Alcatel seeds integrated PBX SME market

Other vendors are likely to show interest in the sub-corporate business market that French telco equipment and services supplier Alcatel has jumped into with its OmniPCXOffice, says a telecomms consultant.

Other vendors are likely to show interest in the sub-corporate business market that French telco equipment and services supplier Alcatel has jumped into with its OmniPCXOffice, says a telecomms consultant.

Murray Young, director of TeleConsultants, says the SME (small to medium-sized enterprise) market is notoriously price-sensitive, “so the OmniPCXOffice will have a fair impact”.

The OmniPCXOffice was released in Europe in September and will arrive in New Zealand in March. Pitched as a “three-in-one” box by Alcatel, it combines voice, data and internet services in the one box and can support up to 250 phone extensions.

“In some ways, the SME market is the best place to introduce an integrated box, because SMEs have less existing investment,” Young says.

Carlton Hotel chief engineer Leon Johnson says whether the Carlton would install the box would “come down to what’s best for us”, but “for our back of house operations, it could be right up our street”. The hotel presently operates in a mixed switch and LAN environment, he says.

Alcatel says it will give SMEs capability previously available only to larger organisations, including virtual private networks which connect remote workers and the ability to integrate up to six fast ethernet 10/100 LAN switchboards. It can be installed either in PSTN or VoIP environments, with the ability to move from the former to the latter using an IP card.

“Nothing changes,” says Alcatel NZ enterprise country manager John East. “It’s easy to migrate to IP.”

The OmniPCXOffice runs on Linux and, in promotional material for the box, Alcatel claims to be “the first leading manufacturer in its field to adopt Linux”.

Other available features include a firewall, built-in email server and proxy server.

At a launch presentation, East and Alcatel Asia-Pacific product marketing manager Marc-Alexis Remond estimated that the entire package for an eight voice user, eight LAN port operation would cost around $10,000, including installation but excluding handsets.

“We’re as competitive, if not more competitive, than if a similar network was put together piece-by-piece,” East says.

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