PBX Edge is a startup based in Cupertino, California that provides enterprise-class, hosted PBX systems. The founders of the company claim extensive experience with e-commerce and telecommunications systems, hence their interest in expanding this knowledge into the development of a cloud-based communications system. PBX Edge focuses their solutions on small to medium sized businesses with up to 1,000 employees, including those with multiple office locations, and offers their service across the entire United States.
As with many startups, the founders claim to have developed some innovative, patent-pending technologies that will distinguish them from the competition in this crowded marketplace.
Moreover, the company makes some interesting statements about its solution—such as its ability to make on-site calls despite Internet failure, and its ability to make external calls through a shared analog line in the event of an Internet failure. They also assert that their system has a very flexible billing system, which can support both prepaid and postpaid users and includes complex rules to establish the billing procedures, as well as auto-device provisioning capabilities—and all within a network that provides 99.99% availability. Perhaps we can check back in a year or so and see how all of these good ideas have worked out.
The PBX Edge v.2.1 system is a cloud-based hosted PBX platform designed to provide unlimited scalability from 1 to over 1,000 stations on demand, plus flexibility upon system deployment. In addition, the system’s developers claim that it can provide seamless integration to other private as well as cloud-based applications.
The PBX Edge system includes a number of interesting features.
Call Conferencing includes advanced features such as music on hold, host and participant pass codes, listen-only mode for designated callers, and call waiting. The group calling feature allows all callers to actively participate in the call, with the opportunity to talk and contribute at any time. This feature can also be used by group managers to send voice notifications to their entire teams, and can also be used by social groups and educational institutions to achieve similar communication results.
Advanced Call Management features include flexible call routing, rule-based call queuing, auto attendant and custom interactive voice response (IVR) functions, and call forwarding. It also supports directory calling by name or extension, plus integration with cloud-based CRM packages for more effective call center management and monitoring.
The Voicemail feature includes the ability to record professional-quality greetings, view voice messages by e-mail, and change voice recordings based on preset voice messages for holidays and vacation days.
Call Queuing allows customers to separate enterprise-quality call queues by business divisions such as sales and support, and also define advanced call queuing logic based on parameters that can include the customer type, call location, etc.
Toll-free Number Support allows businesses to configure auto attendant services for separate incoming lines, thus allowing the call to be routed or forwarded based on business rules or voice prompt responses.
Fax Services allow a fax to be delivered directly to the intended recipient, or delivered directly to the recipient’s email inbox.
Billing Services allows businesses to configure the system by billing type (prepaid or post paid), customer type, calling plan, calling area codes, calling rates, and so on. This element can be easily integrated into custom applications and shopping carts, and can be configured to generate weekly/monthly invoices in PDF format.
PBX Edge offers two different service plans for their customers.
The first option, called the Small Business Hosted PBX plan, allows the customer to choose a main phone number in any of the 48 Continental states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), at a cost of $9.99 per month per phone line, $4.99 per month per fax line, and $5.00 per month per toll free number. The most basic plan provides 100 outgoing calling minutes per month, which can be upgraded to 500 minutes for an additional $6.99 per month, or upgraded to unlimited minutes for an additional $14.99 per month. Linksys phone adapters and IP phones can also be added to the system for an additional charge, and a soft phone is available without charge.
The Hosted PBX Solution for Enterprises plan is targeted at larger businesses, and is a customized offering based on installation-specific requirements. This option provides a scalable, reliable and complete IP solution that includes a totally configurable and scalable billing system, and is therefore targeted for IP telephony resellers and large businesses. This plan also includes advanced call management features such as voice packet prioritization, and auto switching to a shared analog line in the event of an Internet connectivity failure. Costs for this plan are quoted on a per-installation basis.
Further information on the PBX Edge solutions can be found at www.pbxedge.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
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.