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Mind Share
August 2002

Marc Robins

Mitel Powers Ahead


A lot of fuss has been made over the past several years about first-mover advantage the competitive advantage a company gains by being first to market with an innovative technology, product, or service.

Mitel Networks (www.mitel.com) ascendance into the enterprise IP telephony marketplace proves that such rules of thumb should always be taken with grains of salt. While other old-line phone system vendors launched pre-emptive press releases and pushed IP upgrade kits and first-generation IP phone systems into the market as placeholders, Mitel quietly embarked on a top to bottom transformation into a wholly IP-centric communications systems provider.

Akin to Bill Gates now famous Internet e-mail to Microsoft employees, Mitel co-founder Terry Matthews and CEO Don Smith directed all staff to refocus their development efforts 180 degrees on IP telephony, and embrace the new technology as the future of the company.

The results have been nothing short of remarkable. In a few short years, Mitel has developed an impressive array of IP PBXs, including one of the most extensive lines of IP phones, appliances, and peripherals on the market today.

Although in this case, it appears that is was better to be late than first to market, Mitel is no stranger to firsts. Founded in 1972, in Kanata, Ontario by two young British engineers, Michael Cowpland and Terry Matthews, Mitel was one of the first companies to successfully execute on a vision of applying microelectronic technology to the PBX industry. This vision came to fruition in 1978, with the debut of Mitels revolutionary SX-200 PBX system. Then, in 1983, Mitel introduced the Superset 4, the first telephone to combine soft keys with a visual display. A year later, in 1984, the company introduced its large-scale SX 2000 PBX.

Today, the company stands ready to leverage their enviable installed base of loyal customers ready to migrate to VoIP and a wealth of collaborative computing, conferencing, and other innovative IP-based applications without losing the feature sets they have come to enjoy.

Mitels IP Platforms
Mitel Networks 3100 Integrated Communications Platform (ICP) delivers on the companys long-standing commitment to small enterprises, providing a business communications system, local-area network, and gateway to the Web, all in a single platform. The 3100 ICP includes such features as integrated auto-attendant, voice mail, router and power sensitive hub, IP-based telephony, and innovative management tools and applications.

Mitel Networks 3300 Integrated Communications Platform (ICP) provides a step up in feature-rich, reliable, and scalable voice-over-IP communications for the medium to large enterprise. Also notable is the 3340 Branch Office Solution, used to extend corporate network features and benefits to the branch office. Part of the 3300 ICP family, the 3340 addresses the needs of the branch office, providing tight networking, feature transparency, and survivability across a multi-site environment. The 3340 delivers a powerful blend of robust call control, innovative management tools, and a range of intuitive applications such as visual voice mail, speech-enabled services, contact center solutions and push of a button IP video conferencing either locally or across a wide area connection.

The new 3050 Integrated Communications Platform is built upon a powerful combination of SIP and Linux, providing small businesses (up to eight users) with voice and data communications, wired and wireless local-area network, and an integrated network server solution. Based on the companys SME Server V5, the 3050 ICP also includes a Web server, file and print sharing, collaboration tools, and browser-based management. Optionally, small businesses can use Mitel Networks ServiceLink, with capabilities such as 24x7 monitoring, automatic anti-virus updates, along with touch of a button applications downloaded from a centrally managed applications management center. The 3050 ICP will be generally available in Q4.

Most recently, Mitel announced the IP migration option for the SX-200 PBX. This offering, to be available in Q4, will enable SX-200 customers to benefit from powerful new capabilities such as IP networking for branch offices and telecommuting for remote workers. Mitel Networks can now provide its over 100,000-strong SX-200 customer base with a seamless migration path to IP.

Dont Forget The Phones
The power of Mitels ICPs is further harnessed through the companys 5000 series of IP phones and peripherals. I count at least eight new sets in the lineup, with a variety of features and functionality, which makes for one of the broadest offerings available.

One of the most intriguing phone sets in the bunch is the 5230 IP Appliance a phone set that allows users to dock their Compaq iPAQ directly into the phone. This feature provides immediate hot sync capabilities and allows users to have seamless location transparency within the office. Users can associate any workstation as their own, as once the PDA is docked all user preferences are transferred to that workstation. In addition users can also benefit from new Windows CE-based desktop applications such as portable voice mail and dial by address book. Support is also planned for other PDAs, such as Palms, in subsequent versions.

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