With the recent Broadvox announcement of a virtual PBX offering, GO!Hosted, I have been contacted by a number of VARs and OEMs asking for clarification of our product strategy. I find this interesting because, Broadvox has always supported both premise based and hosted solutions. Previously, I shared the stage with Eric Thomas, CEO FreedomVoice, and discussed the decision process and benefits to both alternatives. You can read Hosted VoIP vs. Premise-Based VoIP: The Honest Truth and gain insights from both of us on the subject. There are a myriad of reasons for a company to select either of the technologies. However, the question most asked by our partners today is why did Broadvox decide to offer both?
First of all, we are not the only company offering both alternatives. In fact, if we look at the history of telecom, AT&T and the ILECs have always provided both. A virtual hosted PBX is sometimes referred to as IP Centrex. It probably violates some copyright to do so but it does tie current offerings to the original Class 5 Centrex product.
Second, a significant percentage of our partners were asking us to offer a hosted solution as the market is growing rapidly. It is no longer confined by the SMB space but is also being implemented by enterprises as part of a hybrid offering leveraging the features and benefits of the new IP PBXs for larger offices and hosted services for remote, branch and telecommuter's offices. This movement towards multi-platform selection is gaining in interest among IT and Telecom Directors. Furthermore, some SMBs are finding a hosted offering better fits their current needs.
Third, the hosted market needs to re-address the most effective way to sell user licenses and offer telecom services. The Broadvox hosted offering separates the price of the user license from that of the telecom usage. This is needed to evolve the market towards more effective pricing of little used extensions such as those in conference rooms, reception areas, warehousing, etc. When usage is more accurately priced, the overall cost of the hosted solution can drop as much as 60%.
Finally, as articulated by Digium during our recent Partner Conference, with an open source IP PBX, users can get closer to the hosted pricing quoted by Broadvox. We believe this is a win-win for the IP community. If price can be removed or reduced in importance, then the buyer can make the decision based upon what best fits the company's business requirements, infrastructure, CapEx, growth expectations and other considerations.
See you on Friday...