Verizon brings cloud-based unified communications to SMBs via Broadsoft
Verizon (NYSE: VZ) on Wednesday unveiled a new cloud-based collaboration and hosted voice service that will deliver collaboration tools typically only available to large enterprises by combining the telco's VoIP solution with Broadsoft's cloud infrastructure.
Verizon said its Virtual Communications Express, which features a Web-based console, will enable employees to "command and control how they communicate."
Ideal for both single and multisite businesses--retailers, franchise owners and medical offices--the cloud-based offering can be used with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Apps for Business.
By incorporating the Google business app into the service, an employee can specify where and how they want to be reached by phone, including the office handset or on their smartphone, by Virtual Communications Express application from the Google Apps Marketplace. This means they will be able to respond to their customers and co-workers with one click from Google's Gmail GChat and Google Calendar, regardless of their location.
The only requirement to get the service is that the SMB has to have a Verizon-certified phone and an Internet connection from any service provider. Network administrators can also authorize and manage features through a dedicated online tool.
Because the new solution is cloud-based, customers don't need to purchase and manage an on-site PBX. However, the service will offer a host of advanced features such as simultaneous ringing, visual voice mail and call forwarding in addition to traditional PBX features such as enhanced hunt group and call queuing.
Already, the new service has gotten the attention of Montage Clothing Inc. in Farmingdale, N.Y., which is participating in a trial of the new service.
Nick Graziosi, owner of Montage Clothing Inc., said the "Virtual Communications Express has allowed us to deliver a more professional experience to our customers when they call, and has also made it easier to communicate within our office."
With a number of CLECs and, perhaps more importantly, cable MSOs upping their focus on the SMB market, Verizon has the opportunity to use its well-known brand to sell these new capabilities to both existing and new SMB customers that may have left for another service provider.
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