Tag: IP PBX
Posted on February 25, 2011 by Paul Hammond
The time has come — Virtual PBX, provider of the no-compromise business phone system, announced support for hardware VoIP Phones along with new flat-rate plans, fortifying their lineup of industry-leading plans and services. With this, Virtual PBX now controls the phone call from the inbound phone number ALL the way down to the phone on the desktop. You can now have a truly complete phone system integrating phone numbers, free long distance and IP phones into one cost-effective solution.
We now offer two award winning plans from which you, the customer, can choose: the new flat-rate plans and the original usage-based plans. Even better, you don’t have to be on the flat-rate plans to use the VoIP phones – we’ve set up the system to support the phones on either plan. So feel free to pick the plan that works best for you and your business, and also decide how you would like the system to reach you. You can be contacted through the VoIP phone(s) and/or contact phone numbers via a landline or cell phone. The freedom to choose is in your hands.
We also offer you the freedom to save! With Virtual PBX you can simplify your life and your budget by cutting the ties with your landline carrier. There is really no need for a landline anymore seeing as how you can make and receive phone calls using a VoIP phone and your Virtual PBX service. So go on ahead and save that money each month with Virtual PBX Complete. With our phone service you can enjoy a savings of anywhere from 40-80% in traditional phone system and landline costs – that is a huge savings! Given that telecom costs are a major expense in everyday business, Virtual PBX provides business communication that is affordable, easy and accessible from wherever you need to be with a low monthly fee and no contracts or setup costs!
Please see the plan details below and save money with the plan suited for you:
These are your traditional “unlimited” plans that so many companies try to market. However, Virtual PBX does it right as there is a fair-use policy in place (much like every other VoIP phone service out there) that allows 5,000 minutes of inbound minutes per extension, aggregated at the account level. So a 5-user system would include upwards of 25,000 inbound local minutes. That’s amazing. Most companies won’t touch that. Yet, they can have this system for around $150 per month, and that already includes the e911 fees, Federal and FCC taxes. The flat-rate plans are as follows:
- 1-User: $39.99/mo
- 4-User: $23.99/mo/ext
- 10-User: $21.99/mo/ext
- 20-User: $19.99/mo/ext
- 50-User: $19.99/mo/ext
- Extra Extensions: $24.99/mo
These plans are what Virtual PBX used to pioneer the hosted phone service market. On these original plans you only pay for the minutes used each month. As the plans go up, you receive a larger block of free minutes and the price for additional minutes becomes cheaper. These plans come with unlimited users and all the same features as the flat-rate plans. Virtual PBX has the following usage-based plans:
- VPBX-5: $9.99/mo (300 minutes, extra minutes are 6.5 cents/min)
- VPBX-10: $24.99/mo (600 minutes, extra minutes are 5.8 cents/min)
- VPBX-20: $44.99/mo (1,000 minutes, extra minutes are 4.7 cents/min)
- VPBX-50: $94.99/mo (2,500 minutes, extra minutes are 4.4 cents/min
Virtual PBX now supports hardware VoIP phones connected to the service. This is a superb addition as now you can make phone calls and show your Virtual PBX caller ID on every outbound call. And you don’t have to use a cellphone or landline to make that outbound call. All you need is an Internet connection. Virtual PBX sells the following phones that arrive pre-configured and ready for use:
- Polycom SoundPoint IP 321: $99.99 (single ethernet port)
- Polycom SoundPoint IP 335: $139.99 (ethernet pass-through port; backlit display)
- Polycom SoundStation IP 5000: $599.99 (conference phone)
With Virtual PBX there is no need to get phones from one provider, calling plans from another, and features from somewhere else. Get it all in one place. If you are looking for a complete, no-compromise business VoIP solution for your business, Virtual PBX is the answer.
Posted on December 2, 2010 by Paul Hammond
In our last post we explained the basics of VoIP, how SIP became the default standard in the VoIP industry, and the fact that even though most VoIP providers have adopted the SIP protocol, they use a proprietary implementation to keep calls within their own network. In this post, we will expand our discussion on SIP, explain SIP URI, why Virtual PBX chose to adopt the open SIP URI standard for VoIP communication, and finally why this gives you the freedom to choose the VoIP solution that works best for you and your business.
In 2009, Virtual PBX broke the mold by expanding our feature set to allow calls to go through the Virtual PBX virtual phone service, but rather than dial out to find the extension owner at a phone number, they could instead have the Virtual PBX service send the call via SIP to their VoIP service of choice that accepts inbound calls via SIP URI.
