Business telephony has changed so much in the last decade that anyone familiar with it in 2004 might no longer recognize the landscape. Enterprise VoIP telephony, once a cutting-edge curiosity, is now business-as-usual. With the basic technology in place, vendors have been differentiating themselves from one another by offering value-added services and unique feature sets.
At the recent ITEXPO held in Miami in January, TMC’s Erik Linask took a moment to sit down with Mike Storella, VP of the Americas for VoIP business phone provider snom. The Woburn, Massachusetts-based company recently introduced its 715 IP Phone designed to be an entry-level but feature-rich addition to its existing line of SIP telephones, offering enterprise-class capabilities, including a dual port gigabit Ethernet switch, and the ability to meet the unified messaging and VoIP telephony needs of today’s companies. Storella discussed the phone in his discussion with Linask.
“It’s actually the lowest entry price for a gigabit phone for the enterprise,” said Storella. “It’ll do four lines, it has a USB on it. It will actually do Wi-Fi, and it has a two-year warranty, and the MSRP is $139. So it’s very affordable – THE most affordable, I believe – gigabit phone today.”
Currently, the company’s 700 series has four models in it, all designed to meet various enterprise needs. Storella notes that to fit every need and every want for people in the VoIP end point business, companies need to have a portfolio of phones that suit different needs, depending on how heavily they use the telephone.
“Somebody who’s in a cubicle who makes one or two phone calls a day really needs an inexpensive phone compared to, say, a sales person who needs a color screen, lots of buttons, bells and whistles, to make sure they can get customers what they need,” said Storella.
We may be in the wireless age, but the desk phone is still an enormous productivity tool, particularly as these phones get more sophisticated and become the cornerstone for unified communications (UC). Voice over IP, of course, allows you to locate a work-related desk phone almost anywhere, including the home office.
Storella notes that many companies initially go for lower end VoIP phones to save on costs, but are often swayed into buying phones with more capabilities once they see the UC features. Even with the more advanced features, VoIP phones offer many companies cost savings over their traditional telephony systems.
“We’ve heard over the years that it’s a 30 percent to 40 percent savings [over traditional telephony],” said Storella. “The CapEx [capital expenditures] is cheaper, the operating expenses are cheaper with voice over IP. For almost any kind of size company, if the CFO does an ROI on a VoIP system replacement, they’re going to be saving a lot more money. Throw in SIP trunks, and you can see the whole package being really attractive for lowering your operating costs.”
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