Aastra - Canadian VoIP Player to Watch

Aastra Technologies is an interesting Canadian company, and one to watch, especially in light of recent news. They have an impressive roster of telephone, PBX and video products, and appear poised to emerge as an important player for enterprise premise-based communications solutions. They're also one of the few Canadian IP players that are publicly traded, and should be on the radar of the bankers and fund manager trying to make money in this space.

They just announced the acquisition of troubled German PBX manufacturer, DeTeWe KG. This will quickly add critical mass, and give them a foothold in Germany. Together with some earlier European telecom acquisitions, Aastra will look to consolidate all these pieces and become a strong force in the European PBX and video markets. We don't see many Canadian companies growing this way, and it's a good sign in terms of Canada becoming more of a global player as the IP revolution unfolds.

Aastra has also come to market with some interesting mid-range IP phones that are a great fit for the small business market. Eweek just ran a terrific article about their Venture IP phones. These are not ordinary IP handsets. They include embedded software from Nimcat Networks, another up and coming, but little-known Canadian vendor. Their nimX solution provides PBX functionality that's built into the phones, and uses serverless peer to peer technology. It's a unique approach, and provides PBX-like performance for those who cannot justify a full PBX, and want a premise based solution that's affordable, but isn't PC-based. Definitely an interesting alternative to the likes of Asterisk, or any of the open source PBX offerings.