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Panasonic Debuts ECS Portfolio, New KX-NCP Systems

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November 25, 2008

Panasonic Debuts ECS Portfolio, New KX-NCP Systems

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, T3i Group LLC

At the recent Panasonic (News - Alert) Communications Solutions Division Press Event on November 6th, Panasonicunveiled the Enhanced Communications Solutions (ECS), a portfolio of systems and applications for small- and medium-sized business (SMBs) and the high-end residential market. Central to the ECS portfolio are two new network communications platforms, KX-NCP500 (to 68 stations) and KX-NCP1000 (to 108 stations), that combine telephony, applications and built-in management tools in a single rack-mount unit. The all-in-one communications systems, which support Voice over IP (VoIP) and traditional telephony, offer scalability and promise simple maintenance by IT and telecom personnel. Panasonic provides free technical support is available to certified dealers and support specialists in the United States.

While the KX-NCP system is based on the company’s earlier KX-TDA and KX-TDE software, its form factor is different. The KX-NCP is a single, 19-inch rack-mount unit with a pre-installed Main Processing card which has an option for virtual IP trunks and virtual IP extension ports and which runs desktop productivity software (Communication Assistant) and simple voice mail (Enhanced Simplified Voice Messaging). Thus, a complete IP system (including voicemail and CTI (News - Alert)) can be configured using only the Main Processing card and optional VoIP DSP cards – no external components are needed. 

Addressing the unified communications experience, Panasonic’s Communications Assistant (CA (News - Alert)) software enables point and click telephony, screen-based presence and integration with Microsoft Outlook and TAPI-enabled CRM desktop tools. A 5-user Communication Assistant (CA) Basic license is included (free) and can be increased to 128 users via a simple license upgrade. CA Pro, also a license-based application, is similar, but adds additional presence functionality and increased call log and contact list capacity. Customers can also take advantage of three other CA versions, including CA for Supervisors and CA for Call Accounting and CA for Mobile Device available in the next release. (The earlier server-based Phone Assistant (PA) product has more functionality than the server-less CA at present.) 

Also running on the main processor is Enhanced Simplified Voice Messaging (EVSM), Panasonic’s 2-port simple voicemail service that supports 125 messages, 64 outgoing messages and 120 storage minutes. Additional special features or applications can be added optionally with feature cards (ESVM4 4-port voicemail, door phones and remote programming, for example) or by attaching separate, external servers for more advanced messaging features and/or call center reporting. Panasonic’s KX-TVA voice processing systems, on the market for a number of years, include some more advanced features that smaller businesses will appreciate, including e-mail integration, call screening, live recording and greetings that can be set according to Caller ID. An ACD Report Server provides performance reporting and voice processing in a single server – two important functions in one box.
KX-NCP supports a variety of analog, digital and IP phones, including Panasonic wired and wireless devices, plus third party SIP hard/soft phones. New to the portfolio are the KX-NT321 IP desk phone, the Panasonic HGT100 SIP phone (the company’s first SIP phone) and the TD7696 Multi-Cell DECT (News - Alert) 6.0 cordless telephone designed for harsh workplace environments (IP54 compliant). Earlier Panasonic proprietary IP phones, digital and electronic phones can also be used.
Panasonic customers will also benefit from some new third party applications for hospitality, call center, security and home/business automation. While the KX-TDA, KX-TDE and new KX-NCP systems already include basic, small call center functionality and hospitality features at no extra cost, the systems can now be fully integrated with the DuVoice hospitality package and/or a call center suite from Poltys. Panasonic is also partnering with Quadrox for a digital video recording solution and Control4 for home automation, including automation and control of lighting and environmental settings.
TelecomTactics Takeaway: Panasonic is evolving and advancing its communications solutions for SMBs and high-end residences with the new portfolio of hardware and software called Enhanced Communications Solutions. ECS is a’ total solution package’ that encompasses the recently-introduced KX-NCP rack-mount business telephony systems, KX-NCP500 (to 68 stations) and KX-NCP1000 (to 108 stations), digital, IP and SIP telephones, DECT 6.0 wireless telephones, desktop and business applications, video cameras and third party applications. As Panasonic moves its products forward in a competitive telecom market, the company is minding its customer base through investment protection (most cards, new and older handset devices, business applications, voicemail units and wireless solutions are compatible among KX-NCP, KX-TDA and KX-TDE platforms). Panasonic also broadens the options for its customers, announcing several new partnerships for hospitality, call center, security and home/business automation.
Sandra M. Gustavsen
T3i Group LLC
Tarifica TelecomTactics  TelecomWeb  InfoTrack
856-424-1100 x11

Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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