Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New Features for Hosted PBX But So What?

Edgewater wrote a blog titled, "UC and Hosted PBX- what the future will bring". The conclusion HPBX sales are rising. DUH!

Megapath just re-launched its Broadsoft based service as Mobile UC with video calling and SMS. Presence, IM/chat and screen sharing are also included. While the market for mobile apps, conferencing and video calling may not be there yet, it is developing. Even, Thinking Phones integrated PGi conferencing into their bundle.

One problem is that it is sold as a product. It needs to be sold as a business outcome. (I know, I say that a lot.) Think about voicemail-to-email or voicemail transcription - these aren't really appreciated until they are used.

The other problem is that everyone sells the same thing: Broadsoft and Polycom phones. Some of the SPs need to start thinking outside the box to deliver something different. For one thing, the hosted VoIP players are starting to look like Polycom dealers, not VoIP service delivery companies. For another, they all look the same.

Meanwhile, PBX boxes have declined in price. All the way down to sub-$200 from SpeedyTel.

ESI is a PBX manufacturer who recently launched a hosted PBX service (with Netsapiens softswitch) and a mobile app that makes the cellphone a desk phone. Allworx from Windstream is likely the closest competitor as Allworx is a PBX with a mobile app that simulates a desk phone and WIND offers Hosted PBX (powered by Metaswitch).

With all of the competition out there, positioning is required.

From my agent side, I am seeing SMB going from Hosted back to PBX or keeping their PBX as long as possible. Much of it has to do with call quality. I understand on OTT that you can only do so much about QoS, but it is hurting the whole business when over the top VoIP doesn't work well. In at least one case, the features were listed but not how the business could take advantage of them. Typical.

Companies are entering (or re-entering) the space, but it still all the looks the same. It is time to either change up the bundle or start talking about what it is like to own your last phone system.

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