Hi I'm Jason (^jsa) Citel's Community manager. Citel’s Portico TVA enables enterprises to connect existing voice infrastructure to a new VoIP platform, saving up to 70% over other VoIP migration alternatives.
Or to connect remote offices to an existing PBX look at Citel's EXTenders.



What is the Cost of Replacing Your Legacy Handsets When You Migrate to VoIP?

My last few blogs have discussed some of the reasons to look at using Citel’s Portico TVA to SIP enable legacy handsets, be they digital, Centrex or analog when you migrate to VoIP. I posed the question last time if you even need to use an IP phone when you do the move and gave a case for skipping that product completely. There are some significant direct cost savings should you decide to retain your legacy handsets when moving to IP telephony  but there are also a number of intangible costs that many people tend to disregard to their detriment in their evaluation

The most intangible cost is environmental, a growing concern that all of us have to address. If you are only going to go the “rip and replace” direction until your employees are ready to move to softphones or use one of the many other multipurpose devices (remember BYOD) for their calling what happens to the IP phone?

 IP phones tend to be built with disposal in mind. Most are not as well built as the old desk phone you have on your desk that may have been around for decades and will only have a limited life. What happens to those orphan phones?  In the past desk phones were made to last and many have years of service and usability left. There used to be a very large remanufacturing industry built up around phones but there are so many used phones out there now the market is failing due to over-supply.  The mantra of the 1990’s of Reuse, Reduce, Recycle has been replaced by Recycle, Recycle, Recycle but again there is a cost to that process and a limited demand for the ground up pellets that results. If you reuse your existing phones there is an environmental benefit that cannot be quantified.

Although a tangible cost, the book value of existing handsets are still one of those costs that many people forget to build into the migration cost equation.  Due to accounting methodologies applied by many companies those same legacy phones may still have some value on corporate books and a move to IP phones could result in a write off of the corresponding amount on the books.  You still have to write off any remaining investment in the PBX but as many of those are End of Life already that write off has to happen no matter what you do.

There are two other intangible costs that are often forgotten when looking atVoIP migration; the cost of disrupting the workforce as changes are made to the telephony system and the cost of training people on new phones.

Many people ask what disruption. Well, if the migration occurs during downtime, the “rip and replace” process is not an issue. But when do you find that downtime. I know of one instance where new cabling for the new IP phones was to be run on a holiday weekend only for the union involved refusing to work on a holiday weekend.  For that entity, they operated on a 24/7 basis (think of a hospital as an example) and had real trouble making time available for changes without affecting day to day operations.  For some universities upgrading cabling and installing PoE switches can only be done as part of campus wide renovations that can stretch over a five to seven year period. Operational cost savings can be delayed for years under a scaled in implementation. Not an issue when using existing equipment on a new VoIP platform.

The last intangible cost is training employees. These days there is so much education already occurring on the job that having to learn how to use a new phone is for many companies a step too far.  I have been amazed by the number of people I have spoken to who are delaying VoIP migration because they do not want to have to teach their employees how to use a new phone. Maybe short sighted but a fact of life.

If you want to see how to reduce the cost of migration call us or go to www.citel.com. VoIP migration should be easy.

(Written by: Ian Gomm / http://citelblogs.com/ )

Do You Need An IP Phone When You Migrate to VoIP?

There is so much talk about using Tablets and Smartphones in the office environment and how to incorporate employees’ own personal devices into the IT equation.  There are so many options out there as to how to make a phone call that it is difficult to know which way to turn. While some companies are riding the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) to the office many are not. What to do!

No matter how you handle the BYOD issue, offerings such as Microsoft Lync are promoting soft phones that do away with the need for all desk phones in the office. Of course there are times when a softphone will not suffice (difficult to use on an elevator for example). But there is also the issue of people not being comfortable talking on a headset, an ear piece or even a smartphone (just try holding a smartphone or tablet to your ear and let me know if that is better than a standard desk phone). The younger generation is used to new technology but there are still many of us out there who grew up with desk phones and would prefer to use them even if just out of habit.
Rip and replace” solutions incorporating IP phones cater to this need. Most IP telephony platforms have a softphone capability and the ability to coordinate with smartphones, etc. When I am travelling I frequently utilize Bria on my tablet so I can use my “office” phone” when I am in a hotel, at the airport or at a conference. So why the plethora of IP phones? The fact is, people like a desk phones. Even if more and more people are using softphones, tablets, smartphones, some kind of desk phone is still required. Well if that is the case, why throw out your legacy handsets only to replace them, at great cost frequently, with another phone that is likely to be obsolete before too long or not even used by the user. As much as I hate to admit it, I don’t expect to have a desk phone five years from now.
That is where Citel comes into play. Citel’sPortico TVA lets you continue with your existing handsets,  SIP enabling them to be used on your IP telephony platform. The latest IP phones can be very expensive and if you go with a cheap replacement it is likely to require replacement before you are ready to go to a softphone, smartphone combination. Your legacy handsets have served you well. Why not incorporate them into your VoIP migration and save yourself time, money and unnecessary change. Your customers and / or employees will soon be using softphones of their own devices so why go through the expense of a full blown rip and replace migration when for a lot less money and time, you can make the transition so much easier using a TVA.

