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Honey, Cisco Shrunk The Infrastructure!

Network Computing says Cisco's new Small Business Communications System (SBCS) stuffs big-enterprise unified communications features into an SMB-size package.Unified voice and data communications is hot right now, but author Sean Ginevan cites a Forrester study claiming that only 15% of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees have installed IP PBXs.

To tap this midmarket opportunity, Ginevan says, consumer, SOHO, and small business vendors have been trying to upgrade their networking offerings with additional features. But Cisco is taking the opposite approach, by trying to scaled down its "pricey enterprise-class products" to make them affordable to smaller companies.

Network Computing tested a $7,888 system, and happily reports that "all elements of the SBCS performed at the level of quality we've come to expect from Cisco's enterprise products."

On the other hand, "while it's easy to get a basic system up and running, the amount of customization available within the SBCS will be overwhelming for some SMB network admins," Ginevan says. So many smaller companies will probably call upon VARs for help installing and managing the SBCS.

Either way, as bMighty has shown again and again, Unified Communications is an increasing attractive option for small and midsized companies.