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July 12, 2012
Toshiba is taking its business phone systems to the cloud with the launch of VIPedge, a cloud-based business phone system that enables customers to pay for telephony services in a monthly fee subscription package. Starting at $29.99 on average per user, VIPedge is the latest in Toshiba’s forays into cloud computing, putting the vendor up against a variety of services currently being offered — from consumer cloud services to business services from the likes of 8×8 and Mitel.
The announcement of VIPedge rounds out Toshiba’s business telephony portfolio, which already features IPedge and Strata CIX. Available now through authorized Toshiba dealers, VIPedge is being positioned as a cost-effective alternative to on-premise solutions. As with other cloud services, VIPedge is a subscription-based business telephone system service that makes it easy for customers to get going with a negligible up-front cost and fixed monthly fees.
“VIPedge delivers the benefits of Toshiba’s on-premises VoIP solutions. Supported by our Authorized Dealer Network with expertise in design and implementation on a cloud platform, VIPedge is a cloud solution like no other,” said Brian Metherell, vice president and general manager of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc., Telecommunication Systems Division, in a prepared statement.
With the launch of the new service, Toshiba seems to be betting on the success of the cloud-based telephony service with a lower price than on-premise systems. For startup customers, it’s sure to be attractive because of the low costs, manageable subscription rates and lack of large capital expenditures on equipment. But competing products already in the market may present a challenge for Toshiba and its partners.
Through the service, customers have a choice of endpoints that include Toshiba’s IP5000 series desk phones, IP4100 wireless phones and Strata Call Manager with integrated voice. Combined with a unified communications deployment, customers will have the ability to control calls via their computer, as well as engage in typical UC functions such as click-to-call, presence and instant messaging.
“With VIPedge, Toshiba manages the entire telephone system in the cloud, so all that users have to do is answer their telephones,” Metherell added. “VIPedge empowers users to communicate more effectively, be more cost effective, and have greater access to their customers, partners and each other.”
It’s not exactly new messaging from cloud telephony providers, and how Toshiba will fare in the market remains to be seen. In a market that is becoming increasingly crowded, Toshiba may have an uphill battle ahead.
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