Avaya is offering a free IP-PBX for SMBs that are looking for the latest and greatest in communications technology but can't afford it. Ok, it's not quite "free". It's free for the first 2 years via a 0% lease (no interest) and with no upfront costs. I have to wonder if increased competition in the IP-PBX sector is causing IP-PBX manufacturers to have creating financing strategies. I guess strong competition is a good thing for the VoIP industry. Of course, the mortgage sector started offering some creative financing options for the sub-prime market and look how that turned out
. I'm not going to bet against Avaya - they do make good products. Plus, the financial risks of non-payment are greater for personal loans/mortgages than for a business loan.
Of course, this isn't the first truly "free" IP-PBX. You can download Asterisk
for free, install it on some PC hardware you already own, configure it to work with an ITSP and voila, you have yourself a free IP-PBX!
Boy, I remember the days where large financial services companies would finance company's $50,000+ phone systems. Heck, I had to sign off on TMC's multi-thousand dollar phone system in the 1990s. With phone systems often costing $5,000 or less, financing for such a small amount makes much less sense. I wonder if any research group (Forrester, Gartner, Yankee Group) has done a study on how PBX financing has plummeted - at least for the SMB? Or at least, that's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
In any event, check out the news from Avaya, just in case you're looking for a "free" 2 year IP-PBX.
Avaya (NYSE: AV), a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services and Avaya Financial Services (AFS) today announced the availability of a 0% finance offer that will enable customers of Avaya BusinessPartners to lease equipment and pay for services over two years with NO interest and NO upfront charges.
The offer is targeted at customers who decide to lease a new Avaya Small Medium Business (SMB) solution that includes the market-leading Avaya IP Office 500 with VoiceMail Pro messaging for business use. Avaya IP Office is the company’s flagship solution for SMBs. It is an Intelligent Communications solution designed to specifically meet the needs of home offices, standalone businesses, and networked branch and head offices for small and midsize businesses.
This new approach to financing is designed to help customers get the technology that their business needs and not what the budget dictates. Payments will be spread over a two year period with 0% interest. At the end of the two-year term the customer can continue to use the equipment, buy it for a nominal amount (e.g. 1€/£1), return it or refresh it. The 0% finance offered by AFS is available in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Switzerland.
“We know the challenges that our SMB customers face when it comes to investing in technology. They want to buy equipment now but cannot because obstacles such as budgets and funding get in the way. Avaya is addressing this need by letting our customers pay for the equipment as it is used, instead of in advance. This enables them to free up working capital which can be allocated to other areas of their business,” explained Pat Hume, EMEA vice president of channels for Avaya.
“What is particularly attractive about this offer is that it is not a residual value-based product, but is a true 0% finance promotion, whereby the customer can purchase the equipment at the end of the lease term for a nominal amount (e.g. 1€/£1), if they so wish,” said Mike Kirby, managing director, Gold Avaya BusinessPartner, Telefonix.
Paul Fazakerley, European programme director for Avaya Financial Services commented: “We are delighted to be able to provide support to Avaya in this highly significant initiative. Our ability to work closely together in structuring this product and rolling it out across multiple geographies will, I believe, offer real value-add to Avaya’s customers.”
Avaya IP Office 500 is a highly modular system targeted at the sub 30 to 272 user environment. The built-in Standard Edition software is designed for very small businesses up to 32 users and can optionally offer multi-site networking, while upgrading to the Professional edition enables businesses to take advantage of enhanced unified communications, and customer service intelligence while scaling up to 272 users.
The IP Office 500 system can support up to 272 telephones, 30 VoiceMail Pro voice messaging ports, as well as advanced applications through optional licensing: Audio & Web-based Conferencing, Voice Recording Services, Advanced Voice Networking, Interactive Voice Response, Text-to-Speech, and Customer Services reporting packages. Its compact, modular, and flexible design supports telephony, voice messaging, and a complete customer service suite – all at an attractive price for small and mid-size businesses. Avaya’s IP Office is an ideal solution that addresses today’s needs for small businesses to leverage the productivity benefits of a truly unified communications solution.