Comms Business Magazine examines the latest products on the market from budget handsets to top end feature phones as well as soft phone variants to provide resellers with a range of choices to consider for their customers.
The SIP phone market in the UK channel is hotting up. This summer a new entrant, Vtech, announced their intention to sell a new range of SIP phones through the channel and fired the first shots in a skirmish that is set to at least intrigue us.
VTech is no small fry; having 30,000 employees and a turnover approaching $2 billion, the Hong Kong headquartered firm would appear to have the muscle to make an impact in most markets. However, a launch announcement that the company would be offering a three-year warranty for their SIP phones was then almost immediately trumped by a lifetime warranty introduction from Yealink. So, that’s good news for users.
With SIP trunks gaining ever more market share in the UK at the expense of ISDN the SIP phone sales are riding high on the wave being created. The same could be said to a degree for headsets as SIP trunks are often associated with computer telephony.
Roy Stephenson, SIP Brand Manager at Trust Distribution, says it is encouraging to see that growth in the world of SIP remains strong.
“Both hosted voice and IPPBX are now considered mainstream technologies, offering huge cost and flexibility benefits over more traditional counterparts.
With new service providers entering the market all the time, all looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors, there is a need to stand out from the crowd. The growth and diversity of our market provides a fantastic environment for a new entrant to the handset space like VTech, coming up against the more established brands who have a few years’ head start. Competition like this encourages everyone to raise their game and we approach it with relish.”
Yealink UK’s general manager Steve Watts comments, “Yealink UK is enjoying phenomenal growth with sales right across our handset range up 60 per cent year-on-year, far outpacing the wider market. Much of that is being fuelled by our ITSP partners, which highlights just how fast the hosted market is growing and the significant opportunities it presents for further expansion.
We anticipate too that our recently launched lifetime guarantee which covers all of our latest generation handsets, will engender further confidence in the brand and help sustain our impressive sales momentum.
The strength and pace of our growth also clearly dispels the myth once propagated that desktop handsets would be obsolete and replaced by mobile and soft phones.”
Gigaset Pro says the company has found that with the installation of more reliable network connections the uptake of IP and SIP is continuing to increase.
“In the SME market this is especially prevalent as businesses more and more require: homeworkers/road warriors, scalability, redundancy and management and IP based telephony is the only way to efficiently manage all these aspects.
With the improved feature sets, easier deployment and the obvious cost savings over ISDN, the move to SIP is becoming the de-facto choice when looking at telecoms.
The report of ISDN’s death is an exaggeration, so migration over to SIP with TDM backup is still a big requirement. Gigaset’s PBX range gives you the ability to utilise all the benefits of SIP but still have the traditional ISDN backup, making your migration over to VoIP an easy transition.
With businesses investing in improved network infrastructure, Gigaset devices that support Gigabit with CLI pass through and Wi-Fi connections are now a necessity to be able to utilise this.
DECT installations either connected on site or hosted are continuing to increase. Our customers are finding that Wi-Fi with its congested 2.4GHz range and its poor distance coverage at 5Ghz, is either very expensive or just not good enough when compared to DECT.
More and more requests we receive are about Mobile connectivity so with the launch of Gigaset mobile we will be well placed to integrate this requirement.
With all of us looking forward to the IoT (Internet of Things) with Gigaset Business systems, Gigaset Mobile and Gigaset Elements we will be at the forefront of the connected world.”
Darren Hilton, Director of Partner Services at Timico, observes that in his opinion we are still a way off a completely virtual office as users will continue to want a physical phone on their desk, something tangible and trusted.
“However, we are seeing a growth in softphone users because of the flexibility it offers. Softphones make it easier for ‘mobile workers’ who work on the move, from different offices or are home-based. These people often
encounter unplanned or emergency situations, situations where they would really appreciate the comfort of their desktop phone! Softphone features are getting better all the time, which adds a level of security and assurance for the remote worker.