In our last blog we described SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as the default protocol on which the VoIP industry has standardized. A SIP URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) is basically an internet “address” for a VoIP service allowing one VoIP user to call another VoIP user by using the SIP URI. A SIP URI resembles an e-mail address and follows the format of email@example.com or user@Ipaddress (e.g. User@192.168.1.7). The “user” portion of the URI could be a user name or resemble a 10- or 11-digit phone number. The “domain” portion is the domain of the VoIP provider and can be a name or an IP address. For instance, CallCentric uses the following format: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many VoIP services available which fit this mold and are very cost-effective, including CallCentric, Ekiga, Truphone, and Gizmo5, although after being purchased by Google in 2009, Gizmo5 does not accept any new sign ups. With most of these VoIP services, you download a softphone to your computer, which is a software application that has a dialpad and is used to make and receive phone calls, typically using a USB headset or USB phone. However, some of the above services go a step further and allow the user to purchase a hardware VoIP phone and register it to the service, thus allowing the user to have a phone on their desk. This configuration could allow the user to replace their land line if so desired. With most of these services, users can call each other for free. But users can also get a phone number, or DID, and attach it to their VoIP service allowing users outside their VoIP network to call them as well. This feature will usually add a monthly or per minute cost to the service.
Now that we’ve explained SIP URI and some of the VoIP services that have implemented it, let’s circle back around to why Virtual PBX chose to support it. Through our VoIP Peering feature, for which we have won the Internet Telephony Excellence Award 2 years in a row, users can choose to have the Virtual PBX service reach them on not only their cell phones and land lines, but also send calls via SIP URI directly to the VoIP service of their choice. You can find information on how to do this in our training video.
So why is this so cool? Let’s put the parts together. Not only can a VoIP phone service save you a lot of money over a traditional land line with long distance, but if it’s truly an open SIP solution, then it can work with other VoIP services on the market. All this allows users to choose best of breed VoIP services that truly meet their telecom needs and the needs of their business rather than being tied down by proprietary VoIP solutions. With Open VoIP Peering, Virtual PBX is now the lowest-priced and most flexible hosted PBX solution on the market, allowing users to mix and match their Virtual PBX virtual phone system with the SIP-based VoIP softphone (and/or hardware phone) service of their choice, or with one they were already using. This creates amazing opportunities for businesses to best meet all of their feature, cost and reliability needs. And that’s what happens when vendors like Virtual PBX put the customer first.
Posted on November 24, 2010 by Paul Hammond
Virtual PBX proudly announced on November 16, 2010 that Technology Marketing Corporation’s (TMC) INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine (http://www.itmag.com/) has named Virtual PBX as a recipient of the 2010 INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellence Award for its Open VoIP Peering.
This is the second time Virtual PBX has had the honor of receiving this award. But why is this so cool and what does it mean to you? We will take the next two blog posts to discuss the genesis of VoIP, how it has evolved, and what this means for you and your business.
Communication has come a long way since Alexander Graham Bell invented the first practical telephone in 1875. Communication technologies are now clearer, faster and cheaper than ever, in large part thanks to a revolutionary service known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). But what exactly is VoIP? VoIP is the routing of Voice conversations through the internet or other such IP-based networks.
Although VoIP was first used commercially in 1995, it was not mass-marketed until much later, using existing broadband Internet access. Today, even telecom carriers use IP technology to send calls to one another. It is through the use of VoIP that subscribers are able to place and receive telephone calls through the internet in much the same way as they would via their regular telephone line or PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).
VoIP is implemented in numerous ways using both proprietary and open protocols and standards. A popular VoIP service using proprietary protocols is Skype. The issue with proprietary standards is subscribers are unable to reach people using a different network. Proprietary VoIP Service only works if everyone is on the exact same network, using the same software, which is owned and operated by one company.
SIP or Session Initiation Protocol, is the default open protocol that the VoIP industry has standardized on, and has become a strong force influencing today’s telecom industry. What’s so great about SIP is it allows a number of different telephone services and systems to communicate with each other. Subscribers no longer need to be tied to one network.
However, even with the acceptance of SIP by the telecom industry, there was still the issue of people being forced to use one network. Even though they use SIP internally, many VoIP services do not allow communication to or from an outside service. They do this to protect and control their investment and their customer base.
Virtual PBX wanted to push the open standard as we believe customers should not be held hostage to a proprietary platform and should have the freedom to choose the VoIP services that best suits their needs. Hence, we created a service with the ability to send calls from our own network out to any SIP-compliant service that uses a SIP URI.
We’ll discuss exactly what this means, how cool this is and how it can be used with your Virtual PBX service on our next blog entry.
