For those of you, there are VoIP ( Voice over IP ) solutions that allow you to run a PBX in the cloud, and connect employees working from family barely as if they were wired into the on-premises telephone switch over. here are 11 solutions that should help you stay connected .
The most-mentioned VoIP provider among our quick surveys
When I started asking round about VoIP providers, RingCentral was the one mentioned the most. RingCentral offers solutions for small vendors all the way up through giant enterprises, and it besides has a focus on developer consolidation, allowing external vendors to hook into the RingCentral environment in new and creative ways. Their congress of racial equality product is RingCentral Office, which offers all the key virtual PBX features, including auto-attendant, company directory, call forward and handling, and multiple extensions. extra programs provide voice mail, call forwarding, facsimile, and meetings and webinars. RingCentral has a nice io and Android app that allows you to turn your smartphone into what seems like a more traditional agency telephone for callers .
Add a second line to your mobile phone and then just keep expanding and expanding
Do n’t want to give our your personal mobile number to customers and clients, but besides do n’t want to carry a second phone ? Consider Line2 which — wait for it — adds a second gear line to your earphone. actually, Line2 offers a act more. It moves the traditional hard-wired on-premises PBX to the cloud and moves the dedicate PBX handsets into your team ‘s smartphones. You can assign extra earphone numbers to phones, transportation calls between team members, set up an auto-attendant affair to annoy callers while sounding official. You can tied turn your team into a virtual call center with the ability to dynamically distribute calls to agents .
That old landline feel from a very modern Internet-connected box
There was a point back in 2011 when my business earphone was all about Ooma. For years, I was pre-smartphone. I ran a business from home, which meant I had to manage both personal lines and business lines. History note: Back in the olden days, people had actual wires run into the house for phones, and then throughout the house to handsets. unfortunately, the old twist copper wires started getting worse and worse, as land line carriers lost sake in POTS ( plain erstwhile telephone service ) lines. then, wanting to keep the feel of a phone at every seat ( which seems so bizarre to me now ), we used an Ooma box as our gateway between our Internet connection and physical handsets. I finally dropped Ooma when the complexity got out of operate ( and did n’t exercise ). It besides did n’t help that my wife hated the complexity of the system. As I described in an article back in 2014, “ In any shell, I ‘d had it with the excessive level of complexity our phone system required. I had both an Ooma and an AT & T Microcell taking up ports on the router. I had a Link-to-Cell handset establish post plugged into the Ooma. I had a short ton of ability cords and might dongles going under the desk. And it was all treacherous, crank, and in necessitate of more duct tape. ” I finally dumped it all in favor of an iPhone and Apple Watch. rather than having a handset at every seat, I precisely wear the watch which allows me to answer calls anywhere. But the Ooma calm gets used by my ZDNet buddy Jason Perlow ( although less so now that he has to Zoom everywhere ). Jason, excessively, adopted the Ooma. But what of today ? Should you consider Ooma in 2022 ? Yes. Ooma has not stood calm since I used it. They ‘ve moved powerfully into the enterprise global, expanded their handset offerings, and expanded their service offerings. What I constantly liked about Ooma was their clear management interface and a broad compass of customizable options. Those exist and have been expanded on well. The company has besides integrated a home security offering into their main system, with motion sensors, window sensors, and water sensors. hera ‘s my bottom line : If you hush like the land line feel, multiple lines, and dedicate handsets, Ooma is a good place to go .
Any easy solution for fixed-cost extension expansion
I was n’t familiar with Grasshopper but kept bumping into it as I researched this article. And, would n’t you know it ? It ‘s besides owned by LogMeIn. Think of it as the cute little cousin of GoToConnect. What stood out about Grasshopper was its identical accomplishable bill structure for small businesses. While the company offers one number, three extension plan and a three number, six extension plan, the achiever here is the five count, unlimited elongation plan for $ 80 a calendar month. This is n’t per-month, per-user. It ‘s precisely per calendar month. so if you have a growing minor company and you want a virtual PBX with a few numbers ( like one for main, one for sales, one for support, etc ), and an reference for every employee then, boom ! Eighty bucks a calendar month. If you hire more people, do n’t sweat it. You ‘re equitable budgeting that one $ 80 per calendar month tip. What Grasshopper does n’t have is any original equipment. You provide your own phones or mobile devices. then you get the usual VoIP, call forwarding, voice mail, extensions, transfers, and therefore on. There are no bid center options, though, so if you ‘re building out a major call center, you might want a different solution. But if you want a fixed-budget PBX that can broadly scale without add cost, hop on over to Grasshopper .