The introduction of more UC features and mobile working isn’t necessarily a threat to the handset market, but it is driving a change in the features and technology developments we are seeing at the moment.”
Alexis Argent, Founder and Director VoIPon Solutions believes it will be interesting to see what develops in the market over the coming year.
“Yealink are continuing to grow but we are also seeing new brands such as Akuvox enter the market with experience gained from companies such as Yealink and Cisco. This is making for an extremely disruptive marketplace, so it will be great to see what develops.
VoIP phones will be more closely integrated with the mobile Internet. Larger screens and use of the Android OS will become very important in future trends. As a result of this, global pioneers Akuvox are collaborating with many third-party application providers to improve the communication experience for both corporate and individual users continuously.”
Darren Garland, Managing Director of ProVu Communications, says that over the last 12 months his firm has experienced no major changes in the SIP phone market other than an increase in demand.
“We are seeing extensive growth in sales of SIP phones which are primarily being deployed in hosted solutions with some also being deployed in IPPBX systems.”
Maria Stoitsi, Marketing Communications Manager at 3CX, points to an expansion of WebRTC features as a catalyst for SIP phones.
“WebRTC: WebRTC technology has been making the headlines over the last two years and now we see more and more vendors developing business communication solutions leveraging this technology.
The WebRTC Market Status and Forecast Report September 2015 update sees the enterprise user-base adoption of WebRTC steadily rising until 2019. WebRTC is a technology that takes web conferencing communication up to a new level by getting rid of any additional clients and plug-ins that are traditionally needed for video conferencing – now simply using a browser-to-browser interface. 3CX was an early forerunner in adopting WebRTC and with 3CX WebMeeting the company is showing how easy it is to use advanced communication features on a daily basis to satisfy business needs and experience additional cost savings.”
VTech VSP735A – ErisTerminal Feature Deskset – RRP £99.99 + VAT
Sitting at the top of VTech’s ErisTerminal range of three desk phones, the VSP735A provides high-end functionality at a mid-range price. It offers 5 SIP accounts, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, HD audio via handset, headset and speaker, as well as 32 programmable features.
For extra mobility, the VSP735A’s in-built DECT module enables the connection of both the VSP500A DECT headset, and the VSP601A DECT cordless handset, meaning you can stay in touch right round the office.
Compatible with BroadSoft and Asterisk, plus a range of auto-provisioning options and access to VTech’s redirection server make deployment speedy and efficient, even in large quantities.
VSP600A – VTech ErisTerminal SIP DECT Handset, Base and Charger – RRP £69.99 + VAT
With 6 SIP accounts and support for 5 extra VSP601A DECT handsets, the VSP600A provides a lot for a small price. It has superb audio over a range of up to 150 metres and a generous battery life of 7 days standby and 7 hours of talk time. This, coupled with a large business-focussed feature set, make the VPS600A a serious option in the B2B marketplace.
With the same set-up and auto provisioning support as the rest of the VTech ErisTerminal range, the VSP600A completes a simple, sensible set of SIP phones for business.
Yealink CP860 Conference Phone – RRP £499 + VAT
Equipped with 400 millisecond acoustic echo cancelling technology for superior call quality, this stylish model is designed to service the high volume small and medium sized room segment, with an RRP of just £499.99 further increasing its appeal within the enterprise sector.
Offering a 10 metre reach utilising the optional expansion microphones to support up to 16 users it can be easily connected to laptops and both mobile and desk phones.
Polycom VVX 500
Designed to adapt to ever-changing work environments, the Polycom VVX 500 has a range of features to improve business communications and productivity thanks to its smartphone-style interface, high definition audio, integrated Bluetooth and ‘plug and play’ functionality. What’s more, by supporting expansion models for applications such as video conferencing, it’s perfectly placed to grow and develop in line with the needs of your business. It also serves as an application platform that complements the applications on the user’s computer, as well as enabling staff to keep up with multi-tasking and busy schedules.
