License Fees For Enterprise Telephony – Part 2


This article describes software license fees of modern telephony and unified communications solutions for networking with other systems, cross-site networking, conferences, upgrades as well as maintenance and service fees.

The previous post gave you tips on how to plan the core elements to minimize license fees.

License Fees for Networking with other Systems

Define the number and type of hardware interfaces for communication with other systems and networks (LAN, IP, analog, digital, control inputs and outputs, …).

But also pay attention to the necessary software interfaces (eg Computer Telephony Integration, CTI, Computer Supported Telecommunications Application, CSTA, Telephony Application Programming Interface, TAPI, various database interfaces, …) to enable you to deeply integrate your phone solution with your IT solution. Each type of interface can be paid for.

Consider interfaces to CTI servers of your telephone systems may cause costs.

Tip: Ask if the license is bound to specific server sites or user sites. The software licenses are mostly tiered based on the number of supported users but may be location-dependent.

Do you need to integrate alarm servers? Define the number of supported external modules and interfaces (contacts, I/O gateways, Fieldbus interfaces, serial interfaces, mobile radio, alarm transmission interfaces). But also the number and type of endpoints, a possible localization function, logging and reporting and other functions determine the license costs.

Displays of an alarm server may also cause license fees.

If your solution is to be coupled with building automation systems or industrial servers, define the type of server connection (e.g., Open Platform Communications, OPC) and the number of devices supported (in building or manufacturing).

Tip: in general, license bundles combine different individual packages and help save costs.

License Fees for Cross-site Networking

If you have several sites or traditional telephone systems to integrate into the new solution, trunks (interconnections of telephone systems) may be necessary (to build telephony networks). The licensing costs may be dependent on the number of interconnected PABXs, the protocol used, e.g. Q-Interface Signalling protocol QSIG, but also the number of simultaneous calls between the systems.

If you have planned to connect your solution to one or more providers via IP networks, define the number of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunk connections and how many simultaneous multimedia sessions to support (define the number per communication type, e.g. voice, fax, video).

Do you want to federate your company network with networks of your business partners? This requires additional licenses.

License Fees for Conferencing

The maximum number of simultaneous participants at a conference (combined only for voice, or voice and video, possibly with data sharing) and the total number of simultaneous conferences on one system will affect your license costs.

Tip: consider whether a cloud service is of interest for your video conferencing service. The costs for this are usually relatively low.

Special Applications and Services

Special applications and services , e.g. call centers, hotel management functions or solutions for hospitals are not covered here.

Costs of Upgrades

Tip: define upgrade and expansion scenarios, and ask your vendor for costs. These depend on the overall solution, the supported features and functions and the differences between software versions.

Maintenance and Service Charges

Maintenance costs dependent on the term of the contract (for example 1 year) and the hardware, software and service packages (updates, new versions, …). The supported features and functions of different software packages (e.g. hotel module) determine the number of maintenance fees.

You may request services “on-site”, system installation and configuration by specialists and repairs packages.

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Ronald Schlager is independent trainer, consultant, and blogger about communications technologies and their applications.

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