Middle of the ground VoIP with a stand-out option: a real human answering the phone
When I started my first party, few people worked from home. Businesses expected to call into companies and get live receptionists ( yes, this was the darkness ages ). As one of my first startup activities, I wound up contracting with a local answer military service, shunting all my calls to them, and they would then call me back to transfer the birdcall to me. It was a trouble, but it got me deals I differently would have had no hope of getting. nowadays, of class, we ‘re all used to email, texting, web forms, and social media. Calling into a business is far more rare. But there are silent old educate industries for whom a live accompaniment would be a key business option. Although most of Phone.com ‘s plans are reasonably much center of the road, with relatively low-end pricing, the very attention-getter was their definitely-not-cheap plans that included a alive attendant answering the earphone. That veridical human can then transfer to an extension or a mobile telephone, sent to voicemail, set up appointments, and follow a script. Feel dislodge to check out Phone.com for their run-of-the-mill unite communications offerings. But if you want an integrate solution with a real human answering the telephone, decidedly give Phone.com a attend .
Keep the in-office feel, but at home
We last included Intermedia in our best e-mail host services roundup, and now it ‘s back in our VoIP list. Intermedia actually offers a count of unite communications products including virtual PBX, SIP trunking, and assorted conferencing apps. In this roundup, we ‘re looking at the ship’s company ‘s combine arrangement, Intermedia Unite.
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While Intermedia Unite recommends by and large Polycom, Cisco, and Yealink VoIP phones, the caller ‘s Anyphone BYOP ( bring your own phone ) broadcast allows certain other devices to connect into the Intermedia VoIP environment. In terms of features, this is enterprise VoIP with all the fixin ‘s. As you might imaging from a seller we recommended as a leading e-mail host supplier, Intermedia Unite has potent ties to Office 365 and Workspace ( once G Suite ) a well as Slack and Salesforce. In pandemic times, the ability for workers to bring their desk phones base, plug them into their home Internet, and calm have a receptionist capability that allows AAs and operators to view the handiness of everyone in their constitution, perform blind transfers, warm transfers, and transfers to voicemail — all remotely — is a huge boon .
An old-school global PBX provider who has successfully pivoted to VoIP
Founded in 1973, Mitel is an old-school traditional PBX supplier that has successfully made the pivot to VoIP. here ‘s a playfulness narrative. Mitel was founded by Canadians Michael Cowpland and Terry Matthews, and as the narrative goes, is a portmanteau derived from “ Mike and Terry Lawnmowers. ” Since its pivot, Mitel has been mowing through acquisitions, including handset godhead Polycom in 2016 and ShoreTel in 2017. While the company does provide small, medium, and enterprise solutions, it ‘s the enterprise offerings that stand out. Mitel, for case, provides the coordinated communications network for Major League Baseball and its 30 clubs .
A comprehensive offering with solid international cred
8×8 is much classified as a small occupation VoIP provider, but that does n’t do the company credit. Formed back in 1987, it was in the first place a chip design firm. Through acquisitions and intersection pivots, it has acquired video conferencing products, VoIP technologies, a contact center company, open informant chew the fat software, and CPaaS ( communications platform as a service ) engineering. As of 2019, the company had been awarded 128 patents in the areas of semiconductors, video recording process algorithm, computer architecture, and more. The company still appeals to small businesses with its basic cloud PBX plans. The company offers some low-cost external plans that appeal to those who need to connect around the world. It ‘s possible to move improving to all-in-one voice, video, and chat, and then actually grow into liaison focus on capabilities, adding in analytics and collaboration. Underlying all of this are API options that can be tapped either by your own in-house custom solutions or a hefty kind of cloud integrations .
Unified communications from the folks who make GoToMeeting
There is nothing about GoToConnect ‘s corporate lineage that wo n’t give you a headache. GoToConnect is separate of the line of products that include GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar. Near the top of the corporate chain is LogMeIn, which acquired what was then called GetGo, a by-product containing the GoTo products from Citrix. LogMeIn itself was acquired by private fairness firms Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital in 2019. While GoTo is not the company ‘s list, they do business under the GoTo logo and goto.com URL. This hurts flush more because GoTo.com was once separate of Yahoo and Overture Services. In fact, back in the late 1990s, Goto.com was one of the most popular search engine destinations and somewhere along the way, the knowledge domain made its way to LogMeIn. To make the genius box bang even more, GoToConnect was previously known as jive Communications, not to be confused with Jive Software, which provides an intranet collaboration solution owned by Aurea. so, now that we ‘ve covered GoToConnect ‘s kin corner, let ‘s talk about the offerings. First, of course, is its nasty joining with GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, television offerings about angstrom well known as zoom in this pandemic-wacky world. Of particular interest is how well done GoToConnects administrative management tools are, allowing drag-and-drop frame-up of mighty automated adjunct and call forward business logic. The company offers precisely about everything you ‘d need for a occupation PBX, implemented with compressed integration to other cloud services like Salesforce, Zoho, Google, Slack, and Microsoft. First and first, if you ‘re a GoToMeeting or GoToWebinar company, you ‘ll want to consider GoToConnect. But if you want to build out an Internet-first PBX environment, give GoToConnect a look .
