At a recent IT conference and exhibition here in Florida, I came across some interesting companies that will help businesses with legacy gear make the transition to IP networking.
The offerings from these companies run the gamut from provisioning services to fax error correction -- the sometimes overlooked but often critical elements of a business telephony environment. They are:
- 888VoIP - This specialized distributor of VoIP products and services goes beyond order fulfillment with hardware provisioning, technical support, and an online knowledge base for VoIP configurations. Provisioning before shipment remains a viable option for many hosted deployments, since doing so can simplify the process from order receipt to delivery. Pre-provisioned telephones save on installation time and ease the transition to hosted voice services.
- Algo Solutions - This company's 8301 paging adapter integrates traditional paging into a hosted or premises IP solution. The device also serves as a scheduler for automated bells, tones, and announcements -- just the functionality many schools need as they prepare to migrate away from outdated PA systems.
- Bicom Systems - This company's IP Key Systems OfficeBox uses PBXware, an open standards turnkey telephony platform, to provision 2x6, 4x8, and 8x16 configurable gateways that can show a busy lamp field for each extension and line appearance. As the Bicom rep explained, users want to see who is calling and they want one-button access to other extensions or lines for placing calls. Bicom delivers a "square" system with a dedicated button for every line and extension. In a small business, button real estate is still in demand. Why? Perhaps people resist change or they just want what they had before because they think they still need it.
- T38Fax - As its name suggests, this company is dedicated to the T.38 fax relay standard. T38Fax employs error correction mode to ensure that any page with distorted or lost data gets retransmitted. Faxing over SIP trunks has been a challenge for some, and this service offers a way around that. It costs $7 monthly per SIP trunk with the following rates: 2.5 cents/minute outgoing fax (U.S. and Canada), 2.5 cents/minute metered incoming fax (to local DIDs), 5 cents/minute metered incoming fax (to toll-free numbers), $2/month per local fax number (DID), and $5/month per toll-free fax number.
- Viking Electronics - This manufacturer provides ringdown circuits/line simulators, announcers, dialers, paging, access control, outdoor communications, and middleware for TDM-to-IP transitions, plus has IP paging in development, the company told me. Viking has been providing products that work with TDM since 1969 and, in recent years, IP. For example, if your IP solution doesn't deliver enough juice to power outdoor and 2500 sets, you can easily add in a Viking device to boost ring current.