LEADING MANUFACTURERS CONTINUE to target smaller businesses with new telephony platforms and applications while system introductions of larger platforms decline. Database publisher and analyst group TelecomTactics finds nearly 80 percent of new enterprise telephony systems introduced in 2005 in North America were designed for SMBs or branch offices of larger businesses that require fewer than 250 stations. This number is up from 60 percent to 70 percent in recent years. Further, half of these small systems are designed to accommodate businesses with fewer than 125 employees.
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Small offices and distributed work environments with branch offices and remote workers represent a growing workplace trend, and many new small-office platforms promise easy installation, simple administration and all-in-one or modular units at a low cost. A full range of popular and leading-edge applications also are becoming available to small businesses, including integrated unified messaging, Web-based software for system administration, wireless LAN functionality, Web and video conferencing, instant messaging, Ethernet LAN connectivity and a range of IP telephone sets to meet the needs of all personnel levels.
A number of small business telephone systems hit the market in 2005, including new small-office platforms from Inter-Tel Inc., NEC Unified Solutions, Nortel Networks Ltd., Panasonic Consumer Electronics Co., Samsung, ShoreTel Inc., Siemens Information Systems Inc. and Toshiba America Inc. (see system profiles on Page 45 and comparative snapshot below.) 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.
Inter-Tel 5000 Network Communications Solution
In the first quarter of 2005, Inter-Tel Inc. rolled out the Inter-Tel 5000 Network Communications Solution, a pure IP platform for SMBs that incorporates a Linux operating system, SIP trunking and scales from five to 200 users. The system includes built-in voice mail, built-in analog trunk and station ports and three module bays for additional connections. Initially, two models are offered: the CS-5200 entry-level platform for 25 IP endpoints and the CS-5400 with an upgraded processor that supports 110 IP endpoints. A third, larger model, the CS-5600, is expected later and will scale into the mid-200 IP endpoint range. A range of business productivity applications are available, including Inter-Tels Unified Communicator, Call Center Suite, Enterprise Messaging, Instant Messaging and Web-conferencing technology for virtual meetings among dispersed workgroups, as well as a wide variety of Inter-Tel IP telephones, digital phones and wireless handsets.
Toshiba Strata CIX200
Also in early 2005, Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Digital Solutions Division (TAIS DSD) began shipping the Toshiba Strata CIX200 system (192 ports) designed for businesses of varying sizes, and with multiple sites. Strata CIX is an IP platform that can be TDMenabled to integrate with station and trunk interfaces from earlier Toshiba Strata CTX and Strata DK digital systems. Strata CIX200 is configured as a one- or two-cabinet system (19-inch rack-mount) and houses a built-in Ethernet 100Base-T port for IP management and connection to CSTA applications. Peerto- peer IP telephone communications, IP Strata Net multisystem networking, MEGACO+ and SIP protocols are supported. The optional Strata Media Application Server enables multiple applications to run on the same server; auto attendant/voice mail capability, the eManager Web browser-based system administration and My Phone Manager Web browser-based personal administration software are preinstalled.
Optionally, customers can add Toshiba Stratagy ES Feature Groups for speech recognition, text-to-speech, IVR and unified messaging, FeatureFlex, ACD and call center reporting. Recently, Toshiba announced the Video Communications Solution (VCS) for virtual in-person meetings. The Strata CIX family also includes Toshibas CIX100 (112 ports) and CIX670 (672 ports).
Nortel Networks BCM 50
Mid-year Nortel Networks announced the Business Communications Manager (BCM) 50, a low-cost IP PBX targeting the under 20-station market (though it can accommodate larger capacities). A single platform with simple installation and management, BCM 50 supports all legacy digital Norstar and BCM telephones, as well as Nortels wide variety of IP telephones. Running a Linux operating system for reliability and security, the BCM 50 main unit houses four analog trunks, 12 digital stations, four analog stations, 32 IP stations and 12 IP trunks, three LAN ports and an OA&M port. For additional TDM capacity, up to two expansion cabinets can be added. Preloaded applications are available via software keycodes. Customers can take advantage of Message Networking, Unified Messaging, Fax Messaging, Norstar Voice Mail, CallPilot Voice Mail interfaces with Basic Call Center functionality and the Digital Mobility Solution based on 2.4GHz Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication (DECT) technology. BCM 50 rounds out Nortels BCM family, which includes the BCM 200 for 20- 32 stations and BCM 400 for larger sites and branch offices with up to 200 users.
