In a move that should enrich telephony choices for small and medium enterprises, Connecticut-based NetFabric Inc. recently announced an agreement with global connectivity solution provider Belkin Corp. to provide a “total business solution” that will make it easy for companies to adopt VoIP services.
NetFabric produces the FUS1ON line of Intelligent Call Directors, which let business customers migrate to VoIP without extensive upgrades to existing telecom equipment, including to phones themselves.
FUS1ON call controllers work in conjunction with a PBX or key system, routing preselected calls (typically long distance) to the VoIP gateway, while letting other calls (e.g., local and 911) travel through the PSTN. (For more details on FUS1ON equipment, see VoIP Migration Route: Kick the PBX Habit.)
Belkin’s callEverywhere service, using the network of a sister company, is available in both consumer and business flavors, the latter offering some extras, including an 800 number and incoming service 800 service at a modest cost. The total number of callEverywhere accounts is about 75,000, according to Belkin Business Development Manager, Mark Watson.
For SOHO businesses, callEverywhere is priced per-number, with two plans, one offering unlimited domestic dialing, the other (less expensive) limited to 1,500 minutes of domestic talk per month. Both plans offer a rich array of telephony features including bidirectional fax, voice mail (retrievable via email), call waiting, caller ID, and more.
For larger businesses, says Watson, “pricing is determined on a case by case basis, based on a master account.” “We go in and work with the customer, completely analyzing their telecommunications usage, looking for opportunities to save them as much as possible,” he said.
Don Ketcham, President of New Jersey-based telecom consulting firm TELE Concepts, recently installed a NetFabric FUS1ON unit and subscribed to Belkin’s callEverywhere, in order to determine the value of the bundle to his business. Ketcham reports a 58 percent reduction in costs for outbound calling.
“Our solution scales,” Watson continued. “And we can do customization—restrict dialing, turn features on or off for selected users—that sort of thing,” he said. “The bottom line is finding the most efficient client solution.”
Enterprise VoIP Planet asked Watson about deployment time-frames. “Again, it’s on a case-by-case basis,” he responded. “It depends on whether the customer’s network needs beefing up, depends on the number of features they’re opting for, and the like,” he said. The bottom line is that in certain cases, when all required ducks are in a row, the service can be up and running within a few days of a sale.
What impact does Belkin expect the NetFabric partnership to have on sales of callEverywhere to businesses? “Our job now—for both of us—” said Watson, “is to make sure that corporate clients are aware of the offering.” But he conceded that hopes are high for a “big spike” in sales.