Despite The Meltdown, enterprise VoIP is on the rise. According to research firm Infonetics, IP phone shipments were up 25 per cent in Q3, while IP softphone shipments more than doubled from Q2. The telephony market as a whole increased by 8 per cent over the quarter, reaching $2.6bn, with pure IP PBX and hybrid PBX equipment …
Time for a shakedown
It's about time the enterprise and small business telephony market was shaken down/out/whatever and, hopefully some of the sharks that pass for telephone system suppliers will fall by the wayside:
1) I am called by at least 4-5 telephony companies a month promising me a cost-effective system that has free calls round the galaxy and makes toast. They soon bugger off when I tell them about our in-house managed Asterisk system though.
2) A contract expired in July for a 2-line, 5 extension system at one of our branches. This was a site and system we acquired through a buy-out so I had no involvement in speccing the PBX. The system the previous staff were persuaded to buy is monstrously over-specified and the renewal fee to rent it for the next 5 years was £4.5K. I told the suppliers they were having a laugh and to come and pick up the system (giving the required 30 days notice). They were not best pleased - they kept ringing the site AND neighboring ones warning them they were about to be cut off and that their system would be repossessed if they did not sign a new contract. In the end I had to fax the MD of the company involved telling him what I though of his business practices and I copied the fax to the manufacturer for whom they were agents..
The replacement system I put in was a 2-line, 15 handset (max) DECT PBX with an answering machine in the auxillary port. Maintenance contract? Heck no - I just bought a spare system - and still had change from £500. To make matters worse, the company involved is still billing us for monthly maintenance on the old system AND threatening further action or withdrawal of support services for the system - even though we don;t have it any more.
You might guess that I rate phone system suppliers right down there with solicitors, estate agents and copier salespeople.
--Paris as she's handy with extensions.
Why are corporates buying so much PBX hardware?
Surely one of the advantages of VoIP is to finally get rid of the hideously expensive PBX hardware, by shifting telephony to a software solution.
Solutions like asterix and OCS use standard ('commodity') servers and do the telephony in software.
So . . . What's with the PBX hardware sales?