ESI Business Phone Systems

Corporate Background:

Founded in 1987 and headquartered in Plano, Texas, ESI designs and manufactures digital and VoIP telephone systems for small, single-site businesses to larger, multi-site enterprises. The current ESI Communication Servers offer varying levels of capacity, as well as flexibility in the mix of digital and IP technologies to best meet a customer’s specific business needs, including ESI’s largest platform to date, the ESI-1000 with data redundancy to satisfy larger enterprise needs. ESI Communications Servers include built-in voice mail, auto attendant and ACD with options for advanced applications such as unified messaging and VoIP (requires port card and licenses). ESI also offers other hardware and software applications which improve individual and company productivity such as VIP (Visually Integrated Phone) and ESI Presence Management.

In 2006, ESI reported its 19th consecutive profitable year in operation, experiencing double-digit growth in reseller revenue each of the past 5 years. ESI is US-based, privately held, self-funded and debt-free.

Stable management has lead ESI’s revenue growth and a strong commitment to social responsibility. ESI’s “Success with Significance” philosophy has lead to the development of new programs that have allowed the company, its employees, and its customers to have a positive impact on the lives of others.

Market Strategy:

ESI is committed to the development of leading-edge products that deliver advanced features and ease of use, including enhancing its line of telephone systems with increased capacity, improved applications and new station features. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology, used by ESI since 1992, provides performance and reliability advantages and allows for a more compact design with fewer discrete hardware components. Quality is continuously monitored via ESI’s Reseller Quality Program which conducts on-going end-user customer surveys.

ESI is proactive in taking advantage of rapidly changing communications technology, including voice processing and storage techniques. The company's sustained, long-term growth provides the stability and resources to assure superior customer support.

See Enterprise News below for recent product introductions and enhancements.

Distribution Strategy:

ESI markets its products through a network of factory-trained and certified telephone interconnect companies and independent telephone companies in North America. Acting as its own distribution arm, ESI maintains inventory at levels which create consistent product availability, offering same-day shipping on most orders.

ESI offers resellers a high level of service and support, including dedicated Inside and Outside Sales Representatives, pre-sales support, sales and product training, and technical support which includes Networking Specialists and Field Sales Engineers.

The ESI National Accounts program, announced in 2007, provides multi-site customers with a single point-of-contact to coordinate installation, order placement and necessary upgrades. In addition to a single point-of-contact, the program provides customers with standardized pricing, centralized billing, product and technical support from ESI (or optional customer technical training), and a five-year warranty.

Enterprise Product News Highlights:

In July 2009, ESI launched some new features (and associated hardware) for its Communications Servers, including support for SIP Trunking (via a new SIP port card and SIP licenses) and ESI Mobile Messaging for convenient access of voicemail from an e-mail inbox. Mobile Messaging gives users the flexibility to listen to voicemail on a PC or smartphone and to store voicemail messages to a hard drive or USB flash drive, for example. Mobile Messaging is added by purchasing a site license (one license per site) and by installing either an Applications Services Card (ASC) or a SIP Card. The ASC card supports Mobile Messaging (the first application for this card) and will support additional future applications; the SIP card supports both SIP trunks (24 trunks per card) and Mobile Messaging. The new features are available for ESI Communications Servers (ESI-1000, ESI-600, ESI-200, ESI-100 and ESI-50) running system software version xx.5.01 or higher.

In September 2008, ESI addressed the growing demand for workplace mobility with two new ESI Bluetooth Voice Integration products. Bluetooth Voice Integration enables an ESI phone to receive calls from a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone (ESI Cellular Management), or a Bluetooth Headset can be paired with an ESI phone. A digital version of the ESI Cellular Management Access Device is now shipping. An IP version of the device and the Bluetooth Headset Interface are scheduled for third quarter 2008.

In June 2008, ESI rounded out its Communications Server family with two new platforms for smaller businesses or branch offices. The entry-level ESI-50L (56 ports, 40 stations) is targeted at small, single-site businesses with basic telephony needs, while the ESI-50 (87 ports, 52 stations) is suitable for a small, single-site business or can be deployed at a small site within a multi-site network. The 50L is a more basic, “lite” version that does not support IP phones and features, ACD, digital line cards or shared office tenanting, but can easily migrate to the fully-featured ESI-50 by a simple “feature activation” process in which a reseller orders the “activation” and ESI Technical Support dials into the switch and activates the additional features. The ESI-50 supports all the features of the larger ESI Communications Servers, and as such, offers numerous feature enhancements and capacity improvements over ESI’s earlier IVX S-Class system (also 56 ports), including expanded conferencing, IP phone support (including VIP Softphone), Esi-Link IP networking and ACD to name just a few.

