As businesses seek to migrate to IP-based telephony solutions, introductions of pure IP and converged systems are on the rise, according to the latest research. Database publisher and analyst group TelecomTactics finds that pure IP systems and converged systems represent a combined 70 percent of new system introductions in 2004 compared to only 35 percent in 2000. Traditional telephone systems that can be IP-enabled or those with no support for VoIP are on the decline.
Businesses are moving to take advantage of IP-based solutions, but protection of their current equipment investment remains a priority. The goal is to avoid high costs by retaining and reusing existing line and station cards and telephones on a new IP system. Converged systems that support both packet and circuit switching are a good fit since these systems accommodate connection to analog and digital telephones, as well as newer IP devices. In 2002, the enterprise telephony market experienced a surge in introductions of converged systems by Avaya, Mitel Networks, NEC, Siemens and other manufacturers.
Pure IP platforms utilize IP peer-to-peer switching, connecting stations directly to each other through the IP network, but can incorporate optional gateways or interfaces for traditional analog and digital connections.
IP networking benefits businesses with distributed locations and makes it more cost-effective to include small branch offices in a network. In 2004, a number of manufacturers introduced pure IP platforms, including 3Com, Comdial and Toshiba with small and mid-sized offerings, and Cisco, NEC and Nortel Networks with platforms for larger enterprises (see system profiles).
Businesses benefit from new IP-based employee productivity applications, including instant messaging, presence, IP audio and video conferencing and collaboration. Collaborative applications help to reduce travel and facilitate communication among dispersed workgroups, allowing employees to easily share information from any location on a corporate network. Web-based conferencing lets conferees record presentations and use white-boarding or engage in face-to- face video calls. Presence-based communication improves employee and customer interactions, allowing users to define how they wish to be reached (via desk phone, cell phone, e-mail, instant messaging or other media). New sophisticated, IP-based contact center functionality adds agent/supervisor instant messaging, collaborative Web browsing, e-mail automated response, live Web chat and multimedia queuing/routing to name a few.
Further studies show that support for IP telephones on business telephony platforms continues to rise from only 20 percent in 1999 to more than 80 percent in 2004. Leading manufacturers are rounding out their IP phone portfolios, offering a range of choices from cost-effective, entry-level and mid-range phones to advanced models. By transmitting voice over a companys data network, IP telephones can reduce costs and easily extend office telephone features to a remote location such as a home or branch office. Corporate directory access, call-history logging, conversation record, large pixel-based displays, color touch-screens and even interoperability with a PDA are among the many popular IP telephone features.
Sandra M. Gustavsen is an analyst covering enterprise systems for TelecomTactics, a database publisher and analyst group within Access Intelligence LLC. Visit www.telecomtactics.com or www.telecomweb.com/enterprise.
SMALL BUSINESS SYSTEMS
3Com NBX V3000
3Com Corp’s NBX V3000
3Com Corp’s new NBX V3000 is an IP PBX platform for small offices or small and medium businesses. The modular NBX V3000 targets businesses with two to 40 users, but can expand to support as many as 1,500 stations using the SuperStack 3 NBX expansion chassis. The NBX V3000 unit includes four CO line ports; one analog station port; 15 ‘Group 2’ phone licenses for 3Com 3102 IP phones; a four-port auto attendant; voice mail capability with 400 storage hours; and the NBX NetSet utility for browser-based administration. This pure IP solution for small businesses delivers IP features and functionality at a key system price, according to 3Com.
Like 3Com’s earlier NBX platforms, the NBX V3000 voice-over- LAN solution includes auto attendant, voice mail, call detail recording, TAPI software and browser-based Web administration - a cost savings over typical PBX systems that require external equipment. The initial NBX V3000 system has 128MB memory, supporting up to 250 devices, eight Virtual Tie Lines and 12 auto attendant/voice mail ports. A 512MB memory upgrade (for a system total of 640MB) increases capacity to 1,500 devices, 48 Virtual Tie Lines and 72 auto attendant/voice mail ports. The SuperStack 3 NBX expansion chassis and interface cards enable the system to handle T1/PRI trunking and additional CO lines up to a 720-trunk capacity. The expanded NBX V3000 has the same capacities as the SuperStack 3 NBX, but does not support optional redundant disk mirroring or redundant power.
