CPE for 2008 and Beyond: The Reseller, the Distributor and the Open Source Platform

Marios Ktisti, Marketing Manager at Hugh Symons says there have been questions and debates aplenty in the telecommunications market about where things are going.

“Is hosted the way forward? Is CPE dead in the water? Which reseller types will fall by the wayside and who can provide the right model?

The key as always when providing a solution is understanding what will make a customers’ business practice simpler and more cost efficient. This is the very nature of the term ‘convergence’, a term constantly in use within our industry, but often referring to different things!

An open source system such as SIPtrix can make a business practice simpler and cost-effective, and in most cases this will mean equipment on a customer site. It offers flexibility – one can make calls over the Internet, ISDN, GSM and over analogue which in turn provides back up. This has always been an issue for many with hosted systems, (ie we have no phone system if the Internet goes down).

Therefore why should we worry about having some equipment on site as long as it is being looked after? And with SIPtrix, we are also getting the benefit of the best least cost routing rates with the back up should the Internet go down. Also, there are no per-user licence costs for the software itself, it is scaleable, and the standard features are rich.

One can then add the latest GSM/SIP phones (such as the Nokia E series devices) to a wireless telephone network when in the office and revert back to a business optimised phone when out of the office. In the office the field based staff members’ phones become part of the phone system, providing the best least cost routing for the customer, whilst reducing the need for desk phones.

This example highlights a number of things:

– Open source and CPE definitely have a future

– There is an increasing mobile phone presence

– The capability of the technology is ever improving and stretching across differing skill sets

– There are increasing opportunities for Cellular, Fixed Line, IT, PBX/IP resellers.

In this instance fixed line resellers can increase their fixed line traffic by taking minutes generated from calls made by mobile phones in the office but may not have the skill sets to provide the rest of the solution.

Cellular resellers would like to provide a complete, managed telecommunications solution that enhances their provision of handsets, but again may not have the required skill sets to fulfil this.

With IT resellers, IP telephony is a natural extension of the provision of networks as telecommunications becomes increasingly part of the customer network, but this type of reseller may not be a provider of airtime or hardware.

For resellers already selling IP or traditional systems, an open source system provides a cost effective, feature rich alternative to incumbent PBX brands, but they will still require the relevant training in order to provide the required installation and maintenance services.

The system, the opportunities and the technology is most definitely there.

The key is to work with a distributor that can provide the complete solution and fill any gaps in those skill sets.

There is much debate about improving one’s skill sets to move with the times and increase one’s solution portfolio, but with something as important as a company’s phone system it is equally important that one learns to walk before it can run.

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