Next time I will discuss the cost to the company and the environment of replacing your legacy handsets.

Migrating to VoIP – Keeping Upfront Costs Down

(Originally posted by Ian Gomm at http://citelblogs.com/2012/06/21/migrating-to-voip—keeping-upfront-costs-down.aspx)

Last week, I wrote about some of the hesitations that arise when companies look at VoIP migration (see Blog dated June 14, 2012). This week I want to continue in that vein and discuss how Citel can help keep the cost of migrating as low as possible.
As I stated previously, cost and reliability remain major considerations for companies when they are looking at their telephone systems. There are a lot of costs involved with operating a PBX and those costs are one of the reason companies are looking at their alternatives. One company with whom we are working has a large installed DMS100 (Centrex) base in the Tropics and is faced with exceedingly high cooling costs for the buildings where their switch units were installed. Their operating cost concerns are more than just monthly service charges, charges per call and the cost per service.
Additionally, many companies are being forced to make decisions sooner than they would like about new telephone systems as more and more of the older PBXs out there are being End of Lifed by their manufacturers. A number of those companies are looking at more expensive hybrid systems (with both digital and IP capabilities) to keep their existing telephone infrastructure in place until they are ready to venture into the IP telephony marketplace. This is certainly an option but with associated maintenance contracts, support, etc., that can be a very expensive solution that is unnecessary.  
Many sellers in the marketplace are promoting a “rip and replace“ solution.  Those companies exhort the benefits of moving to VoIP but at what upfront cost to the end user. If a premise based solution is recommended, there is the cost of the IP PBX, IP phones, Category 5/6 cabling to be installed and Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches to be installed to power the IP phones. There are also the intangible costs of work interruption in terms of down time when the system is being put in place and the training required to use the new phones. If multiple buildings are involved, the whole migration process can take years rather than months. If hosted services are being proffered, even if these costs are built in to the monthly per port price, these same costs have to be paid if only through a higher than necessary monthly rate.  It is to deal with these issues that many companies look at Citel’s Portico TVA.  Why go through the cost of a “rip and replace” solution and the time delays involved when with the TVA you can migrate all of a customer’s end users to VoIP literally overnight.
By incorporating the Portico TVA into the VoIP migration process, you can unplug your handsets (digital, analog or P-Phones) from their PBX, plug them into the Portico TVA, then run them directly or via a router to your on-premise or cloud based IP PBX. The system utilizes the existing cabling and as the phones remain line powered there is no need for PoE switches. There is no disruption of the work place as most of the time the configuration of the units can be done prior to installation (or via a simple Web GUI if done remotely after the fact) with most back end change-overs being done after hours. There is also no retraining for the end-user except as new services are introduced. How much simpler can it get? If you are looking at your options for your telephone system, give Citel a call. We work with many cloud based and premise based IP PBX’s and softswitches and would be pleased to work with you.

Migrating to VoIP - Why The Hesitation?

Citel Portico TVAI am constantly amazed by the number of emails I receive monthly providing rationale for why companies should move their phone service to some form of IP telephony.Having worked in the environment for a number of years one tends to forget that not everyone understands the benefits available to them for usingVoIP. A recent white paper I looked at stated that “there are business owners the world over who, for whatever reason, haven’t caught on to VoIP’s new status in the business world. They still remember a time years or even decades ago when Internet phone calls were a gimmick, unsupported by the bulk of users.”  I still remember the poor service I got as a business with a local phone company over the PSTN but in those days that was just a part of doing business and was accepted and long forgotten. Why is that not the case with VoIP, especially as there are so many ways to ensure the service is better than ever before available?

Everyone discusses the cost savings available with VoIP, be it on monthly service charges, charges per call or the cost per service (call waiting, forwarding, caller ID, etc.) so why has not everyone already migrated to VoIP. The fact is that cost savings is not the only factor other than quality of service that is being looked at.

