Takeaway: Hosted UC solution provider Alteva (News - Alert) recognizes the massive market opportunity for video collaboration and the importance of the user experience, adding an on-demand video auto attendant to the company’s hosted communications portfolio. Businesses that utilize Alteva’s hosted services (based on the BroadSoft switch for call control) can improve the caller experience by presenting them with a video greeting, video voicemail and video-on-hold (streaming video such as live events, commercials and user tutorials) instead of the traditional audio greeting and key press menu selection. Cloud-based or hosted telephony solutions continue to gain ground in the market as a way to reduce equipment and maintenance costs and ensure reliability, redundancy and disaster recovery. Moreover, hosted solutions allow a business to take advantage of new technology and new innovations, such as the video auto attendant offered by Alteva, as soon as these are introduced by the hosted provider. Read more about Alteva below and visit www.telecomtactics.com for more on the business communications market.
was established in 2003 as one of the first Hosted Service Providers in the U.S. and now reports customers in 14 countries, competing in the mid-market by providing hosted Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC) services to companies with 50 to 5,500 employees. Alteva’s growth in the market (53 percent growth in 2010) is testimony to the growing popularity of hosted solutions which continue to break into a market long dominated by traditional premises-based telephony solutions.
In lieu of an on-premises telephone system and the associated monthly telecom and data costs, Alteva customers pay a monthly fee to utilize a hosted service for their communications needs. The company’s Communications as a Service or CaaS portfolio includes Hosted Enterprise Call Control for VoIP services (Alteva utilizes the BroadSoft BroadWorks switch), Hosted Messaging and Collaboration services, Hosted Quality Assurance and Metrics, Advanced Voice Application Development and Traditional Telco Services (such as SIP trunking, T1s or Fiber access). Alteva’s voice service also can be combined with hosted Microsoft Communication Services such as Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging, Microsoft Office Communication Server (OCS) and SharePoint, creating a voice-enabled UC solution. Alteva customers need only deploy an on-premises router such as those from Cisco or Adtran and IP telephones such as those from Cisco, Polycom (News - Alert) and Mitel. Users or administrators login via a Web portal to the BroadSoft switch for administration needs.
Hosted telephony solutions like Alteva’s are gaining popularity among businesses as a way to reduce equipment costs and ensure reliability, redundancy and disaster recovery. With a traditional on-premises PBX (News - Alert), call control takes place locally, so during outages, call processing will be interrupted. However, with a hosted VoIP solution, redundant servers can be co-located in a Service Provider site or remotely located within the Service Provider network so that inbound calls, at least to voicemail, can continue. Hosted solutions eliminate the hassle of deploying on-premises equipment that requires administration and maintenance and which is often fixed in terms of scalability. Hosted solutions are quickly deployed, flexible and scalable with simple, predictable fixed-rate pricing.
Perhaps even more compelling, however, is that businesses can take advantage of the latest solutions and leading edge technology introduced by the hosted provider as soon as these are offered. New technology and new innovations are emerging rapidly such as the new video auto attendant from BroadSoft that Alteva is making available to its customers. Callers are presented with a video stream rather than an audio stream which may be more appealing, more caller-friendly and more intuitive, improving the user experience overall. Additional functionality includes video voicemail that allows callers to leave a visually recorded message, and video-on-hold replaces music on hold with streaming video such as live events, commercials and user tutorials. The possibilities for video are still unfolding, so we will see even more applications for video soon.
Availability/Compatibility: The Alteva video auto attendant ($26.96 per auto attendant per month) is available now and has been tested with the Polycom HDX4000 video phone; additional video phones will be certified later. In the future, the video auto attendant will be available as a Web application to stream video to a mobile device such as an Apple iPhone (News - Alert) or iPad. www.altevatel.com Sandra M. Gustavsen, business VoIP analyst, contributes her Business VoIP column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra�s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Janice McDuffee