Business Phone System Review: Featuring NEC

by Jeff Wiener on March 15, 2011

Over the course of the last few weeks 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, Toshiba, and Panasonic.

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

Today we will be highlighting NEC’s 2 products, the NEC SV8100, and NEC SV8300.

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?

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

What is your SMB phone system called?
NEC UNIVERGE SV8000 Series which includes both enterprise and SMB (Enterprise offering is UNIVERGE SV8500, SMB offerings are UNIVERGE SV8100 and UNIVERGE SV8300
What is the system capacity? UNIVERGE SV8100 supports up to 712 ports, UNIVERGE SV8300 up to 2,048 ports.
Do you have more than one model in the SMB space? Yes, UNIVERGE SV8100 and UNIVERGE SV8300

Does your phone system support both digital and IP phones?
NEC SIP, Standard SIP, Digital and Analog.

Do you have a call center offering and what is the capacity of the call center including agents and queues?
We have several Call Center offerings; SV8100 has embedded ACD/MIS and UCB (blade based and external server based). SV8300 has Call Center Works software for external server and UCB (blade based and external server based). Attached please find specifications on each.

Does your call center offering support skills based routing?
All the Call Center offerings support skills based routing.

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?

We also have several applications that integrate with Outlook depending on the level of Unified Communication features that are needed. All NEC’s UC applications search the user’s Outlook database when a call comes in and to display an Outlook contact window with the caller’s contact information. The applications can also dial calls using Outlook by simply opening the Outlook contact window and clicking Dial. The SV8100 application is called Desktop Suite, The SV8300 application is called UC for Enterprise. SV8100 and SV8300 both support UC for Business. Attached please find information about each UC application.

System redundancy can be a complicated topic, but can you describe, from a high level perspective, how your system supports redundancy?
The SV8100 with NetLink and the SV8300 with (R6)Remote Link offer failover capability to ensure an organization can run smoothly even if their primary system goes offline. If their primary system is disconnected from the network, failover engages and a secondary system takes over the primary system’s database. The SV8300 also has Dual CPU capability for additional continuance of service for networked or non networked systems.

Where do you see the SMB market headed over the course of the next five years?
The SMB market especially for the 50-100 extension segment will begin to move to IP telephony based platforms and hosted services. The larger SMB segments 100-400 have already deployed some IP and will begin to deploy the remaining base.

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?
SMB’s moving to cloud-based technologies will be the challenge.

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