When transforming an IP data network into a voice-and-data network, one size definitely does not fit all. Recognizing this, Toshiba America Information Systems Digital Solutions Division (TAIS DSD) recently assembled and announced a one-stop VoIP solution for enterprises of all sizes.
“Toshiba is making it faster and easier for enterprises to get a fully tested and integrated voice over IP communications solution,” said Michael E. Durance, vice president and general manager of TAIS DSD.
The solution encompasses a full range of hardware and software, plus assessment, implementation, and security services, from four vendors (Toshiba being one).
Toshiba’s core contribution to the package is the new Strata CIX “pure IP telephony system,” its next-generation IP PBX, successor to the well-established Strata CTX.
But backing Toshiba’s hardware and software is a set of relationships with three carefully groomed product-and-service-provider partners.
- Network assessment and installation services will come from Columbia, Md.-based PEAK Technologies.
- SMC Networks (Irvine, Calif.) will supply needed networking gear (such as access points, bridges, Ethernet switches, etc.).
- Security provider SonicWALL, Inc. will handle security needs.
“With this announcement, Toshiba dealers can get products and services from Toshiba’s three partners, SMC, SonicWALL and PEAK Technologies, as a single solution that is billed through a single source,” explained Toshiba senior product manager for IP Telephony Solutions, David Fridley.
According to Fridley, “Partners’ products have been tested for integration with Toshiba’s products; and the partners are familiar with Toshiba products and can ensure a smooth transition for customers to VoIP.”
Mix, match, and migrate
Enterprise VoIP Planet asked Fridley whether Toshiba anticipated that most customers would make use of all the components of the system. “Most customers will need a network assessment,” he said. “Researchers have concluded that 50 to 85 percent of existing networks installations will not work for Voice over IP, so an assessment on an existing network is critical.”
“It’s harder to say,” Fridley went on, “how many will need security or other wired or wireless products and services. It depends on what they’ve already got and if it is compatible with the Strata CIX IP telephony system.”
The Strata CIX, designed for a variety of capacities, including corporate entities with multiple sites, comes in a variety of port densities, up to 192 ports. Like its predecessor, the Strata CTX, it can support both analog and digital TDM [traditional] phones, as well as IP phones. This means, points out David Fridley, “customers can migrate to the newer system while retaining much of their telephone system investment—phones and boards.”
The Strata CIX provides all (more than 250) of the features found in Toshiba’s (non-IP) traditional business telephone systems, according to the announcement. But new to the CIX (and to Toshiba telephony systems) is FeatureFlex, an application development platform that lets customers create their own custom features, using TCL.
“FeatureFlex makes the resources of the system available to create new or blended features and applications,” explained Fridley. “Enterprises can create user-definable features companywide, by department, or for individual users. For example, they can set up any streaming information from the Web to run across their phone’s display such as stock prices, weather temperatures, currency exchange rates, etc. They can connect applications with other departments, such as back office for accounting or inventory information. In another kind of example, they can set up friends calling lists so important calls always get through,” Fridley concluded.