Product of the Day: Alescere Tx1000 Series IP-PBX
Product: Alescere Tx1000 Series IP-PBXManufacturer: Alescere, LLCTelephone: 888-221-6608URL: www.alescere.com
The Alescere IP-PBX is a Linux-based business communications system. It's aimed at the Small/Mid-Sized Business market, with strong support for larger companies with many small to mid-sized branch offices.Because it is built on an Open Source foundation, it is significantly less expensive than similarly-configured, competing phone systems.
Based on emerging SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and VoiceXML (eXtensible Markup Language for Voice Applications) technologies, the Tx1000 series is more than just a phone system. It is an applications platform capable of delivering a vast set of features and growing with the needs of the business using it.
Of course, it begins with the standard business phone system feature set, including:
Music on Hold/Transfer
Automatic Call Distribution
Least Cost Routing
Unified Dialing Plans
The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an emerging Internet standard for creating, modifying and tearing down conversations, whether they are Voice phone calls, Instant Message sessions or Video conferences. SIP provides three distinct advantages over traditional telephone services:
Vendor Independence: Since SIP (and its attendant protocols and standards) is not controlled by a single vendor, the end user of a SIP-based PBX can use phones and other accessories from ANY manufacturer, so long as the device is SIP-compliant.
Media Independence: SIP can start and manage any type of conversation, not just phone calls. For example, a manager could indicate that she can't be reached via phone, but that Instant Messaging would be fine. As SIP clients evolve, more diverse types of communication methods will become available that won't require new PBX hardware.
Convergence and New Classes of Applications: SIP allows communication to happen in ways not previously possible. For example, a voice call could fluidly, without interruption, transition into a video call with simultaneous application sharing, and then move into a text chat, the transcript of which can be sent as e-mail to the participants and their managers.
Many companies have trumpeted the cost savings of making long distance phone calls over the Internet with VoIP. This is certainly an advantage. However, for businesses, this may be the least impressive benefit. A number of features make installing a VoIP phone system more economical than using a traditional circuit-switched PBX:
Reduced installation costs for new phones: Installing a new phone traditionally requires a phone technician to come to the site, cross-connect pairs of wires, install the telephone instrument on the desktop and test. With VoIP phones, installation is as simple as plugging the IP phone into the existing Ethernet network and logging in. No technical assistance is required.
Reduced maintenance costs: Traditional PBX phone systems are notorious for overhead when adding, moving, and changing stations and users. Adding a new user requires a technician to program a new extension and voice mail box, and possibly manipulate ACD groups and other details, in addition to phone installation. Moving an employee from one office to another requires a trip to the phone closet and quite possibly additional configuration at the switch. Removing an employee and reassigning the extension, voice mail box and so on involve a high-cost service visit. This is costly and cumbersome. Alescere's Tx1000 series IP-PBX systems are managed via an intuitive, friendly web-based interface. All changes are made in software, not hardware. This makes the process fast and easy, reducing expenses.
Interconnecting branch offices: Traditional small PBX systems don't have the facilities to interconnect branch offices. This leaves businesses facing either serious upgrade costs or serious phone bills for intra-office calls. There are very few options, and they are all expensive. The Tx1000 series is capable of making several offices look and feel like one larger office using existing IP networks, either private or public. Plus, these systems can be managed centrally and/or individually, In a multiple-office environment, they can act as a single (distributed) PBX, as a loose collection of PBX's that "know" each other, or they can behave as separate, non-connected switches.
Open, Standards-based Applications: VoiceXML allows the Alescere Tx1000 series IP-PBX to be a platform for advanced communication applications. Each of our features, to some degree, is based on VoiceXML, including the Auto Attendant and Voice Mail systems. But VoiceXML can do much more than that. For example, the Tx1000 series can become a voice-based portal to customer account information kept in a database, with just a little scripting.
Vendor Independence: Because VoiceXML is an open industry standard, anyone can create the scripts that drive the PBX's functionality. This includes in-house talent, outside contractors and Alescere's Customer Service group.
Complete Control over Call Flow: Most of the call control functionality in the Tx1000 series IP-PBX is governed by VoiceXML scripts, so changes to these scripts completely customize the operations of the system. Rather than being tied into the vendor's notion of how (for instance) an ACD system should operate, the owner of a Tx1000 can modify it to meet his or her exact business needs.
Anyone reading Linux Journal probably is already aware of the myriad benefits of Open Source systems. But to recap:
Reliability: Due to the use of Open Source software, Alescere can offer a significantly more stable, reliable and flexible product than otherwise possible.
Economics: Time-to-market and production costs are lowered, resulting in a more economical phone system than proprietary products in the marketplace.
Security: Companies investing in an Alescere Tx1000 series phone system can be reasonably sure of the security of the system, because the operating system and associated software has been widely and independently validated. Alescere uses the most stable and secure versions of Linux, Apache, Perl, PostgreSQL, OpenSSH and other prominent Open Source projects.
Alescere will begin selling the Tx1000 series IP-PBX in April of 2003. More detailed information is on the web site at www.alescere.com.