VP-T49G Touchscreen Video – RRP 512.50 + VAT
The executive level VP-T49G videophone features a generous and highly responsive 20cm (8”) 1280 x 800 pixel colour touchscreen which, combined with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, ensure exceptional ease of access to an extensive feature set.
Fresh to market it incorporates a full HD camera – 1080@30fps – coupled with enhanced audio courtesy of Yealink’s own Optima acoustic performance technology. Featuring dual-port Gigabit Ethernet this particularly elegant model supports up to 16 SIP accounts and hosts 29 one-touch DSS keys.
Carrying an RRP of just £512.50 it also further confirms Yealink’s reputation for delivering premium quality at an affordable price.
Gigaset Pro Maxwell 10 – RRP £529.95 + VAT
Gigaset Pro’s Maxwell 10 is an HD video telephone with a touchscreen and the Android operating system, including Internet connectivity with full telephony features. This all-in-one business communication device does it all – from high-quality corded, DECT and VoIP communication to videoconferencing, emailing, web browsing, business apps and more.
Combining the power, convenience, and expandability of a multi-featured, multi touch-enabled mobile computing platform with the superb comfort and sound quality of traditional desktop telephony, the Maxwell 10 has access to over 600,000 business apps to suit every professional taste ushering in a whole new era of advanced communication solutions.
Timico Synergy Soft Client
With employees spending more and more time away from their physical desks, it’s even more important to give them the tools they need to stay in contact. Timico Synergy UC, powered by Genband Nuvia, is loaded onto the customer’s PC, with versions available for tablets and mobiles too. The desktop client can make and receive phone and video calls and is loaded with useful collaboration tools including presence, instant messaging, whiteboard and file transfer features. Synergy soft client can also be used to control the desktop phone, allowing the user to make calls on the soft client that can be taken on the hard client.
Snom D765 RRP 298 Euros
The D765 featuresa high-resolution colour display and is equipped with an extremely versatile XML Browser. The integrated Ethernet switch allows VLAN and IEEE 802.3 connectivity. This IP phone supports up to twelve different SIP user accounts. Custom authentication methods offer protection for mission critical communications in the workplace. Designed for the busy office environment the Snom D765 supports multiple audio devices, and the built-in Bluetooth compatibility enables easy connection for wireless headsets. Includes future proofing features such as including IPv4/Pv6 dual stack support, and both Gigabit Ethernet and USB connectivity.
Snom D375 RRP 298 Euros
The Snom D375 offers a high quality office telephone in a much sought-after European design. With clearly arranged function assignment, 12 programmable + 10 dedicated function keys for rapid access, a speakerphone, and the newly designed colour display, the D375 is an ideal solution for office use. The D375 simultaneously supports multiple audio devices. Built-in Bluetooth compatibility enables easy connection for wireless headsets. A high-resolution graphical display provides a high quality presentation of call lists and the corporate phone book, as well as publication of 3rd party applications such as news tickers and information from the internet using the integrated XML mini browser.
3CX iPhone & Android Client
3CX Phone System is a Windows-based IP PBX that replaces a proprietary hardware PBX. It is based on the SIP standard, making it easier to manage and can be used with many SIP Phones. 3CXPhone for Windows and Mac clients allows calls to be managed easily from your desktop, enabling the communication infrastructure to be hardware vendor-independent.
The 3CXPhone clients for iOS, Android and Windows Phone 10 increases the mobility and productivity of employees as they have the option to use the phone system when on the road or at home.
With a 7-inch or larger touch screen, like that on the Akuvox VP-R47P, users can easily view the corporate directory, click to make audio or video calls and send and receive instant messages. Furthermore, it is easy to participate in audio and video conferences. This is a far better experience than offered by traditional VoIP phones and can largely improve corporate communication efficiency.
This is a crowded market that is set for a frenetic period of activity over the coming years. Expect to see new models come to market at a faster pace and even more suppliers enter the fray for market share. Highly competitive markets are generally very good for resellers as there will be offers and promotions a-plenty.