Many of us know Grandstream for their IP Phones which offer great value as well as an assortment of analog gateways, ATAs, videophones, etc. I have spoken with resellers in fact who sell truckloads of Grandstream equipment on the show floor.
So when you make IP phones and are looking to get into new markets, where do you go? If you remember, years back, Pingtel moved from selling IP phones which won design awards into the IP-PBX and later the open-source IP-PBX space.
Grandstream is another company located in Massachusetts who has decided to branch out into the IP-PBX space but in this case they have created a simple-looking device dubbed the GXE502X which can support up to 100 extensions and over 50 simultaneous calls.
The box has many features and is surprisingly robust.
For example, there is a built-in fax server with print-to-fax capability. The server converts faxes to PDFs and e-mails them. Furthermore, there is enough memory onboard – 512 MB, to store 150 hours of voicemail, 10,000 pages of fax and four hours of video mail.
There is an auto-attendant, NAT traversal, PSTN failover, video capability, single-button SIP trunk provisioning (with select service providers), unified messaging, four conference bridges which allow up to 20 participants in total. Surprisingly, you could use the bridge to have a single 20-person conference call for example.
There is also call center support with support for skills-based routing, busy level and other features.
You can expect integration with CRM packages and MS Outlook/OCS before the end of the year and video voicemail is another application under development.
I assumed this was an Asterisk device but it turns out it was written over two years by developers in China using the object oriented programming language C++.
The amazing part about this device is the price as it is under $550. In my opinion, this box could sell for four times more and still be a good value. Of course, I haven’t had a chance to do a real-world test and I am looking forward to seeing this PBX in action. Certainly on the specs alone it does impress.
I need to also point out that Grandstream Chairman & CEO David Li seems very proud of this new product and in a recent meeting in his office, he brimmed with enthusiasm. In fact the whole Grandstream team seemed very proud to unveil the device… I was secretly hoping for cigars to be passed out in fact. 😉
If Grandstream’s new "baby" lives up to the specs, it will certainly be further proof that Moore’s Law is alive and well… Especially as it applies to telecom.