Small businesses flock to the cloud for a wide variety of their needs, including their voice communications. And as with any cloud-delivered service, hardware can often determine whether the experience is productivity-enhancing or rage-inducing.
This month, electronics maker Panasonic announced a new SIP (session initiation protocol) cordless phone system, the KX-TGP600, which not only features upgraded specifications and a bevy of new capabilities, but is designed to help small businesses stay current with the latest innovations in Internet telephony.
The Panasonic KX-TGP600 was "designed for the hosted and open source market and a lot of small businesses who are the emerging channel for hosted PBX (private branch exchange)," Kim Murtagh, senior product manager of Unified Communications at Panasonic System Communications, told Small Business Computing. The hardware lets businesses take advantage of the advanced calling features and call quality improvements the industry has rolled out over the years, much of it commercialized thanks to surging small business demand.
For small and midsized businesses (SMBs), the days of trickle-down technology are a thing of the past. "It's an interesting time to be in the technology field," said Murtagh. "End users are almost dictating their requirements to technology companies."
The Panasonic KX-TGP600 wireless SIP system.
In terms of small business telephony, that includes cordless call quality that rivals an in-person conversation and a single business number that follows them instead of shackling them to their desk phones.
Small Business Phones Grow Up
The Panasonic KX-TGP600 cordless SIP system is a better fit for growing small businesses, Murtagh said. It can handle up to eight cordless and desktop phones and up to eight simultaneous calls versus its predecessor, which could accommodate six phones and three concurrent calls.
Those calls sound better, Murtagh assured. With a press of the button, users can filter out unwanted background noise—a boon for bustling environments like restaurants. Of course, not all small business workers can afford to stand still. In those cases, the KX-TGP600 monitors ambient noise levels and automatically boosts a handset's volume when users move from a quiet area into a one that's a little more boisterous.
Panasonic has also solved a common problem in unpredictable work environments: dodgy wireless signals.
Thick columns on the shop floor, fixtures used in retailing and metallic ceilings can wreak havoc on cordless phone signals. Panasonic's DECT technology, short for Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, compensates for the myriad obstacles cordless phones encounter to deliver clear, interrupted calls as users scurry around a stock room to fulfill a customer's request.
"Using our strength in wireless, we continue to expand there and invest in DECT and other wireless technology," said Murtagh of her company's efforts to erase any disparity between phone calls conducted across a wire or over the air.
Still, in some environments, cordless handsets don't quite fit in.
Phones for Every Small Business
Businesses that choose the KX-TGP600 have a range of phones they can use, including a desktop DECT phone, the KX-TPA65 ($159). Meant for environments where cordless phones seem to grow legs and disappear, this desktop model features a 1.8-inch color LCD screen and can be wall mounted, "but you don't have to run a LAN (local area network) connection to it, it's completely wireless," Murtagh said.
The rugged KX-UDT131 ($379) cordless handset can withstand the rigors of a rough and tumble workshop or the disinfecting cleansers of a health clinic. An optional repeater (KX-A406, $199) helps extends the KX-TGP600's signal in warehouses and other expansive workplaces. Finally, Panasonic's standard cordless phone, the KX-TPA60, also features 1.8-inch color LCD screen, memory for 500 contacts, and it supports high-definition wideband audio.
The KX-TGP600 wireless SIP system is available now for $199.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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