Small / Medium Businesses
Small / Medium Enterprise
Welcome to Virtual Hosted PBX
Welcome to our independent website and blog focusing on telephony technology, such as virtual hosted PBX and VoIP solutions for the consumer and the Small Medium Business. Our goal is to provide independent information – through our articles, reviews and blogs – to assist those considering obtaining a new telephone solution.
Sometimes, the technological jargon and business buzzwords are confusing and it can feel like trying to negotiate a maze of similar sounding, but different technologies. Our articles and blogs aim to assist, inform, and educate whilst we strive to demystify the technology whilst clarifying the business benefit. Therefore, whether you are interested in a comprehensive feature rich PBX or a professional incoming call answering service we have articles and blogs that we hope will be of assistance to you.
Here on Virtual Hosted PBX we research, analyze and document all of the available telephony solutions. There is no one technology that suits all types of small business, every business’s operational requirements and budgets will differ. So with that in mind we consider how a technology’s features and functions will map and bring benefit and value and to which type of business. We gather and relate this information through our experience and knowledge of small businesses, their operational requirements and the financial constraints under which they operate.
Here are some of the leading virtual PBX Phone Systems companies in the industry:
RingCentral’s declares it to be the all-inclusive phone system and it is a market leader in virtual telephone services with over 300,000 customers worldwide. Their products, which are cloud based phone systems, deliver voice, text, fax, audio conferencing along with HD video meetings. By being based in the cloud RingCentral take the administrative and maintenance burden away from the client. The cloud provides high availability, redundancy and reliability, which are key performance metrics when measuring any business critical system.
Collaborate and Communicate
RingCentral don’t just provide a cloud based virtual phone system they offer both an all-encompassing IP PBX service with all the features you would expect from an enterprise-class PBX. However, that might be overkill for most small businesses or startups. Therefore, to address that market niche they provide an incoming call answering virtual service that provides all the inbound call features of RingCentral’s full PBX offering.
Work Anywhere – with Mobility
RingCentral’s products are flexible and have business mobility initiatives in mind so clients can use a variety of IP capable phones, including softphones, mobiles and tablets. Support for mobility and BYOD (bring your own device) is becoming increasingly essential in today’s business environment as employees are using their own devices to manage calls and business related work. To support this initiative, RingCentral has mobile applications for iPad, iPhone and Android mobile devices.
Cloud Fax & SMS for Business
Internet Fax and business SMS are other features rarely addressed comprehensively in most PBX solutions. However, with RingCentral faxes can be sent from any device even with attachments from cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Similarly, RingCentral supports sending text messages on even mobile devices via SMS that originate from your business number.
Professional or Office, What’s it to be?
It appears that RingCentral has all the bases covered when considering desirable features in a virtual phone system. That in itself is not unusual in a hosted PBX provider what is unusual is that they offer two completely separate voice products Professional and Office aimed at different business requirements. So which one will match your needs?
Grasshopper is a virtual telephone system available in the USA and the UK that transforms the customers’ perception of small businesses by portraying them as fortune 500 companies by providing a professional PBX incoming call answering and forwarding service.
The obvious advantage of Grasshopper is that subscribers use their own mobiles and landlines to receive the forwarded calls. This is because Grasshopper is a virtual telephone system aimed at the entrepreneur and small business, but it is a service with a difference.
How is the Grasshopper Service Different?
What makes Grasshopper different is that although it is a virtual phone system, it is not as you might initially suspect VoIP it is actually an overlay on the plain old telephone service network (POTS). Grasshopper uses the traditional telephone network to redirect calls from an incoming number – which it supplies – to the subscribers mobile or work number.
So How Does it Work?
The Grasshopper virtual phone service allows a subscriber to pick a local, 0-800 or Toll free real telephone number, which will serve as the incoming call number. Grasshopper will auto-answer all calls to this number greeting the caller with a custom message and a menu such as press 1 for sale, 2 for support etc. Upon selection of a preference, Grasshopper will forward the call to the subscriber’s mobile (cell) or landline.
Grasshopper appears to offer a good solution for the small business that operates from their mobile phones or landlines. In the Virtual Hosting PBX review, we will look deeper into how Grasshopper works, its many other features, its competitors and why it is a benefit for the SMB. We will consider the strengths and weaknesses of the technology and the solution, who will benefit from this service and who should avoid it.
Phone.com is a virtual PBX phone system aimed at the small business market. It is a cloud based phone service, which is an ideal solution for small business and start-ups.
