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December 29, 2009

Positron Telecom's PBX Systems Shook Up the Asterisk Telephony Board Market in 2009

By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet

Earlier this year Positron Telecom, a relatively new spin-off of Positron Holding Inc., launched its V-Series line of telephony boards that combine Asterisk-based PBX (News - Alert), media gateway, echo canceller and Ethernet interface on a single PCI card.

Since then, there’s been no looking back for Canada-based Positron Telecom: Despite launching its first line of products in a recession year, the company has seen strong interest in, and brisk sales of, its innovative PBX systems – especially in Europe and South America.

Positron Telecom’s all-in-one PBX systems, which are geared for SMBs with 2 to 100 lines, represent a change in approach compared to the traditional open source telephony card market: By integrating Asterisk (News - Alert), echo canceller, Ethernet (for PCI and LAN), telephone ports (FXS) and gateway (FXO) on a single card, Positron Telecom has created the first standalone VoIP solution that can be quickly and easily installed on any PC. By interfacing Ethernet with the PCI (News - Alert) bus, its solutions are operating system independent, with no special drivers required. In addition, all processing happens on the card, requiring no CPU power. What’s more, because the company’s PBX systems are Ethernet-based, this allows boards with different telephony interfaces to co-exist within the same host PC.

As a result of their all-in-one design, Positron’s PBX systems are many times faster and simpler to install and configure, compared to competing Asterisk-based telephony products. Positron claims its PBX systems help organizations lower their cost per port, while achieving better reliability and security, improved quality of service, and the ability to gain features and capabilities that competing vendors have not yet been able to deliver on a single PCI card. The company’s solutions offer an even more compelling return on investment when integrated with VMware -- thus facilitating a virtualized, cost effective and feature-rich telephony system.

Currently Positron Telecom’s V-Series consists of three on-card PBX systems: The V-114 (FXO, FXS, Ethernet), the V-214 (ISDN, FXS, Ethernet) and the V-310 (E1/T1, FXS, Ethernet). It also offers two standalone IP gateways, the G-124 (analog) and the G-320 (E1/T1 PRI). The V-214 ISDN card, in particular, has been a hot seller in Europe, due in part to the fact that Positron Telecom has established agreements with numerous leading retail distributors across the region, including Mapleleaf Technologies, WildEx, Bitmovers Srl and VoIPon Solutions (not to mention numerous agreements with distributors in South America, the U.S., Canada, Scandinavia and other regions).

The company has also established some important interoperability partnerships in the past year – for example, in October Positron announced that its V-Series is fully interoperable with Vyatta’s open networking and security software, thus providing an easy to use, integrated voice and data networking solution. In addition its solutions are interoperable with Microsoft (News - Alert) Office Communicator -- in fact, Positron Telecom’s PBX systems can interface “out-of-the-box” with just about any application that uses SIP, or session initiation protocol -- another key differentiator between its products and those of its competitors.
During a recent interview with TMCnet, Richard McGravie, president of Positron Telecom, talked about the company’s accomplishments and milestones for 2009 – and also gave some hints about what it has in store for customers in 2010. Our full exchange follows:

TMCnet: Looking back at 2009, can you highlight some of the most important advancements or trends that emerged in the market you serve?  What were the key trends that impacted your business?
Richard McGravie: The key trends that impacted our business in 2009 were:

Indecision – budgets and planning were put on hold and that stopped people moving forward
Recision – stopped individuals’ spare cash that helped drive the “hobbiest” and
Nortel bankruptcy – introduced the biggest opportunity to capitalize on their weakness
TMCnet: What were your company’s biggest achievements/announcements in the past year?

RM: These included:
--Full release of the product line in 2009 – five new products
--Integration with VMware – the only PCI PBX to do so
--Integration with Vyatta (News - Alert) – this will open new doors in 2010
--Integration with Microsoft OCS and
--Our first tradeshow appearance – Astricon 2009
TMCnet: Looking back at 2009, how would you characterize the year for your company?
RM: I would characterize it as heavily invested in R&D and the beginning of our marketing campaigns.
TMCnet: We started this year in an economic recession, it seems like were now pulling out of that, what are your thoughts?
RM: I see some inkling, but people are still hesitant. I don’t see any real change until early Q3 / 2010
TMCnet: What are you planning for 2010?
RM: People really like our product concept but want higher density and more application support. You will see us expand into multi-port density and application support for fax and video.
To learn more about Positron Telecom’s all-in-one PBX systems, check out the PBX Systems channel on TMCnet, sponsored by Positron Telecom, or check out the company’s Web site.

Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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