As the economy continues along a somewhat rocky path to recovery, it has never been more important for small and medium sized businesses to have access to the same communications tools as the largest of enterprises.
A level playing field often means the difference between success and failure.
And today at the ITEXPO West, Internet Protocol (IP) communications solutions provider 8x8 Inc. again moved in that direction, announcing the addition of a new, Web-based conferencing service to its existing portfolio of business communication offerings for the SMB space.
The first in a series of new unified communications services to be introduced over the coming months, the "8x8 Virtual Meeting" Web conferencing service is an online collaboration tool accessible instantly – no software download required – from any Web browser and computing platform.
"Small businesses, like those that subscribe to our 8x8 (News - Alert) Virtual Office hosted phone services, want and need the same communications tools enjoyed by larger enterprises," said 8x8 Chief Marketing Officer Debbie Jo Severin (News - Alert).
In fact, said Severin, in a recent survey of 8x8 existing business customers, more than 60 percent told the company they already use some form of Web conferencing in their day to day operations.
“8x8 Virtual Meeting is a powerful collaboration tool that embodies all of the cost, performance and ease-of-use characteristics valued by our small business customers,” she said, noting the company expects to introduce additional communications solutions in the near future specifically geared to the small business market.
The Virtual Meeting platform – available as an add-on service for existing 8x8 customers or as a standalone offering for new subscribers – is designed to let users conduct centralized online meetings with integrated voice conferencing, presentation slide sharing, desktop and application sharing, instant messaging, chair control, conference control and call recording, with up to 50 participants per conference, according to the company.
The platform is geared for business looking to reduce travel costs, as well as enhance internal and external communications.
In addition, 8x8 Virtual Meeting offers unlimited conferencing in an effort to provide flexibility to conduct regular meetings with “employees, associates, customers and prospects” in remote locations worldwide.
Some key features of the 8x8 Virtual Meeting Web conferencing service include:
No software download, plug-ins or supplemental hardware required
Integrated VoIP, chat, desktop sharing and dial in/dial out features
Unlimited meetings at a monthly or annual price
Up to 15 participants per meeting with the option to add more for a minimal cost
One free local dial in number
Flexible local and international toll or toll free meeting dial-in numbers available
Audio-only meetings, audio and web meetings or web-only meetings
Current 8x8 subscribers can add 8x8 Virtual Meeting service with unlimited conferencing for just $29.99 per month. As a standalone service, 8x8 Virtual Meeting is priced at $39.99 per month. For a limited time, 8x8 is offering a free 30-day trial version with unlimited conferencing, up to 15 participants per meeting and a free local dial-in number.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is Platinum Sponsor of ITEXPO and is exhibiting in booth #401.
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Tim Gray is a Web Editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Tim’s articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Tim Gray