If you have any doubt the hosted communications market is growing, you need to look no further than RingCentral who tells me their customer acquisition rate has grown at twice the rate of last year. The company does not offer VoIP but instead, a virtual office service allowing you to have the features and functions of a much larger company on a less expensive and pay as you go basis.
The service works with any phone system, such as a cell phone allowing a full featured auto attendant to front end calls. The company is focusing on the under 10 user market and Boris Elpinier the company’s VP of Marketing tells me they have tens of thousands of customers.
Boris and I met at the recent Communications Developer Conference in Santa Clara where he went on to tell me his service has the benefit of allowing you to start with a single client and doesn’t force you to use VoIP. Boris went on to say the SMB space uses fax more than he initially thought they would and thankfully his service supports fax.
Elpinier went on to say the value proposition for prospective customers is that for the price of a featureless 800 number or a fax service you can have both using RingCentral. There are a number of ways to build a hosted service and Boris is proud to say the company has built all of their technology themselves. One benefit he says is their ability to rapidly roll out new features.
He also explained some of the customers currently using the service use it to have a US telephone presence.
When asked what’s new, Boris told me he sees his service integrating more closely with more applications and services his customers use. Some vertical markets seem especially attractive. Real estate for example. He mentioned the service could have a virtual tour library allowing a person to drive by a house and see a for sale sign with a phone number which gives details about the house.
Once called, the dwelling details can be elaborated on. In the process the broker can be notified someone is at a specific house. They can then call the prospective purchaser and potentially meet them at the house on the spot.
Continuing the real estate line of services, there may be a fax package specifically designed for mortgage brokers.
A great feature I am seeing more and more of is the company’s mobile client allowing Caller ID masking so when you call a customer from a cell phone your 800 number and not your cell phone number is displayed on the called parties’ phone.
The service has some big news coming soon which will make the service even more useful but I can’t tell you yet what it is. Be sure to sign up for a TMCnet news alert on RingCentral or check out the RingCentral news page to stay posted.