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IBM, 3Com Deliver First “All-in-One” Solution for Both IP Telephony and Business Applications

  • 25 October, 2006 00:00

<p>IBM and 3Com Corporation, a leading provider of secure, converged voice and data networking solutions, today announced that customers have begun deploying the first-ever scalable IP telephony solution designed to run on a single system along with a customer’s core business applications.</p>
<p>The IBM System i IP Telephony solution represents a dramatic shift from the current appliance model for IP telephony environments, which requires that customers dedicate one or more separate servers to support each function of the telephony suite -- call processing, messaging and conferencing, for example -- presenting integration and systems management challenges, especially for small and medium-sized businesses that may have limited IT resources. In contrast, the new IBM System i IP Telephony solution, based on IBM's "all-in-one" business computing platform and 3Com’s VCX™ systems, makes IP telephony accessible to businesses of all sizes and requirements by allowing them to implement a complete IP telephony solution on one powerful, yet easy-to-manage platform.</p>
<p>Attracted by its simplicity, customers and business partners are already taking advantage of IBM System i IP Telephony in their businesses. The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) is a Southern California-based college dedicated to educating its 5,500 full-time students for careers in fashion, graphics, interior design and entertainment. FIDM recently selected IBM System i IP Telephony to merge voice and data capabilities on one integrated platform.</p>
<p>"System i has proved itself as a reliable, secure platform to run FIDM’s business. We were evaluating IP telephony offerings from other companies, but when we heard about the new System i IP telephony solution we couldn’t pass it up," says Roxanne Reynolds-Lair, CIO of FIDM. “With our System i IP telephony solution, we expect to save several thousand dollars per month, simplify our infrastructure, respond to business recovery situations faster and, best of all, set the foundation for FIDM’s growth over the next decade."</p>
<p>“Both IBM and its customers believe that System i is an ideal platform to run your business, but the exciting part of today’s news is that whether you are familiar with the value System i provides or not, you can’t help but recognize the benefit of running your entire business and your IP telephony simultaneously on a single system,” said Mark Shearer, general manager of IBM System i. “System i IP telephony can support less than 100 to thousands of phone users and our analysis shows that it can deliver a return on investment in months, not years.”</p>
<p>Polar Beverages, Inc. -- New England’s largest independent soft drink bottler -- is a fourth-generation, family owned business located in Worcester, Massachusetts and well-known for its popular sodas and seltzers in over 50 flavors, including Birch Beer and Lime Seltzer. Polar Beverages selected IBM System i IP Telephony to enhance its customer service by allowing Polar to be more responsive to the variety of retail stores and delis it serves and also to improve communications between Polar employees at its seven remote locations, reducing travel costs.</p>
<p>“The stability of the System i IP Telephony solution has been excellent – we haven’t lost a single call,” said Paul Paciello, Director of IT for Polar Beverages, Inc. “Both 3Com and IBM have been very supportive as we adopt this new solution and, as a result, we expect to roll it out to all 400 of our employees by February 2007. We also hope to integrate IP telephony with our current collaboration applications like Lotus Sametime.”</p>
<p>“The integration between IBM System i and 3Com VCX enables organizations to benefit from the cost-savings, advanced features and productivity-enhancing applications IP telephony has to offer, all on a proven platform. It also creates a converged business environment that we believe can deliver a competitive advantage through enhanced customer, partner and employee communications,” said Edgar Masri, president and chief executive officer, 3Com. “IBM and System i customers are recognizing that VCX is differentiated by how it is architected to create a reliable and scalable platform to match the System i’s capabilities. Additionally, the excitement from IBM business and solution-provider partners is a further proof point for VCX’s flexibility and validation for our open standard-based approach versus proprietary systems.”</p>
<p>IBM chose 3Com as its IP telephony partner for System i based on the two companies' common values of integration, ease-of-use, reliability, scalability, security and support for open standards. Using open standards such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) creates a platform for innovation by enabling the 3Com VCX to be more easily integrated with other applications running on the System i -- including collaborative applications like Lotus Sametime and Domino as well as third party applications -- helping customers reduce costs, increase productivity and enhance customer, partner and employee interaction. Since announcing in April their intention to deliver the System i IP telephony solution, IBM and 3Com have had substantial interest from the community of System i solution-provider and business partners who want to exploit this integration.</p>
<p>Typex Group plc, an IBM business partner that specializes in delivering integrated solutions using AT&amp;T networking, System i and IBM Lotus software, not only plans to offer System i IP Telephony to its small and medium sized customers, but has already started using the technology itself.</p>
<p>“Many of our customers and our own internal sales team had been asking for us to add an IP telephony solution to our portfolio, but as a midsized solution provider, we were worried about taking on something that could introduce complexity to both our business model and our customers,” said Deni Wilson, managing director of Typex. “The System i IP Telephony solution completely eliminated this worry because it is an integrated solution based on a single platform proven time and again by our customers. The solution was so compelling that we decided to use it ourselves.”</p>
<p>Pricing and Availability
System i IP Telephony offers flexible options for purchase and deployment. The System i IP Telephony Express Editions, expected to be available in early November 2006, are sized and priced for companies from 100-1,000 users and can be added to new or existing System i platforms. The importance of solution availability motivated IBM to offer System i IP Telephony Express Editions in both single and double system versions – one to act as the primary system and another correctly sized, configured and attractively priced to serve as the back up system where the highest availability is required. A single system offering starts at US$37,900 and a double system offering for high availability starts at US$51,900.</p>

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