PBX Round-Up

PBX Round Up

UK analysts MZA has recently published their Q1 2005 figures for the PBX market where they show that a fter marginal growth in 2004, Q1 2005 proved to be a tough quarter and the results were somewhat disappointing as the total PBX/IP PBX market slumped 5% compared to Q1 2004 and indeed fell by 12% in the below 100 extensions market.

According to MZA Business Development Manager Stephanie Watson better news was to be found at the higher end of the market as the above 100 extensions market grew by 7%, “Although this growth was only registered in the market segments above 500 extensions – the 101 to 250 extensions market and the 251 to 500 extensions market did not escape the declines seen elsewhere. This meant also that there was more of a shift to the above 100 extensions market, which in Q1 2005 accounted for 40% of the total market. In contrast, in Q1 2004, the above 100 extensions market accounted for 36% of the total extensions sold in the PBX/IP PBX marketplace. The total amount of extensions sold in the UK in Q1 2005 was just shy of 600,000.”

BT continues to lead the market as they claimed a 27% share of the supplier market, which translates to a number spot for Nortel in the manufacturer market share table. Avaya, despite a disappointing quarter, still comes in second with a 12% market share and Siemens is ranked third in the Q1 2005 UK PBX market.

The picture is slightly different in the below 100 extensions market, where Panasonic claimed the number spot, followed by Nortel and then Avaya with 11%. The above 100 extensions market is dominated by Nortel, who retain pole position, followed by Cisco Systems with a 19% market share and Avaya had to settle for third place with 13%. This is different to Q1 2004, where Cisco Systems were number three – in the same period of last year, their share in the above 100 extensions market sat at 14%.

Looking at systems, Lake Communications is the market leader in Q1 2005, Panasonic comes in second and Nortel third in the total UK PBX/IP PBX market.

 
IP Extensions Market
Q1 2005 was a good quarter as far as the IP extensions market was concerned. The volume of IP extensions shipped increased by 50% compared to the same period last year and Nortel and Cisco Systems both performed very well in this market. IP extensions accounted for almost 20% of the total extensions that were shipped in the UK market and Cisco Systems has an almost 40% share of these extensions. Nortel accounts for around 20% and Mitel for 17%. The growth in IP extensions in the below 100 extensions market was less than expected, as volumes here increased by only 2% compared to the same quarter of last year, so nearly all the growth came in the above 100 extensions market. BT did extremely well and supplied more than a quarter of the IP extensions to the UK market, which is an improvement when compared to Q1 2004.
 
Mitel

The significant news from Mitel this quarter has been Release 6 for their 3300 IP Communications Platform (ICP). Release 6 delivers an increase in its addressable market, allowing scalability from under 10 up to 65,000 users.

Highlights of the new features include the introduction of a touch screen IP phone, the Mitel 5235. The phone has built in applications to increase user productivity and enhance customer service, is intuitive to use and provides easy access to features and capabilities of the system. The screen based

Mitel 5230 Phone – 3300 Release 6

built in applications include; Phone, People, Messages / Visual Voice mail, Call History, Settings and Applications.

From a technical perspective Mitel has increased the overall capacity of the system – resulting in less hardware being required – and provided additional resilience features. New system data synchronisation allows common data to be automatically shared across a network between 3300 ICP controllers which simplifies administration processes.

Secure communications is a key consideration for Mitel and Version 6.0 extends e ncrypt ion across the entire Mitel IP d esktop portfolio . Voice is protected by s ecure RTP ( Real Time Protocol) using 128 bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with call control encrypted using Mitel’s Secure MiNET (AES).

 
Siemens

This quarter also sees the launch by Siemens Communications of version 5.0 of the HiPath 3000 platform, enabling resellers to provide SME customers with an enterprise-grade IP communications platform. Version 5.0 is designed to meet the specific performance and budgetary requirements of companies with up to 500 employees, providing them with the benefits of IP infrastructure and enabling them to utilise the burgeoning number of applications capable of delivering significant business process enhancements.

With version 5.0, SMEs can make use of IP telephony and other IP functionality, including hot desking and home working services for flexible working.  Such solutions can help SMEs increase productivity whilst enhancing the customer experience.   New IP features combined with new security and resilience functions enable SMEs to safely s tretch their networks to multiple locations, giving employees increased freedom and flexibility.

