VoIP: Intermedia Launches Hosted PBX
Hosted Microsoft Exchange provider Intermedia is making a big step towards a real, cloud-delivered unified communications (UC) product today with the launch of its hosted PBX service, targeted at giving even the smallest of enterprises a voice-over-IP (VoIP) solution that integrates with their messaging system. Here are the potential implications for VARs and MSPs.
Intermedia PBX customers will get unlimited domestic calling and extension support, among other standard calling features — but more than that, says Jonathan McCormick, the company’s chief operating officer, it’s a step towards massive productivity boosts by way of full integration with their Microsoft Exchange and Office Communications Server offerings.
Users of all three Intermedia hosted communications services can see when colleagues are on the phone and just click to call them when they’re off. And McCormick says it’s a snap for existing Intermedia customers to add this new services onto any in-place hosted deployments. Besides, since the PBX is hosted, the TCO drops below that of a legacy phone system, he claims.
At least on paper, it’s a very similar UC approach to what companies like Alteva (and to a lesser extent M5 Networks) offer the channel. But McCormick says that Intermedia’s dedication to their customers, to their resellers, and their own product sets them apart from the pack.
The PBX service won’t be available for Intermedia resellers for another month or two, but McCormick says hosted VoIP is a natural fit for the SMB IT channel, because after all: you don’t have to make a sales pitch for the phone, even if it’s being delivered as a service.
Hosted Exchange Leader?
We’ve been keeping close tabs on Intermedia because the company quietly powers hosted Exchange services for a range of third-party data center providers and hosting providers.
We can’t always name names, but sources say Intermedia is involved with large hosting and consulting firms across the U.S. and Europe. If you’re a VAR searching for a hosted Exchange offering, ask the service provider who’s actually powering the system. In quite a few cases, the hidden answer is Intermedia.
Back on the unified communications front, Intermedia appears to be hedging its bets. In early 2010, the company indicated it had a growing relationship with Unison — which develops a unified communications platform of its own. We’re checking to see how the Intermedia-Unison relationship has evolved, especially as Intermedia rolls out this new hosted PBX service.