Whaleback Systems Upgrades CrystalBlue

Whaleback Systems today announced the second release of its managed CrystalBlue Voice Service, which combines the SMB 1500 IP PBX with a managed broadband service. Release 2.0, called Cuttyhunk to follow Whalebacks lighthouse naming convention, features enhanced KSU and IP PBX calling functionality, a hosted desktop fax service and new calling plan options.

The initial release of CrystalBlue last February offered some KSU features, such as Intercom Groups and Shared and Bridged Line Appearances that can be mapped on both local and remote phones. The new release adds Page All, Page Zones, Handsfree Answer Back, Call Diversion, Call Screening, Multilevel Automated Attendant and Multiple Operator services.

Its an architectural advantage that we have where we can deliver these things because there is a premises-based PBX thats provided as part of the model, said Don Hausman, senior director of product management and marketing for WhaleBack Systems, challenging hosted IP telephony service providers to mirror these capabilities. If you are provisioning 10,000 users across 20 customers or 200 customers, its very difficult to deliver a service [like call screening, which requires recording and playback of caller names] in a hosted model because it is bandwidth-intensive to be processing those types of messages and playing them out to the callers. Thats something we can do because we control the pipes, because we control the network side of things from the Sonus gateway all they way down to the handset.

Features like paging and page zones that are commonly used by SMBs like car dealerships can be impacted by latency and jitter and is performed on the local customer site through the IP PBX. From a hosted standpoint, where you are trying to send a broadcast voice announcement to 10,000 phones or a subset of those phones is very difficult to do across different media bandwidth pipes that is, Hausman said. This is something we can do for our customers.

Programmable Line Appearances show on-hook, off-hook status and whether a shared extension has voice mail messages.

While Whaleback finds advantages in the premise-based architecture, it does not dismiss hosted capabilities all together, and it is introducing some hosted applications with the new release. Since we deliver a broadband circuit to our customer, we can provision that IP PBX but then provision other hosted applications in our cloud, said Hausman. Whaleback also is adding new hosted services, including OrcaFax, a secure desktop fax service that allows subscribers to send and receive fax messages from Microsoft Outlook or any other POP3 e-mail client. The service costs $49.95 per month for the first subscriber on an SMB 1500 system and $5 per month for each additional user. Unified messaging with voice mail, fax mail and e-mail delivered to a users inbox also is available. OrcaFax can run on virtually any POP3 e-mail client running on a PC, Macintosh or BlackBerry device. Users can print, store and forward faxes as PDF attachments and can even fax from a BlackBerry to a nearby fax machine when traveling.

Hausman said Whaleback also can tie sites together logically for its customers to deliver features like three-digit dialing between sites. The hosted platform also now supports Multisite Integrated Dial Plans, allowing users to dial a three-digit extension to reach colleagues based in remote locations. This service also includes Multilevel Automated Attendant routing between sites. External callers can dial by name across sites, and receptionists can transfer calls to users located at different sites. And DIDs can be assigned across workgroups even if the employees are located at different sites.

There is no incremental per-minute charge or port capacity activation fees, and no truck rolls are required to activate these services for new sites.

Existing customers will be automatically upgraded to the Cuttyhunk system software release at no extra charge. Whaleback manages and monitors all deployments and will upgrade all SMB 1500s without any need for user intervention. Both the Cuttyhunk system software release and OrcaFax are immediately available.

Whaleback Systems

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