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Fonality Debuts New Functionality for Cloud IP PBX Offerings

By Charlene O'Hanlon
August 24, 2010 - News

Cloud communications provider Fonality has introduced new features and a new selling model for its business communications technologies.

The company has released an updated version of the solutions’ underlying software, which includes the ability for local and remote supervisors and agents of call centers to access Fonality’s full feature set. In addition, a new time-zone functionality dynamically ensures the correct time on a user’s system. The update also supports toll restriction, enabling administrators to restrict employee calls to certain numbers or certain times.

The company also updated its HUD unified communications suite to enable multiple sites to act as one by providing information on all employees regardless of location. HUD shows the status of employees and enables employees to chat with associates, transfer calls or start an instant conference.

Aron Aicard, senior director of product management at Fonality, noted the company also has expanded its sales model to include a SaaS offering.

“We are six years in as a company, and spent the last five years running as a startup. The last two years we have been in rapid growth, and our product portfolio and selling model has been changing with the organization," he said. “In the early days our phone systems were installed in the premise but the system was connected to the data center. We were positioned as a hybrid model with a cloud layer of management. In early 2009 we rolled out a pure hosted service, which took off for us. That model goes through our resale channel. We also sell direct but that model has changed to a SaaS model – a pure service provider for phone systems."

Under that model, users pay a monthly fee and receive all the features of a full-fledged on-premise system, plus Polycom handsets and other communications hardware. Because it is a new selling model for Fonality, the company wants to continue selling the SaaS model direct and “work out the kinks" before offering it to the channel, Aicard said, adding that the company hopes to have it available to its partners by the end of the year.

“We recognize it has been hard for data VARs to get into this business (telephony) traditionally. Simplicity is what we’ve focused on and it shows," he said. “Now with SaaS it is significantly easier. Resellers are going to see this is something they can put in their portfolio as a service layer and let us handle the telephony piece in a turnkey fashion."

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