Last week, CommuniGate Systems and Voxilla announced the availability of a new Internet Communications suite designed to provide small and mid-sized businesses with a complete IP telephony, e-mail and messaging solution.
Voxilla was created in 2003 as a Web site where people could learn about VoIP. "We have a great deal of content, a lot of how-tos, a lot of forums that are very heavily trafficked," says company CEO Marcelo Rodriguez. "And for the past year and a half, we've been selling gear directly to consumers that don't want to be locked into the system of signing up with a particular service provider and having the hardware locked to that provider."
Rodriguez says his company has been using CommuniGate's solution ever since the company first added VoIP to its messaging platform. "We've had it deployed in our office now for nearly a year, and it became very obvious to us how exciting the possibility was of providing, in a single low-cost box, small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to have all of their communication needs covered," he says.
Based around CommuniGate Systems' CommuniGate Pro product, the new Internet Communications suite includes the following components:
- Dell servers in rack mount or tower formats
- CommuniGate Pro Internet Communications application server
- Session Border Controller
- SIP-based Instant Messaging
- SIP PBX
- E-mail and voicemail server
- Optional clustering support
- SIP phones from Linksys and Polycom
- Telephony services from a variety of providers
- Full provisioning and services delivery
- Installation, hardware, and server support packages
A solution like this, Rodriguez says, meets a real need in the marketplace. "Voice over IP has developed very, very rapidly, but it's developed on the two ends and kind of ignored the middle," he says. "If you want to take advantage of voice over IP in the home, it's relatively easy to do. There are many service providers out there that do so, that give you service for a single line or perhaps a two-line kind of approach. If you're a Fortune 500 company, there are high-end solutions manufactured by companies like Cisco that are very, very expensive but provide a great deal of capability. But there's really nothing in the middle."
CommuniGate's solution, Rodriguez says, gives a smaller company everything they need in one box. "Today, if you're a business of, let's say, 20 or 30 people, and you need to be able to manage your communications, without CommuniGate, you would need a variety of servers," he says. "You would need at least an e-mail server, and you would need some kind of a PBX or VoIP serverand the two really don't communicate with each other. With CommuniGate, it's all tied into the same system."
Integrating VoIP with an e-mail server, Rodriguez says, provides a great deal of additional functionality. "What nobody else hasand CommuniGate does haveis the ability to manage voicemails directly through an e-mail client," he says. "You receive a message in your e-mail, and you can forward it directly from your e-mail, you can delete it from your e-mail; you can do many different things."
That includes a lot of flexibility in handling voice calls. "You can be sitting at your desk and receive a call, and you see the caller ID on your computer screenyou can choose right then and there whether you want to take the call or not, whether you want to route the call, whether you want to actually pick it up on your phone that's sitting at your desk, or on your Wi-Fi phone in case you want to walk away," Rodriguez says. "Nothing exists today that has that kind of capability all bound into a single application."
And the new Internet Communications suite, Rodriguez says, comes with everything you need. "It's a complete package," he says. "Working with us and with CommuniGate, you can actually provide in your office a complete Internet communications package that is significantly more affordable than what a typical analog PBX cost just two years agoor continues to cost today."
Thom O'Connor, CommuniGate's Director of Product Architecture, says Voxilla brings a lot to the partnership as well. "They've got a number of in-house tools for provisioning and for preparing these systems before they go out the door," he says. "When the system arrives at the customer's doorstep, it's completely set upit just needs to be plugged in. And that has incredible value to those customers, because other products on the market are significantly more complex, and don't have the messaging or many of the other features included at all."