falls in the latter category, which is project specific.

“The platform is quite novel,” said Jean Barrette, general manager of BMI. If the project is developed into a commercial project, BMI will share in the success, but the intellectual property will remain Elix’s. “This is their bread and butter,” he said.

Elix is not just benefiting from a cash influx, said Barrette. The company will also have access to Bell Mobility’s market knowledge, technology and networks as well was the means to put the product the performance trials.

Barrette said a commercial product is expected to be ready in the winter of 2002.

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