Lowering the VoIP Entry Barrier for SMBs

Up-front costs of VoIP migration are high—even with a hosted solution. Apptix has a remedy.

By Dan Muse | Posted Nov 6, 2007
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Apptix, a Herndon, Va.-based company perhaps best known as a provider of Hosted Exchange for small businesses, today announced the availability of a new leasing program for its Apptix Voice hosted VoIP service.

The company has been providing VoIP services since March. Jackie Funk, director of marketing for Apptix, said small businesses have shown an interest in the on-demand VoIP services. "It helps them look bigger than they really are, and they want that," Funk said, referring to features such as auto-attendants and voicemail.

However, Funk said, there is still a need to make VoIP more attainable for SMBs. "They are IT-resources constrained and don't want another vendor to deal with." By offering hosted messaging, collaboration, and VoIP, Apptix, as a one-stop service provider, can address both these issues for SMBs.

Apptix announced today that it has partnered with Solarcom Capital, an IT infrastructure leasing company, to create a program that gets around another hurdle to VoIP adoption for SMBs: startup costs. "Pricing has been a barrier," said Leigh Henry, director of product management, at Apptix. "Leasing is a better option and is easy for customers."

For a little over $76 per month, on a 24 month lease, small businesses get a WAN router (to help provide better management and monitor quality of service), five Polycom HD [high-definition] phones, and shipping and installation services. For that $74 per month lease payment, Henry said, customers gain the option to pay fair market value for the equipment when the lease expires. Apptix estimates the cost to buy the hardware and installation services up front at around $1,590.

The lease covers the cost of the hardware and setup only. The VoIP service, called Apptix Voice, comes in both Basic and Premium Enterprise editions. The Basic service costs $39.95 per month and includes unlimited local and U.S. long distance, extension dialing, voice mail, voice-to-e-mail capabilities, caller ID, auto attendant, softphone, and basic call forwarding.

The Premium Enterprise Edition costs $49.99 a month and includes these additional features: selective call forwarding, selective call acceptance, MailStreet Outlook/IE Toolbar for click-to-call capabilities, account/authorization codes, remote office capabilities and find me/follow me features.

To make it easier to configure and add new users and services, Apptix Voice offers a Web portal for management. Apptix claims its VoIP service can be deployed in less than 30 days. The company says it manages the entire process, which includes an optional on-site network assessment, porting of existing phone numbers, hardware and plan selection, and installation services.

Henry said that Apptix is aiming for small businesses that want an enterprise-grade services and reliability. "Vonage is not a competitor," she said, "we're the next step above it." She added that Apptix offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee as part of its service level agreement.

While the features may be designed to rival those used by larger businesses, Henry said Apptix is a small business service provider. "We were focused on SMBs when we started, it's where we are now, and it's where we're headed."

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.This article first appeared on, and was adapted from Small Business Computing.

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