Junction Networks released a major upgrade to its flagship OnSIP hosted PBX phone service Thursday, adding browser-based IM, presence and phone status to one of the most compelling hosted VoIP services on the market today.
A single browser window presents all users in an organization complete, one-look status on who in the company is “present,” which of them are on the phone, and who is free to call with a click on their names. One click and the user’s extension – be it a desk set in the office, a wifi phone at a temporary job site, or a SIP phone in a hotel room – completes the call to the called party, saving everyone potential time-wasting missed calls and the hassle of leaving and retrieving voice mail.
The new service, called my.OnSIP has an IM feature that only connects with those on the hosted system, even though those coworkers and their extensions may be physically located at multiple sites on different continents or at temporary locations.
“True, some on-premise PBX vendors offer chat, presence, and maybe even phone status,” said Junction Networks’ President Robert Wolpov – “but they often charge considerably extra for these non-voice media, and they often require proprietary phone sets.” In addition, they are often available only to administrators – my.OnSIP provides these “deluxe” tools to everyone in the company, with the same display and the same clickable means of making, taking and transferring calls, even if everyone doesn’t use the same type of phone for their extension.
In a trial of the service over the past couple of weeks, we found it extremely easy to set up and to move a dedicated extension from a hardwired office phone to a portable SIP-supporting WiFi phone, even to a cell phone running a SIP supporting VoIP app. The freedom and flexibility offered by this type of connectivity is invaluable to businesses that are increasing decentralized, requiring ever-more nimble and responsive workforces.
While the workforce can be deployed virtually anywhere, everyone in the organization shares the same company phone number, greetings, auto attendant, extension dialing, voice mail system, and advanced features enjoyed by workers in a company with the traditional PBX system in the traditional phone closet. The difference with a hosted system such as OnSIP is that all phone switch functionality is outsourced to a hosting provider in a remote center, leaving the business with nothing to buy but the phone sets themselves.
My.OnSIP controls any SIP-compliant phone or softphone and runs on the browser of any desktop or laptop running Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. Available to OnSIP users now, it can be accessed for free by logging in at my.onsip.com.
My.OnSIP functionality adds no cost to the OnSIP hosted PBX service, which starts at $39.95 per month for a full suite of PBX features and an unlimited number of users and extensions. Unlike typical hosted services that require long-term contracts and add $30 to $50 per seat per month to a base PBX charge, OnSIP requires no contract and only adds charges per usage. “Usage” includes off-network voice minutes (on-network calls are free); additional voice mail boxes; or advanced applications, such as next-available-agent-style call distribution.
Junction Networks also is making my.OnSIP’s application programming interface available to developers, who may hook the interface’s calling, instant messaging, presence and availability information to any application whose users need real-time communication.
The company is also continuing to innovate and improve my my.OnSIP, with added features such as click-to-conference on the interface roadmap.