Interesting Tidbits from ITEXPO

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Tom Keating
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Interesting Tidbits from ITEXPO

Cisco quietly let go 50 engineers and other people responsible for their low-cost SPA line of desktop IP phones (SPA300, SPA500, etc.) - I believe back in November. The IP phones targeted the SMB and I'm told it's a $600 million business for Cisco that Cisco just decided to let go to focus on the "enterprise". Must be nice to say no to $600 million! They're still selling the SPA line of products (and may even still be manufacturing them), but there is no more development on the SPA line of IP phones. Considering new bugs and exploits are found on many IP phones, this isn't good news.

In one of the BYOD sessions I moderated at ITEXPO, the panelists discussed virtualizing your corporate profile so that you have to identities on your mobile device (business & personal). I expressed my concerns that users like a unified mailbox and won't like having to switch to a business profile to view corporate email. The pull of corporate interests (security) vs. user's expectations of frictionless and painless use of their mobile apps will be an interesting thing to flesh out over the next 18 months. The panelists had some interesting thoughts on this, that if you missed this session you missed a good one!

Yealink was my favorite designed booth at the Las Vegas ITEXPO (very Apple-esque), but now competitor Grandstream has upped their game with an impressive booth of their own at the 2014 Miami ITEXPO. Check out these photos:


Obihai has a new color IP phone they're launching very soon and they gave the first public demonstration of their new phone at ITEXPO. It's designed with service providers in mind since it uses Obihai's cloud-based provisioning model for easy plug-and-play. It's based on a unique serial number (possibly the MAC address) and the phone automatically queries Obihai's cloud provisioning server to get all the relevant account info such as SIP credentials.

Of course, power users can also purchase the phone directly online and provision the SIP credentials themselves. Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSP) have the option of "locking" the device or letting you move to another ITSP. I believe Obihai said it supports up to 24 SIP registrations. Here's a sneak peek of the phone!


I met with Xorcom and they had some interesting news. They basically solved a long standing problem in Asterisk, namely the changing of telephony interfaces. When you remove an interface it messes up the numbering. Several years R&D team combined with Digium to solve this challenge in Asterisk and completely redesigned the way Digium numbers telephony ports. Now can plug, unplug, reboot and not change integrity of the system. Each interface has its own unique numbering and it works with any DAHDI device.

They also announced Blue Steel PBX. The Blue Steel product line is a stand-alone, pre-configured, out-of-the-box IP-PBX featuring Xorcom’s CompletePBX distribution. Blue Steel features hot-swappable server-grade hard disk drives, hot-swappable power supplies, and built-in power for up to four Astribanks.
It supports various combinations of telephony ports both internally and via Astribank units connected via USB2: up to 960 PSTN/analog phones ports, up to 16 E1 R2 / T1 CAS PRI ports, up to 1,000 users, and up to 550 concurrent SIP calls.

I also met with Digium and they announced some news at ITEXPO. Here's my notes. To go cloud they first partnered with VocalCloud and then acquired them. They did the Switchvox Cloud that Digium now sells at $35/seat.

Switchvox 5.8 now has advanced peering tools inside it. The newest version of Outlook integration now allows you to change presence status from within Outlook.

Announced at ITEXPO they now offer an interesting risk free trial with 0 upfront cost. They give you 5 licenses, ship you 5 Digium phones, and give you a toll free number! You don't even pay for shipping!

One benefit of Switchvox and Switchvox Cloud is that it's the EXACT same UI for customer premise and cloud-based version. They offer a channel program with 10% commission. Further, they also told me under NDA (now expired) an IP phone rental option, thereby eliminating CAPEX. They sell the Digium D40 @ $8/month, D50 @ $12/month and the D70 executive phone @ $18/month. The rental model has FULL support / warranty on the phone forever. So if dies, ship a new one. February 3rd is when this will be available. Channel partners can be 1st level support or send to Digium, which is nice.

WebRTC has a nice-sized pavillion on the show floor I'm hoping to check out soon. Stay tuned for more from ITEXPO!

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