Cisco reseller Total Network Solutions (TNS) is wooing companies with the offer of low up-front cost trials of IP telephony.
TNS provides the hardware, training and support during the trials, and recently signed up to Cisco's Shared Support programme allowing it to add Cisco's support staff to its resources.
IP telephony is one of the fastest growing areas of IT communication. BT plans to move to a total IP-based system, and is offering managed services based on IP telephony. Now smaller businesses are being targeted.
Smaller firms in particular are concerned about investing in new telephony technology since costs are traditionally written off over six to eight years rather than two or three years for computer hardware.
"We're also trying to accelerate the move to IP telephony by giving people an easy entry so they can experiment with this new technology," Mike Mason, commercial director at TNS, told vnunet.com.
"We're seeing the green shoots of recovery and these need nurturing. We are looking to grow certain key areas and IP telephony is an area in which both we and Cisco have expertise."
Rachel Power, an analyst at Canalys, suggested that the TNS programme was part of a move by Cisco into IP for smaller businesses, now that it has IP products to suit that market.
"There have been a lot of pilots for IP telephony and it is only in the past year that we started to see large scale deployments of systems," she said.
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