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Panasonic Alignment Targets SMB

In communications technology, Panasonic is very focused on the SMB market under 100 stations. Since 1986, Panasonic states, they have shipped worldwide: 4.168 million systems and 18.775 million extensions, and claim to have 13% of the world market share for systems and 18% of the world market share for extensions (deployments of 100 or less).

Panasonic plans to continue its primary focus on the SMB market. The telephony lineup includes the KX-TA824 Advanced Hybrid and KX-TAW848 Advanced Hybrid Wireless, both Analog TDM systems. The Hybrid IP-PBX models include the KX-TDA50, KX-TDA100, KX-TDA200, and KX-TDA600 systems (Hybrid IP-PBX). The models KX-TDA100 and KX-TDA200 will convert to all IP (KX-TDE 100 or KX-TDE200) by just a change of processor cards and by adding licenses. The system will retain all other hardware and telephones. The KX-TDE100 and KX-TDE200 are IP systems with the ability to bridge other customer TDM systems and gear for those customers that still need traditional solutions.

A preview at what's coming out on November 6, 2008, is the new KX-NCP 500 and KX-NCP 1000 IPT systems. The NCP (Network Communications Platform) 500 aims to capture users in the 4-60 extension range while the NCP 1000 targets the 40-100 extension market. Both systems will offer the new SIP phone KX-HGT100 with codecs using G.722. There's also a Bluetooth SIM that plugs into some phones for headsets and a new rugged DECT phone. Both NCP models are a swing to IPT geared at hitting SMBs that want a branded name with a high quality solution.

Panasonic's marketing data shows 4 key expectations from telephony in the SMB market. Just 14% of companies surveyed expect only dial tone. Who's going to sell these companies an IPT solution? Good luck. Then, 9% want to connect to other applications, 29% want to improve customer service and 48% want to improve one or more business processes.

Customer research by Panasonic in the SMB market concluded that a key customer concern is "how do companies bridge their diverse requirements?" The migration path seemingly must not just be forward but also offer backward compatibility too, and this is in keeping with customer interests in retaining initial investments in older hardware while still delivering value and functionality.

The third trend that Panasonic noted is that SMB customers continue to mix technologies -old and new alike.