The PABX market may not neccessarily be where the biggest killings are made, but, with the increasingly evident transition from analogue to digital systems, and more sophisticated customer requirements, National Telecommunications Plc’s London Docklands-based Business Communications division reckons to have substantial scope for its new Atlanta range of digital PABXs and Automatic Call Distribution systems (CI No 1,277); as well as its traditional sales-orientated client base, National Telecom foresees a wider target market, including public sector facilities such as the Social Services, borough council housing departments and emergency services. The Atlanta digital PABX range comprises the Atlanta 96, which can handle 40 outside lines and 88 extensions, and the Atlanta 192, taking 80 outside lines and 188 extensions; among the usual features, an auto attendant feature is offered, which uses a recorded message to tell callers which number to dial for a specific extension, thus obviating the need to go through a receptionist – who in any case may not be there when phoning companies in a different time zone; and a least-cost routing facility selects the most economical route either through a national or private network. But National Telecom is most eager to stress the adaptability of the systems, with an easy upgrade path betweem the Atlanta 96 and 192, and compatibility with future developments such as the Integrated Services Digital Network. Both systems are intended to offer full integration with the Atlanta digital Automatic Call Distribution system, designed for businesses with a heavy traffic of calls. With up to 1,000 ports, the Motorola 68000-based system, with a 40Mb hard disk, receives calls and routes to an available sales desk, with connection on a first-in, first-out basis during busy periods. A built-in information system records and monitors calls, enabling, for example, sales managers to keep tabs on their telesales staff. National Telecom’s marketing strategy for the Atlanta range depends heavily on the degree of advancement of its internationally targeted markets, and their acceptance of UK specifications. By February 1990, shipments to countries accepting the specifications of the British Approvals Board for Telecommunications, such as countries of the Old Commonwealth, should be starting; harder markets, such as Spain and Australia, with their own specifications, should receive adapted versions of the Atlanta range by the following autumn. Pricing is flexible, with a competitive policy adopted in Europe: National Telecom claims to be pitching the systems at around 5% to 10% below local prices; meanwhile in Africa, where there is no established market, it will be a case of setting the most profitable price possible.
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