NEC Business Phone System Review 2018
Choosing a new phone system is a significant investment decision.
With so many competing technologies it can be hard to get a clear picture of what you need and what you don’t.
This article will lay out all the detail on a leading supplier, and what they offer, so you can know if they are worth investigating further.
NEC is a Japanese multinational that makes computer systems and electronic components, as well as telecommunication systems.
Founded in 1899 as Nippon Electric Company, NEC now employs 107,729 people and brings in annual revenues of £238.9 million (2017)
NEC is one of the biggest suppliers of business phones globally; they offer both telecommunications systems right down to individual phone handsets.
They invest over £2 billion in research and development every year
What’s in this review?
NEC has a wide range of phone systems and applications for better business communications.
They offer flexible business communication solutions including traditional PBX systems and cutting-edge VoIP and Unified Communications, plus a wide variety of hybrid options as well.
NEC Offerings and Benefits
NEC are market leaders in business phone systems.
They have designed a range of different products, one of which will suit the scale of your business.
NEC specialises in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, meaning that your set-up and ongoing call costs are low, as your calls are made through the internet.
Here are the advantages of getting an NEC VoIP Phone System:
- Affordable phone system solutions that are flexible, easy to use and have advanced features
- An auto-attendant function that greets callers and helps connect them to the right department which eliminates the need for an operator or a receptionist
- A single click of a button and your calls will be recorded so you can keep track of the details of your conversations with clients and partners
- Call logs mean you can easily see and manage your communications
- Software-based phone systems are more accessible to update and offer you the room for growth in your business
If you are setting up a new phone system, or entirely replacing your current one, then you will probably need an IP PBX, as well as individual phone handsets.
A PBX is the switchboard that manages incoming calls and creates an internal network so your employees can easily contact each other.
NEC offer both cloud-hosted and physical in-house PBX systems.
NEC In-house IP PBX systems
Physically hosting your telephone system in your office is the more traditional approach, but it can offer more security and faster connectivity than cloud-hosted systems.
This option is a great one if your business has its technical support so that you can purchase the system an have low ongoing costs.
Here are the options from NEC:
- A primary system for small businesses.
- Up to 64 users, so you can quickly scale up
- Built-in Auto attendant and voicemail services
- Work from anywhere with call forwarding to mobiles
- The next-level system opens up Unified Communications (UC) to small businesses
- Up to 250 users
- Mobile and web functionality links all of your working devices together
- Pick and choose extra features, only paying for those you need. Options include Automated Attendant, hold music, audio and video conferencing
NEC Univerge SV9100
- State of the art Unified Communications (UC)system for small to medium-sized businesses
- For 10 to 800 users
- Can integrate with existing architecture, both IP and analogue connections (Up to 400 SIP trunks, 184 ISDN2e (BRI) trunks and 180 ISDN30e (PRI) channels)
- A desktop interface so you can see your usage and manage call forwarding rules
- Pick and choose extra features, only paying for those you need. Options include an Automated Attendant to welcome and direct callers and CRM integration so you can see customer details when they call.
NEC cloud-hosted IP PBX systems
NEC’s cloud-hosted telephone system Universe 3C is their latest offering.
This system will bring all of your communication channels together, helping your business become more efficient.
Having NEC host your telephone system is a fantastic option if you do not have the in-house capability to support the system.
It gives you the flexibility to change or expand your system, and you will have support for all maintenance and in fixing any issues.
- The latest and greatest communication system from NEC
- Able to be scaled up or down for any sized business
- Pick and choose the features that you want, only pay for what you need
- Each employee gets one contact number that can be channelled to their desk, mobile or computer, allowing employees greater flexibility while staying in touch
- A full suite of collaboration tools including audio and video conferencing, interactive online whiteboards and screen sharing.
- Brings together email and voicemail and offers remote access to both
- Bolt-on call centre management system
- Automated attendant with speech recognition to get your customers to the right person quickly
Now you have an idea of the type of system you want; we can move to the handsets themselves.
NECs hones are known for being well designed, and user-friendly, so they should require much staff training.
The options run from your traditional desk phone through to phone software that you operate from your computer:
NEC Desktop Phones
Much like analogue phones, NEC desktop phones look similar but differ significantly regarding capabilities and technology used.
Both can make and receive calls, but NEC desktop phones will allow you to have the benefits of IP telephony as well.
These are the ideal phones to use when you want to update your office communications system without introducing too much complexity or confusing your more traditionally-minded employees.
