Alcatel is releasing discounted bundles of voice and data equipment designed for small, medium and large branch offices.
The bundles that scale to 10, 50 or 100 users are available now to VARs that have been trained in convergence by Alcatel. The products are priced at about 30 percent less than they would cost if purchased separately. The pricing runs through April.
"There's a willingness in the market to move to a converged product strategy and test out the technology in a branch environment,' says Jeanne Bayerl, director of marketing and program management for Alcatel. "It's less disruptive and you can allow autonomy of decision making.'
The Alcatel equipment works in a multi-vendor environment and allows the branch offices' voice and data systems to communicate with a PBX at headquarters, officials say. All the solutions provide survivability in case the WAN or LAN connection is disabled and they can be remotely controlled from headquarters. They can also route calls to the local publicly switched telephone network.
The bundled solutions are:
Robert Palmer, vice president of sales for Compel, a solution provider based in Los Angeles, says the affordable bundles should make IP telephony an easier sell to customers who have been leaning toward implementing converged networks. Financial institutions, government organizations and health care organizations have been particularly interested in the new technology, Palmer says.
"All of our customers recognize they will have to get into voice over IP at some point,' he says. "They are all thinking about it and cost is one of the issues that comes up. A multi-location customer can test out convergence in a small branch office and then when they feel comfortable with it, implement it through the whole enterprise.'