Toshiba increases telecom business with channel

Resellers of Toshiba’s business phone systems will be able to take advantage of the manufacturer’s added partnerships with networking, wireless and security vendors to sell its new IP-based PBX line.

The partnerships, with SMC Networks, SonicWall and Peak Technologies are aimed at strengthening

Toshiba of Canada’s offerings when it launches its Strata CIX at the end of May.

“This will allow (our) channel to have a one-stop, so whenever they’re selling an IP platform they have a total solution,” said Rick Wierzbowski, Toshiba Canada’s director of telecommunications operations.

“Understanding the compatibilities and inconsistencies and finding work-arounds [from other vendors] is a lot of work for a reseller.

“In this case the products are tried and tested and have Toshiba’s stamp of approval.”

The Strata CIX is a native IP system for small and medium businesses that comes in two models: One that supports 200 ports, and another that supports 670 ports.

It can also be added to Strata CTX and DK systems.

Among its main elements is FeatureFlex, software that lets users customize their phones through simple scripts.

Toshiba hopes software developers, telecommunications dealers, VARs, and systems integrators will also use it to create customized solutions for individual vertical markets.

Other features include One Number Access, which allows users to set up routing features for incoming calls so the call will go to a specified device or location; Call Monitor and Retrieve, which allows users to monitor callers as they leave voice mail and retrieve them from voicemail as needed; and Voice Mail Return, which allows users as they are reviewing voice mail to return calls and then continue where they were in their voice mail messages.

To match the system Toshiba also has a line of IP phones. Debuting with the CIX in May will be a WiFi-based model as well.

Wierzbowski estimated there are 80 branches of Canadian resellers who carry the company’s PBX line.

VARs will need to be certified on the new partners’ products, so Toshiba will run courses from its regional offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal after the Strata CIX launches, which is scheduled for May 27. Each course would take two or three days, Wierzbowski believes.

Marketing road shows for VARs will start next month and hit Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and a yet-to-be determined city in the Maritimes.

Toshiba follows IP PBXs to the market from names such as Cisco Systems, Avaya and Mitel.

“Toshiba is never first to market with these products,” Wierzbowski said, “but when it’s released it works 100 per cent. Our claim to fame in the telephony world is reliability.”

In related news Toronto’s BorderWare Technologies announced it will chair the security requirements committee of the Voice over Internet Protocol Security Alliance (VOIPSA).

VOIPSA’s goal is to develop tools and methodologies to improve VoIP security.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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