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Monday, 01 February 2010 14:21

Engin launches hosted IP telephony on BroadSoft platform

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VoIP service provider Engin (ASX: ENG) has become the latest player to enter the hosted IP telephony market, using a BroadSoft platform operated by a partner organisation.

The company has named Sense Event Group, which has five staff and which specialises in the design, management and production of live events, as one of the first customers, saying: "They have achieved up to 30 percent savings over their previous supplier." According to Engin users of the service can save up to 60 percent of costs compared to an in-house PBX.

The new service will be offered with a choice of five handsets (two from Cisco and three from Polycom). These will be preconfigured for use with the service. Engin's head of business sales, Jack McKeon, told iTWire: "We are preconfiguring handsets so we can sell them direct to the customer or they can get them from elsewhere and get our configuration loaded onto them. They will be plug and play: customers can plug them into any Internet connection and they will start working."

He said that a "low 30 percent" of Engin's VoIP customers were small business and the rest residential. "Historically we were seen as a residential provider but we are moving very much to shift that...We are focussed on giving small business all the communications they require."

He added that the BroadSoft product offered a range of unified communications features likely to be attractive to small business, including receiving fax as email, and click-to-dial integration with Microsoft Outlook.

Engin sells it VoIP and broadband Internet access services through "hundreds' of channel partners, McKeon said. These include wholesale partner who take the service 'white label', IT integration companies and PBX suppliers.

The company also sells direct via its web site and telesales. It has a customer support and telesales call centre with about 50 staff and just under 100 staff in total.

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Engin does not run its own BroadSoft VoIP platform but is using capacity on one operated by another organisation. Engin's head of business sales, McKeon sid. "We are working with a partner but we use the vast major of the [BroadSoft] switch." He declined to name the partner, nor to comment on why the partner was making minimal use of the platform.

{sloadposition stuart}In addition to supporting its new hosted IP PBX service, the BroadSoft platform supports all Engin's 70,000 VoIP customers. McKeon told iTWire: "we put a lot of work into moving our entire customer base onto BroadSoft. There are innumerable different vendors' hardware on the network so there was a lot of testing. We spent about nine months and moved all our customers over in October." Previously he said the company had its own Cisco-based platform.

BroadSoft is the market leader in the provision of technology for hosted IP telephony (aka IP centrex services). It underpins Telstra's hosted IP PBX service and has also been installed by AAPT, iiNet, Internode and IP Systems (its first customer in Australia).

Failed telco Commander Communications also ran a BroadSoft platform. Its SMB telephony business was sold to M2 Telecommunications.

Of these the one most likely to have an under-utilised BroadSoft platform would be AAPT: It has now had three attempts to launch hosted IP telephony services, none of which have been successful.

The first was in 2003. In late 2004 the service was repackaged and relaunched for the SME market. Shortly after that AAPT 'outsourced' the marketing and delivery of services to SMEs, including hosted IP PBX, to iProvide a new company owned and operated by senior executives from the former Request Broadband and headed by Phil Sykes, now CEO of Nextgen. That relationship no longer exists and AAPT no longer promotes hosted IP PBX services on its web site.


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