In March 2007, Estech Systems Incorporated (ESI) announced a new family of communications servers, expanding the range of platforms and capabilities available for customers from small, single-site businesses to larger, multi-site enterprises. The ESI Communication Servers offer varying levels of capacity, as well as flexibility in the mix of digital and IP technologies to best meet a customer’s specific business needs.
Four server platforms are now available: the compact ESI-100 Communications Server (up to 84 digital or IP stations), the ESI-200 which targets small or mid-sized business (190 digital or IP stations), the ESI-600 (pictured) introduced in 2006 for larger offices or multi-site customers (408 digital or IP stations) and ESI’s largest platform to date, the ESI-1000 with data redundancy to satisfy larger enterprise needs (816 digital or IP stations and currently in beta testing). All ESI Communications Servers include built-in voice mail, auto attendant and ACD with options for advanced applications such as unified messaging and VoIP (requires port card and licenses). A Mirrored Memory Module is an option for ESI-200 (24-port/600-hour voice mail) and ESI-600, but comes standard with the ESI-1000 server. (The ESI-200 with 16-port/140-hour voice mail uses solid state memory (Compact Flash) and does not need the mirrored drive.)
ESI has reduced the number and types of VoIP cards available and re-bundled the IP licenses to make it more cost-effective to purchase the amount the customer requires. Additionally, on the ESI-200, ESI-600, and ESI-1000, the new port cards do not require a separate card carrier, which also eliminates additional cost. Three new 'Intelligent' VoIP cards enable up to 24 local or remote IP phones, or 24 Esi-Link channels or a combination of 12 IP phones and 12 Esi-Link channels on one card. Esi-Link technology uses the WAN or the Internet to network up to 100 ESI phone systems into one IP-based system. A new programming tool, ESI System Programmer, uses object-oriented technology and industry protocols (XML as a standard interface and Microsoft .Net framework) to provide installers and administrators with common Windows features, backup and restore functionality and applications for programming and debugging.
ESI also announces additional flexibility for its Visually Integrated Phone (VIP) software suite, adding customer-recommended enhancements such as an improved GUI and simplified installation. VIP combines ESI phone system functionality and Microsoft Outlook for call control, voice mail and contact management via a PC. Two versions are available: basic VIP and VIP Professional for managing telephone calls and voice mail, organizing contacts, call logging, telephone set programming (ESI Feature Phone). The VIP Professional version adds secure instant messaging, call recording and compatibility with other ESI solutions such as VIP PC Attendant Console, VIP ACD and VIP Softphone.
ESI-100, ESI-200 and ESI-600 Communications Servers are currently available in North America through ESI Certified Resellers; ESI-1000 is undergoing beta testing. ESI will continue to offer its earlier line: IVX C-Class, S-Class, E-Class and X-Class systems.

In April 2006, ESI announced an array of new and enhanced products that target larger sized businesses and address employee productivity. The new ESI-600 System for Converged Communications (available in second quarter 2006) is the largest system ever offered by ESI, scaling to 408 IP stations or 336 digital stations in a single location with additional capacity by networking up to 100 systems. ESI-600 is a compact, rack-mounted system with one Main Cabinet and three Expansion Cabinets and includes an on-board integrated 32-port voice mail system with 6-level/100-branch auto attendant. An optional Mirrored Memory Module provides real-time back-up of system programming data and voice messages (RAID-1 redundancy technology). ESI’s Virtually Integrated Phone (VIP) communication management tool for on-screen call control, unified messaging, contact management, call logging and station programming is enhanced with third-party fax capability, and the new VIP Professional adds an improved GUI, secure text messaging and auto-record (for up to 16 VIP users). The forthcoming ESI PC Attendant Console (second quarter 2006) enables visual call handling with a 200-button Virtual Button Window for access to stations, departments, speed dials and features and includes the VIP Professional feature set. Customers will benefit from new telephone options, including two ESI Cordless Handsets in digital or IP (local or remote) versions. The digital models are available now for ESI-600, IVX X-Class, IVX E-Class Generation II and IVX S-Class Generation II systems. ESI-600 will support the IP-based Cordless Handsets in second quarter 2006. In addition, ESI has developed the 48-key IP Feature Phone II, an IP phone that operates with the converged architecture of the ESI-600 (either in-house LAN installations or remote broadband deployments). The new phone supports Power over Ethernet as a standard feature, but also ships with an AC power adapter. Last fall (2005), ESI announced a forthcoming 512-port IVX Y-Class system due out first quarter of 2006; however, ESI has renamed this system the ESI-600 which supports an increased port capacity (624 ports) due to the double-density of the IP port cards (24 stations per card).

