3Com Beefs Up IP Telephony Line

With release 5.0 of its NBX IP-PBX platform, the vendor now is offering built-in automatic call distribution (ACD) capabilities that support up to 199 agents.

The ACD features come standard on NBX systems, which include licenses for two agents. Licenses for additional agents can be activated for a fee, said Michael Leo, senior marketing manager for convergence applications at 3Com, Marlborough, Mass.

The upgrade, available now for $1,000, also adds features that are key to call-center deployments, such as silent monitor, whisper and barge in, he said.

With the new wares, 3Com is plugging some of the holes in its portfolio, said Mark Essayian, owner of KME Systems, a solution provider Lake Forest, Calif. "Integrated call-center functionality has been a missing piece for 3Com because competitors have had something built in for some time," he said.

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Call-center functionality is an increasingly important feature for IP telephony solutions that target the SMB market, Essayian said. "Once customers [have more than] 30 employees, they start to have the inherent need for call-center capabilities in on department or another," he said.

The release supports 3Com's newVoIP handsets, which include the 3103 Manager, 3100 Entry phones, as well as its first 900MHz cordless VoIP phones, the 3106C and 3107C.

Priced at $365, the high-end 3103 Manager includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, a large display and supports the simultaneous management of up to 12 lines, while the lower-end 3100 Entry is a single-line phone for common areas or entry ways that costs $100.

The cordless models include the 3106C, small enough to be worn on the employees' hip, and the 3107C, which has a larger battery and is more suitable for warehouse deployments, Leo said. They are priced at $415 and $515, respectively.

All of the new products are available now.