NEC SL2100 Smart Communications System Review
NEC’s SL2100 range is the Japanese multinational’s latest brand of on-premises communication platforms
Launching this week in the UK and the rest of Europe, the SL2100 range will take over from its predecessor, the SL1100, to provide cost-effective and intelligent communications solutions for growing SMEs.
Built specifically for smaller businesses, the SL2100 is said to provide a set of fully flexible, cutting-edge features that can accommodate up to 128 users. Promising extreme value for money, the SL2100 also claims to be an all-in-one, user-friendly solution that is powerful, reliable and an ideal choice for growing businesses looking to boost their communications and save money.
However, does the SL2100 really stand up to the hype NEC gives it? As a global leader in Enterprise Communications & IT solutions, you would expect nothing short of excellence from the brand, but can an on-premises solution really compete in a world that is already heavily dominated by the cloud?
Before we go ahead and find out, we just want to confirm that the opinions expressed in this review are entirely impartial and given only as a means of informing our readers of the latest product released in the UC market. UC Today in no way endorses, promotes or markets any of the brands and products discussed.
How does it look?
The NEC SL2100 chassis comes in elegant black colouring, measures out at a modest 435 x 92.9 x 330 mm, is wall mountable and features 240 ports per chassis.
It also features two compatible handsets; one for basic requirements (TXH-A) and one for agents that require slightly more advanced features (8IPLD). The former features 12-24 programmable buttons, 2-line display and a 100-number personal directory, while the latter offers 32 programmable buttons, a large backlit 168 x 128 LCD display and a full duplex speakerphone.
What can it do?
Along with built-in, enterprise-grade Voice-over IP (VoIP) capabilities, Smart Mobility and Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), the SL2100 also offers businesses a wide range of highly sophisticated, built-in features such as voicemail, music on hold, mobility, auto-attendant, audio conferencing, video conferencing & collaboration and call recording all at an extremely competitive price point.
By doing this, small businesses are given a highly cost-effective solution that prevents them from having to make further investments in external features and enables them to access Unified Communications features that may ordinarily been out of their reach. Once more, it can be used as a resilient TDM solution that offers future-proof upgrade potential and presents considerable savings and functionality over and above alternative hosted solutions.
As well as improving customer service and allowing the businesses to engage with their customers more successfully, the SL2100 also helps improve collaboration and efficiency in (and out of) the workplace by means of single number reach, built in web based conferencing, remote/home worker support and BYOD compatibility.
Another major selling point for the SL2100 is that it requires no additional PCs or servers and instead offers an all-in-one solution where each of the following UC features are built into the chassis itself. NEC call them InApps:
InUC – enables businesses to access video conferencing, collaboration, document sharing, Presence and instant messaging for up to 128 users.
InReports – gives access to a Smart Call Management application that provides 24/7 ‘visibility’ of the entire company’s communications, presenting graphically enhanced reports as Lists, Charts or Wallboards.
InGuard – enables businesses to protect a themselves against toll fraud attacks by monitoring all call activity 24/7 and detecting any suspicious call activity instantly.
InHotel – offers a Front-of-House Application system that combines a complete Property Management System with tightly integrated telephone system functionality.
Each of these features can be quickly activated/deactivated with fully flexible subscription licenses that can be issued as and when needed with minimal effort.
Alongside quick deployment, the SL2100 is arguably the most user-friendly series so far with ‘out of the box’ configuration settings that minimise installation time and allow businesses to continue working without disruption.
What do we like?
With the SL2100, NEC have clearly invested a lot of thought into developing a solution that adequately satisfies the fundamental needs of any small-medium sized business. By offering a fully scalable, all-in-one solution that allows businesses to pick and choose the services they need and quickly activate them through an innovative licencing system, the SL2100 saves a great deal of valuable time and adequately matches the flexibility offered by popular cloud solutions.
Moreover, thanks to the in-built InGuard security feature, the SL2100 offers a warm relief from the tensions surrounding the issue of security for on-premises PBXs. Ordinarily, businesses using on-premises PBXs would have to install their own security measures, knowing that failure to do it correctly could leave them wide open to a number of threats. With SL2100, however, this weight is lifted and protection is ready and waiting right from the start.
Who is it for?
NEC have openly stated the SL2100 is a solution developed specifically for SMEs – and we believe them. With a capacity of 128 users per server, the SL2100 offers a fully scalable solution that can comfortably support businesses through periods of growth and provides them with all the latest features to ensure they achieve their goals.
Where can I get more information?
NEC have set up a dedicated microsite for the new NEC SL2100 – there is lots more info available there.
UC Today Opinion
In world where success tends to be measured by size, it always nice to see someone rooting for the underdog and providing support for the small businesses of today so they can grow into the giants of tomorrow. Much like the SL1100 before it, the SL2100 is NEC’s offering to those SMEs with up to 128 employees that are looking for a cost-effective UC solution that offers total ownership of cutting edge collaboration and security features at an affordable rate.
Moreover, in a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by cloud technology, it’s great to see how an on-premise solution like the SL2100 is still able to compete and provide a fitting alternative for those businesses who are reluctant to host their data in off-site locations. With its simplified, flexible deployment, the SL2100 gives small businesses much greater control over their application costs and provides an all-in-one solution that is ideal for small business owners looking to save time and money.
Are you a small business owner which runs the NEC SL1100? Or a reseller marketing it to UK customers? What are your thoughts? What feedback do you get on how it meets small business needs? We’d love to get your angle, so please add any opinions you have to the comments section below. And feel free to share this article with friends and colleagues to widen the conversation further.