In October 2005, ESI announced a new 512-port IVX Y-Class system to become available in the first quarter of 2006. With twice the port capacity of earlier X-Class systems, the latest member of the IVX family represents 'the next step' for growing ESI customers. All port cards and telephones from existing IVX E-Class Generation II (128 ports) and IVX X-Class system (256 ports) are migratable to the IVX Y-Class (512 ports). In addition, ESI will introduce a PC-based Attendant Console for visual call handling that complements ESI’s Virtually Integrated Phone (VIP) communication management tool for on-screen call control, unified messaging, contact management, call logging and station programming.
Addressing productivity and security for smaller businesses, ESI introduces the Presence Management Suite for door access control, employee presence indication and attendance logging. Radio frequency identification (RFID) 'Readers' are located at doors and connected to digital telephone ports in the ESI IVX system, enabling automatic control of door locks based on day or time. Employee RFID 'electronic cards' alert the ESI IVX system when an employee goes in or out of the building. This status is shown via a lighted DSS key on all telephones. In addition, the electronic card enables Personal Call Routing that controls telephone functions – upon leaving a building, calls can be automatically forwarded to an employee’s cell phone, for example. The Time and Attendance Management Option records and automatically creates time sheets according to employee entrance and exit from a building.

In January 2005, ESI announced a new generation of VoIP telephone systems and the new Intelligent Call Forwarding feature. Generation II software adds a shared office tenanting capability (two tenants), Caller ID to analog ports and support for ESI’s VIP Microsoft Outlook unified communications solution. An all new ESI feature called Intelligent Call Forwarding enables Caller ID data to display for forwarded calls to outside phones such as cellular phones or answering services. Using PRI lines, Caller ID data of the actual caller is forwarded rather than the CID information from the company which forwarded the call. This new feature is available on the IP E-Class Generation II, as well as IVX E-Class Generation II and IVX X-Class Generation II. ESI is also beta testing a new selectable numbering plan feature that lets customers select the starting extension number for the system.

In October 2004, ESI introduced the IVX VoIP Card (IVC), a single card option that increases the capacity of ESI’s earlier VoIP card at a lower cost. Designed for ESI’s IVX E-Class Generation II and IVX X-Class systems, IVC is upgradeable via a flexible licensing scheme and eliminates the previous two-card method for enabling VoIP communications among IVX sites. The earlier two-card method included one card for Esi-Link to network ESI phone systems over a WAN or Internet and another card to connect ESI Remote IP Feature Phones. The new IVC provides two, five or 12 Remote Network Channels (RNCs) for Remote IP Feature Phones or eight or 24 Esi-Link RNCs. Available now in the U.S., IVC is compatible with ESI IVX X-Class systems (10.4.0 or later) and IVX E-Class Generation II (2.3.8 or later).

In July 2004, ESI announced the release of Virtually Integrated Phone or VIP, a new communication management tool for unified messaging, phone control and contact management. Designed for the ESI 48-Key Feature Phone (digital or IP) and ESI phone systems (IVX X-Class, IVX E-Class Generation II and IVX S-Class Generation II), the VIP Call Window lets users handle incoming and outgoing phone calls using Microsoft Outlook, manage and prioritize voice mail and organize contacts, record calls, log calls and configure the phone for message notification. VIP does not eliminate the desktop phone which can be used to make and receive calls when the PC is turned off. According to ESI, VIP differs from other unified messaging packages since it does not require a separate server and saves only certain voice messages to .WAV (such as those that a users wants to forward or store), reducing additional traffic on the network. With VIP, unified messaging becomes more affordable for smaller businesses since an expensive PC-based system or server-based solution is not required.
VIP is available from ESI's resellers in the United States and is downloadable from ESI's users' website. VIP works with Microsoft Outlook 2000, 2002 and 2003 on an Intel Pentium II 400MHz PC (or better). ESI reports early success with VIP in the 5- to 10-user market.

