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Comparing new telephone systems

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Question: I am looking for Web sites where I can compare telephone systems. We are building a new facility and will be installing a new phone system. I would like to compare the systems that I have bids on. They are ESI, Nortel, ProCom and INTER-TEL. Does anyone have feedback on any of these systems? -- Melinda


Our Telecom group handles our telephone system, so I don't have information on the specific systems mentioned. One thing to consider is using the technology, "Voice Over Internet Protocol" (VOIP). This was a huge cost savings for us.

Try -

Plantronics saved the day for us. I am sure they can help you. Also try Meridian phone systems.

If you can get it in your area, you might want to look into Verizon's iobi product. Also, you might want to look at the costs of a virtual phone system such as or Also, I know that there are several companies that can assist you with VoIP-based phone systems if you make lots of international calls, but I found the quality of the connections to be substandard. We're waiting until the next-gen technology SIP takes hold of the market and then we'll make the change over. We currently use an InterTel-based phone system which takes a normal phone system (with normal telephone lines) and gives use VoIP-style handsets and functions. I know that has a product that is scalable and gives you options for VoIP and traditional systems together. Best of luck!

I STRONGLY SUGGEST you do not use Inter-Tel!! We had them and they were unreliable and very expensive. Every change had to be done by them and it was very costly. We now have KeyCom and are really happy. Our IT person makes all of the changes in house and the phones are wonderful. Contact Phil Medina at 407/949.0600.

I recently helped implement a new VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system at my last employer. It will provide significant cost savings to the company and its easy to use no matter where employees are located. We went with ShoreTel which we found the most user friendly and intuitive. I'd highly recommend including this option in your comparisons as it is the current technology and is not constrained by the whims of the big telecomm companies. Good luck!

I just finished doing the same thing about a year ago. We're lucky, we have a fantastic IT department and guys who did the installation of our new phone lines so that was a huge help & cost savings. One of the big issues to consider (besides cost of course) is your company's size and realistic needs. Prior to even conducting my research on the outside, I spoke with people from within my organization who are heavy phone users - what features are on their wish list, what do they have now that they could not live without, etc. Then I researched a couple of companies and found that their features and designs would be great for a large company - but overkill for ours - even though we're spread out like a campus we're not a huge company. We ended up staying with our current vendor and upgrading to a VOIP. This saved us money because many of our phones did not need to be replaced and the training curve was very short because there were very few changes to the actual use of the system, but lots more features. Everyone especially likes caller ID and having the direct inward dialing to their desks....something we didn't have before. Good luck...I know what you're going through!

We have a Nortel system right now. The only substantial thing we do not like about it is the fact that it does not have the ability to do something our last system did, which was to record one single message and have it sent to everyone on the staff. It never occurred to us to see if we would have this capability, which we used often previously. So my #1 bit of advice is to ask your staff what they like the best about your current phone system, and see if the new system can do those things.

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