|Last month, I discussed some of the positive
signs that Ive noticed that lead me to believe that the industry is
feeling its way through a modest recovery or rather that the levels of
optimism are about as high as Ive seen them in the past several months.
Nevertheless, it appears to me that many companies are still shying away
from the big purchase order. Folks are hesitant to pursue capital
expenditure strategies right now, and so they are holding off on investing
in telecom equipment including upgrades to existing PBXs or key systems, or
the purchase of completely new IP PBX solutions. And yet, many of these
companies readily admit the need to upgrade their aging telecommunications
systems. One alternative is IP Centrex. And its an alternative that has
me pretty excited.
According to SBCs Web site (www.sbc.com),
IP Centrex is an outsourced solution for businesses that is implemented in a
service providers existing central offices to transform an enterprise
data network into a convergent voice/data network. Benefits to the customer
include the ability to add enhanced services such as those available off
a traditional, premises-based PBX without having to invest in any CPE.
Some of these services include: Call Transfer; Call Forwarding; Call
Waiting; Calling Line ID Delivery and Blocking; Distinctive Alert/Ringing;
Do Not Disturb; Extension Dialing; IP Phone Support; Last Number Redial;
Integration with Microsoft Outlook; and more.
Back in May of this year, SBC unveiled an agreement with Lucent
Technologies whereby Lucent would provide SBC with an IP Centrex solution
targeted at SBCs business customers. According to the release, the Lucent
solution incorporates the Lucent iMerge Centrex Feature Gateway (CFG) and
the SpringTide 7000 IP Service Switch. The iMerge CFG designed to work
with any Class 5 switch serves as a bridge between circuit-switched
networks and IP network infrastructures, delivering the features and
functionality of that Class 5 switch on the packet network. The SpringTide
7000 provides virtual routing and advanced IP services for enterprise
security and address management.
The IP Centrex announcement was part of SBCs unveiling of a whole
range of CO-based services including IP telephony, DSL, and Web-enabled
services, as well as a custom caller ID feature specifically for Centrex
customers. The carriers Centrex IP offering utilizes voice over packet
transport, enabling customers to integrate their own voice and data networks
over a single LAN to support a companys business communications needs.
The broad rollout builds on a successful 1,600-station trial at Lucents
facility in Lisle, Illinois using the iMerge CFG.
In fact, the SBC/Lucent deployment news is further evidence that IP
Centrex is a serious application with tremendous potential. Sylantro Systems
(www.sylantro.com) recently announced
the completion of phase two of an ongoing market research study undertaken
to measure the size, potential, and drivers for the IP Centrex/Hosted PBX
market. The report, Research Update: Hosted PBX and IP Centrex in the
Enterprise, analyzes the underlying attitudes and opinions that will
influence the outsourcing of telephony services. Additional information
regarding the report can be had by contacting Sylantro directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sylantro is also moving ahead with their own IP Centrex plans, which
include taking advantage of the ever more ubiquitous session initiation
protocol (SIP). The company recently announced a new attendant soft-console
that combines directory components and presence capabilities, underscoring
the value that presence brings to telephony applications. Using SIP,
Sylantros console gives business users a new approach to managing calls
from a central, departmental, or even remote receptionist station.
The new Sylantro soft-console allows receptionists or departmental
assistants to perform standard console functions such as viewing the status
of incoming calls and transferring calls, but also includes an intuitive
interface with color-coded status icons and easy point-and-click control. In
addition, the attendant soft-console provides enhanced features such as
called-party status, presence indicators, and unique hold treatments for
different types of callers.
The reason Im so high on IP Centrex is simple its an
application that allows service providers to offer a service that
enterprises increasingly need and want and are willing to pay for. In this
ongoing economic slump, thats no small feat. The ability to create
revenue in an otherwise down market is certainly something that deserves
mention. And its yet another positive sign that somewhere in the deep
dark recesses of this cloud shines a silver lining. If youve seen other
IP telephony applications that are proving to be winners, Id love to hear
about it. Drop me a line at email@example.com.
To The July 2002 Table Of Contents ]
As I write this, the thermometer is showing 90+ degrees for the
first time this year (here in coastal Connecticut). Summers here! But as
much as I wish it were summer all year long, my thoughts spring ahead to
October. The crisp fall air, the cool days and first frosty nights Unless
of course, you make your way out to Southern California Coronado Island
off the coast of San Diego to be specific. Thats where we are hosting the
sixth installment of INTERNET
TELEPHONY Conference & EXPO, October 13.
This show has always been one of the industrys high points: The
exciting hustle and bustle of the Exhibit Hall, the content-rich
conferences, the sunset networking receptions overlooking the Pacific
this is truly the one event industry insiders look forward to all year long.
And this year there are a plethora of new and exciting developments that you
should know about. Weve added three new workshop summits to an already
education-rich conference program: SIP Developers Day, Wireless IP Telephony
Summit, and SALT Summit. Also Im proud to announce the all-new IP PBX
Shootout, where you can hear leading vendors debate the virtues of their
competing products. Theres so much more to say about the upcoming show
and frankly Im running out of room Go to the Web site at www.itexpo.com for all the information you
need. And who knows, summer just might be summer well into October.
To The July 2002 Table Of Contents ]