It's been a little over three years since Berlin-based snom Technology AG brought its first cordless IP phone to market based on the robust DECT protocol. Yesterday it unveiled its successor, the M9, for the first time in North America.
"In environments where employees are on the phones for long periods of time, many need the functionality that comes with IP telephony, but also want the ability to get up and move around the office," said Michael Knieling, snom's executive vice president of sales and marketing in a statment. "This is the ideal phone for any enterprise, SoHo or call center looking for an affordable, fully functioning IP phone not directly tethered to the desktop."
According to snom COO Mike Storella, the M9 has been designed from the ground up, to enable it, among other things, to support high-definition (HD) voice quality.
In addition to running the H.722 codec, "you have to be sure your microphone and speakers are of such quality that they can do the right job for the highs and lows of the HD voice," Storella told Enterprise VoIPplanet in a recent briefing. "I think we clearly did that with this product."
HD audio quality is, of course, not the only improvement in this product. A single M9 base station will support up to four simultaneous calls, and the handset can roam across as many as four base stations, giving unparalleled range and mobility. Moreover each base station can support up to nine handsets.
"The M9 will also connect to Microsoft Office Communications Server," Storella pointed out. "The M3 would never have done that." (The company's snom300 is, to date, the only SIP desk phone qualified for OCS and its successor, Lync.)
Some of snom's high-end desk phones can function as endpoints on a secure VPN. That wouldn't be particularly appropriate for a cordess handset, Storella pointed out.
"This is not a VPN implementation," he said. "And if you're not going to do VPN, you turn on encryption, both for the signaling and for the voice path using the secure realtime protocol SRTP." That's the security approach adopted for the M9.
On the user-appeal side, the M9 sports a color screen and the possibility of displaying a color caller ID image.
"The mobile-carrier world has given us a host of new mobility features that are attractive to users in an office setting but not possible with traditional desktop phone," Storella observed. In this vein the M9 provides several features that users are accustomed to have on their mobile phones: on-board phone book, calendar, calculator, and alarm functions.
The M9 will retail for $259, according to Storella. "With this model, the M9, you actually get two handsets with one base station, instead of, with the M3, you only got one handset," he told VoIPplanet.. "You're getting more bang for your buck than you did with the M3."