Nuvio Corporation recently introduced the NuvioFlex virtual PBX product, which allows customers to purchase business VoIP service in a manner similar to an in-house PBX. Rather than buying service on a per-seat basis, NuvioFlex users pay for the number of extensions and lines needed, with the flexibility to make changes at any time.
Company CEO Jason Talley says the new offering is intended to complement Nuvios traditionally priced hosted PBX product, nPBX, which is sold on a per-seat basis. "We sell that through the indirect channel and we have a fairly large wholesale/carrier group as well that sells to CLECs and cable companies and ISPs," he says.
The launch of NuvioFlex, Talley says, was a logical next step for the company. "A lot of the early adopters in the business space have come over to the [nPBX] product, but now were trying to reach the broad SMB audience and what we were hearing from a lot of our partners and our customers is that they wanted a solution that they could stack apples-to-apples against their on-premise PBXso thats what NuvioFlex really is about," he says.
In that way, Talley says, the new offering is distinct from the majority of solutions available, which are based on a softswitch platform. "Those are all sold based on the number of seats and the number of features that you have on those seats, and we found that to be a very kludgy way to sell this service to mainstream customers," he says.
Still, aside from the differences in pricing structure, Talley says the functionality of NuvioFlex is the same as the companys nPBX offering. "Each extension has full featuresfind-me/follow-me, call recording, the ability to do conference calling, all of the portal access, the voicemail, voicemail-to-e-mailall of the standard business features that weve been offering for the past seven years," he says.
Three versions of NuvioFlex are available: NuvioFlex 5, with three lines and five extensions, for $160; NuvioFlex 10, with five lines and 10 extensions, for $250; and NuvioFlex 25, with 10 lines and 25 extensions, for $500. Additional lines can be added to any plan for $40 per month, and additional extensions can be added for $7 per month.
Talley says that kind of flexibility is key for many of Nuvios customers. "We have a fairly strong push into political offices," he says. "We see them rapidly scale up as their candidates are doing well and theyre adding volunteers, and then after the primary season, sometimes we see them scale downand sometimes we see them scale even further."
The same is true for seasonal companies, or for those that simply anticipate significant growth in the near future. "Oddly enough, were seeing a lot of resurgence in the mortgage marketplace weve got a lot of customers that sign up at one package level, and know that theyre going to grow in the next six months and they dont have to worry about it," Talley says.
The offering supports a wide variety of hardware, including Nuvios own IP phones. "We also support Polycom, Cisco, and Aastra and we have the ability to support softphonesand we provide the tools for customers if they want to bring phones that they use on their own into the Nuvio product," Talley says.
Thus far, Talley says, about half of Nuvios customers have chosen nPBX, and the other half have chosen NuvioFlex. "Where NuvioFlex really shines is in companies that have a lot of need for extensions or phones that arent utilized very heavily," he says. "A perfect example is a doctors office. Say theyve got 10 examination roomstraditionally, they would want to have 10 phones in those examination rooms, but they may use the phone twice a week when the doctor receives a call when hes in there visiting with a patient. But under a per-seat model, theyre going to be paying $40, or a discounted rate of $20 or $30 a month for that phone, and theyre not going to utilize it very much."
The point is that the NuvioFlex offering enables a broader deployment that might otherwise be possible under a traditional pricing model. "There are a lot of professional industries that dont have a large number of simultaneous phone calls going on in the office at any given moment, but they need everybody to have a phone and they want the featuresand before, it was too expensive for them to consider a hosted solution like Nuvio," Talley says.
Looking forward, Talley says, this model just makes sense for the market as a whole. "This is something thats very easy to understand," he says. "You can make a decision very quickly, and you dont have to do any type of deep-level analysisyou can look literally at dollars and cents. This is where it has to go in order to really grow."