Onebox: Hosted VoIP with all the trimmings.
Onebox®, headquartered in Hollywood, California, is a subsidiary of j2 Global Communications, Inc., a company with an extensive background in voice communications services. Founded in 1995, j2 Communications is a publically traded company (NASDAQ: JCOM) that provides a range of outsourced virtual voice, fax, and e-mail services that include brands like eFax, eVoice, Onebox®, and Electric Mail®.
Onebox was a privately held company that j2 Global acquired in 2004, enabling the brand to leverage the resources of a publicly traded company with 14 consecutive fiscal years of revenue growth and eight consecutive fiscal years of positive and growing operating earnings.
j2 Global Communications has offices in eight cities worldwide, and claims a network that spans more than 3,500 cities in 48 countries on 6 continents.
The Onebox acquisition allowed j2 Communications to expand its reach into the unified convergence marketplace, with a virtual PBX system that lets small to medium-size companies leverage the features and functions of world-class phone and communication systems, but without the associated expense.
Onebox is targeted at businesses with 2 to 20 employees, and is available in North America (U.S. and Canada), the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland, Belgium, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, and Hong Kong.
Onebox offers four levels of service.
The Onebox Receptionist, the companys most popular plan, is designed for businesses of 2 to 20 people, and provides basic voice communications services including an auto attendant, custom greetings, plus voicemail, fax, and conferencing services. In addition, it allows calls to be directed to any employee at any location in the world, and includes find-me/follow-me service, schedule-based call forwarding, simultaneous ring, click-to-call, caller ID and call screening, and voicemail-to-e-mail conversion. Other features include the capabilities to synchronize contacts with Outlook, ACT!, and Palm devices, and online calendar, conference calling for up to 95 callers, a dial-by-name directory, and direct inward dial (DID) numbers. Pricing for the Receptionist plan starts at $49.95 per month that includes a toll-free and/or local number, 2,000 minutes/faxes per month and up to four extensions; and can expand to $99.95 per month with 5,000 minutes/faxes per month and up to 20 extensions.
The Onebox Executive service is designed for corporate executives, road warriors, and small business owners that need to stay connected. This service includes a personal toll-free number that can forward calls to any desired destination number, plus a fax service that can forward faxes to an e-mail address. Notifications can be sent to a cell phone, pager, or via e-mail, and can include calendar reminders and SMS notifications. International numbers are also available, which allow the customer to establish a virtual office in remote cities such as London or Paris. Pricing for the Executive service starts at $16.95 per month with 100 free minutes of voice/fax usage; and can extend to $29.95 per month with 2,000 free minutes.
The Onebox Live Receptionist service is designed around a team of five professional support agents that have an in-depth knowledge of the customers business, and are therefore able to present a familiar voice to callers. The locations are flexible, with calls being directed to any employee, in any location, anywhere in the world. Other features include: multiple extensions behind the main number, schedule-based call forwarding, and an extended absence greeting, for use when the client is to be away for an extended period of time. Applications for this service include order taking, surveys, and appointment setting. Prices for the Live Receptionist service start at $169.95 per month, which includes 100 minutes of personal service, and 2,000 minutes of voice/fax service; and extend to $399.95 per month with 250 minutes of live receptionist service and 2,000 minutes of voice/fax service.
Onebox Unified Messaging is designed to provide a central location for managing all of the messaging, contacts, calendar, and other office communications, including voicemail and fax services. The Unified Messaging service makes these communications accessible by phone, Web, and the customers existing e-mail accounts, with toll-free numbers included at no additional charge. Price of the service is $12.95 per month, which includes 100 minutes of usage/pages of faxes per month.
The entire Onebox account is set up and managed via an online Web interface, with every account given an administrative option that has access to all features, and can alter any preferences. All Onebox services are offered with no setup fee, no long-term contract, and no cancellation fee. The Receptionist, Executive and Unified Messaging services include the option for a 14-day trial. In addition, Onebox recently released iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry applications, further making the business professional available even when he or she is on the go.
Further information on the OneBox solutions can be found at www.onebox.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.