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Some quick hosted VoIP notables

Hosted VoIP providers sell a lot of endpoints so I’m always keeping tabs on what’s going on in the hosted VoIP provider space. With small medium offices loosening up with the stabilization of the economy, many hosted VoIP providers are coming with new offerings and promotions to capitalize on the opening wallets.

Nextiva launches vFAX online fax service

Emerging hosted VoIP provider Nextiva broadened their service portfolio with the announcement of their vFAX online fax service. Online fax services are a great compliment to hosted VoIP, especially in small and distributed office environments.

nextivavFAX is similar to other online fax services like MyFax and eFax.com, but does have a few unique aspects like the ability to use an existing fax machine and Microsoft Outlook Integration. Plus they’re offering lower monthly and per minute charges than competitors.

Recently I reviewed Nextiva’s service after having used it for a few months. It was solid and suspect the same holds true with vFAX. Check out more here.

Vocalocity lowers upfront investment costs for new customers

vocalocityFresh off the launch of a new website, Vocalocity has announced some insane price discounts on Linksys phones for new sign-ups on Twitter. With prices starting at just $69.99 new customers can save more than $30 a phone.

That’s some really great savings on a really great line of VoIP phones. Check out their Tweet for more details.

Telesphere nabs another $7M

Okay it’s not a new offering or promotion, but it’s notable that Phoenix based Telesphere secured another $7M in venture financing earlier this month. This brings their total funding to $32 million.telesphere

One can definitely take this as an indicator that there’s healthy demand for hosted services from businesses small and large.

Expect this to continue for quite some time. Buyers are starting to spend again, but their still very cautious and price conscience. That fits right into a hosted offering,s value proposition.

Note: Vocalocity is a site sponsor. Seriously though. It’s a great promotion.

DECT VoIP phones growing in popularity

The VoIP equipment market has been relatively quiet this year (and Q4 of 2008). Paralyzed by the economy, new product announcements (on the whole) have been kept to the minimum.

The one trend that seems to be awakening the VoIP equipment market is the ever growing demand for high quality, reliable mobility solutions. As VoIP adoption has continued to grow, residential, small business and enterprise customers have become increasingly intrigued by the benefits of mobility.

For some time, 802.11 b/g wireless VoIP phones and “systems” were all the rage. But over the last few years technological limitations and false expectations have limited most 802.11 b/g wireless VoIP deployments to small footprints and ultra controlled environments.

It’s also driven VoIP bloggers, manufacturers, service providers and users nuts.

Enter DECT, short for Digital Enhance Telecommunications, an ETSI standard for digital portable phones (cordless telephones). You’ve surely heard of it. It’s been used for over a decade and is used by the majority of cordless home telephones.

Pain, meet band-aide.

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Windows market still attracting interest

With the long term future of Microsoft’s Response Point software still unknown one would think that it’s a signal that the Windows Telephony market is dud. And while Microsoft’s attempt to capture a juicy chunk of the massive small business market seems to have hit a snag, it’s not deterring other VoIP industry players from jumping in with two feet.

One such player is Sangoma. The publicly traded supplier of telephony cards and software out of Markham, Ontario is looking to emerge from the enormous shadow cast by Digium by developing solutions that work with Windows.

Sangoma’s latest offerings (NetBoarder VoIP Gateway Cards and NetBoarder Express 2.0 software), announced today, are designed for those end users, systems builders, reseller and integrators leveraging Windows who want to roll their own VoIP gateways and VoIP phone systems. Similar to what tens of thousands of folks have been doing for the last few years with Linux based platforms like Asterisk.

While a home grown VoIP gateway or phone system is nothing new, Sangoma’s move into the Windows market is and can be seen as a signal that market for Windows based telephony products is a viable one.

Only time will tell if this is the case, but for now at least one Windows proponent is excited about Sangoma’s move.

Nick Galea, CEO of 3CX, whose Windows based phone system has continued to win favor with customers, says the move by Sangoma is, “[Good] for our customers because the complete solution of Sangoma, plus NetBoarder Express 2.0, plus 3CX will be easy to install, easy to use and very cost effective.”

That’s an offering that’s sure to attract interest from the Windows market.

Phone.com launches virtual number service

Virtual number services are nothing new, but when one of your favorite VoIP providers launches their own offering you’ve gotta show them some love, right?

Today Phone.com launched their virtual number service to the general public. The virtual number service, with a bank account friendly cost of just $4.88 per month, allows any user to have one singular number act as a gateway for all life’s various phone numbers (like your cell, VoIP line, land line, etc).

Virtual number services, like this new one from Phone.com, are perfect for business professionals, sole proprietors and small businesses.

In addition to an affordable price tag, Phone.com’s virtual number service features:

  • Greetings (including after hours greeting)
  • Call handling rules (including call forwarding)
  • Standard calling features (like caller id)
  • Voice mail (with text transcription and voice mail to email)
  • Local number portability (and nationwide number availability)

For information about Phone.com’s virtual number service, check out the press release here or the full features list.

44,000 deployments is pretty impressive

Word out of Fonality today is that their for-profit VoIP phone system offerings have been deployed 44,000 times.

That’s pretty impressive.

Especially since Fonality has only been in business since 2003. And the first year (I believe) was spent as a residential VoIP service provider.

Further proof (if you needed more) that open source and open source based solutions are growing to be every bit as popular as their proprietary counterparts.

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