Range of Services
Phone.com is a hosted service that offers four products; Business, Virtual Business, Residential and Mobile Office. Phone.com have taken care to tailor these offerings to the specific customer requirements of small office home office (SoHo) and small medium business (SMB) whilst still catering for the residential customer and the mobile entrepreneur.
Residential and Mobile Solution
Phone.com has services to cater for residential customers using a standard telephone so that they to can benefit from the same virtual hosted features of an IP/PBX. Their mobile solution is an application that works on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
Competitive Price Plans
Phone.com tailors its price plans towards easy billing there are two options; pay per call, or unlimited usage. There is a fixed monthly fee, which comes with 100 minutes and no contract.
This is a crowded market place with several quality competitors, with similar products all boasting the same 40 + features. In this market, you need to have something that differentiates your product from the crowd. So what differentiates Phone.com from the competition?
MightyCall is a relative newcomer on the virtual telephone scene, as a Seattle base telecom company that started life as Infratel in 1999 but it has already around 20,000 users. In addition MightyCall comes with a rich set of features and at an accommodating price so it should be attractive to many small businesses. However competition is strong in the virtual telephone business and with competitors such as Grasshopper and Phone.com the MightyCall service will need to be robust as well as cost effective. At this end of the SoHo (small office home office) and entrepreneur market space price and features are very important but so is quality of service and reliability, which are the hallmarks of the Grasshopper virtual telephone service.
Therefore we will look at the services MightyCall offers in the way of business telephone numbers such as local, toll free or vanity numbers and the way they structure their business model for example is it priced by features or by bundled minutes or a mixture of both. These are all important issues in the virtual telephone service industry as it can determine how easily it is to join and how cheap it will be to run the service.
We will also consider some of the options that make MightyCall a viable alternative to some of the well established competitors and some of its relative failings which will need to be addressed if it is to find a place in the virtual telephone service marketplace. So in this review we will take an in-depth look into the MightyCall service and consider the features functions and importantly their price plans.
Phonepower is one of the largest VoIP residential service providers covering continental USA and Canada, and have their corporate headquarters in Winnetka CA. They have been operational since 2005 and have experienced impressive growth in the each of the years up to now. Phonepower however though well established and with a reputable reputation in the residential VoIP market also has service plans and support for small medium businesses and even enterprise class organizations and contact centers.
Residential & Small Business
Phonepower residential and small business service plans range from very low cost metered outbound calls, with unlimited free incoming calls, up to, unlimited incoming/outgoing services with virtual numbers and cloned second lines. These service plans require no additional client hardware, phonepower supplies an adapter into which you connect your existing analogue phone (standard telephone). The only prerequisite is that the customer has a high-speed Internet connection.
Business & Hosted PBX
Phonepower has business class services that can scale from single line business accounts up to support even enterprise-class contact centers with multi-location hosted PBXs. To support these business requirements, phonepower boasts of an impressive mixture of features, pricing and quality customer care. However, the requirements and service levels for business are not the same as with residential, so how does phonepower handle this new step up in service level?
In this review, we will look at phonepower’s business centric services from the perspective of a small medium business to see how they deliver on the key performance indicators, quality of service, features/pricing, technical support, and most importantly reliability and availability.
Important Questions and Answers
Buying a telephone solution isn’t just about features and price, many features that are proudly listed in vendor’s brochures will be of no use to most businesses, even if they do manage to figure out what they actual do. It’s about obtaining the system and the features that you require – preferably only those that you require – and at the price that fits the budget. However, here is another business conundrum where we aim to assist – total cost of ownership (TCO).
A common misconception is that cloud based hosted services are cheaper than having an on-premises server. The logic being there is no upfront investment, or maintenance only monthly subscriptions. However, that is not necessarily the case sometime long-term contracts can be costly and be required annually in advance, keeping you locked in to the service. Therefore, we consider the necessary due diligence that should be performed, before you decide on a technology or a solution.
Moreover, on Virtual Hosted PBX we aim to merge our business and technology, research and experience to guide you the consumer or small business through the sometimes deliberately impenetrable fog of terminology and buzzwords. You can be sure there will be many obstacles in the way when negotiating the path to acquiring a suitable business or home telephony solution. Here at Virtual Hosted PBX we strive to cast some light upon the path, so that you the consumer can make informed decisions when purchasing the solution that best fits your requirements and brings benefit and value to your business at an affordable price.