- One of the most popular phones that NEC produces, the UT880 combines a traditional phone with a large, tablet-like control screen
- Hands-free and speakerphone
- Integrated Bluetooth capability
- A built-in camera for pictures and video applications
- Multiple login support
- USB port
NEC Wireless Phones
Wireless phones do everything a desktop phone can except they are mobile.
They are not wired or connected so you can take and make calls wherever you may be.
With a wireless phone, you are not limited to a specific spot in your office.
NEC makes a range of wireless phones under the DECT category, listed here from most basic to most advanced:
- G266 – standard wireless option
- G566 – a mid-range option that links into your Unified Communications system
- G966 – top of the line phone with smartphone-style screen and capabilities
- I766 – ruggedised design for tough environments
NEC softphones have no base units; your office’s phone system plugs directly into your computer, and you control your calls from there.
This is the most modern phone option but can take some people a little getting used to, when we are used to having a physical phone on our desk.
Computer-based phone technology means you can monitor the status of your staff with a glance at the computer screen.
You can instantly know who is available for a phone call and who is not, an excellent tool if you are running a call centre.
NEC phone systems are packed with features to help you get organised and to expand.
Some of the critical features of NEC phone systems are:
- Headset Compatibility – a headset will allow you to communicate with your staff, customers or suppliers from anywhere in your office
- Cascade Notifications – when someone leaves a message in your inbox, this function will alert and call you at up to five destinations so that you won’t miss a call
- Conferencing – with this feature, you can convert voice messages into texts, reply to voicemail using email, answer group chats and instant messaging wherever you are
- VoIP and Landline Integrations – allows you to expand your business while still maintaining excellent communication quality
- Ease of Use – NEC phone systems are easy to use and require little training
The Softphone technology you choose will likely depend on what IP PBX system you are using.
- If you are using NEC’s Univerge cloud-based system, then the UNIVERGE SP350 SoftPhone will integrate with your system entirely.
- Alternatively, the UC Suite SP310 Softphone will work with any NEC system.
NEC Costs and Fees
With such customisable systems, your NEC phone system cost will vary depending on your company size and requirements:
|Product||Price from (unit only)|
|In-house PBX||These systems are customised depending on what features and capacity you want, so the price will vary from a few hundred up to around a few thousand pounds.|
|Cloud-hosted PBX||Per user monthly price dependent on the features you select|
|Desktop Phones||Handsets start at around £80|
|Wireless Phones||Handsets begin at about £90|
|Softphones||Per user monthly price that may be tied into your overall system cost|
NEC Customer Support and Sales
NEC phone systems are all about customisation, creating a system that will support the way your business works.
To set this up, you will receive individual support from an NEC representative or distributor.
NEC aims to provide excellent quality products and services.
Also, NEC offers end-to-end support for all their customers’ concerns with their products and solutions.
They have phone and email support services that are available 24/7.
NEC Customer Reputation
NEC has a remarkable reputation in the phone systems industry, having been in the business for 118 years.
With their long history of reliable service, they continue to be a significant player in the manufacture of information and communication systems, offering advanced technology through constant innovation.
Tech review site UC Today rates all their products at over four stars out of 5.
The reviewers like the adaptability of NEC products, as you can still use your existing phone infrastructure with their systems, whether it is IP or analogue based.
They also applaud NEC’s customizability, that you can add features in later. And, quickly expand your user capacity when you grow.
One of the main competitors you will be comparing NEC with is Avaya. To help you here is a comparison table for a system suitable for a small business:
|Sample Model Name||NEC SL1100 System||Business Phone System by AVAYA|
|Compact Flash Card||1||0|
Who Should Use NEC?
A leader in their field, NEC combines the latest in technology with trusted expertise to give your business an edge over your competition.
NEC offers different communication solutions depending on whether you are just starting out, or running communications for a large enterprise.
No matter your size, NEC has a phone system that can make communication more accessible, more professional, and less expensive for your company.
NEC has a wide range of phones and phone systems that are geared towards small and medium entrepreneurs but will give you room for expansion and growth.
If you want to have a phone system that you can customise and that will grow with you, NEC should be on the top of your list.
NEC has been around for more than a century and has established an excellent reputation amongst business customers. So, they are a pretty safe bet.
Additionally, NEC provides flexibility in their products and cost-effectiveness that can help you increase your productivity.
Their range of products has something for every business size, including yours. One for the shortlist.