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IBM Unveils Computer Telephony Solution for Small Business Market


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SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - 19 May 1998: -- Small businesses that depend on the telephone and personal computers to service their customers can now take advantage of a fully-featured, yet cost-effective integrated computer telephony offering from IBM.

The IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution, announced today, is an integrated offering that combines a PC Server adapter card with telephony-switching capabilities, advanced call control and voicemail software, a three-year limited warranty, a single point of contact for support services, SystemXtra services and flexible financing options.

Providing a cost-effective, PC Server-based solution, the IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution integrates critical data communications capabilities of PC networks with reliable, high quality voice communications capabilities of PBX systems. A demonstration can be seen at the NetVision Power Center in the Ritz Carlton during VAR Vision. Additionally, tomorrow it can be seen at booth # 746 in the Baltimore Convention Center during the CTI Expo.

"Our small business customers have been asking for a full-featured, inexpensive telephony solution, combined with the data processing capability of a PC Server, to create an easier way to do business which is the whole idea behind this new solution," said Kevin R. Barry, general manager, PC Options and Peripheral Products, Personal Systems Group. "The IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution can help customers to spend less time worrying about their voice and data systems, and more time concentrating on ways to grow their business with the new capabilities of this technology."

IBM's existing computer telephony offerings are part of an end-to-end portfolio of customer service solutions that includes consulting, systems integration, call center automation, intelligent middleware for enterprise data access, computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, and unified messaging. While many of these solutions target primarily large and medium-sized customers, this new initiative will expand IBM's portfolio and address the rapidly growing small business market.

Standards-Based, Reliability and Productivity

Targeted at service-oriented businesses with up to 100 users, the IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution includes the IBM CT-618 Adapter and IBM telephony software that provide more efficient call handling and enables improved productivity for the small business customer over traditional PBX solutions. IBM's Small Business Computer Telephony solution will initially be available for use with the IBM 7588 passive backplane server and will soon be available with selected IBM Netfinity servers. It is designed to work with Microsoft NT Server 4.0(1). The IBM server configuration and the IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution delivered are fine tuned to work well together.

The IBM CT-618 Adapter provides on-board switching capabilities between incoming phone lines and local extensions and supports up to six trunk lines, providing functionality for up to 18 users. Additional cards can be installed in the server to support additional trunks and extensions. The on-board switching capability and voice services, based on technology by NetPhone, provides reliable, high quality phone service even if there is an operating system or LAN failure. The client-server software provides telephone functionality plus simple, GUI-based telephone call control, voice mail, and auto-attendant capabilities, as well as caller-ID processing, 'screen pops' of Windows applications, online telephone directories, and call logging for informal call centers.

The IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution provides small businesses that depend heavily on the telephone and personal computer to service their customers, a standards-based platform that is cost-effective, and easy to customize. This PC Server-based solution allows customers to expand their systems to accommodate new users and add new technology and applications as needed. This flexibility offers improved investment protection over proprietary PBX solutions.

An Integrated Solution, Simplified for Small Businesses

By offering an integrated package with a single point of contact for hardware, software and support services, IBM makes it easier for small business customers to implement a computer telephony solution. IBM will offer this computer telephony solution to small business customers through IBM Computer Telephony (CT)-authorized business partners. IBM business partners will participate in a technical and sales authorization program designed to help them to provide high quality installations, service and support.

Business Partners Embrace New Solution

"IBM once again exhibits an important core competency; they are listening to the reseller community who is hungry for telephony convergence solutions," said Clay Sorensen, vice president, Computer Telephony Integration at Pinacor (formerly MicroAge Distribution). "Our resellers want computer telephony convergence products which take the guess work out of preparing a telephony solution for their end user customers. IBM's telephony server solution allows a reseller to concentrate on the key issue of competitiveness as opposed to the problem of product feasibility and suitability to the task at hand."

According to Ingram Micro Telecom Integration Division Vice President and General Manager, Laura Skinner, "VARs have been telling us for over a year now that they want to be able to offer a solution that combines data and voice processing, but they didn't know how -- it was too complicated. IBM has now made it easy. IBM's total offering is unique in the marketplace and will drive the entire CT industry forward. We're excited by their participation and look forward to working with them."

IBM SystemXtra

To help small business customers take greater advantage of this new telephony solution, IBM SystemXtra is an available option which offers customers a menu of support services; software; education and training courses; and flexible financing options(2). Many of these support services are available via ServicePacs and are easy to obtain and use.

Pricing and Availability

The IBM Small Business Computer Telephony Solution will be available initially in the United States to IBM CT-authorized resellers in the third quarter. The estimated reseller price to end users(3) for a 6x18 solution starts at approximately $14,000 which includes an entry level IBM PC Server, one IBM CT-618 Adapter and IBM telephony software. Extra adapter cards are additional. The IBM CT-authorized business partner will determine exact cost which will vary depending on PC Server configuration and any additional services requested by the small business customer. This new solution is backed by a limited three-year warranty(4). Small business customers can call 1-888-IBM-5800 priority code 6G8DC001 for more information.

# # #

IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation. Windows NT is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. NetPhone is a registered trademark of NetPhone, Inc. All other company names and/or product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

(1) Windows NT not included; sold separately.

(2) Minimum qualifying levels apply.

(3) Estimated reseller price to end user only. Actual price to end-users may vary depending on configuration of PC server and any additional hardware, adapter cards, or services requested by the customer.

(4) For information about the terms and conditions of IBM's limited warranty, please call 1-800-772-2227. Copies are available upon request.

IBM news releases are available on the Internet, via the IBM Home Page at http://www.ibm.com/pc. For more information about this announcement visit: http://www.ibm.com/pc/us/systemxtra/integrate.html. For more information about Options by IBM, visit our Web site at: http://www.ibm.com/pc/us/accessories.

For general information about IBM, or other Options by IBM products, dial the IBM Personal Systems Group HelpCenter at 1-800-772-2227.

Contact(s) information

Brynett Gamba
IBM
919-254-8618
brynett@us.ibm.com

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