Simple Signal, headquartered in Dana Point, California, was founded in 2004 and since that time has built a VoIP network with a national footprint. The SimpleSignal network is run from a national operations center in Denver, Colorado, serving customers that range from 10 to 1,000 end stations. The firm presently has 25 employees, and records about $5 million in annual revenue.
The company’s BYOB (Bring Your Own Broadband) technology allows it to deliver service anywhere bandwidth is available. SimpleSignal approaches the business communications market from a cloud computing perspective, focusing on three different areas of technology: voice applications, SIP trunking, and hosted IP PBX services.
The company’s market research revealed that many users don’t take advantage of a fraction of the communications tools that are presently available because the user interface is difficult to access. SimpleSignal addressed this problem by developing new Communications Software Applications that simplify the interaction between users and their IP phone technology.
One such recent breakthrough is the new Call Control Toolbar, built as an Adobe Air application that can be dragged anywhere on a user’s desktop for instant access to a host of Internet phone calling feature controls. This toolbar allows the company’s hosted PBX customers to make more efficient use of calling features like simultaneous or sequential ring, remote office, call forwarding, and voice messaging. Essentially, the toolbar eliminates the need for users to log in and out of a web portal to set up or change their IP phone settings. With this increased ease of use, SimpleSignal finds that the number of customers using these more enhanced features has increased.
Other voice applications include: connectors that integrate SimpleSignal with Salesforce.com, ACT! and Microsoft Outlook, plus hosted Microsoft OCS, website call buttons and voice-to-text voicemail.
The second area of SimpleSignal’s business is SIP trunking services, which the company claims allows their customers to save up to 75 percent on their phone bills. Rather than being forced to pay for 23 voice channels with an ISDN PRI (Primary Rate Interface) circuit, businesses can now buy only the number of channels needed by deploying SIP trunks. SimpleSignal’s SIP trunking network is compatible with a number of vendor’s systems, including those from Avaya, Cisco Systems, Digium, Fonality, Microsoft, Mitel, Nortel, ShoreTel, and others.
SimpleSignal also offers what they believe is a unique feature called burstable trunks that can be employed for businesses that have seasonal bursts of traffic. With burstable trunks, several trunks can be set up in a call overflow position where usage is charged to the customer only when the call volume is great enough to activate them.
The third area of SimpleSignal’s technology emphasis is hosted PBX Services, which puts all the features and functionality of a traditional PBX into a secure data center so that customers can remotely manage their voice communications system in the cloud.
One of the interesting features of SimpleSignal’s offering is its ability to dependably provision “off-net,” meaning customers can bring their own bandwidth and still use the SimpleSignal hosted PBX system without going through the painful process of changing out their entire IP infrastructure. The phones come to the customer pre-configured and ready to be connected to the Internet. The company’s hosted solution can accommodate any bandwidth source from any location in the world, so that they can support a company’s branch offices anywhere in the world.
Pricing is based upon what SimpleSignal calls a “concurrent call” plan. By calculating the number of active calls a business has going at any given time, it can calculate more efficiently its usage and therefore its costs. After consulting with a representative, the customer is given a price quote according to their particular situation, which is based upon a monthly flat fee of $30 per concurrent call and $15 per additional extension. There are no added maintenance contracts or IT staff requirements to install, maintain, or upgrade the technology. SimpleSignal claims that their hosted solution has been deployed to thousands of customers throughout the United States and Canada, with a growing list of multi-office clients using the service in many international locations.
Further information on the Simple Signal solutions can be found at http://www.simplesignal.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved
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.