What could / will HP do with the 3COM NBX voice product ?

by Jeff Wiener on December 9, 2009

hp_logo_2I had an interesting conversation with a fellow telecom enthusiast recently about the prospect of where HP could go with the 3COM acquisition, specifically the voice component, otherwise known as NBX.

The fact that HP is now in possession of some fairly powerful voice code suggests the possibility of their entering the voice market in direct competition with Avaya, Cisco, NEC

Although the NBX was a sales disappointment for 3COM, the fact is – the NBX had some very robust PBX / VoIP functionality. Robust functionality includes the basic subset of what you would expect from a PBX – voice mail, automated attendant, GUI system admin, and certainly the more advanced set of applications: unified messaging, TAPI, CTI, multi-site connectivity, call center, IP functionality … really a full end to end voice solution.

3com-logo-rgbHP clearly has their sites on Cisco, and the 3COM acquisition will position HP with routing, data center, and certainly 3COM’s voice portfolio.

What could HP do with the voice portfolio ?

They could of course sell the NBX code, sets, portfolio … Not sure there would be a buyer that could offer a significant value to entice HP to part with the intelligence.

They could sit on the code – do nothing.

hp_procurve_2650They could continue to run with the NBX as it stands – possible.

OR, HP could do what NBX / 3COM should have done in the first place. 3COM should have embedded the voice code into one of their switches. In HP’s case, they could embed the NBX PBX voice functionality into the HP Procurve switch. This concept could work quite well in the SMB space – stick in a 48 port switch, activate the voice license, and “voila” you have a PBX with PoE capability. HP would need to introduce a “dumb” chassis to support traditional PRI / analog trunk / analog station function.

96 ports, 144 ports – same concept. One image propagated across multiple switches. That concept might not scale that well though – it’s likely that an application server would be required. Multi site solution – no problem. Install an HP voice gateway (24 / 48 port switch). It becomes a survivable gateway at the remote end if the server dies.

I’m sure HP is actively working on the migration plan. It will be interesting to see where HP goes, and how the competition reacts.

Written by: Jeff Wiener. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Identi.ca, or Friendfeed

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

UCChangeAgent December 9, 2009 at 11:21 am

HP directly and through their acquisition of Compaq, who acquired Digital Equipment Corporation has a 20+ year strategic relationship with Microsoft. There was also the expanded relationship announcements back in May around Unified Communications, which includes HP to build and deliver Microsoft OCS Certified IP Phones.

I could see the role of NBX transitioning towards a Gateway device, assuming OCS becomes their voice core offer. Could also see new firmware releases for NBX phones in support of the Microsoft RTA Voice Codec etc.

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