Calling the shots in enterprise telephony

Enterprise telephony is competitive and complex. So why would AV firms want to enter that market? As Tim Kridel found, the revenue opportunity might be too good to pass up.

When Microsoft revamped and rebranded Lync as Skype for Business in March this year, it was the latest example of how unified communications (UC) is blurring the lines between AV and telecom and, according to some commentators, removing the need for separate AV platforms and telephony systems.

That mashup creates opportunities for AV integrators to expand into enterprise telephony, a catchall category spanning everything from VoIP on deskphones to IP PBXes to UC clients on PCs, tablets and smartphones. This market is driven partly by businesses looking to conferencing as a way to reduce travel.

“The conferencing market is vast and still expanding rapidly,” says Trent Wagner, Symetrix senior product manager.

Microsoft isn’t the only vendor enabling those opportunities of late. For example, in February, Biamp Systems launched a training program designed to help AV pros design and troubleshoot VoIP systems.

"Modern businesses are increasingly incorporating VoIP technology into their day-to-day operations,” Kiley Henner, director of customer experience, said at the time. “However, the technology remains complicated, and until now there has been a lack of training programs focused on VoIP's applications and functionality within the AV industry.”

Another example is Revolabs’ FLX UC series of speakerphones, which sport a USB interface to support UC clients.

“So now you can plug a Lync desktop conference room system into our UC 1000,” says Tim Root, Revolabs CTO and executive vice president of new business development. “In addition, we have a regular SIP network stack on the same product with a dialler. So you can bridge your Lync UC call with a traditional SIP telephony call in the one device. You no longer need to have a USB speakerphone sitting next to a traditional speakerphone.”

In the full article we learn that AV integrators often have more to gain working on large volume telephony projects than high end boardrooms as well as how to partner up with providers to effectively target this market.  

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