In June 2004, ESI introduced the IVX X-Class, an 'All-In-One' Digital Phone System that scales to 168 extensions - the largest IVX platform to date. IVX X-Class has built-in ACD and voice mail functionality (24 ports and 420 voice storage hours) and other notable features, including shared-office tenanting (four tenants), Caller ID to analog ports and three-character dial-by-name. Unified messaging is enabled by the 'Virtually Integrated Phone' (VIP) communication management tool; users can take advantage of on-screen call control using Microsoft Outlook, as well as unified messaging, contact management, call logging and station programming. ESI Remote IP Feature Phones let users communicate across the Internet from remote locations, and ESI’s Esi-Link technology uses the WAN or the Internet to network ESI phone systems into one IP-based system with transparent features. A built-in Network Services Processor (NSP) allows ESI Resellers to maintain IVX X-Class over the Internet and enables the VIP option. IVX X-Class is available in June 2004 to ESI resellers in the United States.

In May 2004, ESI introduced the IVX E-Class Generation II, IVX S-Class Generation II and IVX C-Class Generation II, new versions of the company’s IVX Digital Phone Systems introduced in 2003. Enhancements include increased capacity, improved applications and new station features. IVX E-Class Generation II (IVX 128e and IVX 72e) adds shared-office tenanting (up to two tenants), 140-hour voice storage, integrated headset jack on the 48-Key Feature Phone, Caller ID to analog ports and dial by name. IVX S-Class Generation II (IVX 56s) replaces IVX 42s and features a 33% capacity increase over the earlier IVX 42s systems (from 24 to 32 digital stations). IVX C-Class Generation II (IVX 20c) for very small businesses can be purchased with or without voice mail, targeting SOHO market and residences that require an intelligent phone system.

ESI continues to compete in the SME market, enhancing its line of IVX telephone systems for smaller businesses. In June 2004, ESI released the new IVX X-Class All-In-One System that scales to 256 ports (168 stations, 84 CO lines and 72 T1 lines), the largest ESI IVX platform. The IVX X-Class unit will house the phone system, 16-port built-in voicemail/auto attendant, ACD and the optional 'Virtually Integrated Phone' (VIP) communication management tool for on-screen call control using Microsoft Outlook. VIP enables unified messaging, contact management, call logging and station programming for IVX X-class, IVX E-Class and IVX S-Class systems via the NSP (Network Services Processor) that connects the IVX to the LAN (the NSP is built into the X-Class). Customers can choose from ESI’s Digital Feature Phones (12-, 24- or 48-Key models), the 48-Key IP Feature Phone, the 48-Key Remote IP Feature Phone or standard analog sets.

In February 2003, ESI (Estech Systems, Inc.) announced several new products for 2003 that target small- to medium-sized businesses, including new phone models, new phone system platforms, and unified messaging. Three new digital phones are designed for various usage requirements. Active phone users will benefit from the 48-Key Digital Feature Phone with 30 programmable keys, a three-line display and optional 60-key Expansion Console (IP, TAPI, and Remote IP models are offered). For more basic usage, ESI offers the 12-Key or 24-Key Digital Feature Phone. ESI also announces new phone system classifications, including IVX C-Class (20 ports), IVX E-Class (70-port IVX 72e and 126-port IVX 128e), IVX S-Class (30 stations), and IP E-Class (70-port IP 40e and 192-port IP 200e). IVX E-Class and IP E-Class platforms support the Esi-Mail unified messaging option for managing voice mail from a Microsoft Outlook 2000/2002 inbox.

In July 2002, ESI introduced Esi-Link, a new technology that uses the WAN or the Internet to network up to 100 ESI phone systems (IVX 128 Plus, IP 200 or IP 40) into one IP-based system, reducing the need for public telephone network circuits and lowering long-distance costs. Telephone features are transparent across the network, including do not disturb, transfer, messaging, paging, and speed dialing. A Location Key on a phone can be set up for remote location dialing, or a three-digit location number can be used.

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