Imagine being able to record prompts, configure IVR/auto-attendant, and remove a disgruntled employee's access to your phone system all while sitting on a beach - simply using your tablet or mobile device. That's exactly what RingCentral's Cloud Touch Platform does and they proudly claim this touch-enabled phone system configuration platform "Reimagines Business Phone Systems". They may just be right.
Founded in 2003, RingCentral (>1000 employees) is by far the largest cloud-based phone system with RingCentral's Naveen Gupta, Chief Product Officer, claiming "hundreds of thousands of paying customers". AT&T and Rogers resells RingCentral's platform, which partly explains their impressive customer base.
The RingCentral Touch platform enables businesses to setup, manage and use their phone system from a smart mobile device. IT administrators can easily setup and configure the entire phone system from a touch-enable smartphone or tablet. Further, users can control their settings, including call handling, call screening, primary devices and call routing. They can also access voice and fax messages using the touch UI. I asked Naveen Gupta about recording IVR/auto-attendant prompts, "Is it push-to-record using SIP directly over IP or does it call you to record the prompt?" and Naveen said it can do push-to-record using SIP. Using a touch UI to simply select via touch which prompt to record and then instantly record using your tablet or mobile phone's microphone certainly will make phone administrators' lives easier. [Correction: The version released does not support recording directly over a SIP/IP connection. Naveen misunderstood my question]
The new platform includes three key components:
- RingCentral Touch – Fully touch-powered platform for phone systems, enabling full management capabilities from any tablet or smartphone. Intuitive customizable settings for administrators and users provide unmatched flexibility and control.
- RingCentral Presence – Presence is extended beyond desk phones, enabling users to see availability based on smart mobile devices. Enabled with simple controls users can access from everywhere, employees are better connected with presence that integrates mobile users.
- RingCentral Connect – RingCentral integrates with Dropbox, Box and Google Docs, enabling customers to share documents and files in the cloud, providing enhanced productivity.
I found the support for Busy Lamp Field (BLF) presence on IP phones interesting. Naveen explained, "The way we reimagined it is the presence should not be tied to a device. The presence should be tied to an individual or user. It's all about whether 'Tom' is present or not." Thus, you will see the presence state of users whether they are on their IP phone, softphone, cell phone, or even a call forwarded number to a landline such as when working from home. They support auto-provisioning the BLFs for Polycom and Cisco phones. Here's a screenshot of how to configure a Polycom phone's BLF and how it displays on the phone:
All of RingCentral's offerings, including the Touch, Presence, and Connect is available as a fixed flat monthly fee of $29.99/month per user. That includes PBX functionality, mobile VoIP apps, unlimited phone and fax service per user, unlimited virtual extensions to connect mobile or remote employees, and the ability to connect any device, whether it's a desk phone, conference phone, softphone, mobile or tablet. RingCentral just made it a lot easier for administrators to manage their cloud-based phone system. I hope other phone system vendors, whether hosted or customer premise follow suit.