Alteva: Reliable, high-quality IP communications at a low cost
Part 15 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services Alteva serves the higher end of the mid-range market, with customers having up to 6,000 users.
Alteva, LLC, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, claims to be North Americas largest provider of enterprise hosted VoIP services, providing businesses with a telephone system that requires minimal installation and configuration time and expense.
The company has been solely focused on providing hosted IP PBX services since 2003, and presently has customers in 48 states and nine countries. Their hosted IP PBX services are marketed to businesses that range in size from 50 to 6,000 employees, with these services provided to U.S. companies, with subsidiaries in Canada, China, England, France, India, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, and the Philippines.
The Alteva pricing model is based on a low monthly per/seat cost of $12.00 to $22.00 (depending on seat count), plus a cost per minute.
Altevas objective is to provide a total VoIP solution for their customers, which includes a focus on five key customer goals.
Superior quality is their first objective, with a broadband network that is sensitive to voice traffic, providing priority to that medium over data when required.
Second, a real ROI, which comes from savings in both local and long distance calling, but is also derived from minimal management, maintenance, and update expenses.
Third, high network reliability, including weather-proof contingency plans, and disaster recovery measures.
Fourth, total control, which allows the customer to maintain, update and expand their telephony service as necessary, without the expense of hardware additions and upgrades, or hiring expert technicians for support.
Finally, completely scalable operation, ranging from the requirement to add a new extension, to a business expansion into a new satellite office.
Given the current state of the economy, the Real ROI may be the most appealing attribute.
Alteva cites an interesting example of a customer solution that provided an outstanding financial benefit: The company in question had an annual telecom expense in excess of $852,000. After spending around $138,000 to upgrade their hardware to support Altevas solution, they were able to reduce their annual telecom expense to $592,000. This resulted in a payback for the new system of around 6 months. It could be said that some folks spend more than six months just thinking about a proposal such as this those that jumped in had it paid for in a very short amount of time, and after that, the new system was making them money.
Altevas service plan includes four key features: Alteva Anywhere, Remote Office, Voicemail as Email, and VoIP Toolbar.
Alteva Anywhere allows users to give out one number, and keep mobile and home numbers private. Calls can ring to multiple phones throughout a large office, to multiple receptionists simultaneously, and if the user is not available, the call can be sent to employees that can assist, in a priority order. In addition, the Find Me/Follow Me service allows for simultaneous ring, where your business phone number can ring simultaneously at up to ten additional phones, or sequential ring, where calls to the VoIP phone can ring sequentially at up to five additional phones.
Remote Office allows you to make any phone your business phone, including placing calls from a personal cell phone, and having a different number (such as the office number) appear on the recipients caller ID. This feature works by intercepting all calls to the business phone, and rerouted to the number of your choice (which can be any direct dial phone in the continental United States).
Voicemail as Email allows the user to see all of their voice messages in an e-mail inbox, and then quickly prioritize those messages. Full control over playback is provided, including fast forward, rewind, pause and replay. The voicemail comes as an e-mail attachment (.wav file), with the caller ID information in the subject line.
VoIP Toolbar is a plug-in application installed on the users computer that allows access to calling features directly from Microsoft Outlook and Internet Explorer, with one-click access for dialing, call forwarding, do not disturb, call history, call transfer and 3-way calling.
Additional and complementary services are also available, including Alteva Fax, Alteva Archive (hosted call recording), Alteva Collaborate (web and audio conferencing), plus QoS-enabled internet transport such as T-1, Fast Ethernet, and DS-3 high speed lines.
Further information on the Alteva solutions can be found at www.altevatel.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers' hosted voice solutions.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved
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.