Back to the ESI Products Page:
You’d expect us to say nice things about our own products. However, we’re
proud that industry-leading publications and other news sources are just as
impressed with them, and have said so. Here are excerpts from actual articles
that appeared in Small Business Computing,
Convergence) and Teleconnect.
NOTE: ESI’s current X-Class,
E-Class, S-Class, and
C-Class phone systems are based on the earlier
IVX Series and IP Series systems mentioned in these excerpts.
(now Communications Convergence)
“ . . . If you [as a manager] want to ‘sell’ a converged
business phone system to the majority of your colleagues, you have to find a
product that benefits the rank-and-file. That’s what ESI . . . has always
excelled at. Since the introduction of their IVX phone system line . . .
they’ve quietly established themselves as leaders in the tricky game of
building ‘advanced’ business phone systems that make life easier for
everybody. . . . Now they’ve decided to iterate the [IVX] line anew, in IP
terrain. Their IP 200 and smaller IP 40 systems . . . are
‘one-wire wonders,’ whose station sets communicate with the base unit over
your 10/100BaseT LAN — daisy-chaining behind desktop PCs, as needed, or
plugging (via RJ-45 cable) directly into LAN outlets.
“The ESI IP products are IP-to-the-core, exploiting second-generation IP
technology. Unlike some competing systems, which require an IP station board
for every eight or 16 telephones, the ESI [IP Series systems] can drive up to
96 IP stations from a single LAN interface card. . . . The big [IP 200]
system can . . . support 48 lines, 96 IP stations, and up to 30 analog
“ . . . The Remote Network Card . . . lets you integrate up to 100 IP
Series phone systems over a WAN. . . . Demonstrations we’ve heard indicate
this system is good-to-go. Sound quality on the LAN is excellent. In ‘demo’
circumstances, the WAN links work fine, too — your mileage may, of course,
vary, based on bandwidth and QoS. . . . What makes these new phone systems
big winners . . . is that they’re built around ESI’s supremely-efficient UI
technology and base feature set.”
“When the phone is plugged into the network, the KSU sees it and
assigns it an extension and an IP address (don’t worry, it’s FM — ‘freakin’
magic’). And . . . local PCs simply bridge though the phone back onto the LAN.
They don’t even notice the phone is there.
“ . . . During a solid month of testing, we did not experience any
call-handling errors. The system is truly ‘next-gen’ — built from a traditonal
key/PBX maker who understands the business telephone market and its rigorous
“ . . . Basic changes to voicemail/auto attendant should be very easy for
even technophobic users to master. And the IP Phone form factor alleviates
traditional PBX Moves Adds Changes headaches to a great extent.
“ . . . We just recently reviewed another system from a manufacturer who’s
been LAN-based from day one. They’ve just OEMed an IP phone. It’s a cool looking
phone no doubt, but under the veneer there’s obviously a long way to go in
integrating it into the platform. ESI does not have this problem. They built the
phones themselves and, believe us, they know phones . . . The result is, by
far, the most robust IP feature phone we've seen to date.
“ . . . This system is highly recommended for users/dealers who are
looking for an IP Telephony answer but who are also very comfortable with
traditional key and small PBX systems and their core features, including
traditional business telephone sets and all their bells and whistles.
Interconnect dealers, in particular, might be interested in taking a look at it.
“ . . . Unlike a lot of so-called ‘next-gen’ phone systems, this one
supports all basic and advanced PBX/key system features. In short, ESI is now in
a select group with a few traditional telephony switch makers who’ve made the
full jump to IP Telephony (not just attached a gateway bandaid) and brought
their experiences with them.”
“An easy pick for . . . Editors’ Choice”
“In our opinion [ESI has] . . . developed a true ‘one-wire’ IP
system. . . . The phones are well-made and house generous amounts of
programmable feature keys . . . [This] provides a healthy dose of insight into
a portion of [the] . . . product’s appeal — lots of easy-to-use, customizable
“Installation . . . was merely a matter of assigning a static IP address
to the IP-PBX and connecting it to the LAN. . . . The ‘PC’ RJ-45 jack on
all of the feature phones can be used to connect a user’s computer, so as to not
require another separate network connection. This is a great feature . . .
