Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fonality Acquires Trixbox

More exciting news from a great partner:

Fonality Acquires trixbox, World's Largest Asterisk Based Community Pledges Capital to Keep trixbox Free (as in freedom and beer)
October 04, 2006
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Fonality, the leader in IP telephony systems for small and medium businesses and the world's largest commercial Asterisk based deployment, today announced it has acquired trixbox, the world's largest Asterisk based community. Trixbox founder Andrew Gillis will join Fonality and continue to lead the trixbox community. Fonality will commit engineering resources and broad financial support to continue fostering innovation in the trixbox open source community.

"Fonality shares my vision of making Asterisk free and easy for everyone," said Gillis. "They have already proven to me how serious they are by committing a team of engineers to help create the next version of trixbox."

Trixbox, formerly Asterisk@Home, is the world's leading distributor of Asterisk based software, with an average of 1,500 downloads a day. It was designed to be the easiest to use version of free Asterisk, which has contributed to its huge following. The value of trixbox is that, in under an hour, a non-technical user can download and install, not only Asterisk, but Linux, SugarCRM, MySQL, FreePBX and other applications. Trixbox tightly integrates these open applications to work together on one physical server, providing companies with a PBX phone system and the surrounding applications they need to support their business. Trixbox is completely free.
The Trixbox community has the largest number of registered users and the most active forums for discussing and resolving open source telephony and Asterisk-specific issues. Trixbox will remain an open source project licensed under the general public license (GPL), which encourages innovative software development both within the Asterisk environment and the larger open source community.

"Trixbox is a thriving Asterisk community, unencumbered by licensing complexities. It was free, it is free and we are going to make sure it stays free." said Chris Lyman, Fonality's CEO and founder.

For more information on trixbox, visit http://www.trixbox.org

About trixbox Trixbox, formerly Asterisk@Home, is the world's largest Asterisk based community and open source voice over IP telephony platform. The value of trixbox is that, in under an hour, a non-technical user can download and install, not only Asterisk, but Linux, SugarCRM, MySQL, FreePBX and other applications. Trixbox tightly integrates these open applications to work together on one physical server, providing companies with a PBX phone system and the surrounding applications they need to support their business. The Trixbox community has the largest number of registered users and the most active forums for discussing and resolving open source telephony and Asterisk-specific issues.

About Fonality Fonality, http://www.fonality.com/, is a leader in open source, Asterisk based IP telephony systems. PBXtra, Fonality's award winning IP-PBX product line for small and medium businesses, is the world's largest commercial Asterisk based deployment. PBXtra uses Fonality's patent pending architecture to deliver all the advanced features of an enterprise-class phone system and call center at 40 percent to 80 percent less than traditional offerings, and is deployed to more than 18,000 business users in the U.S. and other countries. Trixbox, www.trixbox.org, the world's largest Asterisk community with an average of 1,500 downloads a day, provides a free, easy to install Asterisk based VOIP phone system.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Information Week: Five things you must know about VoIP

The costs to deploy an IP PBX are a little overstated in this artice; otherwise, I thought it would be a good read for anyone considering deploying this technology for business.

http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=189800103&pgno=1&queryText

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cool Application--Agents on Cell Phones

We had the opportunity to provide one of our clients with a great application this week, which will both improve their customer service AND save them money. Agents on Cell Phones on the Fonality PBXtra Call Center Edition provided the benefits.

Situation
The client is open for business from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. but receives technical support calls 24X7. Traditionally, these calls would be fielded by an answering service which charges a monthly fee. When a call is received by the answering service, the operator would patch the caller with an on-call tech support agent's cell phone. The answering service has an escalation list of eight numbers that they follow. If the first number on the list doesn't answer, they try the second number, and so on.

Problem
The answering service has been quite unreliable. The client placed several test calls last weekend and received ring no answer on many occasions. When the call was answered, it took as long as ten minutes to get a support agent on the phone. The answering service claimed that staff shortages were the reason for the problem, which is an unacceptable excuse for our client. After all, if an answering service can't answer the calls, what's the point?

