Not Ready to Buy Into VoIP? Lease It

Tuesday Nov 6th 2007 by Dan Muse
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Apptix, a company that offers small businesses hosted Exchange and voice services, says its new leasing options make voice over IP more attainable for small business.

Apptix, a Herndon, Va.-based company perhaps best known as a provider of Hosted Exchange for small businesses, today announced the availability of a new leasing program for its Apptix Voice hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.

The company has been providing VoIP services since March, and Jackie Funk, director of marketing for Apptix, said small businesses have shown an interest in the on-demand VoIP services. "It helps them look bigger than they really are, and they want that," Funk said, referring to features such as auto-attendants and voicemail.

However, Funk said, there is still a need to make VoIP more attainable for SMBs. "They are IT-resources constrained and don't want another vendor to deal with." She added that by offering hosted messaging, collaboration and VoIP, Apptix wants to be a single service for SMBs.

Apptix said it has partnered with Solarcom Capital, an IT infrastructure leasing company, to offer provide SMBs new options to obtain and to set up VoIP. "Pricing has been a barrier," said Leigh Henry, director of product management, at Apptix. "Leasing is a better option and is easy for customers.

For $76 per month for 24 months, small businesses get a WAN router to help provide better management and monitor quality of service, five Polycom HD phones, and shipping and installation services. The equipment can be purchased for a $1 buyout after the lease period. For $74 a month, Henry said, customers have the option to pay fair market value when the lease expires. Apptix estimated the cost to buy the hardware and installation services up front at $1,590.

The lease covers the cost of the hardware and setup only. The VoIP service, called Apptix Voice, comes in both Basic and Premium Enterprise editions. The Basic service costs $39.95 per month and includes unlimited local and U.S. long distance, extension dialing, voice mail, voice-to-e-mail capabilities, caller ID, auto attendant, softphone and basic call forwarding.

The Premium Enterprise Edition costs $49.99 a month and includes these additional features: selective call forwarding, selective call acceptance, MailStreet Outlook/IE Toolbar for click-to-call capabilities, account/authorization codes, remote office capabilities and find me/follow me features.

To make it easier to configure and add new users and services, Apptix Voice offers a Web portal for management. Apptix claims its VoIP service can be deployed in less than 30 days. The company says it manages the entire process, which includes an optional on-site network assessment, porting of existing phone numbers, hardware and plan selection, and installation services.

Henry said that Apptix is aiming for small businesses that want an enterprise-grade services and reliability. "Vonage is not a competitor," she said, "we're the next step above it." She added that Apptix offers a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee as part of its service level agreement.

While the features may be designed to rival those used by larger businesses, Henry said Apptix is a small business service provider. "We were focused on SMBs when we started, it's where we are now, and it's where we're headed."

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com's Small Business Channel, EarthWeb's Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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