“ . . . Simple phone programming and end-user programming . . . [require]
little work. Verbal Help keys provide thoughtful and context-sensitive help on
any level — administrative, installer, or just plain user.
“ . . . Plugging a phone into any network interface will get it instantly
recognized by the IP-PBX, and identified by the system.
“ . . . After plugging in a new phone to any available hub, it’s just a
matter of typing in an installer password and pressing a few keys to assign an
extension. It shouldn’t take an IT person more than a minute to have a phone
online, ready to make calls, at least without defining an extensions feature
set . . .
“ . . . Calls made on our LAN were crystal-clear. Additionally, we never
experienced any ‘dropped’ calls . . . .
“Testing the Remote Phone and its capabilities is one of the system
elements we looked forward to testing the most. . . . The ideal of a remote
phone is both far-reaching and cost-effective, which is one important premise
that Internet telephony is based on, as it allows users to connect to the PBX
via the Internet, and enjoy toll-free calling from anywhere an Ethernet
connection is available.
“ . . . Since the [Remote Phone]’s . . . PKT MAC address is its unique
identifier, all we had to do was connect the phone and the computer with the
phone’s software to our LAN [and then] . . . fill in the fields with the
correct addresses . . . We had previously mapped and reserved an external IP
address to the phone’s internal IP for firewall penetration.
“As soon as the addressing information was loaded into the phone, it
beeped, and the Lab’s low computer hum was chopped by an ESI engineer’s inquiry
via speakerphone: ‘Hello, are you there?’ We didn’t even have the chance to
communicate that the software was loaded and that the phone was ready before it
came to life. TMC Labs in Norwalk, CT was connected and exchanging packets with
the IP-PBX in ESI’s Plano, TX headquarters. . . . Call quality at most times
was very good. On none of the calls (we also made a few calls through the box in
Texas, which hopped off to the PSTN) were our engineers able to detect any
audible latency. We did experience some static and breakup as the packets passed
through the Internet’s unruly routers.
“The IP 200 . . . is a true IP-PBX system. Additionally, extensive PBX
functionality accompanies the IP 200. All of the features you’d expect to find
[are] . . . also offered, as well as an ample feature set that works
specifically on the premise of capturing and utilizing . . . [Caller ID]
“Though we saw a few areas that would have benefited from something more,
the IP 200 is a true ‘one-wire’ system with a solid comprehension of what needs
to be considered and incorporated into a cutting edge phone system. The IP 200
was very easy to configure from both the administrator and end-user
perspectives. And Verbal Help keys afford the necessary assistance providing
phone users with a more readily available, at-a-touch-of-a-finger alternative to
dialing the system administrator and begging for directions how to customize
their station set.
“ . . . ESI’s IP 200 Series IP phone system was an easy pick for an
Editors’ Choice award.”
Small Business Computing
“This is an excellent system”
“ . . . When [a software maker’s] executives went shopping for a
phone system, they looked for something with built-in, integrated voice mail,
and chose ESI’s IVX® 128. . . . It’s one of the
easier systems we’ve seen in terms of programming. Voice prompts will guide
users through tasks such as how to use the sets and voice mail.”
“ ‘We wanted something with integrated voice mail, not an add-on PC™,’
says [a company executive] . . . The IVX 128’s voice mail has 16 ports,
allowing any combination of up to 16 mailboxes to simultaneously play or record
messages. [The company vice president] says other systems he considered only had
four ports of voice mail.
“Besides the voice mail, [the company] is also using the system’s
[automated call distributor (ACD)]. ‘The ACD is another key feature,’ says [the
company’s ESI reseller] . . . ‘The ACD ships standard on the system and
supports up to 10 different departments with 32 people per department.’
“[The company] . . . tries to answer every [technical support] call with
a receptionist. But when the receptionist is busy, an automated question and
answer feature on the IVX unit . . . [asks] callers about the type of support
they need. . . . According to [the executive], the ACD is great, and has freed
up his receptionist to do other important work in the office.
“ ‘The receptionist is now helping out on some tech support calls and
administrative duties as opposed to just taking one call after another,’ [the
“This is an excellent system that is well worth the money and very easy to
program and use. . . .
