Digital transformation is prompting many organizations to consider upgrading their communications systems. And that’s a good thing, both for these businesses, and for the companies that outfit them with the solutions.
Nonetheless, it’s a tough time for equipment dealers and internet telephony service providers. That’s because manufacturers are squeezing their margins. So when businesses implement new phone systems, endpoints are often the largest single line item on the quotes.
Htek wants to make sure those endpoints are as profitable and otherwise beneficial as possible for its ITSP and reseller partners.
That’s why Htek delivers a broad portfolio of high-quality and affordable IP phones that work with a wide range of communications systems, are visually appealing, and provide partners with the ability to reinforce their brands with their customers, said Stephen Corrigan (News - Alert), vice president of sales and marketing.
“The reception we’ve had in the market has been very positive,” he added.
Htek is a product designer and manufacturer that focuses exclusively on voice over IP solutions. The company has sold more than 2 million VoIP terminals since it was established in 2005. And its goal is to be one of the top manufacturers of VoIP devices in the world.
While it is not as well known as some other companies that sell IP phones, Htek is a viable alternative to the giants in the market due to:
- the high quality of its people and products,
- the competitive price points it offers, and
- its strong support.
EXPERTISE & INVESTMENT
More than half of Htek’s 80-plus staff members are professional VoIP engineers. Each of these individuals has more than 15 years experience at communications equipment leader Huawei and/or ZTE (News - Alert).
Htek puts a large proportion of its revenue into research and development. That helps ensure that Htek and its channel partners can offer innovative and standard-compliant solutions to business customers.
That expertise and investment have enabled Htek to deliver differentiated products in the marketplace, and to garner the only VoIP Third Party designation from Texas Instrument in China since 2010, Corrigan said.
This is where Htek outperforms many of its competitors. Today, Htek’s products are powered by TI’s nextgen independent dedicated AIC3100 chipset for independent voice processing, delivering a sharp, clear voice quality.
At that time, Htek had just a handful of products, including a small capacity IP PBX (News - Alert), an ATA/gateway, and its first enterprise IP phone. But the company has since introduced a full portfolio of IP phones that range from the low end to the high end.
That includes the UC800 and UC900 series phones, and the UC46 expansion module. Htek came out with the UC800 series of IP phones in 2013. A year later it introduced the UC46 expansion module. And the Htek line of UC900 phones were launched in September of last year.
(And later this year Htek will introduce a variety of new products, including devices with embedded Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities and touch screens, and a low end gigabit phone.)
All of Htek’s phones are based on the same firmware and share the same functionality. The only difference is in the number of SIP accounts they support. (More detailed information on the UC926 IP phone and the UC46 expansion module can be found in the Htek Product Review in this issue.)
All of these solutions deliver great quality, a user-friendly interface, and an attractive design, said Corrigan. And they work seamlessly with a wide variety of phone systems, including solutions from Broadsoft, 3CX, Alcatel-Lucent, Metaswitch, Bicom, FreePBX, Yeastar and Denwa, Elastix, Epygi (News - Alert), FreeSWITCH, Netsapiens, Vodia, Xorcom, and zycoo.
Interoperability is an ongoing are of focus for Htek. For example, in April Htek concluded interoperability testing of its UC903 and UC923 phones with the 3CX Phone (News - Alert) System v15, and Broadsoft, and Metaswitch.
BACK- AND FRONT-END SUPPORT
Htek is doing everything it can to make things easy for its partners, said Corrigan. And the company will add functionality to its phones’ firmware when needed to allow for a complete plug-and-play experience, he said.
“We’re open to new integrations, so we’re very approachable as a company,” he added. “Everything we do is based on our dealers’ needs, and the needs of the ITSPs of course.”
Corrigan also noted that the company has a redirection provisioning service. When a dealer plugs an Htek phone into the customer LAN, it contacts the Htek provisioning server, which matches the MAC address of the phone and redirects that request to the distributor’s own provisioning server.
The Htek IP phones are also highly reliable. They boast an impressive 60,000 hours of Mean Time Between Failure. And less than 1 percent of the devices are returned to the manufacturer due to hardware failure.
Additionally, Htek offers two-year warranties. That’s as opposed to the industry-standard one-year warranties provided by some of its competitors.
“That gives an extra year piece of mind for both the ITSPs and the dealers,” Corrigan said. “Because, should there be any manufacturing issues with the product, unlikely as it is, they can be returned.”
Support is also included in the price of Htek phones.
The company provides its dealer partners with training to allow them to provide local support. Htek will also back them up with its own support. And dealers even have the option of directly contacting the Htek team at the company’s headquarters in China.
But it’s not just behind-the-scenes stuff that makes Htek a great partner, said Corrigan. The company is also working on the front end to help its channel partners create stickier relationships with their customers.
For example, Htek will put an ITSP’s brand name on its phones – even in cases of relatively low-volume orders. That can help an ITSP reinforce its value to customers.
“ITSPs are missing the opportunity to have good, solid branding in front of their users,” Corrigan said. “And the logos on the UC924 and UC926 phones can be backlit, so they literally shine in front of the user.”
Htek also shines in terms of the pricing it offers. Htek products are markedly lower cost than competing devices in the marketplace, Corrigan said.
These low price points can help Htek partners win more business, said Corrigan. They also can enable resellers and ITSPs to realize greater margins, he added.
THE VALUE OF THE DESK PHONE
In recent years, as cellular phones have become ubiquitous and non-voice communications like email and text grow in popularity, some folks have talked about the death of the desk phone. But Corrigan said desk phones are alive and kicking – and they will be for a long time to come.
That’s because, although cellular phones are very useful, they simply don’t deliver the sound quality that desk phones can. With cellular, he noted, there are dropped calls and garbled connections.
“But if I want clear communications, and I have to make an important phone call or conference call,” he said, “I will try to always do that on a desk phone where the quality is much much better.”
Email, texting, and team collaboration are also no substitute for voice communications, Corrigan added, because on calls people can convey emotion, and communicate ideas and make decisions more quickly.
“It’s all about choosing the right tool for the job,” said Corrigan. “For me, voice is the premier communications method that one can choose because life is all about relationships – business relationships and personal relationships. So it’s all about talking, and more importantly listening, to people.
“When we need something done,” he said, “we pick up the phone and talk with people.”
Edited by Erik Linask