GoHello has launched a UK version of its Internet-hosted PBX service, which it claims can route incoming calls to an employee's mobile phone without paying mobile fees.
The service removes the need for a physical PBX and internal phone system, using mobile phones instead. Priced at £19 per employee per month, it gives a company an external phone number - either a new one, or their existing one transferred - plus a virtual switchboard for their receptionist's PC.
The receptionist gets full PBX capabilities - they can phone a colleague to check, then transfer the call directly, or route the call to a hunt-group, for example. GoHello can hook into Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino calendar data as well, so if the receptionist sees the colleague is busy they can send them a message by SMS instead.
Apart from removing the need for fixed infrastructure, the service can also save considerable telephony costs, said François Mazoudier, CEO of Speakanet, the Danish company behind GoHello. That's because it hooks into the mobile networks' signalling systems and does some of its call handling there, not in a PBX, he added.
The call savings come from the ability to use business calling plans offered by networks which allow unlimited calls between a customers' staff. In effect, every call become an intra-network call - the system can even direct a handset to call a fixed line using its inclusive minutes, he claimed.
"Users can use their own phones, but we recommend the company buys them as it can get much cheaper deals," he said. "With a normal divert-to-mobile set-up, your call bill goes through the roof."
GoHello also includes an IVR (interactive voice response) capability and call waiting, and support for multiple receptionists. In addition, settings and staff phone numbers can be changed immediately from the console.
Mazoudier said that while IP telephony and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) might be preferable for large enterprises looking to mobilise key line-of-business applications, say, for most organisations, mobile phones do the job.
It's not even necessary to do what some of the IP PBX companies have done, and deploy client software to the mobile that emulates the features of a business desk-phone, he claimed.
"We don't offer desk-phone features because we haven't yet found a single customer asking for them," he said. "Most just use five features - take a call, drop it, transfer it, hold and conference - and a mobile phone can do those already."
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