IP telephony is here to stay and now provides the PBX channel with the opportunity to offer customers a host of powerful new applications as well as lower call charges. More and more companies are offering a hassle-free migration path now as well as a host of applications that add value to the end-user’s service. Although, the majority of PBX systems being used today are still legacy TDM, the market is starting to migrate to IP and resellers and their end-users are already reaping the benefits.
This new market offers a host of services with companies like Gamma Telecom offering the PBX channel a portfolio of products that can be immediately sold to the SME market. Launched earlier this year, IPDirectConnect from Gamma allows end-users’ equipment to connect to Gamma’s IP network enabling full PSTN connectivity. The service is viewed as a direct replacement for ISDN, but unlike ISDN it is fully scalable and allows channel partners to select the exact number of voice channels they require, therefore eliminating charges for unused channels. It also offers a number of value added features such as providing DDI number ranges and CLI presentation as well as number portability and geographical independence.
Richard Bligh, marketing manager for Gamma Telecom, comments that, “The sales of IP telephony to the SME market are accelerating each month. The business and productivity benefits are easily identifiable and more end-users are requesting to migrate. This leaves PBX suppliers in a strong position to offer not just equipment but be able to easily restructure their business to provide value-added IP services and low cost calls. The key to success though is working with the right partner.” Bligh continues, “Gamma is dedicated to providing its channel partners with a portfolio of solutions that are easily integrated and thoroughly tested with leading IP-PBXs. This approach meets the requirements of all SMEs and makes the end-user migration smooth and simple.”
With alternative IP-PBX equipment available on the market, compatibility is an issue. However, the market has seen extensive conformance testing. Gamma has a conformance program whereby it undertakes a series of inter-working tests between its own IPDirectConnect service and leading PBX hardware on the market. This has seen companies like Samsung able to confidently sell their new ranges of IP-PBX equipment with the IPDirectConnect service, making the experience for both the PBX channel and end-user an enjoyable and hassle-free migration.
The fast growing market also offers opportunities for resellers with existing legacy PBX systems installed. End-users that are looking to move to IP but retain their existing equipment with a PSTN fail-over can be offered a low-cost solution for using their existing PBX to send voice calls over IP. Gamma offers the PBX channel a product called ‘Converter’, which delivers cost effective, reliable, and secure IP Telephony to legacy PBX’s. Acting as an IP Gateway it uses Gamma’s IP DirectConnect as its primary connection method, whilst providing back-up over the PSTN using any remaining ISDN connections. Converter enables PBX companies to offer a low cost alternative to purchasing a new IP-PBX and gives end-users the opportunity to use IP telephony with a fall back to ISDN or even choose to route some calls through IP while assessing the service. This solution enables a more cautious approach for end-users who can rationalise their ISDN channels and have both technologies running together. This costs less for end-users in many cases, gives them a risk free migration path, and opens up the resellers’ addressable market to all businesses with PBXs.
Although, IP-telephony is not as widely adopted as traditional legacy telephony, the market is accelerating at lightning pace and the opportunities for the PBX channel are evident. IP-telephony is no longer a technology for large enterprises and the SME market is healthy. The only challenge that the PBX industry faces is integrating IP-services into its portfolio quickly by working with the right partners like Gamma Telecom, who are developing new applications and services with the channel in mind.