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Published on January 14th, 2014 | by Alexis Argent

VoIPon Interview 2N on the Helios Verso and Vario Ranges, What They’ve Been Up To in the Last 12 Months and More

Craig Herret, from VoIPon Solutions interviews Scott Foster, Business Development manager for 2N Telecommunications

Craig Herrett speaks to Scott Foster about the the 2N Helios Verso and 2N Helios Vario ranges, the past 12 months at 2N plus more.

You can Listen to the 2N Podcast and see the full transcript below:

VoIPon: Broadcasting from various countries around the world using Voice over IP technology, this is VoIP Uncovered, a VoIPon Solutions UK podcast. I’m Craig Herrett. Today we are interviewing 2N, and here with me is Scott Foster, Business Development manager at 2N. Thank you for taking our podcast today Scott.

Scott Foster, 2N: Thank you, Craig.

VoIPon: OK then, Scott. Could you tell the VoIPon audience what 2N has been up to over the last 12 months?

Scott Foster, 2N: The main goal for 2N has been to realign the products within security vertical. We’ve addressed the telecoms world for the last 22 years, but now we see the growth within the security sector. Features like adding on vivest to enable video stream to be captured by a video management system software, or a network video recorder to enable the intercoms to become a part of a CCTV system. We can now integrate into VMS packages from Milestone, Access, Bosch, Exacq, Genetec, Digifort, Cisco, Hikvision. This is all achieved by RTSP and on BitStream Inc, so our interoperability list is growing every month. The intercoms can now hot-swap between the inbuilt video camera and an external IP CCTV camera to allow better situation awareness. This is especially useful at gates and remote entrances where a different viewing angle is desired. To have an added video touch-screen panel for the end user to be able to communicate with visitors, see the scene in front of the intercom and allow door entry is also a new feature that we’ve added into the portfolio. This is especially interesting for the building and home automation industry who do not want handsets in their property.

In addition to this, 2N have launched a series of software apps for Android and Apple for phones and tablets. This is a very popular requirement at the moment. We’ve also added various accessories that enhance the system. Some notable additions are the Mifare 13 megahertz card reader for access control systems, a two-wire converter to allow communications over any two cores on an old cable, so like a telephone cable or something of that nature, allowing full IP communications and PoE. We’ve added pictograms for DDA requirements for some of the intercoms, fully integrated loudspeaker boxes offering up to 14 Watt outputs for PA and audio streaming. We’ve also added a net mic which is a hardware console with a gooseneck microphone for PA and zoning of messages.

On the intercoms, we’ve now added a new webserver interface on all of the intercoms, right across the range from the entry-level to the Rolls Royce system, based on a Metro-style design which you see in Windows 8 and a lot of the new smart phones. It will allow you to reveal all the important information at a glance, and amend settings by clicking on a specific tile.

All the IP intercoms now have an automation function which is a program interface for writing new features into the intercom which are not covered in the basic or advanced configurations. It is very much like writing a little macro in Excel and can be a very powerful tool for special applications. We have also added many more features, functions and accessories, but these are some of the highlights of 2013.

VoIPon: That sounds absolutely fantastic. So they’re really user friendly security products.

Scott Foster, 2N: Well, we have tried to address that sector and try and look at the main features within security vertical. When we speak to a lot of the camera manufacturers, they’re all talking about convergence and bringing IP technology together. So, it’s not just the IP network, not just IP cameras, it’s not just intercoms, it’s not just PBXs, it’s bringing everything together to offer one solution. So, this is why we are adding all of these features and making sure there’s total interoperability.

VoIPon: OK then, so why should VoIPon customers purchase 2N SIP Door Entry products such as the 2N IP Helios Vario range over rival products from CyberData, Algo and Alphatech?

Scott Foster, 2N: The first point to note is that 2N products are designed from the ground upwards to be SIP compliant and we pride ourselves on working with all the main telecoms manufacturers, investing lots of money, R&D and time in partner certification programs. We’ve got 22 years of experience with PBX, VoIP Gateways and Routers and we always strive for complete marketplace compliance taking a technology lead in the marketplace. We recently visited NHS trust who had various manufacturers in for a demo, with Cisco Call Manager using SIP, but none of them would work using simple SIP integration. However, 2N Vario works straight out of the box, offering audio, video and door entry. Video is another important feature that we’re asked for as the IP world embraces video technology, so, it is almost an expectation nowadays. The manufacturers you mentioned have no, or very little, video capability whereas 2N video products offer up to 30 frames per second, streaming into phones, softphones and screens. This is especially important when we move into the security vertical, because they expect 25 to 30 Hertz and they need to run video analytics for movement detection, alarms and tracking. It is also important to mention our design capabilities. 2N design and manufacture everything in-house from the mechanical elements, electronics, to firmware and software. This means we’re not taking off-the-shelf enclosures or electronic modules and assembling a product. We pride ourselves on delivering a 2N product designed for the verticals we address. Therefore, we believe we offer the most features for the security vertical, home automation market or high class building sector. We are installing thousands of IP Force and Safety to vandal resistant units across the world in some pretty harsh environments. OEM modules to specialist applications where the end user design dictates appearance like barriers, carpark systems and ATMs. Our Vario is offered as a high-end unit, offering multiple configurations to luxury sectors and the Uni to the healthcare sector where custom function is the main criteria.

