Virtual PBX, a hosted VoIP provider, has just taken the industry drive toward VoIP peering to the next level, and the results should be good news for end-users and channel partners alike. The company has expanded its Open VoIP Peering service to support all SIP-compliant phones, regardless of vendor or corresponding VoIP provider. That means any customer with a SIP-based phone can get full access to Virtual PBX’s hosted PBX services and feature set. This allows VARs or dealers to offer an expanded menu of vendor options and customize the phone sale on a best-of-breed or mix-and-match basis, depending on customer preference and business needs.
Most importantly, customers are no longer locked into a single closed proprietary implementation that usually bundles VoIP service, softphone and telephone handsets into the same (often prepackaged) solution. Through full support for open SIP standards, Virtual PBX can pull these service components apart and offer a range of vendors' handsets a la carte. With this approach, customers can select the handset that best fits their business requirements on a per-user basis. Ultimately, this boils down to greater choice in product price and features, as these can vary widely among handset vendors such as Truphone, Callcentric, Ekiga and Gizmo5. And Virtual PBX customers can also access softphones at no extra charge; some providers charge more for proprietary digital-enabled phone extensions.
Until today, the provider’s VoIP peering service could only interconnect VOIP calls based on the North America Numbering plan for phone addresses. By opening up its peering to support the dominant industry standard today, SIP, Virtual PBX says it's solidly at the forefront of the hosted VoIP provider pack. Anything less than full support for SIP-based products across the board is likely to quickly become a deal-breaker for customers, especially as SIP trunking continues to take off for both SMBs and the enterprise market, so Virtual PBX’s announcement is timely. Look for more providers to similarly extend their support for SIP across their service offerings.