The launch of version 5.0 also sees the introduction of the HiPath 3800, a highly resilient system with enhanced processing power and redundant power options, capable of supporting up to 500 IP users. An upgrade path to even larger numbers of users has been built in, as HiPath 3000 systems can also operate as a gateway to the new HiPath 5000 Softswitch.  Other new hardware with on-board voice mail and licensed options enable customers to start with a cost effective, inclusive solution and grow as required.

 
Panasonic
Panasonic has entered a new market sector with launch of their 1000+ Extension Hybrid IP PBX System the KX-TDA600. Panasonic say that this takes their successful KX-TDA product range into the 250-1000 extension market sector, “The KX-TDA600 hybrid IP-PBX provides a complete communications solution to the 250+ extension market. Improving efficiency and combining multiple applications, it integrates people with a phone system and IT infrastructure.

Packed with features, the KX-TDA600 is ideal for many different applications, such as Hospitality, Call Centres and IP Networking. It also allows for greater efficiency, as DECT and IP Handsets can provide mobility or flexibility around the office, site or network. The KXTA600 can also combine effectively with voicemail and integrate with e-mail.”

The vendor adds that for existing Panasonic KX-TDA users, the TDA600 is compatible with other models in the range, allowing customers to upgrade to the new system and still make use of current handsets and network cards, as well as not having the inconvenience of learning about a new telephone system.

 
Alcatel

Trevor Evans, business development manager, Alcatel told us that sales of their OmniPCX Office increase 15% in 2005 over the previous year, and particularly high sales levels for systems with 30-40 extensions.

“After much hyping, the PBX market for SMEs is finally starting to make a steady shift towards IP and applications. Alcatel is seeing the increased use of IP trunking between sites to eliminate public network costs. Using IP telephones on the LAN is taking slightly longer to pick up in the SME sector, as the benefits aren’t perhaps as easy to quantify.”

As far as integrated or converged applications for their channel partners Evans lists out Voice mail, DECT for mobility, softphone application for PC desktop telephony, screen-popping from user databases such as Outlook, unified messaging, ACD for small call centre operations, internet access, and email server.

 
SpliceCom

Director of Product Management Robin Hayman confirms his view that the latest data from industry analysts MZA indicates the Pure IP PBX sector of the UK marketplace is the only one exhibiting growth, “With traditional TDM and hybrid TDM/IP (often called IP Enabled) PBXs both exhibiting a quarter-on-quarter sales decline SpliceCom have taken a 14% share of the emerging UK IP PBX market with their maximiser pure IP business telephone system.”

Hayman takes up the story. “As businesses and smaller businesses in particular, become more educated about the real differences that IP can bring to their day-to-day operations, our resellers tell us that they have noticed a significant shift in the type of questions they are being asked at the point-of-sale. Whereas, even at the end of last year, they were being asked about the benefits of IP telephony over traditional digital or analogue based systems, now the questioning is around the comparison of pure IP PBXs such as maximiser, with IP Enabled/Hybrid PBXs. This is more subtle in terms of positioning – but is far more significant in terms of the actual business benefits that a company deploying such a solution can deliver.

Experience has shown us that there’s a far shorter sales cycle when dealing with a business that has already got some “hands-on” experience of IP Telephony – be it with IP Enabled or first Generation IP only products – then those who are changing out a traditional TDM phone system.

 
Aastra

Aastra Product Manager Mike Ballantine says that the market for PBX systems up to 40 extensions could see the use of Skype as a requirement in their telephone systems. “We therefore see SIP trunks as a major opportunity with incoming presence for numbers and massive LCR opportunities. This disruptive technology will shake the marketplace. Equally Wi-Fi could represent an opportunity.”

Ballantine also sees CTI as a major channel opportunity, “But not sold as CTI. Aastra sees MS Outlook as the entrée into making telephony simpler, simple screen based dial out options via Outlook and calendar information integration will provide useful benefits to users etc.”

IntelliGate i6.5 and i6.6 (recently developed and introduced) are focused on providing VoIP to these customers, be they remote workers or multi sites that require networking – we can now provide a total seamless solution with centralised resources – this offering provides the end user customer with an ideal solution that not only saves money but improves customer support and internal communication.

