The Shrinking On Premise Market: An Interview with Vertical’s SVP of Operations, Marc Niknam

In which we discuss the on-premise market and how Vertical’s Summit continues to innovate with eyes to the future.

This month, we’re thrilled to bring you an interview with Vertical’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Marc Niknam

Let’s jump right in and talk about the on-premises market for a moment. The phones-on-site options for companies today are shrinking; NEC being the most recent exit. How does the state of the market look to you and where does Vertical stand?
Great question. And you’re right. Companies continue to leave the on-premises market, NEC being just the latest announcement. We understand the challenges businesses face amidst market shifts and we are here to help. This is why we’re actively engaged with former NEC dealers and customers to ensure a smooth transition to Vertical product lines. Summit, along with our iPECS platform, emerge as natural choices for those seeking continuity and reliability in their on-premises communication systems.

There’s still a strong demand for on-premise systems even as everyone seems to be relying more and more on the cloud?
Yes., that’s what we’re seeing. Premise based demand is actually increasing. Cloud continues to be strong with desire for solutions like our iPECS Cloud but there’s still a need for on-premises solutions. There remains growth in that area even as there are fewer options out there to choose from.

So Vertical is still committed to the premise market?
Absolutely. Our Summit system is a product that has both digital and IP phones and can operate by itself or can network multiple locations together. Summit is appropriate for a customer with 20 users or 2,000. It has an extremely deep and robust set of telephony features based on Vertical’s decades in the industry.

Vertical has been doing this a long time?
Vertical has been around for 20 years, but our history includes acquiring companies like Comdial, Vodavi, and Artisoft. We have generations of telephony history in our DNA.

Can you highlight some of the distinctive advantages of Vertical’s Summit solution?
Certainly. Summit isn’t just another product—it’s a comprehensive solution tailored to meet the diverse needs of modern businesses. Summit has a full range of cutting Unified Communications capabilities (advanced routing, visual voice mail, mobile and desktop client, chat, call recording, etc.) in a platform that leverages the deep and complex telephony feature set that has evolved over decades. The platform marries the best of old and new to meet customer needs in a simple, affordable package.

[View the Summit2400 brochure to learn more.]

You mentioned iPECS Cloud earlier. Does that cloud product line integrate with your on-premise solution?
Yes, our Summit systems can work closely with iPECS Cloud in a number of ways to provide customers options. This includes using the Summit as local failover solutions for a larger iPECS Cloud deployment. Customers can also start with Summit and transition the phones to iPECS Cloud later on. The customer can even reuse digital phones in the iPECS Cloud solution which can save money and avoid costly rewiring of locations.

Trust is crucial when it comes to selecting a communication solution provider. How does Vertical earn the trust of its clients?
At Vertical, we’ve earned people’s trust through our unrivaled quality, long-term support, and a commitment to innovation. We’ve barely had anything fail. We have a mere 0.06% failure rate. And if it does fail, with our five-year warranty – which is unheard of in the industry- and our replacement guarantee, you’re never without a phone. There’s no need to wait for and set up a loaner system like with other companies. That’s the Vertical Difference – our dedication to excellence extends beyond the initial purchase, with continuous updates and enhancements to our product lineup and world-class support and service.

Plus, I personally stand behind everything we sell out of this building.

That’s a bold statement.
It’s true. I’ve been in this industry for a long time and we’re the best.

Speaking of updates and enhancements, could you share some of the recent innovations in the Summit product line?
Summit is a mature product , but we are always looking for ways to advance the solution and keep it relevant. Some recent enhancements include:

  • Integrating the virtualized Summit option into cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services
  • Enhancing SIP security options
  • Providing phone/gateway link down alerts
  • Enabling recording of paging

For businesses considering a transition, what support does Vertical offer to facilitate a seamless switch to Summit?
Transitioning to Summit is seamless with Vertical’s support. We provide streamlined access to training, demo systems, and support resources, making the process hassle-free for new dealers. We’ve been told it’s the easiest process in the industry. Additionally, our partnerships with leading distributors ensure convenient access to our products and services.

Vertical delivers this solution through a partner program?
Yes. And our distributors do this really well and work with people all over the country. We’re proud to partner with them.

If I’m a dealer interested in Vertical products, how can I get started?
Dealers can contact one of our distributors:

  • American Telebrokers
  • Hoosier Equipment Brokers
  • Target Distributing
  • your local Graybar office

If you have specific questions or an immediate deal, contact us directly, call 1-877-VERTICAL or email

If I’m a customer looking to put in an on-premises system, how do I get started?

Businesses can also contact us directly via form or 1-877-VERTICAL and we’ll set you up with one of our partners.

That’s great! As we wrap up, what message would you like to leave with businesses considering Vertical’s on-premise solutions?

Embrace the future of communication with Vertical’s Summit solution. In a world of uncertainty, Summit offers reliability, innovation, and a vision for the future. Join us on this journey, and together, let’s shape tomorrow’s communication landscape.

Thank you for sharing these valuable insights with us. It’s clear that Vertical’s Summit solution is not just a product but a transformative tool for businesses navigating the ever-evolving world of telecommunications.