Snom Goes End to End

Cover Story

Snom Goes End to End

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines  |  May 01, 2011

This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

Snom is well known as a provider of IP phones. But if you think this company is just a desktop phone outfit, think again. Snom has evolved to deliver a broad set of IP communications solutions and applications.

The company formally set out in this direction with the introduction of IP PBX (News - Alert) software back in October of 2010. The IP PBX solution, called snom ONE, provides customers with a software-based IP telephony system that supports all the functionality of snom IP phones.

"In the past we’ve experienced problems with customers missing out on some of the key features delivered by our phones, due to the installed IP PBX systems," says Jonathan Greenwood, snom ONE product manager and managing director of snom UK Ltd. "With snom ONE, our customers can continue to install and run our VoIP phones on every SIP-based PBX, whilst having additional access to a series of easy to install telephony systems, perfectly tailored to our phones. This is our response to the many compelling requests by resellers and users in recent years.”

Mike Storella (News - Alert), snom’s chief operating officer, says that the snom PBXs can emulate key system operation in all snom phones, adding that not all IP PBXs support shared lines. He says the end-to-end snom solution also can support more busy lamp interconnection, and, over time, snom will develop some cool new features designed to leverage applications using both its IP PBXs and phones.

The snom ONE solution is available in three versions, all of which offer the same features. The product called snom ONE free is downloadable free of charge for up to 10 extensions. There also are two resale systems. The snom ONE yellow version addresses applications involving up to 20 extensions. Meanwhile, snom ONE blue supports an unlimited number of extensions and multi-tenant applications involving up to five companies.

Storella says that there have been thousands of downloads worldwide for the free version. Meanwhile, hundreds of the PBX software packages – which are available in 60 countries via 200 distributors – have been sold.

“So we’ve had a lot of success,” says Storella. “Clearly our distributors took up the software very rapidly.”

Now snom is busy educating its distribution channel on a new hardware-based PBX solution the company unveiled this spring.

Snom ONE plus is a new hardware-based version of the company’s snom ONE IP PBX. It’s targeted at organizations with five to 150 extensions. And snom says it is one of the most scalable and easy to install systems on the market.

The snom ONE plus provides VARs with a plug-and-play hardware appliance for business IP telephony that is pre-installed and configured with snom ONE IP PBX software. That enables easy deployment with snom business IP desktop phones and endpoints, including the snom 3xx series, snom 8xx series, snom m9 DECT (News - Alert) phones, and snom MeetingPoint conference phone.

Snom says that this solution provides small and medium size businesses all the advanced IP PBX functionality they need today and positions them with all the features they’ll require well into the future. That includes a centralized address book, auto attendants, hunt groups, hot desking, shared line emulation and CRM integration. It also entails various advanced presence and monitoring features, such as remote extension monitoring, agent groups, remote worker support and cell phone twinning.

This kind of scale and flexibility at this price point “is unheard of in the industry and ensures that growing businesses won’t have to replace their entire telephony system if they grow beyond a certain point or need to change connectivity platforms,” says Greenwood.

Storella adds that the snom One plus offers VARs a total solution for the easy and efficient deployment of IP communications at a price point that provides value for their SMB customers.

“By offering a fully integrated system including hardware, full-featured IP PBX software and a full suite of IP phones and endpoints, VARs can accelerate installation and focus on building their own businesses,” he says.

This nice little 2U device can be wall mounted or installed in a rack, Storella adds, and it’s great for VARs and installers that don’t want to make choices relative to hardware. And it’s tested, full featured and is priced to include the full array of features, he notes.

The snom ONE plus became available in North America as of March of 2011 through snom’s distributors and value added resellers, and comes with a three-year hardware warranty. It actually comes in two versions. The snom ONE plus yellow was designed for installations with up to 20 extensions. The snom ONE plus blue is for customers that need to support up to 150 extensions.

These solid-state appliances also support SIP trunk or multi-functional PSTN connectivity, allowing for multiple termination options, including analog, PRI, BRI, T1 and E1, expandable from 4 Port FXO to 16 Ports, from 2 Ports BRI to 6 BRI, or from ISDN to T1/E1.

Pricing varies depending on configuration, but it ranges from about $2,100 (for the lowest-cost hardware-based yellow solution) to less than $4,000 (for a high-end blue solution).

“The price is very attractive,” says Storella, adding that’s between 20 and 40 percent less expensive than what the competition delivers. “It’s under $4,000 – and that’s list.”

Of course, these new hardware-based IP PBXs are just part of what snom offers.

“It’s a tool in our bag to present to customers that are doing IP communications,” says Storella.

Meanwhile, snom continues to add to its intelligent endpoints and devices, with which the company is on its fourth generation.

Earlier this year announced today that its executive business phone, the snom 821, has been tested and approved by Microsoft (News - Alert) Corp. for interoperability with Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 R2, and is being tested for use with Microsoft Lync 2010.

“We have always been keenly focused on interoperability in all our products, so achieving qualification of the snom 821 with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 marks the next step of closer interoperability with Microsoft environments, adding new functionality to the snom OCS edition firmware,” says Michael Knieling (News - Alert), executive vice president of marketing and sales, snom technology. “The snom 821 is our most popular executive-class phone and with a full color display and HD audio codecs, it is a great phone to take advantage of all the benefits of a Microsoft OCS 2007 R2 environment.”

The snom 821 has a high-resolution TFT color display. It can display presence, supports speed dialing of client contacts, and hosts a gigabit Ethernet switch. Capable of supporting up to 12 accounts, snom says this the only phone in the market that can concurrently operate in a mixed environment of Microsoft OCS R2 and SIP on a single phone, offering maximum flexibility to the end customer.

“This qualification with Microsoft as part of its Compatible Device Program is a great reference point for resellers and distributors who need an advanced, business-class desktop phone that is tested with Microsoft OCS 2007 R2,” says Storella.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi