I keep getting feedback/inquiries from various people asking about prices of CT(Computer Telephony) boards in India. Many people seem to quite puzzled to learn huge price ranges for similar boards with similar basic functionality. For example, depending on the manufacturer, one entry level model of one PRI ( E1) with 30 channels may cost anywhere between Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 180,000/-.
Here is a price comparison :
Though, I am unable to list prices of some other vendors here as well as CT boards with various capacities/configurations, but I hope the above list would be quite indicative. Dialogic with highest price tags still has the largest market share in a price sensitive market in India.
So, why is the price between the lowest and the highest CT Board is almost 10 times ? After all, a CT board is not ‘end product’ itself and it requires IVR applications or voice applications to provide the final solution.
Previously Chinese manufactured products were thought to be cheaper than products manufactured in other countries. But, Sangoma is Canada based company. Most probably, the basic difference between Sangoma and other boards is, Sangoma boards use processing power of HOST computer while other boards have on-board DSP ( Digital Signal Processors) to process various telecom protocol related functions. Many might argue that, with increasing MIPS in PCs, one should really not bother much about HOST PC processing for the CT boards too.
When one compares price of Dialogic boards with other cheaper cousins, one may wonder how can Dialogic survive in any price sensitive market ? I think here are the reasons :-
1. Dialogic has a huge developer base all around the world. After all, it is the oldest and biggest CTI company after merging with all its nearest rivals. It has very well documented APIs for all computer operating systems and lot of documentations available in internet for beginners.
2. Many RAD tools like VBVoice, OmniVox3D, Osidial etc. supports only Dialogic boards.
3. Most probably, Dialogic has the best support in CTI industry at present. They have very good support for both installation as well as developers.
The other cheaper alternatives like Sangoma, Digium etc. uses open source platform like Asterisk which has large developer community on net and growing. But, with almost 90% PCs in the world running on Windows Operating System, support of Windows is definitely a plus and with many RAD tools providers are surely competing well with Asterisk. For example, VBVoice is a toolkit which uses .NET! Now there must be millions of .NET developers in the world and when they find out VBVoice, they all become IVR developers overnight ( almost) and loyal fan of Dialogic boards as well.
Many people who are interested in IVR system, back out once they learn about the high price of CTI boards along with IVR software. The big price differences among similar boards confuse them more.
I have also attended mails from many engineering students interested in learning/doing college projects in CTI field and whenever I tell them price of 4 port Dialogic board, they always get discouraged. And when they ask for alternatives, I explain them about Asterisk based on Linux, they again get discouraged. Not many of them want to install Linux on their PCs. Almost everyone is very happy with their Windows machines.
So, I feel, Donjin and Synway are uniquely placed with their competitive pricing, good C++ Windows Based API. They have reasonably good support for developers.