The 3Com NBX V3000 is compatible with all 3Com interface boards, gateways, 3Com phones and NBX software applications, providing investment protection for NBX customers. www.3com.com
Alcatel’s OmniPCX Office
Alcatel’s OmniPCX Office ‘all-in-one’ converged platform for smaller businesses (six to 236 users) supports both packet and circuit switching and includes Internet access, an e-mail server, network security, LAN and WAN interfaces, and a host of applications, such as voice mail, unified messaging and in-building wireless capabilities - all in a single system, eliminating the need for multiple components. The OmniPCX Office modular architecture expands by adding modules (up to three), interface boards and telephones.
The call server includes a two- to eight-port voice mail capability with 200 storage hours and two-level/10- choice auto attendant, and an embedded e-mail server lets users handle text and voice messages via a PC or telephone (up to 200 e-mail boxes and 200 voice mailboxes are available). The Alcatel Web Communication Assistant also can be used to access e-mails and voice messages using a Web browser. System administration is simplified by a single centralized, user-friendly Webbased management tool that does not require software installation, and up to 50 sites can be networked via the public Internet.
Users have a range of telephone options, including Alcatel Reflexes digital phones, Mobile Reflexes handsets, analog phones, IP e-Reflexes desk sets and IP PIMphony media soft phones. The OmniPCX PIMphony CTI application enables PC-based call management, including call hold, multiline management, dial by name, redial, screen pops from contact database, call log and unified messaging. The addition of an IP phone module creates a full IP PIMphony media softphone.
Alcatel launched OmniPCX Office in the European small business market in 2001 and introduced the platform in North America in fourth quarter 2004 to be sold through service providers as a bundled managed services offering. www.alcatel.com
Comdial CONVERSip MP1000
ComDial Corp.’s CONVERSip MP1000 Media Platform
Comdial Corp.’s CONVERSip MP1000 Media Platform is an affordable IP telephony solution for small or branch offices. The new system combines telephony, computer and Internet technologies and the open-standard SIP. The embedded SIP registrar acts as a presence manager to display presence status of other subscribers in the system (similar to having a busy lamp field on a telephone, but with additional text information).
Browser-based local or remote administration simplifies system management, and the single platform integrates a LAN interface, auto attendant, unified messaging and administration. The CONVERSip MP1000 supports four to 40 users with a limit of eight PSTN trunks for outbound calls; however, the system handles up to 100 simultaneous peer-to-peer calls.
The CONVERSip MP1000 LAN-only solution supports the new CONVERSip EP200 Multimedia Endpoint (softphone) that uses Microsoft Windows XP technology for video, voice and instant messaging, as well as the CONVERSip EP300 Voice SIP desktop phone with 24 programmable buttons. www.comdial.com
MEDIUM BUSINESS SYSTEMS
Avaya IP Office 3.0
Avaya IP Office Version 2.1
Avaya Inc.’s IP Office is an ‘all-in-one’ converged system for single or multisite businesses that need standard PBX features, analog and digital trunking, plus support for IP telephones. IP Office delivers Internet access, remote access, integrated LAN hub, T1/E1/PRI/analog trunking and support for open standards such as QSIG and H.323.
New Release 3.0 software adds additional installation tools (Wizards), SNMP alarms and the Avaya Jump Start – IP Office Installation Toolkit to simplify installation and maintenance for Avaya certified business partners. Avaya also will add new IP Office phones, the 5400 and 5600 series, designed specifically for IP Office, as well as increased extension and trunk capacity on the IP Office 406.
The new software builds upon features introduced in second quarter 2004 (Release 2.1), including IP Office Conferencing Center Web-based software.
A global offer, the current IP Office family includes the IP Office – Small Office Edition (28 users), IP403 Office (100 users), IP406 Office (180 users) and IP412 Office (360 users). Several applications come standard with the IP Office, including Voice Mail Lite, PhoneManager Lite (PC-based call management) and CTI Link Lite. Optional enhanced versions of these applications also are available, as well as optional Compact Contact Center and Compact Business Center applications for basic call center functionality, plus advanced features such as e-mail response, Web chat, Web callback.
