Smaller businesses, often overlooked by enterprise voice-systems vendors, are about to receive a shot in the arm from IPcelerate. The company announced the launch of its IPsmartSuite series of vertical VoIP solutions at the Cisco Worldwide Partner Summit in Las Vegas. IPsmartSuite seamlessly integrates the Cisco Smart Business Communications System into specific business processes common to small organization, according to IPcelerate. The four packages are customized for outpatient clinics, law firms, retail stores and offices, and small manufacturing concerns.
"Think of the small physician's office or the small law firm or the small retail store: What are some of the challenges that those stores face, not from a telephony perspective, but from a business perspective?" asks Kevin Brown, CEO of IPcelerate. "Retailers have a lot of turnover. They care about staffing. They want to control their overtime costs. They want to make sure that tasks are being accomplished on time, whereas law firms care about accuracy and billing." Similarly, Brown says, physicians' clinics want to enhance the patient experience, bill appropriately, and create a collaborative environment so that they can retain the best doctors. "On the surface those have nothing to do with telephony, but if you have an intelligent telephony device like an IP phone or a PC that is voice enabled or a handheld device that is voice enabled, now all of a sudden you want to integrate those devices into the fabric of business. That's what we've done."
Each vertical version of IPsmartSuite includes a 911 system with one-touch buttons for alerts, 911 notifications, and recordings. In addition, there are specialized components for the relevant target market.
Physician clinics and small outpatient clinics:Patient Experience: automated sign-in, patient status alerts, automated messaging on waiting-room phones Patient Management: dial out for appointment reminders, matter code validation, video notes to patients Clinic Productivity: visual video collaboration between doctors, call recording, message alerting
Law firms:Client Billing: client matter entry and phone call validationsFirm-Client Interaction: dial-out remindersFirm Compliance: recording and archiving, visual recordings, automated scheduling alertsFirm Productivity: call coverage for status visual on employees
Retail stores and offices: Staffing Management: - employee clock-in/clock-out, scheduling, overtime controls, notifications and alerts Productivity Management: task alerts by time and function, escalation alternatives
Office/Manufacturing:Staffing Management: employee clock-in/clock-out, scheduling, overtime controls, notifications and alertsCompany Productivity: company reminders/announcements, dial-out to customers and suppliers, office closures, shipping updates, call recording
"The significant part of IPcelerate's announcement is that they've figured out how to do off-the-shelf vertical customization for smaller businesses," says Nora Freedman, a senior analyst at IDC. "Previously, voice integration required expensive CTI; tech specialists could create integrated applications with Visual Studio but they weren't voice enabled. This brings the two ends together."
According to Freedman, IPcelerate is focusing on the value it can add for the end-user rather than on its integration with Cisco Smart Business Communications, and this will enable the solutions to grow deep roots. "Realization of the VoIP value proposition by SMBs is only possible through solutions like this," Freedman says. "They often don't have the money or the expertise to do it another way. This will let them see the same sort of ROI that larger enterprises have achieved."
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