Posted on August 18, 2010 by Paul Hammond
If you’ve called a customer using your home phone or cell phone, then you’ve probably had them call you back on that same phone number — they just redial the caller ID left on their phone. Suddenly your personal phone is your new “business” number. It’s like having people visit your home when they should be going to your office or store. What a pain. But all is not lost. By using Virtual PBX, you have a way to show your company phone number on outbound calls without having to reveal the number from which you’re calling. Convenience and privacy all in the same call!
This feature is called “Virtual Calling Card”. It’s perfect for calling from a cell phone, a friend’s house, a hotel, or even a pay phone…if you can still find one that works! And you don’t need to keep track of special code numbers and dialing strings – you just dial yourself. This feature is accessed by logging into the phone system over the phone. Some of our customers are unfamiliar with this feature or think it’s harder to use than it really is. Truthfully, it does take a few steps — call into your Virtual PBX phone number, press #, enter your extension number followed by #, then enter your phone password follow by #. Realistically, all of that can be accomplished via a speed dial on your phone. There is an alternate way to log into your phone system by pressing the CallBack button on the Call Routing tab.
Once you are logged into the system over the phone, you press 3 to make an outbound call. The system will ask you to enter the phone number you wish to dial. That’s all there is to it. Once you enter the phone number, the system will dial, showing your Virtual PBX phone number as the caller ID to your call recipient. So not only is this convenient, but it’s also secure as you’re not showing your personal phone number when you call your customers, vendors, or contacts.
You do need to make sure that your system is set to show your Virtual PBX phone number on outbound calls. This is the default setting, so unless you changed it, it should be fine. That setting is edited under the Advanced Configuration settings of the Auto-Attendant.
Also, if you have multiple Virtual PBX phone numbers, you can show any one of those on your outbound calls. A beautiful thing! Just make sure to dial into the system using the number that you want to show on your caller ID. So this feature is not just convenient and secure, but also flexible!
So now you and your personnel use your Virtual PBX to make a bunch of outbound calls. How do you know who called whom? You can track all of your outbound calls using the Extension Outbound Call Report. This report shows the date, time, extension numbers, extension owner caller ID, duration of the call, and the phone number of the party dialed. This is a great report if extension owners use the Virtual Calling Card feature to make customer call backs to customers or vendors. It’s great detail, but it’s also great for accountability.
With the Virtual Calling Card feature from Virtual PBX, not only can you show whichever Virtual PBX company phone number you wish in the caller ID when you make your outbound calls, but you also get the satisfaction of NOT having your personal contact phone number show up on caller ID displays of your customers, vendors, and business contacts. It’s convenience, flexibility, and personal protection at the same time.
Posted on May 19, 2010 by Paul Hammond
Lots of information flows through your business’s phone lines. Potential customers who don’t leave contact information could still be reached if you had access to their caller ID. Marketing spending results could be tracked precisely if you could find out exactly how your call volume has been affected. Managers could confirm the movement of calls, showing that they’re processing leads and their staff is working properly.
But just having a plethora of raw call information is difficult to manage and hard to decipher. So here at Virtual PBX, we give your organization the ability to host an unlimited amount of phone numbers and forward those to all kinds of different destinations, while still tracking all the information and processing it into a set of easily manageable reports. Each phone number can further be specialized by having its own greeting as well as directing callers to specific destinations within the Virtual PBX.
Basically, any company trying to track caller response to advertisements, promotions, campaigns, find out about missed sales or prove proper call management needs to be able to get the records that show those pieces of information organized based on the phone numbers dialed. And anyone trying to direct calls to dedicated sales teams, handle multiple businesses, provide access to multiple retail locations, or give VIP access to special clients would benefit from being able to have individual numbers for each of those possible purposes.
So there are many reasons to use extra phone numbers — and every reason is very specialized. Using extra numbers to support a franchise is going to be completely different from tracking marketing information from inbound callers. The Marketing group is going to want one or more phone numbers for each advertisement, promotion, or campaign. By doing this, they can measure their advertisement effectiveness, and thus optimize their advertisement costs. This is accomplished by tracking all call detail such as caller ID, date and time of the call, call duration, and destination of the call – even on missed calls and, in most cases, callers who have blocked their caller ID. Franchisors, on the other hand, may want to track similar information, but at the same time they need to get the calls directed down to their franchisees and regional offices as fast as possible.
Regardless of the needs of your business — from individuals, to home offices and small businesses, to large enterprises — you only pay for what you need, with no wasted resources or dollars. With the ability to track and route a company’s inbound calls like no other call forwarding, call tracking, or virtual phone system in this market, the Virtual PBX service is the best choice for companies serious about measuring and optimizing the flow of information and budgets.