Virtual phone system supplier RingCentral on Oct. 9 will further extend its online calling service with the new DigitalLine voice over IP offering.
RingCentral targets small businesses looking to have the features of a PBX or key system without having to buy, install and maintain such a system themselves. The new DigitalLine VOIP capability extends the virtual service to allow incoming calls to be answered using VOIP on a users computer and existing broadband link.
"They can have VOIP with no extra charge or without having to buy a new phone," said Jay Blazensky, vice president of business development in Redwood City, Calif.
The existing RingCentral service works with the customers landline and mobile phone service and combines a toll-free or local number with call management, PBX functions, voicemail and Internet fax. Users can set up multiple extensions with voicemail as well as screen, forward and make calls. Users can also receive voicemail, send and receive faxes and get message alerts using the virtual service.
"It gives you an experience similar to what you would have with a corporate level phone system," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group in San Jose, Calif. "Its a good service for the small business owner. It gives you [features] you dont get unless you have a PBX, and it explores the limits of what you can do with VOIP," he said.
RingCentral competes with the likes of Skype or Vonage as well as GotVmail, Enderle added. But unlike Skype and Vonage, it does not rely solely on VOIP. It integrates mobile, home, office and fax communications lines.
Read more here about hosted VOIP services.
The new DigitalLine option allows customers to receive and make calls over the Internet using a soft phone, IP phone or traditional phone with an ATA adapter.
"The cool thing about it is that it has several options. You can record a call, have a conference call with as many participants as you want, you can transfer calls," said beta user Tom Sagi, an independent agent for electronic payment systems company First Data in Palo Alto, Calif.
"One thing I really like is that I can transfer to another phone in the office, to my cell or to an extension. Thats really neat," added Sagi, who said that the voice quality of VOIP calls is good, and in fact better than other VOIP services hes used in the past.
The new DigitalLine option allows users to assign DigitalLine to any extension on their RingCentral account and use RingCentrals Answering Rules to route calls to DigitalLine phones according to day, time and caller ID. It provides a call log that tracks incoming and outgoing calls.
The services existing call controller, a PC client that provides real-time desktop call control, allows calls to be answered and placed directly from the PC. Users can also conduct conference calls and record calls from their PC. Users can also exploit those features using an existing analog phone with an ATA adapter or IP phone.
The new option, available Oct. 9, also is integrated with Microsoft Office and includes enhanced e911 service.
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