“For small- to mid-sized sites, check out ESI’s IVX 128. It’s
cost-effective and ships with two convenient features: built-in auto attendant
and voice mail, and an ACD. It’s also easy to use. Simply pick up the handset,
press a code to enter into programming mode, and follow the voice-prompt
instructions that describe how to use the phone’s features, . . . set up a
voicemail box, record greetings, and retrieve messages.”
for the full excerpt (243,848 bytes)
IVX 128 Plus:
“ESI knows how to make a good thing better.”
“It wowed us back at CT Expo in ’99, but ESI . . . knows how to
make a good thing better. With . . . the IVX 128 Plus, it has continued
building on the IVX 128’s core key system features, while making good on its
pledge to IP-ize it.
“ . . . Once configured for the missed-call function, a designated feature
key will flash when callers disconnect without first leaving a voice message.
. . . You can bring up the CLIDs of the last ten such callers . . . ESI has
also added a virtual answer function, which can be used by phone-a-holics to
send prerecorded messages . . . (for example, ‘I’ll be with you shortly. I’m on
the other line.]’) . . . to waiting callers . . . and to enter the destination
number where impatient callers will be sent if they wish not to wait.
“ . . . The most exciting news, we think, is that the 128 Plus now accepts
ESI’s [Local] Network Card. This amazing Card turns this phone system into an
IP-enabled KSU that can accept . . . ESI’s key-for-key-compatible IP Phones.
“For those who are not ready to give up their investment in ESI’s digital
phones but are still interested in experimenting with the IP Program, the IVX
128 Plus with the [Local] Network Card is the answer. With the Card installed,
the 128 Plus supports up to 12 . . . [ESI] IP Phones. Later, when you finally
decide that IP is the way to go and would like to move beyond the 128 [platform]’s
limits, you purchase the IP 200 and continue adding to your growing IP Phone
“By the way, existing IVX 128 customers can upgrade to the 128 Plus.”
IVX 128: a “Product of the Year”
“ . . . some of the tightest integration of functions in one
package we’ve seen. Store caller ID from incoming calls or voicemail messages
into your speed dial, record calls on the fly, screen calls, rack up to 140
hours of voicemail, and, if you get lost, listen to extensive verbal online
help. You wouldn’t expect all this from a small system, so we were amazed to
learn that many of [IVX 128]’s features are available in an even smaller version
— IVX 20 — which can grow into the larger version.”
“We knew a good thing when we saw it”
“Caller ID [CID] has been around for
a while, but it seems underdeveloped in many instances. . . . ESI takes
something as simple as CID and does really wonderful, smart, useful things with
it, like storing the number of an incoming caller for later use in a personal
phone directory, or using caller ID to call a person back after he leaves a
voicemail message. “ . . . [This] . . . requires very tight integration of
phone system and voicemail . . .
“Now, it’s not like this is the first phone system that ESI’s manufactured
that does wonders with caller ID . . . It’s not even that caller ID functions
are the main excitement in this system. But ESI’s smart use of CID is indicative
of how much time ESI engineers spend thinking about how a phone system is used
in day-to-day business, and each subsequent model gets a little bit better, a
little bit smarter. “ESI announced the new IVX 128 back in March 1999 at
Expo Springwhere Teleconnect awarded it a Best of Show. And though it
hadn’t yet hit the streets, we knew a good thing when we saw it . . .
“SMART AND EASY TO USE . . . may as well be ESI’s slogan . . .
“ . . . IVX 128’s digital station sets have plenty of options the user can
modify . . . A user can create personal speed dial lists (using Esi-Dex). And
if he ever gets lost, all he has to do is ask for directions. There’s a host of
spoken help online; pick any function key that you don’t know how to use, and
with the touch of another button, the online help will announce what it does and
how to use it. Or you can go through an entire spoken tutorial of the phone's
features, all built right into the phone system, and accessible through any
“ . . . The LCD display shows date and time, caller ID, and which lines on
the system are in use. When [you’re] using the ACD feature, the display shows
you how many calls are in queue. The phones have nice speakerphones built in.
