TMCnet Feature
September 04, 2012

Vertical Communications Promotes 'Applications Inside' Architecture

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, Business VoIP

IP telephony provider Vertical Communications, headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA (News - Alert), is getting the word out about their flexible, customizable, multilocation solutions for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) and larger enterprises with distributed locations.

Vertical Communications (News - Alert) is the consolidation of four historically well-respected telephone vendors, Artisoft, Vertical Networks, Comdial and Vodavi, and has been streamlining its product lines for a number of years. Now, the company has officially discontinued all legacy products (multi-year support is available) and is completely focused on new opportunities to sell and upgrade its three going-forward platforms:

  • WAVE (News - Alert) IP, the company’s lead telephony and unified communications (UC) platform; handles up to 500 users in a single appliance
  • MBX IP, a larger IP key system (handles up to 324 users)
  • SBX IP, an entry-level IP key system (handles up to 48 users)

Vertical remains committed to its long-time customers. All of the currently sold systems support various legacy telephone sets from the original product lines, allowing earlier customers to continue using some of their existing phone investment when migrating to one of the current platforms. SBX IP and MBX IP are sold in North America, while WAVE IP is a global offer available in North America, EMEA, APAC and Latin America.


Vertical’s slogan, “It’s what’s inside that counts,” highlights the unique advantage of the flagship WAVE IP system that incorporates the company’s ‘Applications Inside’ architecture. The UC and IP-PBX appliance embeds all applications within the system software for a single license fee. Most of the functionality is standard, while a few of the more advanced applications require license key activation. No additional hardware is needed for any of the applications, making it a true, single box solution (it is possible to stack expansion units for additional digital and analog capacity above the native analog/digital support, but all IP connectivity is handled within the single box).

The big savings comes from the WAVE IP user license which lists for $100 per user. This is a full license that includes support for all enterprise telephony features, voicemail and mobile twinning, as well as all of the built-in applications, including Vertical’s ViewPoint desktop call management application for PC-based access to telephone features, message management, call recording and archiving, conferencing, viewing presence status information and exchanging instant messages with other ViewPoint users. ViewPoint Softphone is also included and can be used as a primary phone (license required) or as a secondary phone (no license required). The latest WAVE IP software (R3.0) adds another license-activated application, WAVE ViewPoint Mobile, which is downloadable to an Apple iOS device (Android later in 2012) and gives users convenient access to ViewPoint functionality with their mobile device.

In addition to WAVE IP’s built-in applications, there are three add-on applications that can be installed and activated with additional licenses: (1) Wave Contact Center ($250 per agent), (2) Call Classifier for database look-ups and (3) WaveNet for networking up to 100 systems. Call Classifier and WaveNet are server licenses, so a single license supports all users. No extra hardware is required for this functionality which translates into cost savings over competing vendors’ similar offers.

Vertical explains their philosophy: Get applications into the user’s hands and they will use them. Other vendors offer applications ‘a la carte’ which are often too expensive for a customer to try without having prior knowledge about whether these will actually benefit their business or not.


Vertical offers two IP key systems developed by LG- Electronics and sold in North America.  Both systems support legacy Vertical, Vodavi and Comdial phones, allowing customers retain some of their existing equipment investment when migrating to one of these newer platforms.

SBX IP was first introduced in 2008 as a forward-looking alternative to Vertical’s Starplus STS key system (formerly from Vodavi) and DX-120 key system (formerly from Comdial) that do not support IP telephony. SBX IP targets the under-20 user business (though it can handle up to 48 extensions) and enables hundreds of telephony features, plus support for IP networking, IP telephones and SIP trunks.

MBX IP is a large IP key system that followed in January 2011. MBX-IP targets businesses that require 20-200 extensions (though it can scale to 384 extensions) and has a particular niche in the hospitality market as the latest MBX IP software (R1.7) supports package of hospitality features and a Property Management System (PMS) interface. MBX IP is also a good fit for growing businesses that currently deploy the company’s SBX IP key system or a legacy key system from Comdial or Vodavi, or for multi-site networking where the MBX IP is installed at a headquarters location and the SBX IP at the branch sites.

MBX IP has some additional functionality over and above the SBX IP, including unified messaging (voicemail-to-e-mail), PC-based calling, find me / follow me, ACD, support for more tenant groups (nine partitions), multi-site networking (72 sites) and the hospitality package.

On the Roadmap

New capabilities are in development for each of Vertical’s going-forward platforms. Additional solutions for MBX IP are on the roadmap for later in 2012, including a Compact UC Application (IM, presence, multi-party video and web conferencing) and an IP DECT (News - Alert) system. SBX IP has an upcoming release (R4.0) which will enhance voicemail capabilities, improve call processing and support additional legacy phone types. And, Vertical is developing a new ‘all mobile’ version of its flagship WAVE IP due out in early 2013; the new WAVE IP version will support only mobile extensions.  

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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