Must-See VoIP

By Patricia Fusco | Posted December 05, 2003

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) appears to be taking a hands-off approach to regulating voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology. Consequently, VoIP vendors can continue to grow and provide small businesses with a choice as to which type of telephone service they use. This is good news both for small businesses and VoIP solution providers like Zultys Technologies.

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Zultys Technologies designs and manufactures products that integrate voice and data communications together. These products are based on open standards, allowing for easy deployment and streamlined system management. Zultys tailors its hardware and software to create products capable of delivering a complete solution in a single box.

As mainstream businesses increasingly adopt VoIP systems, savvy customers demand flexible, scalable, easy to implement solutions with exceptional quality at a great price. And Zultys plans to be there to fulfill the demand from the small business market.

VoIP Small Business Transitions
One small business that has recently deployed a Zultys VoIP system is Consani Associates. Based in Vancouver, Wash., Consani Associates is a small firm specializing in dental practice transitions. The small company desperately needed a communication solution that could connect two offices and still serve remote workers.

Consani initially purchased Zulty's MX1200 with a 30-user license and 20 white ZIP 4x4 IP telephones. Within 30 days, Consani added another 30-user license and 30 more phones to add to the system. The small company was so impressed with the Zulty's MX1200 that they doubled the system capacity almost immediately.

Compelling communication system features for Consani Associates includes the ability to view the availability (presence) of system users, intuitive call handling configuration, and easy call transfer capabilities, exchange of text messaging by system users, seamless support for remote office workers, and assignment of multiple phones to a single user. The Zultys solution is one of the only communication solutions available on the market with enough power and flexibility to meet Consani Associates exact needs for its distributed work force.

Now with a 60-user license and 50 new Zultys ZIP 4x4 phones, this VoIP solution has enabled Consani Associates to rapidly expand its business broker services for the sale and transition of dental practices throughout the Pacific Northwest.

What's the best part for Consani's deployment of a VoIP system? The entire set-up took less than 45 minutes. Zultys' certified value-added reseller Xiologix, had the first 35 phones unpacked, deployed with configured to start processing calls in under an hour.

Xiologix worked for over a year to find the right product for Consani Associates. The MX1200 from Zultys fit Consani's business needs perfectly. Greg Still of Xiologix said he and an assistant stood looking at each other saying, "Wow! That's it, we're done."

The principal end user, Paul Consani, arrived at his office a short time later and was given a tour of the newly installed MX1200 system. Consani was astonished at what had been accomplished in such a short time. He simply said, "Zultys really has their act together."

Mid-Market Medicine Mayhem
HealthCare Billing Systems (HBS) provides outsourced billing services for emergency medicine facilities throughout the U.S. The company had long outgrown its legacy public exchange (PBX) phone system. In fact, HBS had added various disparate devices to patchwork together a phone system. Consequently, managing its communication system was a nightmare

HBS was looking for a modern communications solution to replace its outdated PBX system. The company needed a replacement system that was compact, scalable and easy to manage. In addition, HBS wanted the new system to be equipped with tools to enhance employee collaboration and improve client services. Zulty's MX1200 was the only system that met all of these requirements.

Today, the legacy PBX system have been completely decommissioned and the employees of HBS are enjoying the productivity gains brought about by using the MX1200. With presence, instant messaging, and advanced call handling rules, people throughout the organization maintain continual contact and provide their customers with highly professional emergency services.

The employees of HealthCare Billing Systems immediately started to use their ZIP4x4 telephones and Zulty's MXIE — a client graphical user interface that shows the status of their colleagues at any time. HBS operators view the presence of everyone in the company and use MXIE to route calls more efficiently. They are aware of the exact status of employees and can provide this information to their customers. When an employee is on the phone, the operator corresponds with that person using instant messaging — the operator is not forced to have to call or page the person to correspond, as was necessary with the old PBX system.

HBS has leveraged its improved customer service capabilities to expand its services. It quickly grew to include more than 500 employees. These employees all have different needs when it comes to communications, and the fact that the MX1200 is based on open session initiation protocol (SIP) technology allows for flexibility that suits the company's specific needs.

The internal communications technical staff at HBS installed the system with no formal training. With only an installation guide by his side, Corey Wilson, the IT Manager, was able to completely deploy a 100-user system in less than half a day.

Wilson setup a media exchange line to integrate multimedia communications into a single 2U box. The system allows HBS to provide voice, data, fax, and video communications for all users — regardless of their locations. Zultys integrated the functions of many devices previously available only in several disparate boxes at HBS. Specifically, it combines the functions of an IP PBX — automated attendants, voice mail and automatic call group dialing — with an Internet gateway, switch and router. All of these functions are now managed by HBS through a single Windows application.

Quick and Easy, But Not Cheap
Not only does the speed of deployment demonstrate that Zultys has successfully assembled an impressive VoIP solution, it also affirms that Internet telephony systems are going mainstream.

Zulty's MX250-based phone system is not an inexpensive system, but the company claims it provides the greatest value for small businesses. The MX250 lets users do video conference calls internally or long distance over the Internet or a managed IP network link. It also provides an internal Internet-style chat function. The presence management feature lets an operator or receptionist see which employees are logged in or out, or are on the phone, allowing them to route callers more efficiently and professionally.

Capital costs start with $5,000 for the MX250 unit itself, plus software licenses that are sold per user or block of users — another $5,000 for 25 users, for example. A PSTN gateway card that supports eight outside phone circuits adds another $800. If you're using the system to link remote users over the Internet, you'll need a VPN appliance or VPN software at a minimum of $125 per location.

Then you have to add $140 or $400 per IP phone set. Some businesses do use the simple $140 Zip 2 IP telephone, but the $400 Zip 4X4 has more business features. Other vendors' IP phones will also work on the Zultys system. Add it all up, and a system for 25 users in a single office, including phones, would cost between $15,000 and $22,000.

The MX1200, MX250, IP desk phones and related sundries are available direct from Zultys Technologies and its certified resellers across the U.S.

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