IP Office 3.0 was set to be generally available in December 2004 in North America and many countries in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, according to Avaya. www.avaya.com
Mitel Networks 3300 ICP 5.0
Mitel Networks’ 3300 ICP Release 5
Mitel Networks Release 5.0 for its 3300 Integrated Communications Platform (ICP) includes new and improved hardware and additional networking and messaging features, as well as a cost-effective IP phone, new dual-mode IP phones and IP DECT phones. The 3300 ICP is an enterprise IP PBX that operates across a LAN/WAN infrastructure to provide more than 500 calling features and a range of embedded applications including voice mail, auto attendant, ACD and an 802.11b wireless gateway.
A new five-slot 3300 MX Controller for branch offices with up to 200 users features an integrated analog board that eliminates the need for separate Analog Service Units. An eight-slot 3300 LX Controller for up to 700 users ships with a 450MHz processor and can be configured flexibly with optional expansion modules. Up to 250 controllers can be networked to support more than 40,000 IP ports.
In addition to built-in voice mail software, release 5.0 adds standard unified messaging features for forwarding voice mail and recorded calls (option) to e-mail, and users can pick up voice mail from the e-mail inbox.
Release 5.0 also adds an embedded recorded announcement capability that plays recorded greetings through a voice mail port and eliminates the need for external tape machines or other devices. New networked voice mail provides voice mail service to a network of 3,300 ICP nodes or between a 3300 ICP and a VPIM2-compliant voice mail server. Networked resilient hot desking lets users log into any IP phone in any networked location; personal profile information is mapped onto the phone. www.mitel.com
Toshiba Strata CIX
Toshiba Strata CIX
Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. Digital Solutions Division (TAIS DSD) announced in fall 2004 the new Strata CIX native IP business communications system. Designed for businesses of varying sizes, the 672-port CIX can be deployed in small or medium enterprises or larger businesses with multiple sites. Strata CIX is a pure IP platform that can be TDM-enabled to integrate with station and trunk interfaces from earlier Strata CTX and Strata DK digital systems. Customers with earlier Toshiba systems can migrate nearly 90 percent of their original equipment. In addition to delivering traditional Toshiba telephone features, Strata CIX also enables new features, including ‘My Phone Manager,’ a personal administration tool that lets users program speed dial and feature buttons using a PC Web browser and eManager for programming both Strata CIX and Stratagy ES Voice Processing systems.
FeatureFlex, an optional application for Strata CIX, lets users customize features to meet company, department or individual user needs. System resources and a built-in scripting language are available for creating new applications that do not affect the system’s compiled code. Enterprises no longer have to wait for the manufacturer to make system enhancements, but can enable their own customized solutions in minutes such as integrating back-office systems, connecting to online sources or setting up special call handling.
Users will enjoy the same telephony features whether they are using Toshiba analog, digital or IP-wired or wireless devices. New IP devices for Strata CIX and CTX systems include IPT2010-DS and IPT2020-DS desktop IP phones (introduced in September 2004) with a modern design, two-line displays and full duplex speaker phone functionality. A new Strata Wireless IP Telephone (WIPT2000) works over a wireless LAN, providing IPT2010 desk IP phone features to a mobile device with a large display, four soft keys, seven fixed buttons, 10 programmable buttons, caller ID log and more.
The new SoftIPT SoftPhone operates on PDAs running PocketPC 2003, laptops, tablet PCs and PCs running Windows 2000 or XP. For mobile employees, these new telephone options offer access to all Toshiba telephone features from any location. www.toshiba.com
LARGE BUSINESS SYSTEMS
NEC Unified Solutions UNIVERGE SV7000 Telephony Server
NEC’s UNIVERGE SV7000
NEC Unified Solution’s new SIP-enabled client server, or UNIVERGE SV7000 Telephony Server, integrates VoIP, data and video into a single network and enables more than 750 voice features based on NEC’s NEAX 2400 IPX feature set. As a pure IP system, SV7000 supports IP-enabled connections and IP peer-to-peer switching, connecting stations directly to each other through the IP network. Voice signals travel through the IP network, but do not utilize the switch as in traditional telephony.
UNIVERGE SV7000 is comprised of the SV7000 T server for features and functions associated with traditional telephony components and the SV7000 S as the signaling server between the SV7000 system and SIP or pure IP devices.With the latest version of software, the system supports 4,000 IP ports, 4,000 time slots and 4,000 IP clients. An additional 1,536 TDM ports can be added via optional Port Interface Racks (PIRs). PIRs support traditional analog and digital connections but also can support various trunking, wireless LAN and other TDM connections.
