VoIP solutions provider CommuniGate Systems and VoIP origination services provider Voxbone recently announced a partnership aimed at freeing IP communications services from being tied to any fixed location.
Using services offered by the two providers, companies and individuals can maintain local phone numbers in any of 40 different countries, and can access those numbers online from anywhere.
Voxbone co-founder Rodrigue Ullens says what his company brings to the partnership is the ability to provide phone numbers worldwide. "You can just go on our Web site and choose one of the 40 countries, then choose a city, and buy a real, local phone number," he says. "You can buy it online, receive the phone number in just a few seconds, and then start using it."
That gives a company in the U.S. the ability to obtain a local phone presence in London, for example, without having to open an office there. "You can just buy this London phone number from us, and the result is that anybody in London can call you for the cost of a local calland you receive that call via the Internet wherever you are in the world," Ullens says.
Voxbone needs CommuniGate, Ullens says, because his company specifically targets wholesale providers and resellers. "You need a fixed and public IP address to use our service," he says. "You cannot just have a softphone and start using our IP address from behind NAT or from any ADSL connection. We really don't target these sorts of end users, so you need a server like CommuniGate."
And so, according to Jon Doyle, Vice President of Business Development at CommuniGate, his company will be adding some new offerings over the next few months. A free version of the CommuniGate Pro server will be made available for home use or for small offices with up to five people, serving as a conduit for users to access the Voxbone service.
Even for a company like CommuniGate, Doyle says, that kind of functionality is extremely attractive. "We use Voxbone, for example, in Latin America," he says. "We have a Santiago number, we have one in Sao Paolo, and one in Mexico Cityand so anybody that's in one of those locations that wants to call us for support or for sales can ring that local phone number, and it'll ring our phones here in San Francisco."
And that's coming from a company that has physical offices in Germany, Russia, and Japan in addition to its San Francisco headquarters. "What this is doing is really shattering the whole concept of locking numbers down to a specific location," Doyle says. "It's removing all those barriers and giving people and businesses portability of access to their company."
Doyle says CommuniGate plans to offer a range of different softphonesCommuniFon, a software client that will ship with CommuniGate Pro 5.1, and CommuniFi, a Flash solution that can be accessed through any Web browser. "The third client we'll ship is actually a plug-in that enables Outlook to workwe fully support Outlook in its native mode, but we also do real-time communications like instant messaging and click-to-call through Outlook," he says.
That degree of integration, Ullens says, is currently unmatched in the marketplace. "None of the partners we have right now have such an integrated solution," he says. "There are other partners that specialize in just SIP or just VoIP, while here you have a complete integration with e-mail and with Outlookwhich I think is unique."
Doyle says the ease of use also makes this partnership stand out. "When you need phone numbers, it's just easy," he says. "You can just go to the Web site and get themI want a phone number in London, I want one in Moscow, I want one in Paris, and I want one in Mexico Cityand boom, you're done. Put them on your Web site, and it just works."