Nuvio Corporation recently introduced the NuvioFlex virtual PBX product, which allows customers to purchase business VoIP service in a manner similar to an in-house PBX. Rather than buying service on a per-seat basis, NuvioFlex users pay for the number of extensions and lines needed, with the flexibility to make changes at any time.
Company CEO Jason Talley says the new offering is intended to complement Nuvio’s traditionally priced hosted PBX product, nPBX, which is sold on a per-seat basis. “We sell that through the indirect channel… and we have a fairly large wholesale/carrier group as well that sells to CLECs and cable companies and ISPs,” he says.
The launch of NuvioFlex, Talley says, was a logical next step for the company. “A lot of the early adopters in the business space have come over to the [nPBX] product, but now we’re trying to reach the broad SMB audience… and what we were hearing from a lot of our partners and our customers is that they wanted a solution that they could stack apples-to-apples against their on-premise PBX—so that’s what NuvioFlex really is about,” he says.
In that way, Talley says, the new offering is distinct from the majority of solutions available, which are based on a softswitch platform. “Those are all sold based on the number of seats and the number of features that you have on those seats, and we found that to be a very kludgy way to sell this service to mainstream customers,” he says.
Still, aside from the differences in pricing structure, Talley says the functionality of NuvioFlex is the same as the company’s nPBX offering. “Each extension has full features—find-me/follow-me, call recording, the ability to do conference calling, all of the portal access, the voicemail, voicemail-to-e-mail—all of the standard business features that we’ve been offering for the past seven years,” he says.
Three versions of NuvioFlex are available: NuvioFlex 5, with three lines and five extensions, for $160; NuvioFlex 10, with five lines and 10 extensions, for $250; and NuvioFlex 25, with 10 lines and 25 extensions, for $500. Additional lines can be added to any plan for $40 per month, and additional extensions can be added for $7 per month.
Talley says that kind of flexibility is key for many of Nuvio’s customers. “We have a fairly strong push into political offices,” he says. “We see them rapidly scale up as their candidates are doing well and they’re adding volunteers, and then after the primary season, sometimes we see them scale down—and sometimes we see them scale even further.”
The same is true for seasonal companies, or for those that simply anticipate significant growth in the near future. “Oddly enough, we’re seeing a lot of resurgence in the mortgage marketplace… we’ve got a lot of customers that sign up at one package level, and know that they’re going to grow in the next six months and they don’t have to worry about it,” Talley says.
The offering supports a wide variety of hardware, including Nuvio’s own IP phones. “We also support Polycom, Cisco, and Aastra… and we have the ability to support softphones—and we provide the tools for customers if they want to bring phones that they use on their own into the Nuvio product,” Talley says.
Thus far, Talley says, about half of Nuvio’s customers have chosen nPBX, and the other half have chosen NuvioFlex. “Where NuvioFlex really shines is in companies that have a lot of need for extensions or phones that aren’t utilized very heavily,” he says. “A perfect example is a doctor’s office. Say they’ve got 10 examination rooms—traditionally, they would want to have 10 phones in those examination rooms, but they may use the phone twice a week when the doctor receives a call when he’s in there visiting with a patient. But under a per-seat model, they’re going to be paying $40, or a discounted rate of $20 or $30 a month for that phone, and they’re not going to utilize it very much.”
The point is that the NuvioFlex offering enables a broader deployment that might otherwise be possible under a traditional pricing model. “There are a lot of professional industries that don’t have a large number of simultaneous phone calls going on in the office at any given moment, but they need everybody to have a phone and they want the features—and before, it was too expensive for them to consider a hosted solution like Nuvio,” Talley says.
Looking forward, Talley says, this model just makes sense for the market as a whole. “This is something that’s very easy to understand,” he says. “You can make a decision very quickly, and you don’t have to do any type of deep-level analysis—you can look literally at dollars and cents. This is where it has to go in order to really grow.”