Solution
AdvoCom was contacted to develop a solution to this problem. We recommended Agents on Cell Phones. The first step was to upgrade the client's existing Fonality PBXtra Standard Edition to Call Center Edition. The upgrade was only $1,000 and provides enterprise-level call center functionality. The upgrade was completed by Fonality in less than a day and only required 30 seconds of downtime for the server to restart. No hardware upgrades were needed. In face, we didn't even have to be on-site. Most traditional PBX systems would require an additional server, at least 30 days or lead time, a couple of technicians at $100+ per hour, and charges as much as 20 times what Fonality costs.

Once Call Center Edition was installed, we set up virtual extensions for all of the tech support agents. Virtual extensions are extension numbers on the Fonality PBXtra that are forwarded immediately to outside numbers, such as cell phones. Virtual extensions are 100% free...no software licenses or any of that nonsense is required. In this case, we assigned a virtual extension to each agent's cell phone.

With the virtual extensions in place, we created a queue (or call group) in the PBXtra consisting of those extensions, programmed to hunt in round robin order. In practice, when a caller dials our client's main number after business hours, he or she is answered by the company greeting. When option one for technical support is selected by the caller, the call is presented to the queue, rather than the answering service. While the caller hears music on hold, the PBXtra dials each cell phone on the list in order until it is answered. Whil the caller is waiting to be connected, he or she is notified by the system of his or her position in line (if multiple calls are holding) and the expected wait time.

Bonus Features
Call Center Edition includes reporting on the activity of the queue--how many calls were presented, average hold time, calls that hung up before speaking that an agent with caller I.D. information for callback opportunities, which agents answered calls, etc. The client is also planning to expand the use of routing and reporting functionality for other departments both during and after business hours.

Results
The client fired their answering service, saving approximately $100 per month. All calls are answered on the first ring, which gives a more favorable impression to their customers. With the reporting function in place, management can make decisions about staffing and performance evaluations with meaningful data. Most importantly, on the first day in service, the tech support group achieved a 100% call completion rate with an average hold time of just over one minute--a significant improvement!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Network Computing IP PBX Review

Another nice article on Fonality PBXtra. It received the top rating (A-) and Editor's Choice out of four products reviewed. Link to the article is below:

http://www.networkcomputing.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=192203044

Friday, August 11, 2006

Fonality up to 30 million calls

Fonality Ramps Up: Users Place 30 Million Asterisk Calls Call Volume Averages More Than One Million Per Week
August 10, 2006
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - August 10, 2006 - Fonality, the world's largest deployment of Asteriskā„¢, today announced that customers have placed more than 30 million calls using its PBXtra IP-PBX for small and medium businesses (SMBs). Fonality, which has led the Asterisk market for two years, has accelerated that lead and is now averaging over one million calls per week across its platform.
"Our growth has been staggering - and the reason is simple: business owners are tired of getting ripped off when they buy a new phone system," said Chris Lyman, Fonality's founder and CEO. "With Fonality, they can finally get the features they need for a price that won't put them in the poor house!"
Fonality's PBXtra product line, which began shipping in October of 2004, provides SMBs with enterprise-class phone systems for 40 percent to 80 percent less than the cost of traditional PBX systems. PBXtra includes enterprise-class features such as telecommuting, branch office support, voicemail-to-email, click-to-call, VoIP, softphones, support for IP and analog phones, call recording, conferencing and advanced call center functionality. Fonality has streamlined and simplified the complex tasks of PBX setup, administration and management, making PBXtra the first phone system for SMBs that can be installed and administered remotely using a Web browser, without specialized training.
PBXtra software runs on standard PC hardware, and uses layers of Open Source Linux and Asterisk software to provide the least expensive option for SMBs deploying IP-PBX phone systems. Unlike most alternative Asterisk-based PBX offerings, PBXtra is much more than a simple front-end designed to make it easier for Linux and Asterisk experts to install and manage Asterisk.
PBXtra is available direct from Fonality or through a Fonality reseller. Pricing starts at $995 for the PBXtra Standard Edition server with unlimited licenses, or $2,935 with ten phones. PBXtra's Call Center Edition, which allows for distributed call centers, is $1,995. For more information about PBXtra or becoming a Fonality reseller, visit www.fonality.com.
About FonalityFonality is the leading provider of affordable IP-PBX systems for SMBs. PBXtra Standard Edition delivers all the advanced features of an enterprise-class phone system at an affordable price and is so easy to use that it eliminates expensive phone support and configuration costs. PBXtra Call Center Edition provides businesses with call center functionality in addition to the PBX capabilities found in Standard Edition. PBXtra is deployed to more than 10,000 business users in the U.S. and other countries. Fonality's products are available direct and through a network of more than 1,200 resellers.
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

