January 1992


MIX connects up NeXT

by Lee Sherman

The NeXT's potential to serve as the nerve center of an integrated communications system may soon be realized when i-link of Germany releases Multimedia Information Exchange (MIX). MIX is a combination hardware and software product that provides the functions of a data modem, fax modem, telephone answering service, and voice-mail system, according to i-link CEO Piers Walter.

Features include automatic routing of incoming calls to fax, modem, or answering service; automated dialing; data transfer at 2400 baud; faxing at 9600 baud; and advanced functions such as interactive voice menus.

Most of the required signal processing is done using the NeXT's Digital Signal Processor (DSP). A separate unit converts the digital signals to analog and then to telephone-line signals.

The software-based modem is fully integrated into the system, working in conjunction with NeXTmail. i-link provides its own interface to the answering machine and voice-mail portion of the package. MIX can be expanded with a simple software upgrade.

MIX had its beginnings in 1987, when i-link began developing a graphical compiler for signal processing applications. The company also had planned to build an ISDN product, but that project was cancelled.

But with a powerful development environment for programming the DSP in place, i-link began to apply the ideas originally developed for the ISDN system to what was to become MIX. Walters said MIX will be released in time for NeXTWORLD Expo. The package will sell in Germany for DM 1200 (about $800), but the price in the U.S. should be considerably lower.

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