Comcast Moves PBX Into Cloud With Business VoiceEdge

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-03-27 Print this article Print

Cablecaster launches a new cloud-based voice and unified communications package for enterprises that aims to replace old-school PBX and key-type voice-channeling systems.

Cable telecaster and services provider Comcast, like about everybody else in the information-delivery business, is moving to the cloud.

On March 27, the business services division of the Philadelphia-based cable giant launched a new cloud-based voice and unified communications package for enterprises that aims to replace old-school PBX and key-type voice-channeling systems.

Comcast's Business VoiceEdge provides a high definition-quality voice service, a full suite of unified communications features and€”thanks to the nature of subscription cloud services€”a predictable monthly cost.

Business VoiceEdge became available March 27 across most of Comcast's Northeast Division, which includes 14 states from Maine through Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as Chicago. Nationwide rollout across Comcast's entire service is targeted by the end of 2012, the company said.

Telecoms are getting creative in their IT. Canada-based Mitel, in a partnership with VMware, was the first national communications provider to roll out a virtual machine-based system of this type in 2010. In systems like Mitel's, phone conversations simply become audio files in a local virtualized storage system; Comcast's is similar, but everything is kept off-premises in Comcast's cloud.

With a Business VoiceEdge package, Comcast includes unlimited nationwide calling, state-of-the-art Polycom phones at no additional charge, HD audio, and advanced unified communications and mobility features, including:

  • Be Anywhere: Workers can integrate their work line with their mobile device, home office or other locations to have calls follow them or push/pull them between devices without having to disconnect and then reconnect the call.
  • Voicemail-to-email: Voice messages reach "anytime, anywhere" workers when away from the office or working remotely by sending a copy of the voicemail to their email. 
  • Telephony Toolbar: A downloadable client that enables click-to-dial and service management from within Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
  • Business Voice Continuity: Redirect calls to back-up numbers if there is a power outage or other on-site issues to keep business operating.
  • Multi-Location Simplicity and Commonality: On-net calling between sites using extensions, unified calling experience, add new locations quickly and share call handling (receptionist, hunt groups and auto attendants) across offices. 
Chris Preimesberger is eWEEK Editor for Features and Analysis. Twitter: @editingwhiz

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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