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November 03, 2008

Interview: Republican National Committee Selects Grandstream SIP Phone for Call Centers

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

Long before this presidential election cycle got underway, officials with Grandstream Networks – a Brookline, Massachusetts-based IP voice and video products maker for the broadband telephony market – partner with some of telephony’s most recognizable names, including Digium (News - Alert), Broadvox and Telappliant.
Like Grandstream, they’re VoIP solutions companies that regularly pop up in the telecommunications space’s headlines.
Recently, Grandstream – and its GXP2020 enterprise SIP phone, in particular – caught the attention of an even more recognizable entity: the Republican National Committee.
Before the GOP’s ticket was assigned, even, the RNC – attracted, in part, to the device’s support for information services, including extensible markup language, or “XML” – settled on the GXP2020 phone as its call center solution. The RNC deployed more than 5,000 of the devices at poll centers across the nation.
Pictured on the right, GXP2020’s XML support is allowing the RNC to collect and analyze data – and the SIP phone offers the cost-savings and increasing reliability and clarity that’s attracting more and more business to VoIP solutions.
Advanced features of the phone include multi-language support, security protection, automated provisioning and broad compatibility with leading SIP platforms. The GXP2020 features six lines, seven programmable keys, four context-sensitive soft keys, dual switched 10M/100Mbps auto-sensing Ethernet ports with integrated PoE and a backlit 320-by-160 high-resolution graphic LCD with multi-level grey scales.
One critical member of the GOP team, Meghan McCain – daughter of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain – is seen at left, using one of the Grandstream GXP2020 phones.
The xml-enabled GXP2020 phone enable volunteers at GOP phone banks to punch buttons that instantly update a database called Voter Vault, which collects details on individual voters from dozens of public sources, such as magazine subscriptions and car registrations.
“Using the data, the campaign can mail different fliers to different voter groups,” Grandstream officials say. “Military veterans may hear about McCain’s views on Iraq, and some church groups may receive information about his opposition to abortion. Jewish voters may learn about McCain’s support for Israel.”

McCain outlines his position on Israel here. His Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, outlines his here.
The GXP 2020 was a natural solution for the RNC, which had to set up reliable phone systems quickly. The device, with its plug n’ play functionality, took only minutes to pre-provision on the network, Grandstream officials say. Also, they say, the phone’s six line appearances make it ideal for the high volume of call traffic experienced by the RNC poll centers.
TMCnet recently had a chance to catch up with Khris Kendrick, Grandstream’s senior director of business development, to talk about the GXP2020, the SIP phone solution’s role in this slower economy and its advantages.
Our exchange follows.
TMCnet: IT business leaders say that now is an opportunity for businesses to examine how technology can stretch their budgets. How will this slower economy affect the enterprise SIP phone business, in Grandstream’s view? Has the company changed its outlook since the quarter that started July 1? If so, how?
Khris Kendrick (pictured right): Our strategy has not changed – in fact, we are accelerating our efforts. Businesses are considering “Data Travel” as a means to reach their customer base. The foundation of “Data Travel” are VoIP Technologies like SIP, Skype (News - Alert), Google Talk, and ad hoc meetings such as webinars, and video conferencing. The slower economy has increased awareness for VoIP software and gear.
TMCnet: The GXP2020’s six lines catered well to the RNC’s use of the phones for high-volume work. What other phones in its GXP enterprise SIP portfolio does Grandstream recommend for call center use?
KK: It really depends on the needs of the call center. Call centers have been known to deploy ATA to remote SOHO’s. Grandstream recognized that the work involved in this particular deployment was a pain point for many installers. As a result, we came up with a simplified, cost-effective solution: a portfolio of SIP phones with a wide selection of features to meet the needs of today’s growing call center application, the GXP enterprise series. All of the phones in the GXP enterprise series are equipped with XML programmability, plug n’ play functionality, ergonomic physical design, multi-party conferencing, multi-language support, busy lamp field, security protection and the ability to add custom applications. They provide superior audio quality and ease of use.
TMCnet: What are the advantages to using some of those phones over others? In what situations?
KK: The advantage to using one phone in the GXP portfolio over another really depends on the business application. The phones in the GXP Series portfolio include the GXP280, a one-line SIP phone, the GXP1200, a two-line SIP phone, the GXP2000, a four-line SIP phone, the GXP2010 a four-line with 18 programmable keys, and the GXP2020, a six-line SIP phone. Clearly, the four line and the six line phones were designed for applications with high call traffic, while the two-line – GXP1200 – and the one-line, were designed for the SoHo with smaller call traffic. All phones are equipped with the same functionality.
Learn more about Grandstream Networks (News - Alert) at Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO — the biggest and most comprehensive IP communications event of the year.  ITEXPO (News - Alert) will take place in Miami, Florida, Feb. 2 to 4, 2009, featuring three valuable days of exhibits, conferences, and networking opportunities you can’t afford to miss.  Visit Grandstream at booth #723 in the exhibit hall.  Don’t wait.  Register now!

Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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