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Small Businesses: An On-premises VoIP Solution for You


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April 03, 2007

Small Businesses: An On-premises VoIP Solution for You

By Erik Linask
Group Managing Editor

Imagine you’re a receptionist in a doctor’s office, with many tasks to attend to each day, including checking in patients and alerting staff they have arrived. Or perhaps you manage a team of warehouse workers and have been charged with minimizing overtime for the coming peak period. Now think about how easy these types of added duties could be with the right intelligent systems installed - but you’re a small business, and such applications are only available for large enterprises, which have internal IT staff and the resources to pay for the applications.

That was the case, until now. IPcelerate (News - Alert), provider of advanced VoIP products and technologies, has announced a new application suite designed specifically for the small business segment, called IPsmartSuite, which will address the particular needs of varying types of small businesses, at a price point that it affordable and with a solution that is manageable for companies between 5 and 50 employees.

According to CEO Kevin Brown, IPcelerate’s message has always been that businesses should expect more when they implement new systems, not to achieve the status quo.

“We want people to look at it as more than just a new telephone system that they’re replacing their old solution with,” he explained. “We want to get them to start thinking less about what features this phone has, and more about can this phone help me protect some of my key assets.”

With this release, IPcelerate is partnering with Cisco, which unveiled its Unified Communications (News - Alert) environment for the small business market - it’s calling it the Cisco Smart Business Communications System. The solution is a complete voice, video, data, and wireless system that brings Unified Communications to small businesses. IPcelerate adds to the infrastructure an intelligent software solution that makes the new phones a key part of the business process. For the small business owner, this is an opportunity to achieve and enterprise-like experience (in fact, Brown says this solution is merely a scaled down version of its enterprise software, built on the same proven framework its largest customers adopt).

“The reality is that these smaller companies have similar requirements, but they do not have the same infrastructures built up and they don’t have an IT staff,” said Brown. “So, for them to procure and install and support these applications is more difficult. We’re giving them a cost effective solution that is integrated into this new environment.”

Initially, IPcelerate will address four distinct vertical markets with its solution: retail, healthcare, legal, and manufacturing, with the goal of integrating important daily tasks into the business infrastructure itself.  The emphasis with this solution is not now on where the solution resides (i.e., hosted vs. on-premises), but on how it can help small businesses make their daily operations more efficient. While many small businesses are leaning toward hosted offerings, Brown believes they will be receptive to this offering because, in addition to the business process improvements it offers, its simplicity and price point make it extremely attractive.

Indeed, Brown explains that, “It has always been our desire to get into the small business market, but there are two challenges: You have to be able to create a product that is affordable for them, and a product that does not assume they already have all these investments in infrastructure; and you have to be able to create a product that can be sold by the type of VAR who sells to this market.”

He adds that this is a fantastic opportunity for IPcelerate because the task of recruiting these new VARs and partners falls to Cisco and its distribution channels, so IPcelerate, in bringing this new solution to market, is able to leverage the reach and influence of Cisco and its distribution channels.

So, if you’re one of those small businesses saying, “I have challenges, and I want someone to meet my challenges in the most simple and affordable way possible,” IPcelerate says that solution is now available through its partnership with Cisco.

Now, that receptionist at the doctor’s office can have a phone in the waiting area, where patients sign in with their phone number and nurses in the back are automatically sent notifications that their next patient is ready to be seen, saving time and effort for the receptionist. Or, the warehouse manager’s employees can clock in and out using the phone system, which can be rigged to alert the manager if any employee is reaching overtime status for the week, so he can be sent home for the day. Or if an employee fails to show up, the same system automatically starts dialing other workers, searching for someone able to come in, so other staff members do not have to take the time from their business to hunt for replacements.

“These are all applications that are meant to simplify the work day by taking some of the activities they traditionally do and integrate them into the phone, but automate them as well,” Brown concluded.


Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY, IMS Magazine, and SIP Magazine. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert), he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.


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