Axiatel: managed IP communications for Western Europe.
Part 98 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services Axiatel can get a small business phone system up and running totally installation-free.
Axiatel, headquartered in Paris, France, was launched in October 2008 as a subsidiary of the well-established Axialys Group, which itself was founded in 1999. Today, the firm operates in nine countries: France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Canada, and Australia. Axiatel claims more than 30,000 clients worldwide, with annual revenues exceeding 10 million. Many of those customers are also household names in the United States, including CB Richard Ellis, Dannon, Evian, Lancôme, and Perrier.
The Axialys Group has been involved in a number of leading-edge business telecommunications services, including voice over IP telephony, automatic switchboards, interactive voice response systems, push SMS, Internet fax, and special numbers. One example of their innovative service is a specialized response system developed for the French Army. For its recruitment campaigns, the French Army advertises a short (4-digit) response telephone number hosted by Axialys, through which potential recruits can call and obtain information about military career opportunities. The system gives callers detailed information about the various career paths that are available, the address of the closest Army recruiting center, and the recruiters contact information via text message.
Axiatel acquired its independence from Axialys in November 2010, with the intention of focusing its efforts on the communications requirements of entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, and business professionals on a global basis. Building on its predecessors success in nine countries and 61 destinations, the new Axiatel offers Web-based voice communications solutions of online Fax, "virtual switchboard" PBX, and conferencing services to its wide base of customers.
Axiatels Online fax/Fax-to-email service allows the transmission and reception of faxes over the Internet, either from an e-mail account, or a client interface. Several pricing options are available, with packages that provide for sending between 100 and 40,000 pages per month. The system includes password-protected interfaces, unlimited reception of faxes, free transmissions to 61 destinations worldwide, storage of faxes on the Axiatel interface at no additional charge, an integrated address book, immediate or delayed fax transmission, and the use of either the customers existing fax number, or a new local fax number. The advantage of this service is that mobile customers don't need fax machines or phone lines to ensure that their faxes are able to reach them, independent of their location.
The Conference Calling service allows calls between as many as 30 participants, with the conference number accessible from landlines, mobile phones, or international destinations. This service does not require any premises equipment (such as a conferencing server), and comes equipped with a dedicated local conference number, thus eliminating the expense of any hardware or an additional telephone line. The conference call offering is available with three different service packages that vary based upon the maximum number of participants and the management capabilities (e.g. conference recording, call statistics, etc.) that are required.
The third product offering is an IP PBX or virtual switchboard, sometimes referred to as a Virtual Receptionist. Since this service is based on IP technology, it does not require any phone lines, physical telephones, or any installation. This service allows customers to manage their incoming calls, and redirect them to a specific service or individual, without the need for a live receptionist. The system offers over 250 pre-recorded greeting messages, and allows customers to create a calling tree that redirects callers to different departments within the company. Up to ten extensions are available, with up to five different redirections within each extension. Calls are answered or redirected based upon customer-established parameters, including touchtone key inputs, or a direct transfer to voicemail. Notifications of new voicemail messages are sent via either SMS or e-mail.
Management of the various Axiatel offerings is through the clients personal interface, which allows them to configure and customize the settings of their services. This interface is unified across the various Axiatel offerings, such that if the customer has subscribed to multiple services, they can all be managed from a single interface. In addition, an administrative account is available for customers who need Axiatel services in a bulk, which allows for single invoicing and easy monitoring of the accounts. Axiatel services are offered with a free 30-day trial period, allowing the customer to evaluate the service without financial risk.
Further information on the Axiatel solutions can be found at http://www.axiatel.com/ca/en/index.php.
On a personal note, this tutorial concludes our review of various service providers' hosted IP voice solutions as well as the overall series Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services. After 326 weekly tutorials, the time has come for me to explore other opportunities, including Colorados 14,000 foot peaks, and the stunning vistas of the Western United States. My thanks go out to all the helpful vendors that have provided information on their products and services, and to the readers who have shared their encouraging words. Special recognition is due my editor Ted Stevenson, who provided guidance for the past six years. I trust that you found some of the information in all of these articles to be helpful. As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans used to sing, Happy trails to you!
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.