Toshiba America Information Systems, whose Digital Solutions Division holds a prominent spot in the SMB (small-to-midsize business) phone systems market, has announced two new IP phones in advance of its first native IP phone system.
Toshibas IPT2010-SD and IPT2020-SD phones work with the current Strata CTX switch, a PBX that can be IP-enabled through optional IP line-side and trunk-side interface cards. The new phones will work as extensions, similarly, to the soon-to-be-announced Strata CIX, a native, Megaco-controlled IP PBX.
Feature sets will be familiar to veteran users of Toshiba Strata phones, including voice mail, direct extension dialing and transfer. The addition of IP extensions gives enterprises more flexibility in moving workers between on-premises and off-premises locations, and allows any remote worker to enjoy full on-premises functionality over a broadband link. This remote function supports casual virtual call center applications, in which the sales support or other expertise that callers seek can be found in geographically dispersed locations.
Remote extensions also allow enterprises to consolidate PSTN (traditional public switched telephone network) lines at headquarters, because that is the point at which extensions gateway onto the public switched network. By the same token, calls made on IP phones through the CIX or IP-enabled CTX will show call recipients the caller ID of the enterprise, no matter where that IP extension may actually be connected.
The IPT2010-SD and 2020-SD are 10- and 20-button sets, with two-line-by-24-character displays, speaker phone and Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE) compliance. This brings the phones under the same UPS protection serving the network. When hooked up to the upcoming CIX, the phones will exchange voice packets directly over the LAN in a peer-to-peer configuration, reducing overall IP bandwidth consumption compared with PBX hub-and-spoke traffic.
Toshibas historical sweet spot is in the 40-to-100-user category, according to Christopher Labrador, vice president of the Product Management Telecom Division, but its phone systems support up to 670 ports and can be networked over traditional lines or IP. The IPT extensions are currently available through dealer channels, and the CIXs announcement is imminent; pricing information is not yet released.
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