Looking to resell VOIP Phone Systems - Which is the best to go with?

My title explains most all of my question - I currently own a computer and applications development company and we are looking to branch out into VOIP Phone Systems - where should I start?


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Actually if you are really serious about this, and looking for the best solutions for potential customers, you should start looking at this from your customer’s point of view. Make a list of the features you would need for your self, shop the market like a customer, and learn what it is like from their point of view. I could give you a list instead, but this is one case where the journey is more important than the destination. Do this right and you will learn a lot, get it laid out at your feet and you will learn little if anything, so take the journey instead.  

First, I have been installing PBX since 1993, have installed a few thousand systems, from 25,000 users to 1, traditional and VoIP based.

Something that I have noticed over the years, many Data/PC resellers have jumped into the market because of reduced profit margins on traditional network equipment and such. The impact of many of these companies jumping into the voice market slowed the growth and adoption rate of the technology.

Many folks, including EE's entire management, consider VoIP an extension of Networking. It is not, VoIP is part of IP Telephony, which in my humble opinion, is the transformation of the voice industry at all levels.
So jumping into the market does not only require finding the right system to sell, but more so, learning an entire new industry and mindset that generates $1 Trillion per year.

Some areas of study include:

IVR, Voice Mail, TTS, ASR, structured cabling ,BICSI, RCDD, FCC site, CALEA, 1996 Telecommunications ACT

Some books to study:

Newtons Telecom Dictionary, by Harry Newton

Guide to T-1 Networking: How to Buy, Install & Use T-1 From Desktop to Ds-3
by William A. Flangan

Here is a list of links to keep you busy this weekend:

http://www.protocols.com/pbook/VoIPFamily.htm    basic overview of VoIP

http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/788/signalling/net_signal_control.html      basic telecom link

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/sw/voicesw/ps556/products_tech_note09186a0080174804.shtml    debug sample

http://www.cisco.com/application/pdf/en/us/guest/products/ps5037/c2001/ccmigration_09186a008011bd39.pdf   all of IOS voice commands

MGCP rfc's below




Just some general phone info:

First the new Toshiba CTX is fully IP enabled, but you get to use your existing phones and do need to change your cables. One of the previous comments talked about Artisoft, they have a decent product, but one issue, few resellers that know how to install a phone system.

The Mitel system is also a very good system, top 3 in the VoIP market today. Only issue with Mitel is the lack of certified dealers this is for various reasons which would take a page to explain.

I have been installing the Cisco product before Cisco purchased it. Works well, but the price point for 150 users is steep and I could not justify the cost.

3COM NBX has a good product, would work on a CAT5 cable plant running 10MB switched. Not keen though on the multi-site features.

Altigen, stay away, used them 1997 and sent system back, they still have many issues today and have the second worst rating for availability (system is down for at least 35 hours each year.

Avaya IP office, you think, hey its AT&T, they invented the phone right? Late in the game and have the worst rating for availability out of everyone.

Nortel BCM, great system, great multi-site features, lacks all the other bells and whistles some other systems have, but do you really need a feature called Zoomerang?

Vertical Networks all around great system, but made for the satellite office connecting to a traditional PBX at HQ.

ConvergenceCenter, SIP based system with fully integrated CRM, Business Management software, Knowledge base, IM, and email. Main issue with them is they are a newer company. But so was Ford at one point.

If you have any addtional questions do not hesitate to ask.

Kindest regards

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wisconsinpcAuthor Commented:
Man...thats what I was looking for!

Thanks for the info....you are very right on all of your points.

I do have a computer background...but my partner in the company is a major phone system guy - and he will be doing all the installation - I am the funding and the ideas for marketing, but I like to learn about what I am selling, etc.

Thanks again!

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