As part of a recent whirlwind Dallas, Texas tour I had a chance to catch up with Iwatsu’s Don Gant and discuss what his company is up to. He tells me sales of the company’s EMA Enhanced Messaging Application service are strong and have accelerated after the tragic Virginia Tech shooting. The system allows e-mails and calls to be made at a rate of 1,000 calls per minute in order to notify family members or workers in an emergency situation.
One of the benefits of the system is the ability to allow called parties to interact with the emergency notification system. For example if you receive an evacuation notice by phone you can set the system to allow the called party to press a button to get the best evacuation route from different parts of a campus. This IVR system could also be accessed by calling into it directly. This could be used for example if the initial route is blocked and you need to find another one.
Connecting an IVR system to an emergency notification system is smart as the alternative is a flooded switchboard filled with people looking for answers. It should be noted that EMA can also connect people to a live operator through the Iwatsu ECS product.
The company has also been experimenting with new ways of selling what they say is a “dynamite” Unified Communications platform. They also have the ability to combine the benefits of UC and what they call a “measurement methodology.” On the drawing board is the potential to actually give away the “measurement methodology” call accounting software for a short time. The system is pretty powerful, allowing an administrator to really peer into the communications network to see what is happening on a minute by minute basis.
Another benefit to the company’s UC solution is the cost, which ends up being under a dollar a day per system over five years.
One last point… I saw a prototype drawing of the company’s next generation phone and I am sworn to secrecy on much of what it can do. What I can tell you is it is one of the nicest looking phones around and it will have some features not generally available today. Hopefully the final prototype will look like the drawing.
It is worth noting that when my wife and I recently went to a high-end car dealer for an SUV we expected the car we wanted to be out of the price range we were willing to spend. It turns out the car company had a spectacular lease rate. I asked the salesperson how the price per month could be so low for a car with such a high sale price and he told me the reason is people just won’t spend too much on a second vehicle and that is what an SUV generally is.
I was reminded of this fact because while the new Iwatsu phone is really fantastic the company is leaving some very high-end features out. This mirrors a conversation I had at Microsoft recently where they were pointing out the cost of these units can get out of hand quickly. In this case, the desk phone is becoming the second phone and the wireless phone is the primary. So it looks like our desk phones are the SUVs of the telecom space.
As an FYI, the Iwatsu phone could have variants with more features and higher cost. So I am not saying the phone is lacking in the features you need. It is worth mentioning that as a gadget freak myself I think everyone should have a 7-inch color touch screen phone with a browser built in.
Why consider Iwatsu? The company has reasonable prices, solid equipment and great engineering. Iwatsu’s weakness may just be brand recognition but recently the company has been doing more of this, showing their continued commitment to the telecom market.
I look forward to filling you in on their new phone when it goes into production.

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