Aastra have just launched i6.5 with a DIY or managed VPN solution and now provide our resellers with a number of recommended ISP’s such as Datanet who can provide effective end to end solutions. It is very important that resellers establish a strong relationship with a good ISP who can help them build a viable VOIP network solution (end to end) particularly those who can deliver resilience, QoS, and of course good levels of customer support.

 
Toshiba

“From Toshiba’s point of view, this has been a very exciting quarter.” says Tim Webb, general manager, Toshiba Business Communications Division. “ The June launch of our pure IP PBX, the Strata CIX Office, has gone very well and we’ve had some terrific feedback from our partners and their customers. The CIX Office is ideal for the SME market, and it delivers all the proven features and reliability normally associated Toshiba systems to an IP environment. CIX office gives users control over how they migrate to an IP environment – its modular design can be deployed as a pure IP platform or a converged solution integrated with existing TDM equipment. This ensures users can choose the best configuration for their business in terms of capital outlay and business needs. We’re well on the way to gaining a significant market-share of pure IP PBX sales over the next 6-9 months.

The outlook across the market more generally is very positive. Awareness of the benefits of IP is growing quickly, and it’s these cost and management benefits that will take the IP PBX market to the next level. For the IT manager, running a single voice and data network and giving end users more power to manage handsets themselves, with systems like Toshiba’s MyPhone Manager, provides an immediate reduction in management time. For the business, the integration with front and back office systems available with an IP PBX can deliver real improvements in business performance, from remote working to improving customer relations.

Looking to the future, I think further development in Session Initiation Protocol standards will catalyse further growth in the market. SIP will allow a much greater range of integration possibilities not just between voice and data, but also video, broadband and a variety of multimedia to create a feature and functionally rich communications environment.”

 
Samsung

Barry Castle, Head of Product Marketing, Samsung Business Communications told Comms Business Magazine that the current trend for bandwidth to double every 18 months is set to continue – giving enterprises access to bandwidth-hungry applications such as videoconferencing, presence management, applications sharing, unified messaging and advanced call routing technologies.

Castle continues, “But these applications need appropriate network policies and advanced security solutions. Administrators will look for vendors that can coherently talk

business benefits and solutions. And they will require systems that combine all of these components into a single, seamless architecture.”

OfficeServ is a common code base for delivering feature-rich voice applications across a range of site sizes – from large offices to small sites with single handsets and applications across all sites allowing resellers to specify and support the full range of business environments while minimising investment in training technology.

Increasingly those applications deliver sophisticated services and are no longer limited to just the voice role. The advantage of a converged approach is that it is now easy to deliver a multi-site solution as in the case of Byrom plc, the leading ticketing, accommodation and logistics agency for major international sporting events such as soccer tournaments, the Winter Olympics and The Ryder Cup Matches. The company has recently upgraded communications between its Manchester headquarters and its overseas sites using a Samsung Business Communications system.

Each of Byrom’s offices in Barcelona, Frankfurt and Manchester now has a Samsung OfficeServ system providing toll free VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communications over the company’s MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) private network. The systems are scaleable to cope with additional staff taken on to cover particular events.

 
Avaya

Andy Rawll, Global Convergence Manager, Avaya says that IP Office remains the flagship product for Avaya in the small and medium business space. “In fact, we’ve recently shipped our 50,000th unit, so we’re very happy with the way in which the market has accepted it. A key to its success is that it is simple enough to be deployed as a traditional phone system connecting extensions and trunks with standard voicemail, but flexible enough to support multi-site networking, advanced messaging, mobility and customer interaction applications, as and when required.

Although IP Office is very effective when used as a standard PBX, it really comes into its own when used as a communications server integrated with Avaya business applications that provide customers with a system that fits their specific communications and customer interaction needs precisely. Examples of recent enhancements to the range of optional applications that integrate with IP Office include: Avaya Contact Store (call recording library), Microsoft Live Communication Server (presence), Microsoft CRM (interaction management), Crystal Reports (custom reporting).

IP remains a means rather than an end. Businesses are not buying IP as such, rather they are buying what IP can do for them. It provides the common glue that binds together user devices, communications systems networks and applications with the front and back office software that drive today’s businesses.

 

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