FeatureTel: Deluxe hosted VoIP at a bargain price.

FeatureTel, LLC, headquartered in Apex, North Carolina, is a fully managed and hosted IP telephony solutions company, providing businesses across North Carolina with a cost-effective, feature-rich telecommunications alternative to the traditional IP PBX.

Founded in 2003, FeatureTel delivers Fortune 500 telephone system features and functionality to IP telephones at businesses of all sizes, eliminating the need for investment in an on-premise telephone system.

Even though the FeatureTel service is available worldwide, the company chooses to focus its attention on providing service to local companies based in North Carolina, allowing customers to receive all the attention they deserve, and making sure that their service is performing optimally.

FeatureTel owns its entire call processing and data infrastructure, all of which is located in a data center in the Research Triangle Park area, with Points of Presence in Charlotte and Greensboro. The company prides itself on customer service as a key differentiator vis-a-vis the competition, recently completing the successful deployment of one of the largest city-wide implementations of a hosted VoIP service in the country—for the City of Durham, North Carolina.

And in a struggling economy, FeatureTel has leveraged these objectives into success at the bottom line, by increasing revenues by 40 percent and staffing by 30 percent in the past year— plus adding a recently announced channel partner program.

FeatureTel’s typical customer has an average of 30 phones—although the company has customized solutions for enterprises with some 2,000 end stations—and supports Cisco, Linksys, and Polycom phones—as well as analog phones and devices through analog telephone adapters (ATAs).

The company offers two distinct service packages: the FeatureTel SOHO designed for small and home-based businesses, and FeatureTel Fusion targeted at larger enterprises.

FeatureTel’s SOHO service provides small businesses with the same features as a larger enterprise, including an automated attendant, unlimited phone lines, voicemail, multiple greetings, call hold and transfer, conditional forwarding, and find me/follow me forwarding.

This system can be established at any location where a broadband connection is available, including mobile locations such as a hotel. The system includes a business continuity feature that provides an instant, automatic, and pre-configured disaster recovery plan that allows calls to reach the intended party even when one particular office is out of commission. (This key feature is incorporated into the base FeatureTel network architecture, which is touted as a carrier-class system with redundant connections to both the PSTN and Internet, and claimed to be 99.999 percent availability rate over the last three years of operation.) The customer’s office connects to the FeatureTel data center via public Internet connection provided through cable, DSL, or a T1 line, and thereafter is transported by Time Warner Cable, so that a customer’s voice call does not traverse the public Internet.

The FeatureTel Fusion service is targeted at larger enterprises, and includes extensive business features including unified messaging with voicemail-to-e-mail conversion, click-to-dial and Microsoft Outlook integration, conferencing, plus a find me/follow me with a profile that can be configured based upon the time of day, allowing a call to be routed to the correct number based upon the time of the call.

Another interested feature is FeatureTel’s Remote Site Survivability (RSS) box, which enables on-site phone-to-phone calls in the event of a power or circuit failure. Analog lines can be connected to the box for outbound dialing and automatic failover of the main inbound line. In addition, the customer’s telephone system database is replicated daily in the RSS box, for further system redundancy.

Customers manage their station using the FeatureTel Web Portal, a user-friendly PC interface that can access a wide range of phone features and advanced services. These include:

  • directories, which allow the user to view both a personal and company contact lists, with up to five phone/fax numbers per contact
  • click-to-dial calling, with access to names from the personal or corporate directories, plus call logs and voicemail pages
  • visual voicemail, allowing the user to view all of the messages in their voice mailbox, sort that information by call, and select calls to be returned
  • call screening, allowing the user to apply rules to specific phone numbers
  • message notification, allowing users to be prompted by numeric paging, voicemail or e-mail
  • remote mode, which lets users set their location status and a remote phone number that will simultaneously ring along with the office phone
  • call control and call disposition, which provides quick access to call features without the need to learn special key sequences

Typical costs for the FeatureTel service is $29.95 per seat per month for a middle-tier package. Further information on the Featuretel solutions can be found at www.featuretel.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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