When we consider the differences between the functionality and value for money between VoIP services we must consider their respective heritance. Vonage has been around for a very long time and has been the focal point for most residential VoIP services. Indeed, Vonage has provided VoIP services to the residential market well beyond any other residential provider. However providing residential services and business services are very different, so how does a giant in residential VoIP compare with a business orientated service like Nextiva?
Nextiva Vs Vonage
Okay, the first thing we have to do is consider their products, does Nextiva a relative new comer into the market match the functions, prices and reliability of a veteran player such as Vonage?
This is important because Vonage has been around a long time and has delivered their product over a considerable time and learnt through experience and research. Indeed Vonage could be considered one of the main pioneers of VoIP and therefore a leading vendor in the VoIP market.
The problem is though is that Vonage were typically based in the residential VoIP market for cheap long distance calls … now there is nothing wrong with that but it is different from hosting a business telephone solution.
The first thing that you notice between Nextiva and Vonage is who they are targeting their products too. For example it is quite natural that Vonage are building upon their hugely successful residential and long distance calling model. On the other hand Nextiva, who are new to the market seem to be targeting the medium to large business sector.
Now this is important as Nextiva do focus on mid to large business requirements and price them as such. Vonage on the other hand try to expand upon their existing residential and one man business offerings in order to deliver features and functions that could enable them to expand their business potential.
Therefore the initial comparison is that Nextiva is for SMB with ambitious growth strategies and perhaps Vonage is for those small companies with more realistic and conservative growth plans.
However, how does that really show up when we consider the potential services?
We can see clearly that Nextiva has three feature bundles, offered in packages called Office Pro, Office Pro Plus and Office Enterprise. The only differentiator is the feature set as all three bundles have unlimited free calling per monthly fee. However here is where we come across the problem, what telephone features do you need for your SMB.
Nextiva Office Pro delivers all the features and functions required by any SMB PBX telephone system. In fact Nextiva delivers most if not all the features you require to operate a small to medium business. The feature set that is standard with Office Pro contains the following functions:
- Auto Attendant – answers incoming calls with a professional recorded greeting
- Auto Receptionist – provides the caller with a menu of options
- Call Transfer – redirects incoming calls to extensions dependent on the menu
- Find Me/Follow Me – redirects incoming calls to a list of telephones, these can be mobiles, landlines or other telephones. The calls can be delivered either sequentially by order of the list or blasted to all phones simultaneously.
- Call queuing – the system can handle incoming calls and deliver them to specific extensions using call waiting and call notification.
- Call mobility – a mobile app allows calls to be received and sent from your personal mobile using the business number as the caller id.
- Collaboration – call conferencing both voice and video is available for up to nine people.
- Call Connection – this is the way to connect two simultaneous calls together like a mini call conferencing.
- Instant messaging – chat with colleagues online and see their availability through presence.
- Voicemail to email – send voicemail to email as mp3 files or by text so you can read them in meetings
These are just some of the basic features and functions available within Nextiva Office Pro.
Vonage have come a long way from their days as a top residential VoIP provider and have now come up with a true business class product. Vonage for Business Essentials contains over 40 business class features of a cloud based IP PBX typically only within the budgets and resources of large enterprise companies. Vonage Business Essentials provides all the communication and collaboration tools that top level business services deliver. For example not only does Vonage Essentials support telephony it also provides unified communication tools to support text, chat and video. The latter support comes from the integrated Amazon Chime, which provides video conferencing and video chat for online meetings, presentations and interviews. By partnering with Amazon Chime Vonage has delivered a desktop sharing feature where employees can share files by dragging and dropping and even set up video chat rooms as well as conduct online meetings and presentations.
In addition, from a mobility perspective Vonage have ensured that businesses can support remote employees and those constantly on the road with mobile apps and softphones that can be connected to the business telephone accounts. Features such as MobileConnect, whereby the call you start on your desk phone moves seamlessly to your mobile device without call interruption and ‘Work from Anywhere’, which facilitates employees working from home as they can directly plug their phone into any high speed internet connection to get all of the work phone system features.
Another feature of Vonage Business Essentials is the “Never miss a Call” suite of features that comprises Call Forwarding, Simultaneous Ring, or Follow Me, Voicemail and Do Not Disturb. All these features can be easily pre-configured to ring a selected phone in hierarchal order or to ring them all simultaneously.
Plans & Pricing
Nextiva and Vonage have quite different price plans that we need to examine. Vonage has a business model whereby they charge depending on the available feature set. The packages are Office, Office Pro and Enterprise and each package contains a bundle of features targeted at different sizes of business.
Vonage Business Essentials does not come with a fixed price as pricing is based upon each customers setup and quotation. However as a guide Vonage suggest that pricing starts at $39.99 per extension for 1 to 5 lines, $26.99 for 6 to 9 lines, $24.99 for 10 to 20 lines and $19.99 for 21+ lines though these are only guidelines as price is given on a free quotation.
Nextiva has very comprehensive support that allows 24/7 telephone service as well as online chat, email and even online trouble ticketing. Vonage on the other hand has much more limited support with regards telephone support – only office hours and that is only at pacific time – but very good online documentation and troubleshooting tools for self-help.
So How Do They Compare?
Although both Vonage and Nextiva provide all the features a SMB requires operating a professional business there are a few differences. Nextiva provides all the features within different packages in order to support any size of SMB. There is also a direct upgrade path as well as a very comprehensive support package. Nextiva can support an SMB of any size that wishes to grow as it has got amazing upgrade paths.
Vonage on the other hand has many built in features and functionality that comes inclusive of the price and is such a great bargain. Vonage also has fantastic international calling rates, which cannot be ignored if you do international business. However, if you have ambitions to really grow the business then Nextiva may be the one to go for as it will give you a growth strategy and plan without locking you in.