I speak with a lot of people about VoIP migration in my day to day activities. I have also spoken at numerous conferences and in conversations afterwards am fascinated by the number of people who are reluctant to change out their desk phones. There are so many changes in the business world these days, Cloud computing, Smartphones, Tablets, SaaS, Computers in general etc., that the standard office desk phone is one of the one few items remaining in the office that people have not had to change. It is an island of stability in an ever changing world. A lot of companies are saying no to migrating to VoIP because they don’t want to change.

Now, many of you are probably wondering why I am going on about remaining the same when this blog has highlighted some of the benefits of VoIP. Well that’s easy. You can still obtain the benefits of VoIP without changing out your phones. With Citel’s Portico TVA, you can SIP enable those existing legacy desk phones so that they can remain in place even when you move to VoIP. You can get the costs savings from VoIP without having to change anything on your users’ desks. You can set up the phones to do exactly what they did when tied to the PABX and the PSTN so your end users do not know that they are helping their businesses save money. In my next blog we will look at how those savings are magnified by adopting the Portico TVAas part of yourVoIP migration.

Citel introduces its latest firmware release for the Portico Telephone VoIP Adapter

Citel is regularly adding new features to its award winning VoIP migration device, the Portico TVA, to help meet ongoing customer requests. With recent activity in Europe we have been working to increase the support for Alcatel handsets and that has resulted in support now for the Alcatel Reflex digital phones, models 4004 and 4020 to go along with the 4010 that was already supported.


We have enhanced the Conference/Transfer key general call control on entry level phones. The feature was not previously available on very basic handsets only on more complex units. After discussions with a hospital where there were a large number of basic handsets this feature was added to simplify phone procedures between hospital wards.


We have also added features to the System Setting menu within the devices web GUI to provide additional customization options for the administrator.


We continue to enhance the capabilities of the Portico TVA to make the user experience when a customer retains their legacy handsets when migrating to VoIP as easy and simple as possible.

For more information on the latest build see the full Product Information Bulletin at www.citel.com/Products/Resources/PIBs/Portico_TVA_5020_PIB.pdf.

Moving to VoIP while keeping your existing handsets – It can be done

IP Telephony is now a common place, well established technology. It offers companies a clear advantage over traditional phone systems and fits neatly into almost any growth strategy. The business case for the migration to VoIP is not only sound, it can be accomplished with the greatest of ease.

Many businesses are reluctant to migrate to VoIP; why is that?

A shared objection to transitioning to VoIP is the assessment of a company’s existing infrastructure.  No matter if you implemented a new PBX six months or six years ago, there remains great value in most of your existing infrastructure. There is a misconception in today’s top enterprises that is not uncommon. Most believe an over haul is required and they are reluctant to dispose of handsets and wiring.  With our help, migration to VoIP can be seamless while still incorporating most of your existing infrastructure.

Acquiring new handsets is just the first step in a series of financial transactions. an enterprise will face when migrating to a hosted or IP PBX system. New LAN (local area network) infrastructure, cabling, business disruption and time consuming retraining can effectively double / triple the cost over and above the cost of the handset. An estimated $20.6 billion will be wasted on IP screen phones over the next five years, according to a Gartner Research report.

End user implementation will be a major barrier due to the complex nature of new systems. Business owners need to keep in mind the cost and time involved in retraining the staff to deal with new handsets and future proof the user, so they don’t easily forget about the abundant features in the short term. Even the most technically modest person can be familiar with a new device but, may only use the most basic of functions. A basic user will shy away from the more complex features a new IP telephone have to offer.

Companies are always looking to minimize the expense and disruption of a “Rip and Replace” migration to a VoIP platform. One sure shot way would be with the Citel Portico™ Telephone VoIP Adapter (TVA™). This facilitates your company’s efforts to migrate to VoIP, while still using the telephones and wiring that are already in place.  TVA™ can support analogue, P phone (Centrex) and digital (PBX).

TVA™ simplifies the migration process no matter if you’re going to a hosted IP platform with a service provider or managing an in house IP PBX, Citel makes the process as transparent as possible to the end users. We enable a new endpoint on the IP network using a Legacy PBX telephone making it unnecessary to replace the existing handsets.

For companies in older buildings, just the thought of redoing the cable is highly unfeasible and would deter them for a move to VoIP without a TVA™. The Portico™ TVA™ let’s companies re-use their existing phone wiring enabling them to receive all the benefits of a VoIP network.

A TVA solution provides extremely compelling economic reasons for a seamless migration to a unified communications platform. This makes it easy to justify an IP migration in the middle of a traditional PBX “buy cycle”. Enhanced cost savings, additional functionality, productivity enhancements and converged applications are now well within reach. For more information on our VoIP Migration products, please visit our website.