On March 21 Brian Metherell, VP of Toshiba, announced in a letter that the Toshiba Telecom System Division was shutting down. Dealers have until May 22 to place any final orders before the doors close for good. Warranties and contracts will be honored, but those are finite and will reach an end. Long story short: Toshiba phone dealers have some big decisions to make, and sooner rather than later.
What Happened to Toshiba?
But first, what happened to Toshiba? The news came as a shock to many. Sure, their financial struggles were no secret and the Avaya bankruptcy a few months ago had opened many eyes to industry changes, but still, this is Toshiba. The truth is many industry experts were anticipating this news. Toshiba made a few irreversible mistakes that sealed their fate years ago.
In the wake of Toshiba’s announcement, the telecommunications world is abuzz with talk of the cloud. But to really understand Toshiba’s demise, we have to go back even further to the advent of IP. We can all agree that Toshiba’s telecom products were stable and functional. The issue has never been with the products themselves, but rather with the timing. When IP technology began to permeate the market in the early 2000s, Toshiba developers may have taken note and even set out creating an IP product, but they took too long. IPEdge hit the market a full ten years too late in 2011.
Enter: The Cloud. By the time Toshiba caught up and released an IP product, the cloud was already beginning to trend. Their earnest efforts to grab on to the wave of IP products were for naught. Not to mention the fact that IPEdge was subpar to the more quickly-advancing IP alternatives.
By that time, they had missed not only the IP boat, but the Cloud boat as well, and it was just too late to catch up. They would have needed a cloud offering a few years back to prevent their demise.
The Latest Trends
We are beginning to see a pattern of legacy and on-premise providers either closing shop or doing a major overhaul and switching to the cloud. Many believe that the technology is simply better. It is more flexible, feature-rich, and economical. If Toshiba is one of the first in a long line of on-site providers that will close, perhaps now is the time to consider the cloud.
But even more importantly: What will be next after the cloud? Surely technology is not going to stall and cease to advance now. Now is not only the time to move to the cloud, but time to move to a provider that has a pulse on past, current, and future trends. After all, Toshiba’s products were once the latest technology, but their failure was in moving on to the next trend.
Speaking of missing trends – what about Unified Communications? Amidst all the discussion of Toshiba and the cloud, I have heard little buzz about UC. A trend that is here to stay, Unified Communications brings a unique and powerful feature-set to the table of any modern telecom. The best part about UC is that it can be yours regardless of deployment, which brings us to the next point…
Premise is Not Dead
Premise is far from dead. There is still real value in on-site deployments for many telecoms, Toshiba dealers included. On-premise deployments are a traditional, long-term investment that gives the owner full control over their system. (Read more about the benefits of On-Site PBX here). If your customers are asking for on-site options, then by all means, give them on-site options.
Another too often ignored consideration is the capacity to integrate cloud and Unified Communications applications into on-site solutions. There is no need to choose cloud or premise; you can have the best of both worlds. A perfect example of this is a Key System that can be deployed both on-site and in the cloud. Hybrid is another excellent option, particularly for telecoms like the Toshiba dealers that are entering a phase of transition.
First, let’s define what we mean by hybrid in this scenario. Say a large organization wants to centralize its distribution in a redundant cloud infrastructure. However, they may have remote offices that do not have reliable bandwidth and need an onsite premise or are handling data that requires TDM connections. Why provide two different solutions to them when a combined offering makes for easy deployment and support?
Now humor me for a moment – let’s think of hybrid options in terms of cake. Premise is a good, solid cake. It is undecorated, but it still tastes great and serves its function as dessert. It has been served for years and years to the delight of everyone at the table. But what if you added frosting to it? A nice thick coating of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate frosting. What about icing around the edge? Maybe some fruit on top? Or a scoop of ice cream on the side? This is the hybrid cake. It still has the same, delicious base, but the extra ingredients turn it in to something extra special. In the same way, Unified Communications can empower a premise solution to be better than ever before.
What’s Next After Toshiba?
So the question of the hour is what is next for Toshiba telecom dealers that are losing service? As we mentioned above, now may be the ideal time to migrate to the cloud. The benefits are undeniable. But what about those dealers that simply do not want to move to the cloud? Well, premise is not dead. We know that the cloud just does not make sense for some companies. The good news is that there are still many premise offerings on the market. The best option would be an unbiased provider with both on-site and hosted offerings that keeps ahead of the trends, but without cleaving on to only one type of product.
If you are a Toshiba dealer that has lost or will lose service, we encourage you to consider us as a partner. We have both hosted and on-site solutions and are anxious to roll up our sleeves and put together a best-fit solution for you.
For more information and to chat with an experienced Account Manager, please contact us today:
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