Alcatel Unveils New IP Telephony Line


Alcatel on Tuesday launched a new IP-PBX platform that runs on Linux and supports industry standards such as XML, VXML and SIP, an emerging IP communications protocol.

Dubbed OmniPCX Enterprise, the new platform succeeds Alcatel's OmniPCX 4400 IP-PBX line (see related story).

Like its predecessor, OmniPCX Enterprise supports a mix of analog, digital and IP phones, with up to 5,000 users per server. However, Alcatel expects the architecture and pricing of the new product line to be a better fit for branch offices and smaller customers, said Tom Eggemeir, vice president of channel sales and marketing at the Calabasas-based company.

OmniPCX Enterprise is based on hardware that Alcatel is currently selling to small and midsize customers in Europe as OmniPCX Office, so it's cost-optimized for smaller offices, said Jeanne Bayerl, marketing director at Alcatel. But OmniPCX Enterprise includes software capabilities that are robust enough to serve large enterprise clients, meaning solution providers can implement a common hardware and software platform throughout an enterprise's multisized offices, she said.

With the product launch, Alcatel also introduced movable software licenses, which enables solution providers to buy licenses in bulk and sell them based on customer needs, Bayerl said. Alcatel's licenses previously were fixed to hardware, following the traditional PBX licensing model. Now, if users move to a new location where they're served by a different CPU, they can move their license with them, she said.

By implementing movable licenses, Alcatel has relaxed the licensing process, said Chad Morris, general manager of Tri-Tel Communications, a solution provider in Salt Lake City. "It lowers the cost for us when we compete against Cisco [Systems]," Morris said.

Down the road, Alcatel also may market the OmniPCX Office SMB product in North America, Eggemeir said. "We made a lot of traction with the 4400. The next phase is to focus also on branch offices," he said. "Once we are fully successful, are capturing significant market share, and have happy and profitable partners and happy and profitable customers, we'll analyze the next step."

Base packages of OmniPCX Enterprise for 80 users start at $5,230, Alcatel said.