A Tale of Two Different VOIP PBX Systems
Digium and Shoretel are two leading makers of small business business VOIP PBX communications systems and they both share a substantial following of customers.
But the two take a radically different approach to providing value and cost savings to their customers.
Proprietary vs. Open Source PBX Systems
Shoretel is a proprietary system, fully designed by in-house engineers.
Digium, on the other hand, bases their PBX solution on open source PBX software, utilizing a best-of-breed, open architecture approach.
Proprietary solutions give complete control to the design and engineering of the system because everything is designed from scratch.
But the benefits of the open source-based PBX solution is that it utilizes the best existing software available in the marketplace and allows for much more cost-effective development costs.
Open source provides a far more cost-effective solution than propietary systems as well as a shorter development times.
With tight budgets being the norm these days, this matters.
Bottom Line: Telecom communications systems technolgies are rapidly moving to the open source model.
In this article, we’ll compare the cost savings of the open sourced Digium Switchvox versus the proprietary Shoretel system:
PBX System Software Licenses
The Digium PBX solution requires no costly software licensing, Shoretel does.
With Digium, every available feature is included from the get go:
- Conference bridge
- Call center
- Call recording
- Much more …
Shoretel features are only “turned on” with expensive license upgrades.
For very simple PBX needs of smaller businesses, the cost difference between Digium and Shoretel systems may be negligible. But start turning on features, and the price of the Shoretel PBX quickly jumps into the stratosphere.
PBX SIP Trunking
Staying true to its open architecture roots, the Digium Switchvox PBX uses SIP (Session Initiated Protocol), the telecom industry standard.
Shoretel uses their own proprietary technology.
Digium Switchvox PBX uses SIP Trunking natively. This means no extra hardware, no extra software, and no licenses are needed on the Switchvox.
Shoretel requires a third party Session Border Controller (SBC) to convert their proprietary technology to SIP. That’s a pricey (and kludgy) way to go about saving money on SIP trunks!
PBX Communication Servers
Shoretel utilizes a server-centric solution where every major PBX feature requires a separate box. All that hardware costs money and requires additional electricity, rack space and cooling.
Digium Switchvox PBX keeps it simple with everything contained in a single appliance.
Simplicity means low upfront and ongoing maintenance costs.
No doubt about it, Shoretel IP telephones are nice to look at but…you guessed it, proprietary to the Shoretel PBX. In other words, if you go with the Shoretel PBX, you have to buy the Shoretel phones too!
Digium, using the SIP standard, supports any standard SIP telephone on the market today.
These include such great brands as Polycom, Aastra, Cisco, Panasonic, and many more. Big SIP phone manufacturers like these have a tremendous cost advantage because of their large manufacturing runs. And they pass much of those savings to their customers.
Shoretel, with more limited manufacturing runs, must charge a lot of money per phone to make up for their lack of scale.
Proprietary and expensive vs. open and inexpensive. Hmmm, seems like a no-brainer!
Shoretel Support Contract Lock In
Shoretel has very high profit margins. To ensure these high margins, even with expensive in-house engineering costs, Shoretel has to lock customers into very expensive ongoing support plans.
To be fair, Shoretel’s products are of high quality – no doubt. They’re robust, feature rich and high-minded.
But in today’s business environment, you can’t afford to pay for Shoretel’s high margins. And thanks to the open source Digium Switchvox PBX solution, you don’t have to.