ESI: 30 Years of Innovation and Helping Others

Posted by Megan Szukala

October 20, 2017; 3:00 PM

Since we founded ESI 30 years ago, we've sold over 300,000 business communication systems and grown to hundreds of certified resellers nationwide. While this success has helped ESI become the successful business it is, it has also provided us a way to give back to the community. Please indulge us as we look back on the early days and reminisce about how it all began.

 

Our beginning—the 1980s and 1990s

 

In 1987, it all started with ESI entering the telecommunication business by remarketing the Cardinal PBX as ESI's Model 803. The following year, we woke up the hotel industry with RollCall, our automated wake-up system for the hotel/motel industry. In 1989, we improved call accounting by launching PhoneBill for hotel/motel installations.

 

In the 1990s, we kept moving forward with Escort, the original standalone auto-attendant and voicemail system. The next year, we entered the OEM arena with private labeling. By 1992, we launched VoiceWorks, the original voicemail system.

 

We were recognized in 1993 for the early adaptation of digital signal processing (DSP) technology for voice. The next year, we had an international expansion in the OEM marketplace which propelled ESI to unprecedented growth in telephony. We also helped our growth by adding regional sales reps to the ESI sales team. We released the original IVX All-In-One system in 1996 that included the "legendary" integrated 1-touch HELP key.

 

In 1997, we were proud to debut our public corporate website and expanded our OEM business with the Executone phone. We released the VoiceWorks 16 voicemail system in 1998, which was an innovative solution for small businesses. While the rest of the world was partying like it was 1999, we celebrated the end of the century by launching the new large capacity IVX 128 All-In-One Phone System.

 

The 2000s

 

The 2000s started off with a bang, with ESI being granted a U.S. patent for dialing using Caller ID-related technology. In 2001, we launched the IVX 128 Plus, the world's first small enterprise IP-ready hybrid phone system. We celebrated in 2002 after winning “Product of the Year” awards for the IP 200 and Remote IP Feature Phone. Always staying busy, in 2003 we introduced a new family of IVX systems and phones: C-, S-, E-Class, IP e, and 12-, 24-, 48-key Feature Phones.

 

In 2004, we introduced the VIP desktop solution and created a reseller program that added benefits for ESI partners. In 2005, we helped MediSend/International to launch the ESI Sri Lanka Relief Fund. By 2006, we received a U.S. patent for Dial-On-Hold. During 2007, we announced the Communication Servers family and established the Suder Foundation, providing scholarships for first-generation students in the U.S. In 2009, live video was integrated with Media Management and a patent was awarded for shared knowledge in a VoIP phone system.

 

The 2010s

 

We started the new decade by launching the ESI Online Training Center for Technician Certification. During 2011, we revealed our IP Server 900 with dedicated VoIP architecture. The next year, we entered the SIP trunking marketing and hosted PBX market via acquisition of the Vintalk Retail Division.

 

In 2014, we released ESI Ditto, a mobility application, and new Cloud PBX features at the Cloud Partners conference. In 2015, we were proud that The Suder Foundation boasted a 93 percent retention rate, and four-year graduation rate of 57 percent in its First Scholars Program.

 

In 2016, the ePhone7 introduced touch-screen technology to the desktop business phone. This year, we’ve released eHelp, our online website dedicated to end-user training.

 

Giving Back To The Community

 

Giving back to the community is a responsibility we take seriously at ESI. Our employees have contributed countless hours over the last 30 years.

 

Some of the ways we’ve given back to the community include:

 

  • North Texas Food Bank: Every Thanksgiving, we donate $4,000-$5,000 to the North Texas Food Bank, helping the organization provide meals throughout the year.
  • Giving Blood: Every six weeks, we get a visit from the Carter Blood Care blood bank and make donations.
  • Mentoring: A group of ESI employees meets weekly during lunch with at-risk middle schoolers offering guidance and encouragement academically and personally.
  • The Suder Foundation: The Suder Foundation provides college scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college.
  • The Santa Fund: Using a voluntary payroll deduction, employees are able to donate funds to help students and families at Christmas. Every dollar our employees donate is matched by ESI.
  • Toys for Cops: Every year, employees donate toys, games, gift cards, and more to the Plano Police Department. These toys are distributed by the police officers to local children and families.
  • Habitat for Humanity: ESI employees offer labor to Habitat for Humanity, creating homes for families each year.
  • Medisend International / Sri Lanka Relief Fund: ESI provides humanitarian relief to help with global events.

 

We’ve had a lot of fun growing ESI over the last 30 years while helping our community at the same time. Thank you to all of our customers for being a critical part of our success.