Tech Data, Nortel explore lingering PBX market

Tech Data Canada says its resellers have telephony solution for any budget thanks to an agreement with Nortel Networks.

The Mississauga, Ont.-based distributor has agreed to offer the fully digital Norstar Integrated Communications

Systems. Tech Data director of product management Ray Gonsalves calls the Norstar line the “”premier voice solution for small/medium business”” in Canada and adds the private branch exchange-based (PBX) system opens the door to a new marketplace — voice-based telephony.

Gonsalves says he expects both data and voice VARs to show an interest in offering the technology.

“”As much as voice-based sales are flat to down, it’s still a substantial marketplace, and for Tech Data Canada and for our data resellers it’s a new revenue stream we can tap into,”” Gonsalves says.

Exactly how much there is to tap into, however, is a bit of mystery. IDC Canada analyst Lawrence Surtees says he expects Internet protocol (IP) networks to supplant some PBXs this year, but the technology is far from dead.

“”New technology doesn’t get 100 per cent adoption over night, and what we’re really talking about too is refurbishing of Norstar stuff. So it’s not even new customers, there’s also a niche of existing customers who don’t want to change or give up what they’ve got because in some cases there’s a cost to migrating,”” Surtees says.

“”Telecom is a sector that’s rife with long-standing legacy services and legacy products. So when someone comes around and wants to give something some extra life they’re always going to find some uptake for it.””

Gonsalves agrees. He says he expects the transition to occur sometime after 2005 and PBXs hold more than 80 per cent of the marketplace. But accreditation, he says, is the key.

“”There are a lot of resellers that are not certified or authorized at this point that have purchased product through gray channels and this is an attempt to bring these smaller guys into the fold and promote the benefits of accreditation to them,”” Gonsalves says.

Tech Data is also offering support from its XALYX sales specialists, an online accreditation kit and is currently building a resource centre where resellers will be walked through the accreditation process.

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