AT&T targets SMB convergence with Business in a Box

* Business in a Box provides either hosted or premise-based options

AT&T last week announced a converged voice and data service called "Business in a Box" that, as a managed service, provides either hosted or premise-based options. The service targets small and midsize businesses with between five and 50 employees, and customers can choose from AT&T's enterprise-grade Voice DNA (a hosted VoIP offer) or IP Flexible Reach (a SIP trunking service with integrated access for PBX and key systems) for their voice service. IP VPN services are provided through AT&T Managed Internet Service (MIS) Plus. The associated network services are connected with a T-1 WAN link and include options for a wide range of managed capabilities, such as managed security and call quality monitoring. An analog phone connection is included for emergency back-up.

The network-attached “box” is, according to AT&T, “a device equipped with all necessary data ports and connectors" and delivers:

* VoIP functionality through AT&T Voice DNA(SM).

* Internet access routing with built-in firewall protection.

* VPN capabilities.

* Wi-Fi data access capabilities.

* LAN connectivity with Power over Ethernet connections.

In a prepared statement, Ann Rotatori, vice president, Business Marketing for AT&T said: "AT&T Business in a Box enables small sites to enhance their customer service and their core business operations with minimal technical knowledge or effort. The converged solution is applicable to a variety of industries and can help businesses grow immediately. We're bringing the power of big-business technology down market for ease of use and quick startup."

The new service is compatible with multiple analog and IP handsets, and AT&T plans to further enhance the offering with new features and additional capacity throughout the year. While the service is offered directly from AT&T today, in the future customers can buy it through the AT&T value-added reseller (VAR) channel.

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