Enhanced VoIP Communications: Local, long distance, and international calling for 1 to 100.
Part 39 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services Enhanced VoIP's Easy Office Phone system can be deployed wherever high-speed Internet is available.
Enhanced VoIP Communications, Inc., with U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, Calif., and Canadian headquarters in Burlington, Ont., is the developer of I>Easy Office Phone service. It offers business class telephone service to both single-person companies and multi-geographical enterprises. Easy Office Phone is equipped to serve customers in 4,500 rate centers across North America, including Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii. Moreover the company claims to have served customers by deploying virtual PBX extensions (DIDs) in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, and Africa, to meet both internal and external communications requirements.
Easy Office Phone is targeted at firms with 1 to 100 employees, which may be in a single location or spread across a wide geographic area. PBX extensions can be configured in any location where high-speed Internet access is available. The service includes the typical PBX features such as caller ID, call forwarding, conference calling, message waiting indicators, and speed dial lists, but also includes some other time saving capabilities.
Anywhere Voicemail Delivery allows employees to be notified in a number of different wayse-mail, page, cell phone, Blackberry, and on the telephone itselfto make sure that they return a call promptly.
An Automated Information Center provides pre-recorded information that customers can access 24 hours a day, such as driving directions to the office, hours of operation, product or service information, or details on special promotions.
Caller Announcement is helpful for employees that handle more than one function, as it allows them to hear which department the customer is trying to reach before they answer the phone.
Employee Status Indicators enable other employees to see if a particular colleague is on the phone before they transfer a call to him or her, thus allowing the customer to be connected to an available person right away.
Find-Me/Follow-Me allows an employee to identify alternative phones (cell phone, home phone, etc.) where he or she can be located, without revealing the his/her current location to the caller.
The Virtual Calling Card feature allows traveling employees to call the main telephone number or one of the local access numbers, enter a PIN, and then access the system to make a long distance call. When this feature is used, the office telephone number and name are shown to the other party, so that it appears that the user is calling from their office, instead of a cell phone or from a hotel.
Easy Office Phone provides a number of IP phone options. The first are two free softphones, CounterPaths X-Lite phone and the Zoiper Free phone, which lets you make and receive calls using your PC and a headset. Other supported phones are the line of Aastra business phones, including the 30i which can handle up to six lines; the 55i which includes programmable keys and up to nine lines; the 57i an executive-level phone with a large screen and programmable keys; and the 57i CT, which includes a cordless handset with a 300 foot range.
Several pricing options are available for Easy Office Phone.
The Business Unlimited plan is designed for small businesses that have several employees who make and receive calls, and costs $39.99 per month per user with 2,500 minutes of usage. Each user gets an extension and a mailbox, and has long distance calling capabilities in the U.S. and Canada, plus the ability to forward calls to a landline or mobile phone.
The Business Incoming package is for organizations who need calls forwarded to cell phones or traditional land lines, but do not need to make outgoing calls. This plan is priced at $19.99 per user, and allows calls to be transferred to other extensions using a mobile phone.
The third option is called the Corporate package, which is priced on a "per channel" basis. A "channel" is somewhat analogous to a traditional line, and allows companies to obtain a service that is based upon capacity (i.e. the number of employees that are on the phone at any one time), instead of purchasing a separate Business Unlimited plan for each employee. For example, a company with 24 employees might only need 6 channels. This plan is priced at $49.99 per channel, with 2,500 minutes of usage per channel; each channel includes four extensions and mailboxes.
International numbers are also available, which provide the customer with a virtual (DID) number for the hosted PBX system for a flat monthly rate. International numbers include free incoming calls (no per-minute charges), which can be forwarded directly to a customers automated attendant or to s specific extension within the hosted PBX system. These numbers allow a business to have a local presence in a foreign country, with the provision for a different menu or greeting provided to international callers. International numbers are available within selected areas throughout South America, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, the United Kingdom, and the Far East. They range in price from $12.99 to $27.99 per month. Outgoing international calling is also available, with charges that begin at $0.04 per minute.
Additional services are also available, including fax to email, where an incoming fax is converted to a PDF e-mail attachment, and voicemail-to-e-mail service, which converts voicemails into sound files, and then sends them to an email inbox for review.
Further information on the Easy Office Phone solutions can be found at www.easyofficephone.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.