is broadening the range of its popular OnSIP
hosted PBX service beyond voice, adding the unified communications features of instant messaging, presence, and phone status. All four components are presented to OnSIP end users through my.OnSIP, an IM-style interface available from a browser.
Through one window, my.OnSIP shows all users which contacts on their hosted PBX are "present," which are on the phone, and which are free to call with a click on their names. It lets users send calls only to those who can answer, avoiding voice mail and phone tag. And unlike consumer IM services that are often banned from the workplace as note-passing distractions, my.OnSIP's chat is limited to those on the hosted system, even though those coworkers and their extensions may be physically located at multiple sites on different continents or at temporary locations.
Capex and Opex that SMBs Love to Avoid
"In adding these unified communications features to OnSIP, and by making them Web-accessible, we're closing the last feature gaps between hosted and on-premise phone systems," said Junction Networks President Robert Wolpov. "True, some on-premise PBX vendors offer chat, presence, and maybe even phone status - but they often charge considerably extra for these non-voice media, and they often require proprietary phone sets. Most importantly, as customer-premise equipment, they always require the capital and operating expenditures that small-to-medium sized businesses love to avoid."
The hosted alternative to an installed PBX enables coworkers in one or many sites to share the same company phone number, greetings, auto attendant, extension dialing and transfer, hunt groups, voice mail system, and advanced features enjoyed by workers whose extensions are wired to the traditional PBX system in the traditional company phone closet. The difference is that all this phone switch functionality is outsourced to a hosting provider in a remote center, leaving the business with nothing to buy but the phone sets themselves.
Different phones, a uniform control display
"While some hosted providers - ourselves included -- have long supplied Web tools for administrators, few if any have extended Web access down to the level of end-user phone controls," Wolpov said. "In the process, we let our customers' employees all share the same 'deluxe' phone toolset, with the same display and the same clickable ways of making, taking, and transferring calls - even if they all have different SIP phones with different buttons."
My.OnSIP controls any SIP-compliant phone or softphone and runs on the browser of any desktop or laptop running Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. Available to OnSIP users now, it can be accessed for free by logging in at my.onsip.com
The UC tool and interface add no cost to the OnSIP hosted PBX service, which starts at $39.95 per month for a full suite of PBX features and an unlimited number of users and extensions. Unlike typical hosted services that require long-term contracts and add $30 to $50 per seat per month to a base PBX charge, OnSIP requires no contract and only adds charges per usage. "Usage" includes off-network voice minutes (on-network calls are free); additional voice mail boxes; or advanced applications, such as next-available-agent-style call distribution.
Junction Networks also is making my.OnSIP's application programming interface available to developers, who may hook the interface's calling, instant messaging, presence and availability information to any application whose users need real-time communication.