The KX-TA824 Advanced Hybrid System from Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company debuted in third quarter 2005 as a low-cost, modular PBX system for home and small businesses, replacing the companys popular KX-TA624 with increased CO capacity and new features.The basic system supports three outside lines and eight stations and can expand to eight outside lines and 24 stations using two additional boards. The system is compatible with current Panasonic proprietary telephones, cordless phones and earlier Panasonic models, as well as single line devices, fax machines or modems. Customers can choose from three voice mail options, including an interface to CO-based voice mail services (popular in the residential market), an optional 2-port, plug-in messaging card or the new Panasonic KX-TVA50 Voice Processing System with e-mail integration. Features convenient to small or home offices include a built-in door phone/door opener, day/night/lunch modes, room-to-room monitoring, caller ID and call log information for both common and personal areas, custom ringing, dialing restrictions and cordless telephones for mobility.Panasonics new KX-T7775 Door Phone with connection for a standard doorbell has an optional IP camera or a surveillance system.
Siemens HiPath 3800 IP Convergence System V5.0
Also in third-quarter 2005, Siemens Communications Inc. introduced the HiPath 3800 IP Convergence System V5.0 designed for single or multisite businesses with up to 500 IP users in a single system. This modular system supports both IP and circuit-switched telephony for an all-IP solution, an all-circuit switched solution, or some combination. The system is available in a standalone or rack-mount version with one or two cabinets. For call center environments, the HiPath ProCenter Office application handles 64 agents and eight supervisors, skills-based or group-based routing, wall display and real-time reporting. Messaging/auto attendant functionality is enabled via the integrated HiPath Xpressions Compact messaging card, and customers also can take advantage of CTI applications like Siemens SimplyPhone for Outlook or LotusNotes that enables telephone functionality on a PC or the HiPath ComAssistant server-based CTI solution that saves user data and settings in a central location. In addition to analog and digital telephone models, HiPath 3800 supports Siemens optiPoint 420 family of IP telephones with basic and advanced models and programmable self-labeling keys.
Samsung OfficeServ 7200
Several new SMB systems entered the market in fourth quarter 2005, including the OfficeServ 7200 converged platform for SMBs from Samsung Telecommunications America. Samsung introduced the new system in the North American market, though the system has been available outside the United States for some time. OfficeServ 7200 can be configured as one or two cabinets with a maximum of 192 physical ports, and supports an array of voice and data modules, including LAN and WAN modules for 10/100Base-T Ethernet connectivity, as well as support for Samsungs IP and traditional telephones and a wireless Internet handset that works with the Samsung OfficeServ Wireless LAN System. An integrated messaging card option provides auto attendant and voice mail capabilities, while the optional Samsung E-Mail Gateway delivers voice or fax mail messages to an e-mail inbox. The OfficeServ suite of CTI products enhances the functionality of the system with an array of PC-based call management applications for key set customization via the Web, inbound screen pops, outbound dialing via a Windows-based desktop PC, call center reporting, a softphone and a PC-based attendant console. A hotel/motel package also is available for small or medium properties.
NEC UNIVERGE SV7000 MPS
NEC Unified Solutions Inc.s UNIVERGE SV7000 Multiple Purpose System (MPS) primarily targets the pure IP Telephony market and smaller businesses, but as a multipurpose system, can be deployed as a standalone SMB system or as a media gateway (analog stations and analog/digital trunks) for NECs larger UNIVERGE SV7000 or NEAX 2400 IPX. The Linux-based MPS server supports a maximum capacity of 1,000 ports with 500 IP clients and 500 non-IP ports for trunks, analog stations and conferencing.The SV7000 MPS handles IPenabled connections and IP peer-to-peer switching, as well as NECs Business, ISDN, CCIS, OAI, Wireless LAN software packages, NECs MA4000 Web-based software suite for system management and the UNIVERGE Linux-based voice mail and unified messaging software. Customers can choose from a variety of NEC IP stations, NEC and tested third-party SIP stations and wireless handsets that operate over an IEEE 802.11b wireless LAN.
ShoreTel Small Business Edition
ShoreTel Inc. addresses the small business environment with the new ShoreTel Small Business Edition (SBE) designed for businesses with fewer than 50 employees in a location. The flexible and affordable SBE is an integrated package that includes a ShoreGear voice switch, software and a server for system management and applications. Up to five ShoreGear voice switches can be deployed at the single location to connect 50 telephones and 50 trunks, supporting 500 busy-hour call completions. Customers will benefit from optional redundancy (using a second ShoreGear voice switch), unified messaging and advanced mobility features.Webbased management requires minimal training, and voice mail for 50 mailboxes requires no additional hardware.
Other applications include 12- or 24-port conferencing, contact center packages and ShoreTels Call Manager desktop applications for PC-based telephone management, presence information and other employee productivity features.
|Coming Soon to an SMB Near You|
|Vendor||Model||Target Market||Maximum Capacity|
|Linksys||Linksys One||<5 stations (home)/<15 stations (business)||100 stations|
|Siemens||HiPath 2000||<50 stations||32 stations|
|Tadiran Telecom||Coral IPx Office||50 stations||150 stations|
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. Call +1 800 678 4642 for more information.
|ShoreTel Inc. www.shoretel.com
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