A recent article in southwest Florida newspaper Herald Tribune highlighted the effect Voice over IP (VoIP) is having on telephone systems by profiling telecom veteran Nick Branica and his most recently launched company, IPitomy (provider of VoIP phone system products).
The article noted that, currently, the phone industry is going through a transition. Branica, with more than two decades of telecom experience and connections under his belt, decided in 2004 to come out of retirement and launch a line of VoIP phone system products because he wanted to be part of this transition.
After founding Key Voice Technologies, selling it to Comdial for $18.3 million in the late 1990s, and then helping the company survive when the dotcom bubble burst, Branica retired to Siesta Key in Florida. His retirement only lasted a couple years because he saw so much potential in the VoIP phone system market that he couldn’t resist the temptation to join the revolution.
IPitomy, which was launched in 2004, offers a line of VoIP phone system switches, products which perform a number of vital phone functions including connecting calls to specific extensions, running menu systems, and transferring calls.
The Herald Tribune described IPitomy’s flagship product, the IPitomy 100, as being more like a communications appliance than merely a phone switch. That’s because it acts not only as a bridge for making VoIP calls, but also as a data router for office computers, and as afirewall.
The IPitomy 100, in fact, works with office computers to enable a new generation of communications capabilities. For example, voice messages are not only stored in the voicemail system but also sent to the recipient as audio files attached to e-mails.
Telephone system management tasks, like adding or changing an extension, are also simplified thanks to the switch; to make these types of alterations, an administrator or user can simply log into a Web-based account on his or her computer.
For a small business especially, the VoIP phone system features enabled by IPitomy’s switches—which Branica described in the Herald Tribune article as being equivalent to those found in a pricy, proprietary circuit-based system—offer greatly enhanced productivity at an affordable price-point.
The basic IPitomy 100 switch, installed, costs less than $2,000, Herald Tribune reported. Phones for this VoIP phone system run $100-$500 each.
In the Herald Tribune article, Fred Rosendahl, a Minneapolis-based business owner, provided a case study for just one feature of the IPitomy switch: its remote-access functionality. When the weather is so bad that he can’t make it into the office, Rosendahl can set his office VoIP phone system so it forwards calls to his home or mobile phone.
Enabling the cost savings of VoIP service for an office telephone system is another advantage of the IPitomy switch. Rosendahl testified to the cost savings associated with transitioning from a traditional circuit-based telephone system to one that converges voice and data services onto one network usingIP technology.
Rosendahl’s company, Systium Technologies, moved to a new office recently and as part of the move made the transition from a traditional telephone system to an IP-based one using IP phones and IPitomy’s switch.
Before the move, Rosendahl said that the company’s phone system required custom wiring from the office to the switch, and separateEthernet wiring for the computers. Now, with the IPitomy system, the computers and phones use the same wiring; the IPitomy 100 acts as both a phone switch and an Internet router.
Rosendahl still pays for six dedicated, local phone lines, but these are shared by the entire office using the IPitomy VoIP phone system switch. The office phones plug directly into the high-speed Internet connection, with a separate wire on the back of the phone connecting it to the computer.
Similarly, the Herald Tribune article described how Denise Bittner, president of Quicksilver Capital, uses the IPitomy switch with a Verizon DSL line. By going with VoIP, Bittner’s company saves a lot of money—she said the monthly phone bill is about $70, compared to roughly $400 with traditional phone service.