Rob Scheible, Nortel's senior marketing manager for Carrier VOIP and Applications Marketing, says he gets one constant appeal from small and midsize businesses looking to increase their competitiveness, and it isn't about saving money. "When we talk to SMBs, they all say, 'We may be a small business, but we don't want to come off as a small business,'" Scheible said. "They want to have that professional look and feel about everything they do."
Nortel's IP Powered Business solutions eliminate the need for separate voice and data connections through an IP PBX. Scheible said this also opens the door to delivery of multimedia content over IP, reduces the need for travel and increases productivity. "One, [SMBs] are going to see a lower price to have voice and data solutions provided through their carrier. That reduces their communication services costs," he said. "In addition, there's also another advantage. For the SMB, they're able to move an IP PBX."
One of Nortel's offerings, SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) PBX trunking, a protocol used to talk to PBXs and IP phones, allows midmarket companies to offer the type of communications polish usually found in larger corporations, but at a price SMBs find affordable. "SIP is very focused on multimedia sessions, able to deliver more than just voice," Scheible said. "You can send links to files, videoconferencing, instant messaging, things like that. For instance, when businesses are trying to build a relationship with others, video calling is a great technique."
In an economic climate in which businesses are struggling to stay afloat, Scheible said, Nortel's solutions must present themselves as easy to use and requiring little additional cost to implement. "We sell to the carriers themselves and emerging service providers, so one of the key things we're focused on is making this tech easy for the carriers to sell to SMBs," he said. Nortel is offering tools to help midmarket firms understand the up-front costs and ROI benefits.
"When you go to an IP solution, you don't have to go out and purchase two connections," he said. "The solution is delivered through an IP pipe, so you only have one connection, so you're not paying for a monthly PRI (Primary Rate Exchange) fee. That opens you up to bundled data from the carrier, and what we see from the market is that it comes at a lower price."
Because Nortel's offerings are fully tested end-to-end solutions, there are few integration issues and little down time for the carrier or the SMB, according to Scheible. "If you're a small business or lack the technical expertise, you can go with the approach where all your IP phones connect right back into the carrier," he said. "Many carriers offer the ability to manage the PBX for the business, so that's another option from the midmarket point of view."
Streamlined efficiency is how Nortel is selling the IP trunking solution. "[A]n SMB looks at this solution and says, 'I'm paying $1,200 a month for telephony and an additional $300 for data; why am I paying two bills at the same time when I can consolidate with one solution and save costs?'" Scheible said. "People are looking for IP solutions as a way to reduce costs and become more competitive in their business space."