by Ray Horak, Technology Editor
As we climb out of the current economic slump, a lot of us will be looking to shed old TDM systems and make the transition to VoIP and IP PBXs. VoIP alone offers the advantage of lower network cost. More importantly, VoIP is the foundation of Unified Communications (UC), which encompasses presence, multimedia and mobility. Most of us currently lean towards a premises-based solution in the form of an IP PBX, although hosted solutions (aka virtual PBX and cloud telephony) are gathering a following, as well. There are a lot of good, solid arguments on either side of the fence, one of which is cost. An IP PBX solution requires a capital expenditure (capex) and assumption of all the risks of ownership. A hosted solution is a nearly pure operating expenditure (opex), save the capex for the phones and the inside wire and cable system. Unless you’re flush with cash and buy the system outright, an IP PBX purchase affects both sides of the balance sheet—assets and liabilities—which affects your debt-to-equity ratio and may impact your ability to make other capital-intensive commitments. A conventional lease impacts the balance, as well. So, those who prefer a premises-based solution can find themselves with a single option in the form of limping along with an old, worn-out TDM PBX that is better suited to life as a boat anchor rather than a voice switch.
PAETEC now offers an alternative. IP Simple is a flexible opex solution that bundles a PAETEC IP PBX with its integrated voice and data network service. The IP PBXs are built by Allworx, a well-respected PAETEC subsidiary, and are presented as a rental element of the bundle. The integrated voice and data broadband network service employs MPLS for QoS and support VPN applications. The network offers business continuity enhancing solutions like DTO (Direct Trunk Overflow) to ensure that you never miss a vital inbound call, Network Diversity Engineering to develop an advanced fault-tolerant network, and security services like Managed Fraud Protection to mitigate exposure to fraudulent usage. IP Simple involves a minimum term of 36 months and a maximum of 60 months. Although technically a rental, IP Simple looks more like a fair market value lease. At the end of the term, the renter can purchase the PAETEC PBX at fair market value, continue to rent it at a reduced monthly rate, upgrade the system and start afresh, or just return the equipment and walk away.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Chris Hasenauer, Allworx Vice President and General Manager, who explained that “UC is developing so quickly and the IP PBX market is so dynamic that PAETEC fully expects much shorter system life cycles in the future. Telecommunications and now Unified Communications is such a critical element of a competitive strategy that companies just can’t afford and won’t accept the inadequacies of an outmoded PBX for long. Note that every VoIP sale begins with an equipment sale. [Even Skype requires that you buy a headset.] IP Simple takes a lot of the sting out of the transition to VoIP and the upgrade to UC. The response to this new offering has been very strong from the very beginning. During this early stage of the rollout, sales have doubled almost every month. While we can’t expect that trend to continue forever at that level, we fully expect that IP Simple will be a significant source of growth for us in 2010. We also expect that in the future customers will upgrade to new systems as their IP Simple agreements expire.” PAETEC offers IP Simple on a direct basis and through a network of select distributors in major markets.
PAETEC operates as a network service provider in 84 of the nation’s top 100 metropolitan areas. The company also manufactures IP PBXs through Allworx, a wholly owned subsidiary; offers the PINNACLE Communications Management Suite, an integrated service lifecycle management application, through PAETEC Software Corp.; and offers a number of data center solutions. All system and software design and development, server manufacturing, and product and service support is done in the U.S.
More at allworx.com.