The SV7000 base package includes the SIP-enabled server, ISDN Media Gateway for local and long-distance, 25 NEC Dterm IP phone client licenses, five soft-phone terminal licenses, a 2-port expandable Unified Messaging System with 25 unified messaging client licenses (expandable to 16 ports and 32 ports in the future), a conferencing server with digital announcement and Music On Hold, 25 desktop productivity licenses and NEC’s MA4000 Management bundle (for 25 extensions). www.necunifiedsolutions.com
Nortel Networks Communication Server 1000 Release 4.0
Nortel Networks’ Communications Server 1000E
Nortel Networks Communication Server 1000 (formerly Succession 1000) Release 4.0 is a full-featured IP PBX with a broad range of business applications and more than 650 telephony features. CS 1000 uses packet switching for both voice and data traffic over a LAN or WAN, and adds connection to TDM-based networks such as the PSTN via analog and digital trunks. Each of the three CS 1000 scalable models includes the CS 1000 call server, a signaling server and enterprise media gateways.
CS 1000E, a new offering, targets large customers that desire a full IP PBX solution and need full call processor redundancy. The 19-inch rack-mount system is optimized for IP telephones (up to 15,000), but also supports digital and analog phones (up to 3,000). In addition to Geographic Redundancy and Load Sharing configurations, CS 1000E also supports Campus Redundancy with call server deployment throughout a campus using a high speed data link between servers up to 25 miles apart.
Release 4.0 adds new solutions that enable a geographically dispersed workforce to collaborate in real time. CS 1000 supports SIP-based integration to Nortel Networks Multimedia Communication Server (MCS) 5100 for multimedia and collaborative applications such as video conferencing and calling, picture caller ID, white boarding, file exchange, co-Web browsing, call screening, call logs, presence and instant messaging.
Release 4.0 also improves Nortel’s current line of IP telephones (IP Phone 2002 and 2004 Phase II) and introduces the Mobile Voice Client 2050, a Pocket PC-based client that operates on a PDA. Also new is the IP Phone 2006 with 4.5-inch diagonal display (grayscale), three-port switch, full duplex speakerphone and LAN power options and the new IP Phone 2007 with 5.7-inch color display. IP Phones 2006 and 2007 and an IP Audio Conference Phone will become generally available in the first quarter of 2005. www.nortelnetworks.com
Tadiran Telecom’s Coral IPx
Tadiran Telecom’s Coral IPx 4000
Tadiran Telecom’s Coral IPx systems meet the needs of small, medium or large businesses and can be used as a traditional switch, a VoIP telephony server or both. Four models include the space-saving Coral IPx 500, the mid-sized IPx 800, the fully scalable IPx 3000 and the IPx 4000 for large enterprises with critical, high-traffic operations.
The Coral IPx 4000 meets the needs of mid- to large-sized businesses with high-traffic/high-performance requirements using a 64-bit processor for higher traffic situations (250,000 BHCA). This non-blocking system has a hot-standby dual-control option, including two complete sets of control hardware, each able to fully and independently control the operations of the entire system. Modular 19-inch expansion shelves are used to house VoIP gateways or traditional TDM interface cards. A fully configured IPx 4000 supports up to 4,224 wired ports.
All Coral IPx models can take advantage of the universal gateway and the media gateway card for trunk- and station-side IP telephony, and remote users will enjoy full Coral functionality using the Coral FlexSet-IP telephone. ACD is a standard feature for distributing incoming calls among 250 active agents in multiple groups. For voice mail and unified messaging, Coral IPx supports the unified Coral Message Center with four to 64 ports for voice, e-mail and fax messaging, or customers can choose the four- to 24-port uCMC (unified Coral Message Center) card that also handles all message types. QSIG networking over IP, frame relay or ISDN among Coral systems is a standard feature.
Sprint resells all versions of the Coral IPx as the Sprint IPx Converged PBX available from Sprint Authorized Dealers.www.tadiranamerica.com
Need up-to-date information on available enterprise telephony systems and their features and pricing? Want to compare other vendors against yours? Check out TelecomTactics at www.telecomtactics.com. It offers an interactive Web-based sales tool featuring detailed feature/function-based comparisons of enterprise communications equipment and applications in a side-by-side report format. Product categories covered include IP PBX, PBX, key systems, IP telephony gateways and telephones, voice and unified messaging, contact centers and ACD, computer telephony integration, in-building wireless and hospitality systems.
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