Black Box Network Services: History & Hosted VoIP Solution

Pittsburgh, Penn.-based Black Box got its start in the 1970s selling an A/B switch in the eponymous black box that let consumers run both a standard telephone and a fax machine on their (typically) single home phone line.

In the intervening years, Black Box built up a billion dollar global business in network gear and related services, such as cabling, and—starting in the late 90s—deploying on-premise PBX systems and similar voice systems solutions, such as maintaining complex, heterogeneous enterprise communications infrastructure.

Last week, the global giant announced an agreement with CoreDial whereby Black Box will resell that ITSP’s hosted IP communications services.

“We’ve been a traditional voice services company for 35 plus years,” Black Box vice president of shared services, Mike Laughlin told Enterprise VoIPplanet, “and we’ve sold and resold a lot of other manufacturers’ products over the years. We’ve put in a lot of IP customer-premise-based solutions and have ridden that wave quite a bit.

“But we felt—and we’ve been looking at this for almost two years now—that we needed to have a alternative to the traditional premise-based solution, because we saw that [hosted VoIP] was going to evolve rather quickly. And it really has; it’s starting to catch on quite fast now,” Laughlin said.

The decision to resell an established product rather than build it from the ground up was based on cost effectiveness plus the fact that “we’re not a development company—we’re more of a reseller and a services company,” Laughlin said. “Going this route gives us an opportunity to leverage somebody who’s already got all the scars from building it themselves—and leverage our service reputation in the industry by providing what we think is the best solution out there, with five 9s reliability,” he said.

Laughlin described CoreDial’s solution as “enterprise hardened” and built to scale up to pretty much any size. “Our focus is going to be on the SMB space, though, because that’s where the appetite appears to be today,” Laughlin said.

The Black Box Hosted VoIP solution by CoreDial delivers a full suite of features, including unified messaging, automated attendant, audio conferencing, and call center applications without customers having to purchase the physical system or pay for ongoing upgrades or maintenance. Customers receive a monthly bill that includes their local and domestic long-distance usage, in addition to the managed service.

The Black Box Hosted VoIP solution from CoreDial has inherent disaster recovery capabilities since the equipment resides in a hardened data center that is backed up in another data center.

“We feel our reputation in the industry from a service standpoint, and our size, gives us credibility with the customer,” Laughiln commented. “Having VoIP in a hosted environment is an additional arrow in our quiver—just one more way for our customers to approach their business solutions. And a very cost effective one.”

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