The telephony industry struggled like every sector of the down economy in 2008. But adversity yields adaptations and innovations. Dozens of new and enhanced products flooded the market as producers tried to find buyers' sweet spots. Here are some of the most noteworthy new products to hit the marketplace in 2008.
The small to midsize business market received a great deal of attention. Nearly 60 percent of new systems introduced during the year targeted businesses with fewer than 250 stations, according to Internet Telephony magazine.
Aastra Telecom rolled out the AastraLink RP phone system, a combination of Microsoft Response Point phone system software and hardware from Aastra Technologies; and the AastraLink Pro 160, a Linux-based appliance that runs the Asterisk open source PBX software from Digium. Both products support as many as 50 users.
Nortel Networks unveiled its model SCS500 (SCS stands for SIP-based Software Communication System) targeting SMBs with 30 to 1,000 users. The SCS500 software, based on open source sipXecs software from Pingtel, runs on industry standard servers from Dell, IBM and HP to deliver unified communications features including VoIP, voice and video conferencing, presence and instant messaging, voice and unified messaging , find me/follow me features and more.
Panasonic Corp. released a family of hardware and software telephony products for SMBs called Enhanced Communications Solutions. The ECS umbrella covers the recently introduced Panasonic KX-NCP rack-mount business telephony systems; the KX-NCP500 supports as many as 68 stations and the KX-NCP1000 goes up to 108 stations. ECS also includes digital, IP and SIP telephones; DECT 6.0 wireless telephones; desktop and business applications; video cameras and third party applications.
Enterprises needing thousands of telephone stations got a welcome dose of server simplification from the new MCS (Mitel Communications Suite), a pre-integrated platform that allows Mitel Networks Corp.'s flagship 3300 ICP (IP Communications Platform) software to reside on Sun servers. This solution preserves all the features and functionalities of the traditional Mitel 3300 ICP and allows organizations to carry voice-based solutions on a Sun data infrastructure. The MCS can support an astounding 65,000 users in a clustered environment on a single software stream.
The UNIVERGE Mobile Client (MC530) from NEC Unified Solutions, Inc., was awarded a "Best" rating in the 2008 Enterprise Unified Communications Industry Study conducted by Miercom, an independent product testing and analysis firm. "Based on our testing, the mobility attributes of NEC's UNIVERGE UC for Enterprise are superior to those of any other UC solution on the market," said Rob Smithers, CEO of Miercom. "Specifically, the Mobile Client MC530 offered seamless connectivity, including presence status and a simple, intuitive interface that gives users all of the features of their NEC UNIVERGE desktop while away from the office." In a separate test, Miercom found the UNIVERGE SV8500 enterprise communications server consumes 40 percent less power than previous generations of traditional PBX and IP PBX servers.
Mu Dynamics has garnered a host of awards for its money-saving Mu-4000 Service Analyzer product, designed for carriers and large enterprises. The Mu-4000 proactively eliminates the high cost of service, application and network downtime. Mu's solution automates a systematic and repeatable process that identifies hard-to-detect sources of potential downtime within IP services, applications and underlying networks.
The MultiVOIP GSM (Global System for Mobile) SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-to-cellular gateway from Multi-Tech Systems, Inc., routes voice from your internal network to a GSM connection, enabling substantial savings on long distance charges. It also serves as a backup connection to remote VoIP sites in case of external Internet failure. By placing MultiVOIP GSM units at all facilities, you can direct your VoIP traffic over a cellular connection and do not need to route traffic to the PSTN (public switched telephone network). The MultiVOIP GSM gateway is available in a two-port model.
Enterprise OneNumber from QuesCom enables a user to be reachable at any time through a single phone number and answer incoming calls from any device with multiple simultaneous rings. Landline features become available on the company's mobile phones, i.e., three-party conferencing , call transfer, corporate short dial plan access, music on hold, voice mail and office phone number display. If a user answers a call on his or her desk phone, during the communication the user can swap the call to a mobile phone with Handover function. All calls to and from all devices are routed through the corporate infrastructure to minimize roaming charges.
Polycom, Inc.'s RMX 2000 V4.0, released in February, is the videoconferencing industry's first solution to incorporate 1,080p and broadcast-quality 720p HD quality, for unrivaled flexibility of pure HD or mixed-resolution video environments. The RMX 2000 v4.0 addresses existing and emerging applications including immersive, room and personal HD telepresence, broad-scale desktop video collaboration, specialized industry applications and traditional video conferencing.
SIP Print LLC's SIP Print is the world's first affordable SIP-based call recording system. SIP Print is built from the ground up for SIP-compliant IP telephony systems, making it more streamlined, powerful and as much as one-third less expensive than legacy analog call recording systems.
When was the last time you evaluated the performance of your current business phone system? For most people, the answer is too long ago. Phone systems are one of the most overlooked tools in business, even though they’re also one of the most important in terms of employee productivity. more
For years, all kinds of businesses depended on Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems to help facilitate direct, line-to-line communication. Over the course of the past decade, however, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology quickly became the go-to resource for brands. more
While more businesses make the switch to VoIP every single day, there are also many that choose to stay with the system they are used to.The rationale is almost always the same. You don’t want to shake things up when what you are already using is working. more
Choosing a phone system for your business isn’t as easy as it looks. Most people learn this the hard way. You choose a new system, and everything seems fine. Until it isn’t. In hindsight the problems always seem obvious, yet countless businesses fall into the same traps every year. more