While at Enterprise Connect in Orlando, Fla., I paid a visit to snom's booth to find out more about some of their recently introduced products. The video of my interview with snom COO Mike Storella is embedded below. But first, before describing the new products, it might help to understand what exactly snom does. Until I met with the folks from snom, I knew the name but not much about its systems.
Snom is one of the many companies (Enterprise Connect is blanketed with them) that can help small to midsized businesses ditch their expensive TDM PBXes (time-division multiplexed, public branch exchanges, aka "telephone switches") with an entirely VoIP-based infrastructure. Whereas many players in the VoIP market make the actual hardware that can replace the old switch, snom has over the recent past elected to offer a software version of the VoIP server that can run on any properly configured Intel-based server (for example, a Dell server).
Snom offers a 10-user version of the software -- dubbed snom ONE -- at no charge. Users of the free edition must use snom's handsets or deskphones. Beyond that, snom charges for the software and offers two pre-configured systems for 20 users and 150 users. While snom's phones are not required with the paid version (snom ONE supports SIP-compatible phones), the latter of the two (the "Blue" edition) not only scales to 150 users, it can also support multiple entities at once. This could come in handy for the lessors of shared office spaces where phone service is provided as a part of the rent package to tenants. Users of snom's systems get all the creature comforts that one would expect from a traditional telephone switch like automated call attendants, on-hold music, hunt groups, and voice mail.
Snom ONE is also capable of routing calls to and from the PSTN (public switched telephone network). Users can configure snom ONE to connect directly to the PSTN provided the server is properly configured with an FXO (foreign exchange office) or equivalent port for bridging the server to some PSTN infrastructure. Or, instead of managing your own bridge to the PSTN, you can outsource that routing function to a SIP trunking provider like Vonage.
At Enterprise Connect, snom was showing off two of its latest products. The first of these was a turnkey hardware server that runs the snom ONE software, thereby eliminating the need for users to worry about whether or not the software will run properly on an Intel server of their choosing (though that option still exists). According to Storella, the snom ONE plus, as it's called, is completely certified to run the software. It also has enough expansion slots to support pretty much any PSTN configuration (see chart, right, for list of possible PSTN options). When coupled with the "Yellow" edition (supports 20 users), the total cost of the system is around $2,100 (not including phones) and when coupled with the "Blue" edition (150 users, multi-domain), the cost goes up to around $4,000.
Additionally, for users wanting a bit of mobility, snom was also showing off the new M3 DECT-based cordless phone. DECT is a wireless technology found in a lot of residential cordless phones and supposedly offers better sound clarity over longer distances. A single base-station can support up to nine M3s, said Storella, and the initial entry package of a base station and two M3's costs $259. The base station must be connected to a snom ONE-based server (snom's hardware or your own Intel-based server) through a local area network. Here's the video:
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