For Consolidated Technologies, Inc. (CTI), the future lies in hosted telephony solutions. Tom Faherty, VP of Operations and Engineering, explains: “the SMB market now makes up 45% of all IT spending in North America. Forecasts say that particular market will continue to look for hosted services.”
CTI established a dedicated hosted telephony business unit that serves a growing base of small and mid-size business (SMB) customers. Its hosted solution is based on BroadSoft® BroadWorks® voice over IP (VoIP) platform.
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Embedded PBX hardware appliances are great. They typically have a high reliability for a reduced cost, all the while saving the need to do hardware design, procurement and integration.
But as the trend to appliances moves along in the telephony space, a development obstacle becomes apparent. It seems like an oxymoron really. As software developers, we want flexibility to customize our ‘special purpose’ appliances.
The creation of value is no longer providing a working PBX but instead the addition of differentiating features. I have the flexibility to create these features with my generic PC and I don’t want to spend years learning the science of embedded platforms to accomplish the same on an appliance.
Today for those wanting to create an appliance-based solution there are a couple categories of options.
- A full (or close-to-full) system which limits the amount of customization
- A provided recipe to building a system which can allow for changes to most aspects of the system
These two options typically highlight the differing camps – one offering greater ease of use versus one offering greater flexibility. But I don’t believe it has to be so contrasting. In a way this is no different than any other solution trend out there – I want my software platforms to have more abstraction with more features while allowing me to do more stuff.
For me it stands to reason – let the embedded experts do the embedded software and hardware development while letting the solution developers build the elements of the solution – easily. It is in that last word where appliance vendors seem to have difficulties.