VoIPon: So, you recently announced your new product, the 2N Helios Verso range. Please could you tell us a bit more about this product, and what difference the Verso range has over your other products.

Scott Foster, 2N: Helios IP Verso is 2N’s most complete intercom, offering all the excellent features of the Vario, the Force, the Safety and the Uni, plus it’s a new design with new features to address the growing markets. The Verso is a totally new intercom, addressing the luxury marketplace for offices, building sector, home automation, so it is not a derivative of any one system, it is a completely new system that we’ve built from the ground upwards.

Vario offers various preconfigured modules onto specific SKU numbers so we designed Verso to be truly modular. Verso has a basic intercom module with or without a 1280 x 960 HD camera, making it the first High Definition Intercom that we have offered and it is ideal for the emerging CCTV market place. Other modules include a blanking plate for future expansion, 5 direct dial buttons, an RFID unit, a keypad and an info panel module. We’ll be adding more modules in the coming months like Electronic Name Tags, NFC, Biometrics and various other configurations to expand capability and customize Verso to different end user requirements.

The modules are fitted into a series of bat boxes accommodating one, two or three modules. The modules sit on the Local Area Network and there will be a total of thirty modules per intercom, offering up to 146 direct dial buttons. Each module has an elegant stainless steel front plate for surface or flush mounted fitting. We designed the Verso with the security sector in mind, so the high definition camera has an advanced infrared filter system for low light and night vision capability, a limitation on many intercoms on the marketplace. It is important to understand it is a filtering system and not just infrared lamps. So we can truly fine tune it for night vision performance for different ambient backgrounds. The High Definition camera also has a pan, tilt and zoom function so we are making full advantage of offering a full video intercom.

Verso is the future of IP intercoms and at 2N we believe only one can be truly perfect. So, Verso was designed with this in mind and to encapsulate all of the best features into one intercom.

VoIPon: That does sound like a truly fantastic piece of equipment. So, could yet let us know a bit more about the 2N GSM Gateways, and what advantages these products have over other gateways from Dinstar, OpenVox and PorTech?

Scott Foster, 2N: 2N Gateways and routers are available in analogue and IP format and we offer various configurations and licenses depending on the features required. We focus on the products being as technologically advanced as possible, without pricing ourselves out of the marketplace. And with twenty two years of experience in the sector, we work hard to ensure they integrate with all our other products in the 2N range. It is important to note that the gateways have been through testing with both Cisco and Avaya, and this is a major development when comparing to competing products. When major telecoms companies like your products, you have peace of mind on integration, reliability and technical competence.

2N GSM gateways support SMPP, Popbox, SMTP protocols, which is very useful for bulk SMS and email messaging. The flash SMS and delivery report support is really useful for bulk marketing campaigns, debt collection companies, advertising and service companies.

Some unique features are call back and mobility extension. Call back can cut the national calling cost to zero and roaming costs very significantly. Mobile extensions provide you with capability of an office extension but directed to a mobile device, a phone, a tablet, something of that nature for external workers, people working at home.

Development in the gateway marketplace is not as predominant within 2N as with intercoms, IP audio and M2M. It is substantial part of our business and we continue to build products and features based on the market demands.

VoIPon: You guys have clearly been very busy in 2013 and as it is the beginning of January, what do you have planned for your products in 2014?

Scott Foster, 2N: The Call Manager Software is a new software for managing incoming and outgoing calls and text messages at call centers. Our Machine to Machine division is moving forward at great lengths and have developed some great solutions for smart metering, Telecommunications, energy monitoring and automation. So we expect to see some major advances in M2M scenarios. Dependant software is a software package to sit on top of the IP Intercoms and Access Control Systems to monitor staff attendance and give full reporting daily, weekly and monthly and yearly. The lift division have released a new emergency communications system for lifts called Lift8. That has a revolutionary approach to modularity of the system but it keeps the simplicity of a two wire bus based analog system  from the past. This Configuration Manager is designed to work with all the 2N IP Intercoms using a common profile or phone book or network settings and also updates all the firmware to the latest version, so it’s an essential tool for larger installations. This configurator will be totally redesigned to give a more intuitive look and a quick set up time and procedure.

VoIPon: That’s fantastic Scott, thank you very much. I’d like to thank you for your time today and for bringing VoIPon listeners up to speed with the developments within 2N. This has been a VoIP Uncovered podcast. For more information please visit www.voipon.co.uk.

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