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Switch can slash IP telephony costs, firm claims

Open standards and the ability to deploy advanced telephony applications on existing PBXs could be bad news for IP telephony (IPT) suppliers, TeleWare has claimed.

The company's latest Intelligent eXchange IPT switch runs on a standard PC server and no longer needs expensive add-in telephony cards.

The use of session initiation protocol (SIP) brings the total cost down to £25,000, said TeleWare marketing manager Gavin Hunter. "We've purchased our own SIP stack, so all we need is the server and a NIC," he says, arguing that this pulls the rug from under existing IPT suppliers such as Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks.

"IPT today is highly proprietary," he says. "You don't get a choice of handsets, for example, and they say 'If you want our voicemail, you have to have our infrastructure too'. There's already SIP handsets coming into Europe sub-€100. I think the IPT manufacturer would be well advised to move to open standards, and the open standard of choice is SIP."

However, business migration to IP telephony could also be delayed by the latest version of TeleWare's Intelligent Office platform, which allows advanced communications tools to be deployed on traditional telephone switches.

The software adds support for interactive voice response (IVR) applications, including automatic speech recognition and text to speech capabilities. It also features unified messaging and conference calling, regardless of connection.

"It's a myth that you have to have IPT to do unified communications," said Hunter, adding that by bridging the IPT and PBX environments, TeleWare allows organisations to move to IPT piecemeal, and without being forced onto a lowest-common-denominator set of features.

TeleWare's graphical interface makes it simpler to build telephony functions such as IVR into application programs, allowing for information services that such as announcements and voice and fax routing.

"Every call that comes in is both a cost and a transient asset," Hunter says. "So it's really about getting each call to the right level in the organisation."

Bryan Betts writes for Techworld.com

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