Business Phone System Comparison: Featuring Talkswitch

by Jeff Wiener on March 8, 2011

Over the course of the last few weeks TheTelecomBlog.com has highlighted some of the more popular business phone systems sold to the Small Medium business market. We sent a series of questions, as you will see below, to a number of the larger manufacturers of business phone systems and asked for their responses which we are publishing exactly as provided by the manufacturer. At the end of the series we will do a round-up and comparison of the major brands. Some of the brands which we will highlight include: Avaya, Cisco, ShoreTel, NEC, Mitel, Talkswitch, and Panasonic.

We have now highlighted Panasonic, Avaya, Mitel, and ShoreTel.

Disclaimer: I am the President of Digitcom.ca and have an obvious bias toward the products Digitcom sells. I am NOT the person writing these posts, nor will I be the person doing the round-up. That will be done by one of TheTelecomBlog.com writers.

There’s an obvious market trend toward VoIP, some of the manufacturers only have a VoIP solution. We’re going to delve into the call center, and finish with the following question (which sits on my mind as well):
Do you view manufacturers of smart phones, companies like Apple and RIM, as a competitive threat, not necessarily today but 3 to 5 years from now?

So stay tuned over the next week. We still have NEC and Cisco left. This week we’re going to highlight Talkswitch, a Canadian based manufacturer with a small business entry level phone system.

Who are you and what position do you have with Talkswitch?

I’m Kim Dixon, Vice President Sales and Marketing.

Can you describe Talkswitch’s offering in the SMB space and address the following questions:

TalkSwitch focuses exclusively on small business, offering solutions to companies with fewer than 64 users per location. TalkSwitch fits companies where the competition can’t. The systems are feature-rich, but they’re easy to install, easy to use and affordable.

What is your SMB phone system called?

TalkSwitch

What is the system capacity?

32 phone lines, 32 VoIP trunks and 64 local extensions per location maximum. Systems start at 2 lines.

Do you have more than one model in the SMB space?
There are 6 TalkSwitch system models. They come in different capacities; 2, 4 or 8 lines, with or without VoIP. All systems include key features like voicemail, voicemail to e-mail, auto attendants, remote extensions, music on hold and advanced call handling.

Does your phone system support both digital and IP phones?
TalkSwitch offers great phone flexibility. The system works with IP and analog phones. We offer 2 analog and 3 IP phones. The system also works with SIP-based IP phones from other manufacturers and any standard analog phone. It does not work with digital phones.

Do you have a call center offering and what is the capacity of the call center including agents and queues?
We don’t offer a specific call center package but do offer call queuing with the ability to monitor the depth of queues. The capacity matches our line and extension capacities for the system.

Does your call center offering support skills based routing?
No.

What level of integration does your product support with respect to integration with Outlook? For example, can you, from within the calendar, access your mailbox settings and define the greeting to use while at a certain appointment? What other features does the product have with respect to calendar integration?
TalkSwitch supports click-to-dial from Outlook contacts.

System redundancy can be a complicated topic, but can you describe, from a high level perspective, how your system supports redundancy?
Our TalkSwitch system is modular in design. As units are added on a network, they all carry the same configuration files, music-on-hold files, auto attendant greetings and firmware. Should there be a network outage or if a unit goes down, the others are still able to handle calls, although without access to the ‘missing’ unit. For example: a caller attempts to reach a remote extension in an office where the network switch is down so there’s no communication between units. Any unit can accept the call, play the auto attendant and play music on hold while transferring to the remote extension, providing seamless support in the event of a network failure.

Where do you see the SMB market headed over the course of the next five years?
We expect there to be tremendous growth in the SMB space as we recover from the recession. People affected by layoffs are starting their own businesses out of both necessity and choice. Corporations are doing more teleworking and TalkSwitch shines in this area. Also, we’re already observing companies starting to expand after having to downsize over the past two years. It’s nice to receive those calls.

Do you view manufacturers of smart phones, companies like Apple and RIM, as a competitive threat, not necessarily today but 3 to 5 years from now?
We see the proliferation of smart mobile devices as an opportunity. As the adoption of smart phones increases, we envision greater demand for systems with the flexibility to integrate them into the complete network and office work flow. TalkSwitch systems have always integrated cell phones with the innovative remote extensions feature, and its convenient voicemail to e-mail capability delivers added benefit to all smart phone users. We’ll continue to develop ways for small business to stay seamlessly connected with the devices they choose.

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

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