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Editor's note: This Toshiba VIPedge product overview is part of a series on unified communications as a service, or UCaaS. Part one examined the evolution of UC in the cloud, and part two discussed the business case for UCaaS. Part three detailed the purchasing criteria and key features to consider, and part four compared the top vendors on the market.
The VIPedge service is a fully managed cloud-based offering by Toshiba, targeting small and midsize companies, and it's designed to help businesses lower their Opex and Capex telecommunication costs. Companies migrating from another PBX vendor can use the VIPedge service without the need to purchase new hardware, such as IP phones or voice gateways, as Toshiba provides softphones. Should there be a requirement for desktop IP phones, the IP5000 series IP phones are capable of delivering a high-quality communication experience and are fully supported by VIPedge.
Existing Toshiba customers with IPedge or the Strata CIX business phone system can either use their IP4100 or other IP5000 series IP phones with VIPedge to migrate to a full cloud-based service, or choose to go hybrid by connecting their PBX system with VIPedge. This flexibility helps companies mix and match systems and services, depending on their location and needs. For example, a company with increased IP connectivity and growth can go straight to the VIPedge service, while remote branches with increased analog phones and trunks can use the Strata CIX system.
Companies that have multiple connected sites with Toshiba cloud services can enjoy free local and long distance calls between them -- a very interesting feature for companies with heavy internal communication, such as banks or call centers.
The VIPedge service provides all necessary telephone features any type of business would require, including call forwarding, call transfer, call hold, conference calling, redial, do not disturb, caller ID, voicemail and enhanced 911.
Toshiba cloud UC services include features such as call control via desktop, laptop or mobile device; call contacts synchronization; customer relationship management (CRM) integration; presence indicators; instant messaging; Outlook integration; login for up to three devices; and voicemail to email.
Mobility is fully supported and includes support for all popular mobile phone platforms, such as iPhone, Android, tablets and laptops. UC features, such as presence, instant messaging, voicemail and call routing, are also available to mobility users.
CRM integration is another strong point, thanks to the adoption of open standards, which makes it possible for VIPedge to connect with CRM applications, such as Act! and Salesforce.
Toshiba provides its customers with a web-based interface from which they are able to make any necessary configuration changes for IP phones, user settings or extensions, as well as view detailed reports on phone and trunk usage.
Toshiba offers a pay-as-you-grow license model, which means businesses pay only for the amount of licenses they require. This allows businesses to save on unnecessary costs that can become a problem in large-scale deployments.
Finally, before proceeding with the setup of Toshiba cloud UC services, an authorized dealer will conduct a network assessment to ensure the network infrastructure delivers the required performance. The network assessment covers four major areas, which are:
- LAN requirements, which include a network diagram and examine the existence of Power over Ethernet for IP phones, Layer 3 quality of service (QoS), jitter, packet loss and full-duplex on all Ethernet ports.
- VoIP requirements for remote users, including testing the reliability of the internet link, Layer 3 QoS, latency check, jitter and packet loss.
- VoIP requirements for Wi-Fi users, which include network reliability tests and assess QoS, Wi-Fi protocols used, latency check, jitter and packet loss.
- Customer WAN, including the examination of business-class cable services, T1/E1 data service and any metro Ethernet data service.
Toshiba has managed to pair its power VIPedge service with some support services that are helping them gain ground in the UCaaS market. Thanks to its customer-centric philosophy and service offerings, it is a vendor that should be seriously considered.
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