Review of the Ericsson-LG iPECS eMG 80 & UCP IP PBX system (formerly known as LG Nortel iPECS and LG Aria iPECS)
In Australia Ericsson-LG (formerly known as the LG Nortel iPECS and LG Aria iPECS) offer two different phone systems solutions for SME's. The iPECS eMG 80 that is a hybrid solution and, UCP 100, UCP 600 and the larger iPECS UCP 2400 that are pure IP solutions. Ericsson-LG also offers enterprise solutions for 30000+ users however, we won't cover this in this review.
The eMG80 is a hybrid phone system, so it works with PSTN lines, but also has extensive IP options as well so you can take advantage of the cost savings SIP can bring to your business. This means it will work with traditional copper phone lines but it's also NBN ready. The iPECS eMG80 can scale from just a few users using the system, up to 48 users.
Unlike the eMG, the UCP range is an IP only series, so all calls are made via the internet using the SIP protocol. The model numbers of each system roughly denote the number of users each model can handle. Each of the models in the series, UCP 100, 600 & 2400 share the same architecture offering you the ultimate scalability as your business grows.
The Ericsson-LG iPECS PBX uses a modular IP call server and offers users the ability to connect not only the latest SIP trunks (VoIP phone lines that can run over the NBN/Fibre internet) but also traditional ISDN and PSTN services from any existing carrier. No matter what type of connection you have available, you're covered.
The iPECS IP PBX also allows users to connect a myriad of different handsets - 7000 digital series, 7000 IP series, 8000 IP series, 9000 digital & IP series, IP DECT, DECT, and even the GDC wireless phone handset. Whether you're after mobility, or simply the latest gigabit IP video phones, Ericsson-LG's iPECS eMG series has you covered.
It's a giant leap forward for Ericsson-LG and with the intelligence of the platform, and Telstra really pushing the product, it has quickly established itself as a dominant player again in Australia.
The Good. (Perhaps even the GREAT in this case)
Normally it's hard to know where to start with a good phone system, however, in this case, it's easy...... the price.
The latest iPECS eMG 80 phone system is incredibly priced. It's so much cheaper than other leading solutions that we really can't believe LG introduced it. We're confused because for companies up to 48 staff, you wouldn't buy the other iPECS offerings, or basically any other system for that reason. It not only decimates the competition but also their own product offerings. That said, you, the consumer, are the real winner in their unusual pricing strategy.
The functionality on offer is comparable in most (if not all) cases, with the Avaya and Cisco's of the world. Even we were surprised when we went through the specs for the first time!
What you get as a customer is a flexible, intelligent and very sophisticated IP phone system that is also easy to use. Whether you're a small business just starting out or a multinational company with multiple sites and call centre requirements, it runs the entire gamut. Just because it says it's an IP system doesn't mean you need to use IP. Whether you have the NBN (or a higher bandwidth product such as business fibre) or you still use the traditional copper phone lines in your area you can use this phone system. he intelligent architecture on the iPECS also allows for many different types of phone line connections such as PSTN, ISDN 2 (basic rate), Onramp 10 (primary rate or multiline) as well as SIP and H323 VoIP trunks.
The system will even allow you to use existing Ericsson-LG digital handsets, so if you're upgrading, this can significantly reduce your total implementation costs. The Ericsson-LG iPECS has built-in voicemail and advanced incoming call distribution (auto attendant) functionality (this was a paid option on the previous Ericsson-LG Systems). These two features will help any business to sound more professional and will genuinely enhance the way you work, day and night. You'll never miss another call again!
Another major selling point of the Ericsson-LG iPECS phone system is it carries on the LG tradition of very easy to use systems. People who have seen some of the more complicated IP offerings love this more traditional design. The handsets, for which you can opt from either the 7000 IP, 8000 IP series, or the 9000 digital (for the eMG80 only) and 9000 IP phones are beautifully simple and your staff will be able to use them within minutes. This intuitive design cannot be underestimated and has been a major reason behind the incredible popularity of the Ericsson-LG brand.
iPECS also provides WiFi and IP-DECT mobility options. This means you can set-up a network of access points for an in-house wireless or DECT cordless solution. This is great for businesses with large floor space areas or warehousing who want to keep their staff in close contact with each other.
Here are just some of the key features available on the Ericsson-LG iPECS platform:
- SIP trunking for the best type of VoIP services and cheapest calls
- Can connect to traditional phone services like ISDN and PSTN
- All the essential features you'd expect like voicemail, hold, transfer, speed dialling, auto attendant, PC attendant, and more.
- Unified messaging to allow you to receive all your emails, voicemail and faxes in your inbox, no matter where you are.
- A soft phone application that creates a virtual phone on your PC or laptop. This allows you to see if office staff are on the phone, transfer and conference calls and much more, even if you're thousands of kilometres away
- A mobile phone Sip application that allows call features including dial, pick up, hold, transfer, conferencing, SMS and even call log.
- Proven and ultra reliable Linux based platform
- Very easy to use handsets whether they are IP or digital
- Call centre Application (option)
- 32 channel/ group conferencing
- Advanced incoming call distribution for call centres for sophisticated call routing
- Great for multiple site networking & remote users
- Administrator software and self programming is very easy and there isn't much you can't do yourself - this saves you money
- Easy Network Integration whether multiple sites or remote IP workers
- Phontage Soft console is simple and easy to use
- Integrated Firewall
- Remote Access Server. VPN support
- Supports digital, Analogue or IP handsets
- Full synchronisation with Microsoft Outlook
- PC operator console available for more advanced use (option)
- Voicemail is very versatile allowing you to control and listen to messages with on screen prompts, listen to callers before picking up
- IP call recording and record conversations (option)
- DECT compatible
And much, much more.....
What a list! The features themselves are fantastic, but the intelligent way that the system performs them is even better. Ease of use is something that is consistent across all of the default and the optional applications.
What's not so good about the Ericsson-LG (Not much!)
As you've read from above, it's hard to fault the technological pedigree of the latest Ericsson-LG iPECS solutions.
Although we've mentioned the incredibly low pricing of the latest eMG80 phone system, we see the biggest drawback of the solution is the price point many companies are offering it at. When it is sold at the right price it's amazing.
However, we see some companies charging 50-100% more for no explicable reason! Why would anyone pay twice as much for a solution that does the same as another? This price gouging does a disservice to the brand and robs many people of a great solution, or leaves people paying too much for the one they purchased. When you compare it to the pricing for the world's biggest selling SME solution, the Avaya IP 500 it is good value for money offering a great range of features and reliability for SMEs, but any higher and the LG is simply not the smart choice..
The Bottom Line
The fact that the latest Ericsson-LG iPECS pbx is a great solution is no longer in contention. If you end up with one of these solutions you will be very happy indeed. Just make sure you compare prices for this solution and get the best deal you can. No matter what type of business you operate, or size, the iPECS really has a solution for everyone.
Our number one suggestion is that a solution like the iPECS is only going to be as good as the care and thought that goes into tailoring it for you. Many phone companies know what the systems CAN do but don't want to go to the trouble of implementing these features. Unfortunately, as a consumer, you'll be none the wiser. Read the brochures and the features above and make sure you get the right solution with everything that can help your business improve productivity, mobility and save money.
Remember, if you have less than 48 staff the latest LG eMG80 phone system is the smarter option by a country mile over the larger iPECS models.