Panterra Networks: Soup-to-nuts IP communications.

Part 45 of Phone for Rent: Understanding Hosted PBX Services — Panterra sells a broad range of services that includes call center, presence, IM, collaboration, and conferencing.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Jan 19, 2010
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Panterra Networks, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is a privately held, venture capital-funded company founded in 2001.

The firm is typical of many in this industry, in that their target market is small and medium-size businesses—especially those that are experiencing high growth rates, have remote employees, or multi-location call centers that need the flexibility that a hosted solution provides.

What sets Panterra apart, however, is that they claim to be the first Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider of an on-demand Unified Convergence (UC) platform that incorporates hosted PBX functions, but extends far beyond the typical voice capabilities.

Panterra developed its business around three key objectives: a SaaS platform that integrates communication services, such as voice, instant messaging, web collaboration, and call centers, that are typically designed as separate applications; a channel partner program that allows these partners to realize significant revenue from this platform; and a forward-looking architecture that allows for integration with other applications and services, including Saleforce.com and Microsoft Outlook.

Panterra’s WorldSmart™ services fully integrates business voice, virtual PBX, multimedia conferencing, secure instant messaging, hosted e-mail/calendar/contacts, Web collaboration, digital fax, video, automated call distribution, remote desktop access, and other communications services. This integrated SaaS approach to business communications is designed to optimize the total cost of ownership, increase employee productivity, and provide superior service management compared with dedicated on-premise hardware or independent multi-company hosted services.

As Panterra is both the technology provider and the service provider of UC services, the company is able to claim an increased value to their customers.

The WorldSmart service is co-branded and re-sold exclusively through service providers, distributors, and resellers. These services are available anywhere in the world the subscribers have access to broadband, including the ability to port and provide DID coverage in all 50 states plus other U.S. territories. The service includes softphones as part of the user package, and also supports standard SIP phones, such as those provided by Cisco, Polycom, and snom, which are not included but can be purchased off the shelf.

The WorldSmart system encompasses a large selection of on-demand service components:

Digital Business Voice provides the end user and desktop services, including call ID/waiting/hold/and transfer, plus holiday/calendar and day/night call routing, remote office extensions, and music on hold.

Advanced Digital Voice adds a PC-based softphone, automated attendant, interactive voice response (IVR), a company directory, live operator routing, and more.

Voicemail provides for central voicemail administration, individual and group voice mailboxes, voicemail notification and playback by e-mail, voicemail playback on the Web, and visual message-waiting notifications on handsets.

Audio Conferencing has the capacity for a 20-way voice conference, multiple simultaneous conferences, plus "meet-me" and invitation-based conferences.

Collaboration supports both Web and audio conferencing, desktop sharing, remote desktop access and a desktop whiteboard.

Secure Instant Messaging includes real-time encryption, a local message archive for regulatory compliance, IM conferencing, and IM support across public networks.

The Call Center service enables enterprise-wide ACD functions that include real time reporting, logic-based routing, live monitoring, and music on hold.

Unified E-mail, provides a hosted e-mail box, with support for Outlook clients and mobile devices, plus calendar and contact synchronization.

Unified Presence and Mobility supports mobile calls and messages, plus IM/IP phone synchronization.

The Unified Command Center can be launched from the desktop with a single click, and provides access to all WorldSmart services, plus a real-time status of all users.

Billing and Management is a secure, Web-based call reporting and management system, where call detail records are maintained and available in real time, and end-of-month or on-demand reports can be initiated.

Network Connectivity includes options for both U.S. and International calling plans, plus major market area codes and toll-free inbound numbers.

Finally, the Network Security and Support functions include session control by local network address, encapsulation and redirection for security and load-balancing, SIP firewall transversals, plus security logging and archiving.

With WorldSmart, all communications are administered as a single solution so adding a user is simple and all the communications are automatically unified from a single perspective.

WorldSmart pricing is based upon four service packages: Element, Communicator, Collaborator, and Call Center, which total $39.95 to 109.95 per seat per month, depending on the type and number of features selected. In addition, the company provides two popular combinations: the Enterprise, which combines the Call Center and Collaborator elements, and the Professional, which incorporates the Communicator and Collaborator.

Further information on the Panterra Networks solutions can be found at http://panterranetworks.com/. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved


Author's Biography
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.

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