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March 23, 2009

Saving Money with VoIP While Future-Proofing Your IP PBX Investment

By Erik Linask, Group Managing Editor

We keep hearing and reading about the economy and its impact on businesses small and large. However, if you’ve scanned the pages of TMCnet, you’ve also seen that many businesses, rather than succumbing to the fiscal pressures facing them, are taking steps to mitigate their effects, which is why the IP Communications industry continued to grow.
In fact, following last month’s ITEXPO East in Miami, TMC (News - Alert) president Rich Tehrani explained the increase in attendance at a time when uncertainty ruled the day. 
“I am aware it is incredible to see any business growing in times like this, but IP communications solutions are exactly what companies need in this economy,” he wrote. “They make you more efficient and productive.  To top it off, most IP communications solutions also save you money.”
Right now, that’s the key — a solution that can save you money almost immediately and show a rapid ROI should be an easy sell. In fact, back in December, 8x8 (News - Alert) chairman and CEO Bryan Martin noted that his company, recognizing the need for businesses to focus on budgets, shifted its marketing focus back to the costs savings VoIP offers, bucking the recent trend of focusing on differentiating features. 
That’s not to say features aren’t important — Epygi (News - Alert), which has developed its own line of Quadro IP PBXs and Gateways since 2000, noted that both cost and improved productivity play a role when businesses are selecting VoIP systems. Still, even when customers and resellers praise product features, comments on cost are rarely far behind.
“We added Epygi because we needed a system for small businesses,” explained Paul Tauberg from Gentek, a Toronto-based provider of VoIP and broadband solutions. “We did a pretty exhaustive comparison study. Epygi had more features and a lower price.”
Epygi’s Quadro IP PBXs are geared for the SMB and SOHO markets, as well as for smaller branches of larger enterprises looking to move to an all-IP communications system, which a recent In-Stat study says is the likely preference of smaller businesses. But, for branches and other businesses not ready to give up their existing phones, Epygi’s Quadro gateways offer a hybrid solution that allows them to gain the cost benefits of VoIP without having to invest in new phones.
Epygi’s SIP-based IP PBXs and gateways have been developed specifically with the small business in mind, but in delivering a product that meets the needs of smaller budgets and smaller IT departments, with an enterprise-class feature set, its hardware extends far beyond the small business.
Some vendors have chosen to develop their proprietary IP phones to go along with their IP PBXs, but Epygi, focusing its energies on a single type of product, has chosen to certify its IP PBXs with many of the industry’s best known phone manufacturers. The idea is to offer a best-of-breed solution, which it believes is best developed by expertise in one product line, and alliances with experts in others.
Epygi handset partners include snom, Polycom, and Aastra — all of which are offered by Gentek — and it has also certified its products with several of the key ITSPs in North America and Europe, including SIP Trunking providers Broadvox, cBeyond, Excel, and BandTel. Like VoIP hardware vendors, SIP Trunking providers are seeing incredible interest from the SMB market due to its cost benefits. 
As Telanetix’ (News - Alert) CEO Doug Johnson told TMCnet’s Mike Dinan, “In the economic environment we are in today, we believe businesses are re-examining all elements of their operations to assure they are as cost-effective as possible. When they take a look at their communications options, we believe it will be hard for them to ignore the savings that VoIP offers.”
That simple fact is, indeed, hard to overlook for businesses looking to manage their businesses today — and that will continue when we pull through this recession. That’s one half of Epygi’s strategy. But, with its vendor and service provider partnerships, it also ensures its customers have access to complete VoIP solutions that not only deliver the cost savings the desperately seek now, but also future-proof their businesses with features that will enrich their communications capabilities for years to come.

Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Managing Editor of TMCnet, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to nearly 3,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erik Linask

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