Iristel inks deal to offer more desktop VoIP phones

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider Iristel Inc. announced its partnership with Berlin-based company Snom Technology AG on April 28, adding one more company to its broad portfolio of partners.

The deal allows the Toronto-based firm to offer its small business customers a new line of desktop phones that are compatible with its communications services, which include hosted private branch exchanges, virtual faxing, virtual roaming, and virtual private network installations in addition to VoIP.

Snom’s 3xx and 8xx series desktop phones, as well as the snom m9 DECT phone and MeetingPoint conference phone were put through intense interoperability tests with the Iristel network. Iristel will be providing the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking for the phones, or connecting them to its network through the Internet.

“It is just an IP phone from a telephony perspective,” says Samer Bishay, president and CEO of Iristel, but combining it with the company’s high-definition voice system is what makes it a truly competitive offering. The HD calling features are what make the service stand out as well, and customers won’t just get the “AM radio” quality they have over phone lines now, Bishay says.

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“We worked with their engineers and our engineers to make sure it’s in compliance,” Bishay says of Snom.

“I think the hosted space is a really hot space right now,” says Tom Ostrander, Snom’s director of North American channel sales, especially with the consolidation of workforces. “Typically what we do is partner with companies like Iristel,” Ostrander says. “We were talking with each other and both of us put efforts into testing to make sure they worked together properties,” he adds.

“We broaden their horizons,” he says, by offering the hardware. “They broaden us by allowing us to have interoperability partners and hitting new markets,” he says. “We’re basically adding new customers, which makes the overall pie bigger,” Ostrander says, so the company’s reseller partners in Canada don’t have to worry. In fact, the company is looking to expand even more with the country.

VoIP services are typically ideal for businesses that need conference calling and those that have staff working remotely. Businesses with several offices spread out geographically can also benefit hugely from VoIP. More and more companies are gradually moving into the unified communications and VoIP space. Microsoft Lync 2010 is just one of the more recent UC solutions to hit the market.

“It’s a growth industry,” says James McCloskey, a senior analyst with Info-Tech Research Group of the VoIP market in Canada. “Iristel’s really positioned themselves well,” he says. 

Any business from home offices to large corporations can take advantage of Iristel’s services, he says. Small businesses, though, really need to be looking into VoIP services, Bishay says. “Unless they use a sophisticated telecom system, they’re not able to compete,” he adds.  The idea is to reduce travel costs and essentially pay for what your business needs.

“Instead of having to deal with changes to maintaining and upgrading your solutions, Iristel is taking care of availability, upgrades and maintenance,” McCloskey says. “The key value proposition beyond that is minimizing costs associated with voice traffic,” he adds.

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You may end up paying slightly more for the service when you use it, but will save on other costs like maintenance and staffing, McCloskey says. “People may not have the same IT services they had in the past,” Ostrander adds.

Because it is such a small company, Iristel can’t have staff spread all over the country, says Iain Grant, an industry analyst with research and consulting firm SeaBoard Group. “But the beauty of IP is that you don’t need those people in trucks,” he adds.

In fact, Iristel’s customer service is one major aspect that makes it stand out, Grant says. “They’ve got the experience, they’ve got the imagination and they’ve got the focus on small business,” he says.

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