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Meridian Phone System for Businesses Review

About Meridian

Meridian phone systems were introduced by Northern Telecom, now known as Nortel, in the late 1980s. It began as a key telephone system where the users selected incoming or outgoing calls rather than a computer automatically doing so. The Meridian Norstar system, released in 1988, went on to be a global success. The Norstar system came with impressive features such as large LCD displays, speaker phone and call holding options.

Advancements

The invention of the private branch exchange phone system (PBX) looked to be a major blow to the Meridian system. The key telephone system it used was now seen as out-dated. However, Meridian systems were able to adapt. New models included features such as automatic call distribution and caller ID. Whilst Meridian systems could not be change to PBX systems all their models could be updated to the latest software. This meant even the oldest model could be upgraded to modern standards. Companies could, therefore, buy hardware upgrades rather than buy a whole new system allowing Meridian's success to continue.

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The Good & The Bad

The fact Meridian phones can be upgraded; despite their age is a major advantage of the system. This stopped many companies replacing the system when PBX came along. The telephones themselves are sturdy yet easy on the eye. Several of the buttons are colour coded and there are several reference cards which can be used to label certain lines and speed dial options. Many of the features can be accessed quickly with only a few buttons needing to be pressed. However, there are some that argue the Meridian systems is old fashioned and the phone itself shows it age. While durable and user friendly the phone lacks the edge of sophistication of newer, more modern technology. There is no doubt that the Meridian phone system was a huge success in the business sector. The system was introduced in the late 1980s and is still found in many offices across the world today. The fact even old models can be upgraded to the latest hardware is the main reason for the system's longevity. The phones themselves are practical and user friendly. However, the key telephone system has largely been replaced by the PBX systems and many argue that a system developed in the 1980's cannot be relevant in the business world today. Whilst the Meridian system has lasted over 20 years, many companies are now looking to install newer, more modern phones which incorporate other telecommunication media. The future of the Meridian system, therefore, seems uncertain as businesses may begin to look elsewhere for their telephone systems.

Meridian Norstar Systems

Meridian Norstar produces a vast range of telephone systems which have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Their products range from the compact series of telephone systems suitable for small businesses with low to medium call volumes, to much larger systems suited to businesses with high call volumes such as call centres. The systems vary in price from around £150 for a fairly basic system equipped to handle low to medium call volumes to literally thousands of pounds for a high end, much more advanced product.

Meridian Norstar Products

For a basic, compact Meridian Norstar telephone system with a 6 line and 8 extension capacity and featuring call hold and transfer, call barring, paging and intercom, you can expect to pay around £150. This system can be upgraded to 16 extensions with the use of an analogue adapter, but the price only reflects the module itself and any telephones required will need to be purchased separately. A middle of the road product, suitable for the small to medium business, with a capacity of up to 24 extensions, ISDN2 connection via a PC or laptop and a built in analogue terminal adapter to allow the connection of a fax machine will cost around £300. Again, the price is solely for the module itself and this product is used in conjunction with either a 4 port analogue trunk card or an 8 channel BRI card. A higher end product with 8 digital lines, 16 extensions and the capacity to add a further 4 analogue lines will cost around £1,500. This model is supplied with one M7316e telephone and is used in conjunction with a 4 port ISDN2e card. The price of this product also includes installation. If you are considering purchasing reconditioned models, then you will find a significant reduction in the costs and all the systems are guaranteed for a fixed period, giving you added piece of mind. For a reconditioned Meridian Compact 616 system including 10 system keyphones suitable for the small business, you can expect to pay around £450. This system has a 6 line and 16 extension capacity and benefits from numerous functions including speed dial, call transfer and hold call.