InfoWorld review of Fonality PBXtra

Great review from InfoWorld on this up and coming product.

http://www.infoworld.com/Fonality_PBXtra/product_78125.html?view=1&curNodeId=0

Fonality Milestones

Fonality's PBXtra: 20 Million Asterisk Calls, 10,000 Users Extends Lead in SMB IP-PBX Phone Market
May 15, 2006
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - May 15, 2006 - Fonality, the leader in affordable, enterprise-class IP-PBX phone systems for small and medium businesses and the world's largest distributed deployment of Asteriskā„¢, today announced that users of PBXtra have placed 20 million calls since the product first became available in October 2004. Fonality has deployed PBXtra to more than 10,000 business users domestically and internationally and has a network of 1,200 resellers in 14 countries. Earlier this year, Business 2.0 magazine named Fonality one of "The Next Net 25" -- 25 companies helping to reinvent the Web.
full press release
"Open Source is really helping us attack an overpriced telephony market with innovative products at the right price," said Chris Lyman, Fonality's founder and CEO. "Our growth over the past 18 months demonstrates how hungry SMB owners are for powerful, yet affordable, business phone solutions."
Unlike most alternative Asterisk-based PBX offerings, PBXtra is more than a simple front-end designed to make it easier for Linux and Asterisk experts to install and manage Asterisk. Fonality has written more than 250,000 lines of code that dramatically streamline the complex tasks of PBX deployment and management. As a result, PBXtra is the world's first true PBX that can be installed and administered remotely using a Web browser, without any specialized training.
PBXtra's enterprise-class features include telecommuting, branch office support, voicemail-to-email, click-to-call, VoIP, softphones, support for IP and analog phones, call recording, distributed call center queuing and more. Businesses deploying PBXtra pay 40 to 80 percent less than they would for a traditional PBX purchase because the software runs on standard PC hardware and uses layers of Open Source Linux and Asterisk software.
PBXtra is available from Fonality or through a Fonality reseller. Pricing starts at $995 for the PBXtra Standard Edition server with unlimited licenses, or $2,935 with ten phones. PBXtra's Call Center Edition, which allows for distributed call centers, is $1,995. For more information about PBXtra or becoming a Fonality reseller, visit www.fonality.com.
About FonalityFonality is the leading provider of affordable IP-PBX systems for SMBs. PBXtra Standard Edition delivers all the advanced features of an enterprise-class phone system at an affordable price and is so easy to use that it eliminates expensive on-site support and configuration costs. PBXtra Call Center Edition provides businesses with call center functionality in addition to the PBX capabilities found in Standard Edition. PBXtra is deployed to more than 10,000 business users in the U.S. and other countries. Fonality's products are available direct and through a network of more than 1,200 resellers.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hosted or Premise-Based

The question isn't if to implement VoIP or IP telephony but how. This article in VoIP Magazine provides a discussion for small businesses. Included are some great comments from Fonality, TalkSwitch, CallTower, and ShoreTel.

http://www.voip-magazine.com/content/view/3058/