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[January 20, 2005]

Introductions of Small Business Telephony Systems Climbing

BY SANDRA M. GUSTAVSEN, TelecomTactics


Leading manufacturers continue to target smaller businesses with new telephony platforms and applications, while system introductions for larger enterprises decline. Database publisher and analyst group TelecomTactics finds that nearly 60% of the new enterprise telephony systems introduced in 2004 were designed for small- or mid-sized businesses (SMBs) that require fewer than 250 stations. Further studies show that a majority of these new SMB platforms (over 60%) support IP telephones that transmit voice over a companys data network, reducing costs and easily extending office telephone features to a remote location such as a home or branch office.

Numerous small business telephony systems hit the market in 2004, including new offerings from 3Com, Alcatel, Comdial, EADS Telecom, ESI, Mitel Networks, NEC, Panasonic, Teltronics, Toshiba and Vodavi. Popular in 2004 were all-in-one platforms for smaller businesses that include a host of applications such as voice mail, unified messaging, in-building wireless capabilities and even browser-based Web administration -- all in a single system, eliminating the need for multiple components. In addition, vendors continue to target smaller businesses with affordable, advanced functionality that will help them better compete in the marketplace. Functionality previously available only to larger enterprises is now offered to smaller businesses, including simplified administration, intelligent routing, presence-awareness and real-time collaboration.

Several manufacturers announced IP-based systems for smaller businesses in 2004 that boast flexibility and large system features. 3Coms new NBX V3000 debuted in fourth quarter 2004 as a pure IP platform for small offices or small to medium businesses. The cost-effective, modular NBX V3000 targets businesses with two to 40 users, but can expand to support as many as 1,500 stations using 3Coms SuperStack 3 NBX expansion chassis. Like 3Coms earlier NBX platforms, the NBX V3000 voice-over-LAN solution includes auto attendant, voice mail, Call Detail Recording, TAPI software and browser-based Web administration.

Alcatel launched the OmniPCX Office in North America in fourth quarter 2004 to be sold through Service Providers as a bundled managed services offering. The Alcatel OmniPCX Office all-in-one converged platform for smaller businesses (six to 236 users) supports both packet and circuit switching and includes Internet access, an e-mail server, network security, LAN and WAN interfaces and more.

Also in 2004, Comdial announced the CONVERSip MP1000 Media Platform (four to 40 users), an affordable IP telephony solution for small or branch offices. This new system combines telephony, computer and Internet technologies and utilizes the open standard SIP (Session Initiation Protocol).

Telecommunications manufacturers are also focusing on a growing need for easy-to-install telephone systems for the Small Office Home Office (SOHO) marketplace. Panasonics KX-TA308 Advanced Hybrid and KX-TAW848 Advanced Hybrid Wired and Wireless Telephony Systems offer features particularly beneficial to homes and home offices such as built-in Call Waiting, Caller ID, All Page, Room-to-Room Intercom, Room Monitor and door phone/opener security operation. A Multi-Cell Wireless option on the KX-TAW848 provides seamless coverage throughout the home or office.

Toshibas new Strata CTX28 digital business telephone system for smaller businesses is an all-in-one, compact, single cabinet that is easy to install and wall-mountable to save space. Small businesses and home offices can also consider NECs cost-efficient 26-station Aspire S Key Telephone System that can be deployed as a stand alone system or in a network with other NEC Aspire systems using Voice over IP.

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A product of Access Intelligence, LLC, TelecomTactics: A Side-by-Side Guide to Enterprise Telephony is a comprehensive Web database geared specifically to the telecommunications industry and its sale channels. TelecomTactics provides in-depth product reports and comparisons of leading communications products, including IP PBX, PBX, Key systems, IP Telephony Gateways and Telephones, Voice and Unified Messaging, Contact Centers and ACD, Computer Telephony Integration (CTI), In-building Wireless and Hospitality systems. Visit www.telecomtactics.com to compare more than 500 Key, PBX and IP PBX systems and hundreds of applications from leading manufacturers, including Avaya, Cisco, Comdial, Inter-Tel, Mitel Networks, NEC, Nortel Networks, Panasonic, Siemens, Toshiba and many others.

TelecomTactics sister publications include Broadband Business Forecast, Wireless Business Forecast, Fiber Optics Forecast, Telecom Policy Report and Telecomweb.com. Access Intelligence is a b-to-b media and information company serving the satellite, cable, telecommunications, media, defense and chemical markets.

CONTACT:
Sandra M. Gustavsen Analyst/TelecomTactics, Access Intelligence LLC
1111 Marlkress Road, Suite 203
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
(856) 424-1100 ext. 11
sgustavsen@accessintel.com
www.telecomtactics.com

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