A LOOK BACK AT BUSINESS telephony system introductions in 2006 indicates leading telecommunications manufacturers are rounding out their telephony system portfolios and focusing on growing businesses. Very small offices, midsize enterprises and larger businesses with multiple sites all intend to grow and profit, and thus, require a telephony system that will continue to meet their needs in both capacity and functionality. New systems in 2006 addressed businesses of all sizes seeking an economical migration path, increased capacity, performance enhancements and leading-edge applications such as unified communications, teleworking and mobility that improve business productivity.
Database publisher and analyst group TelecomTactics finds that nearly 50 percent of the new enterprise telephony systems introduced in 2006 in the North American market were designed for small or midsized businesses (SMBs) or branch offices of larger businesses that require fewer than 250 stations (down from 60 percent to 70 percent in recent years). Further, more than one-third (35 percent) of the new enterprise telephony systems introduced in 2006 were designed for growing businesses in the midsize range (250-750 employees) an upward shift from previous years. And though newly introduced systems for larger businesses can expand to support more than 750 stations, these systems also can be deployed in a midsized business. Thus, even the new larger systems can be categorized in the midmarket range (with room for growth), increasing the percentage of new telephony systems for the midmarket (systems supporting 250- 750 plus stations) to more than 50 percent.
SMALL BUSINESS (LESS THAN 250 STATIONS)
A number of systems for smaller businesses hit the market in 2006, including Avaya Inc.s OneX Quick Edition, NEC Unified Solutions Inc.s DSX and the Vertical Communications Inc. Comdial DX-120. Avayas OneX Quick Edition is a unique plug-and-play SIP-based server-less solution for small offices with fewer than 20 people (hardware limit of 40 phones). IP communications software is embedded within an Avaya 4610SW or 4621SW IP telephone, placing intelligence in the phone and eliminating the need for traditional PBX hardware. The new NEC DSX and Vertical Comdial DX-120 complement earlier NEC DS Series and Comdial DX-80 key systems, offering customers a smooth, economical upgrade to a newer system with additional capacity, system improvements and new telephones. Endpoints and circuit cards from an earlier system will operate with the new system, though new telephones and cards provide more functionality.
Siemens Communications HiPath 2000
Siemens Communications Inc.s HiPath 2000, Tadiran Telecoms IPx Coral Office and Toshibas Strata CIX40 add new, smaller platforms to complete their IP product families which now can address very small offices, midsize enterprises or larger businesses with multiple sites. These new small systems not only expand the companys current portfolio but also promise easy installation, administration and the advantages of IP at a reasonable price, including a range of employee productivity applications. Toshiba finds that teleworking and mobility are the most compelling reasons for moving to an IP-based system, and the ease of connecting remote workers via an IP network has become a necessity for many businesses both big and small.
Mobility and remote workers are clearly the two key drivers for acceptance of VoIP at SMB enterprises, says Jon Nelson, product marketing manager at Toshiba America Information System Telecommunications Systems Division. In many cases, management drives the move to VoIP by using a softphone on their laptop or IP desk telephone at home. Once they see the ease of remotely connecting to the communications system, they generally expand it to other workers, such as call center agents, salespeople, and others who can easily work remotely or are on the road a significant part of their workdays. Today, 11 percent of all Toshiba IP endpoints sold are softphones.
MEDIUM BUSINESS (250- 750 STATIONS)
Samsung BCS OfficeServ 7400
As reported last fall, a number of leading telephone system manufacturers are addressing capacity and migration needs of growing businesses by adding new, larger platforms to existing families of business telephony systems. The Estech Systems Inc. ESI-600, Inter-Tel Inc. CS- 5600, NEC Electra Elite IPK II, Panasonic KX-TDA600 and Samsung Business Communications Systems (BCS) OfficeServ 7400 are among the new scalable systems introduced in 2006. In addition to addressing increased capacity requirements, these new systems also provide ease of migration, convergence, improved performance and reliability and advanced applications, including unified communications, enhanced networking, hospitality and wireless LAN.
Estech Systems ESI-600
No one goes into business with the intention to stay small or keep the same profit levels. From the largest enterprise to the smallest business everyone is looking to grow and succeed. So, when businesses look at convergence technologies that are vital to helping them grow, they are asking for products that have the capability to grow along with them, notes Stephen Gobeli, vice president of Samsung BCS.
LARGE BUSINESS (MORE THAN 750 STATIONS)
In 2006, Avaya introduced the new S8400 Media Server, a Linux server blade that delivers Avaya Communication Manager telephony features and functionality. Designed for the mid-market (900 station maximum), the S8400 Media Server can be installed in an earlier DEFINITY ProLogix, IP600 or S8100 server to enable the latest version of Avaya Communication Manager software, or it can be used with an Avaya G650 Media Gateway for new installations.
Inter-Tel also addressed larger businesses in 2006 with the introduction of the Inter-Tel 7000, a standards-based SIP softswitch that scales to 2,500 users in its first release, though theoretically, as a software solution, can scale further with adequate hardware capacity and memory. Three hardware configurations (or Tier packages) are currently available: (Tier 1) NC-7200 for up to 250 users on a single server; (Tier 2) NC-7400 and Inter-Tel NC-7600 for 251-1,000 users on single server; and (Tier 3) NC-7400 or NC-7600 doubles the number of servers, in a distributed software model, and supports 1,001-2,500 users. The larger Inter-Tel 7000 expands the companys target market that traditionally focused on telephony systems for SMBs.
Sandra M. Gustavsen is an analyst covering enterprise systems for database publisher and analyst group TelecomTactics and its sister division, TelecomWeb. Visit www.telecomtactics.com or www.telecomweb.com.
Do you need up-to-date information on available enterprise telephony systems and their features? Visit TelecomTactics at www.telecomtactics.com, 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, productivity applications, in-building wireless and hospitality systems.
|Manufacturer||Platform||Target Market||Maximum Stations|
|Small||Avaya||One-X Quick Edition||20||40|
|Tadiran||Coral IPx Office||50||150|
|NEC||Electra Elite IPK II||8-180||256|
|Large||Avaya||S8400 Media Server||50-400||900|
|Inter-Tel||Inter-Tel 7000||250-2,500||2,500 (users)|
|3Com Corp. www.3com.com
Access Intelligence LLC www.accessintel.com
Avaya Inc. www.avaya.com
Estech Systems Inc. www.esi-estech.com
Inter-Tel Inc. www.inter-tel.com
NEC Unified Solutions Inc. www.necunified.com
Nortel Networks www.nortel.com
Panasonic Communication Systems www.panasonic.com
Research in Motion www.researchinmotion.com
Samsung BCS www.samsung.com/bcs
ShoreTel Inc. www.shoretel.com
Siemens Communications Inc. www.siemens.com
Tadiran Telecom www.tadiran-us.com
Toshiba America Information System Telecommunications Systems Division www.toshiba.com/taistsd/
Uniden America Corp. www.uniden.com
Vertical Communications Inc. www.vertical.com