Phone service integrated with Nomorobo
At first glance, 1-VoIP looks like about any early business phone serve. Want to pay for meter calls ? Check. Do n’t want to pay for meter calls ? Add a few bucks a calendar month, and then check. Want to pay by reference added ? Check. Want to pay to efficaciously rent a handset ? Check. Look, 1-VoIP does the bargain, but it ‘s not a big deal. It supports many of the commercial enterprise telephone features you want, like music on appreciation, annex transfer, queues, auto-attendant, virtual facsimile, forward, and all the rest. Yada-yada-yada. We were ready to dismiss this as a gape when we stumbled on its killer feature : integration with Nomorobo. If you ‘re not familiar with Nomorobo, it blocks most entrance spam calls. On individual smartphones, it ‘s an app that ‘s a bit of a hack. You have to route all your calls through Nomorobo, and it then passes them back to you. That adds delays and annoyance to your callers. But with 1-VoIP, Nomorobo is integrated into the virtual PBX. That means that if you ‘re using a veridical operator preferably than a virtual attendant, you wo n’t be harassed with all those incoming calls. It ‘s a well-done feature of speech for a PBX .
Does everyone upsell VoIP capabilities?
Every broadband provider, ever
When considering a VoIP option, do n’t forget your broadband or telecommunications supplier. about every cable television service and call service ( including Verizon, AT & T, and all the traditional providers ) offer VoIP services. In fact, many of them push those services so hard, it ‘s much unmanageable getting cable modem overhaul without spending a solid batch of supernumerary time talking agents out of the VoIP upsell. That said, do n’t dismiss your broadband provider out of hand in prefer of the players we outlined above. Most broadband VoIP providers have their services ( and rented equipment, naturally ) good integrated into their overall offerings, which means that you get a one-stop denounce for both data and voice. Solutions are frequently slowly to implement because the cable installer will set up your VoIP for you, and you normally do n’t have to make any challenging hardware decisions. A few years back, my octogenarian Dad refused to use a smartphone and wanted wired telephone. But POTS was no longer available in his area. I made one visit to his local cable supplier and the installer showed up, set it up, and taught him how to use it. It was about the easiest network install ever, and by far the easiest network install for my dad. Whether you ‘re looking for residential VoIP just for personal use, residential VoIP extended for a new work-at-home biography, or commercial enterprise VoIP, give your already-embedded provider a fairly count .
How did we choose these VoIP services?
This one took a little creativity. I have n’t touched an RJ-11 jack in seven years or so. That said, I did a whole set of VoIP frame-up back in the day, and I worked with a number of the vendors listed hera. To expand on that list, I reached out to telecommunications managers I know and asked them for their recommendation. Most of them had besides left VoIP in the bass benighted past and were spending their clock time dealing with mobile device management issues and app deployment. But some of them hush had old-school customers, old-school managers, or old-school business practices that benefited more from a unified call system than a wide-eyed scattering of tweaked up smartphones. The companies listed here are by and large derived from their recommendations. I want to mention one such company — although I wo n’t mention them by diagnose. This company got an honorable mention from a few of the professionals I talked to, but some of the details were bleary. I reached out via the company ‘s pop fly chat corner and was pleased to reach a human preferably than a bot. Five minutes late, after trying to get details on the caller ‘s competitive advantages, I was asked “ Do you need VOIP services or not ? ” The agent got natural from that point on. So that company is getting no mention here at all. And this is a example to companies : Be careful if you offer a new world chat option on your web site. If your agents are unpleasant, you might lose opportunities. I equitable pulled a company out of a “ best of 2020 ” list because their operator was impatient and natural — and consequently not qualified to be considered “ best of ” anything .
Which VoIP service is right for you?
The unmarried most important thing to do is identify your needs distinctly. Do you need extension forwarding ? Do you need voicemail ? Do you need a human accompaniment or will an automatize attendant do ? What apps do you need to integrate into ? Make a fully laundry list of requirements and desirables. then start shopping the list. If I were doing it, I ‘d set up a spreadsheet with all the factors I needed, and then I ‘d cross-index each seller ‘s offerings in the spreadsheet. When done with my research, I would probably be able to see who came closest to my needs.
Remember that price may be an issue, but it ‘s far from the only issue. Do n’t focus on saving a few bucks a calendar month if your telephone system is your primary coil link to revenue-generating customers. Make certain you ‘re able to provide the call service your customers expect, because that ‘s how it will pay for itself. What about you ? Are you still using landlines, handsets, or VoIP ? Let us know in the comments below .