The handset has its own innovationj: there’s no switch hook for hanging up the
phone. When you hang up a regular phone, the person on the other end hears the
receiver clattering, base first, onto the cradle. But this handset has a magnet
near the bottom, so when you set it in the cradle, the magnet triggers the hook
switch and hangs up the phone quietly, from the bottom up. Nice touch!
. . . For all you CTI hounds, there’s a TAPI version of the phoneset . . .
[it] lets you plug your phone into your PC for popping customer records when
calls come in.
“ . . . Even when you have someone on the phone and are trying to figure
out how to transfer him, you can put the caller on hold and get help. No more
unused feature keys because someone forgot his training. If that’s not enough,
. . . the Web site . . . offers extensive, continually updated help . . .
“The system offers eight MOH messages, with background music supplied by
ESI. Or you can go with your own. A built-in auto attendant features day/night
operation, off-premises transfer, and pager notification, so even if your
operator takes a long lunch, you’re covered. The built-in ACD routes to the
longest-idle agent and has a wrap-up key that keeps those other calls at bay
until an agent is finished. It should suffice for the needs of a busy sales
office or a small adjunct call center to a business.
“Setting up a voicemail box from the user perspective is very easy because
you’re talked through it every step of the way. . . . New with this release is
the Virtual Mailbox key, a button on a station set that lets you access a
voicemail not tied to your station. This is useful for people who may not have a
desk phone, but need a mailbox; for example, someone who’s rarely in the office.
. . . Here’s my favorite feature of the IVX 128’s voicemail: undelete
retrieval. How many times have you accidentally deleted a message before it was
over or deleted it instead of hitting save? Now you can undelete as many as the
last ten messages. Hoorah! . . . The Quick Groups feature lets you hit
voicemail and then the keys corresponding to every co-worker you want to hear
“This integrated voicemail allows for true call screening and recording.
Even though you get caller ID functions with your caller ID service, there are
some people who block caller ID on their outgoing calls, or call from behind a
PBX, so you mightn’t know who’s calling until you hear them talking.
“This is a great little phone system. It’s kept the popular features of
its predecessor, and — because they listen to the needs/wants of their customers
— ESI’s added more new features than you probably know what to do with. Now the
IVX 128 offers T-1 support, and up to 28 fully functional analog ports that
allow analog stations to perform voicemail, park/retrieve, transfer, page, call
waiting, off-premises message delivery, and more. There’s a new dedicated
overhead paging interface, for those wanting to add a paging system . . . The
new Digital Feature Phone is really, truly, fully digital, with 2B+D, simplified
installation with one-pair, non-polarity-sensitive wiring. The new rugged design
will resist abuse and spills, the latter being one of the main causes of
phoneset death. It’s got sort of an ‘internal bib’ arrangement designed to keep
moisture off the sensitive underparts of the phone.
“I was sold after an hour of running through the programming and
features . . . Pricing is affordable, especially considering all the built-ins
like ACD, auto attendant, and voicemail . . . ”
“Has most anything a small office could want”
“The IVX 20 is designed for smaller offices who might need a
4×8-sized phone (expandable to 20 ports). Small businesses will love this
entry-level system’s many features, including built-in voicemail with 30 hours
of voice storage, eight auto attendant branches, built-in MOH, guest mailboxes,
. . . call recording, live call screening, background announce, enhanced caller
ID support, TAPI support, and — one of our favorites — ‘undelete’ of deleted
voicemail messages. Oops?! No problem.
“This phone has a lot of functions in common with its big brother (or
sister, we’re not sure), the IVX 128 . . . It also has ESI’s famous verbal
user guide built-in, so anyone not understanding what a button does can find out
then and there, without pawing through a manual. [Because its] . . . design is
so similar to [that of] the IVX 128, it won’t come as any surprise to learn that
a business can . . . [migrate] . . . to it from the IVX 20 if it outgrows the
smaller system. That saves time for employees who won’t have to learn a new
Computer Telephony (now Communications
“Worth a close look”
“Built-in auto attendant, voicemail and a zillion other
telephony features make the IVX series worth a close look for small to medium
companies. The IVX 20 offers most of the same features in a downsized
package . . . ”
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