Toshiba Boosts VARs' VoIP Offerings

The new Strata CIX1200 VoIP Business Communication System, launched Monday, trumps the port availability of the smaller model, the CIX670, which supports up to 672 ports, said Jon Nelson, product marketing manager for Toshiba Telecom. The new CIX1200 is geared toward medium to large companies needing 200 to 1,000 users and can be networked with other CIX systems for as many as 128 sites for distributed configurations.

For Toshiba and its camp of partners the CIX1200 increases the addressable market, giving them a larger system to sell.

"This increases the upgrade opportunities into their installed base," Nelson said. "A lot of customers have maxed out older systems."

Bob Hymes, president of Communications Technologies, a St. Louis, Mo.-based solution provider, agreed that smaller systems are getting pushed to the brink as companies, mainly those with call centers, are growing.

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"It gives us a place to put more trunks to fit their needs," Hymes said of the CIX1200 nearly doubling the capacity of the previous largest model of Strata CIX systems.

He added that he can start his clients small and upgrade them until the CIX1200 is suitable, creating return clients.

"You can start out small and from there it's just adding cabinets," he said. "You don't have to go big today. The modular architecture helps them grow."

Hymes said he can remember several times his sales team lost a deal because it couldn't offer a larger capacity system, getting beat out by the Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks of the world. Larger companies, he said, would see the CIX system as a good alternative for branch offices, but not in headquarters, and CIOs wanted to avoid working with two disparate systems.

"They don't want to have dissimilar systems," he said. "Now we have the ability to go in and give them the whole picture. They don't have to support two systems. It opens up some ground for sales and opens up avenues we couldn't get to before."

The CIX1200 shares the same cabinets and interface units as the smaller model, making it easier for VARs to move up market. Additionally, all model sizes can be networked together, letting users chose any type of configuration, whether they need IP phones or digital phones.

It can also be customized using Toshiba's FeatureFlex adaptability tools to provide a smooth migration path from smaller systems. FeatureFlex lets systems be tailored well beyond its standard system features, administrative options and programmable features. Users can create user-definable features companywide, by department or for individuals. Also, existing features can be modified and new ones can be created, including features in CIX call processing, and blended features that can work between all system applications and resources.

Key features of the Strata CIX1200 include the ability to be networked with all other CIX family systems, including the CIX40, 100, 200 and 670, along with other CIX1200 systems. Additionally, the CIX1200 and other Strata CIX models can deliver virtually all features to users regardless of whether they use fixed or mobile devices. The system can support IP telephones, IP wireless phones, IP soft phones on notebook and tablet PCs and digital and analog phones.

CIX1200 also increases endpoint choices, including support for Toshiba's new IP5000 IP phones, Attendant Consoles, Toshiba SoftIPT soft phone for laptops and PDAs and third-party SIP phones. The CIX1200 is also compatible with the Strata Media Application Server (MAS), meaning multiple applications can be combined on a single media application server platform. Those applications include auto attendant, voice mail, unified messaging, fax integration, automated speech recognition, text to speech, interactive voice response, automatic call distribution and reporting, Web-based personal and system administration, Web-based phone applications and FeatureFlex adaptability. Strata MAS comes standard with Toshiba's Voice Processing and unified messaging solution, My Phone Manager personal administration tools and eManager system administration tool.

Lastly, the Strata CIX1200 is also compatible with Toshiba's Video Communication Solution, point-to-point video conferencing, desktop/application sharing, file transfer and message board capabilities for up to three parties.

CIX systems are available through authorized Toshiba dealers and the retail price per station starts from $400 depending on configuration, applications, telephone models selected and size.