ThinkingPhones Expands Services

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ThinkingPhones, a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) provider based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is expanding on multiple fronts. The company has grown to 720 employees due to both internal hiring and acquisitions (more on these below) and is gaining traction in the market, surpassing a milestone in 2015 of 1,000 enterprise customers as more and more companies realize the benefits of moving their communications to the cloud. Historically, ThinkingPhones has targeted mid-size and larger businesses with 500-3,000 employees (the sweet spot in terms of optimal cost-effectiveness), but the solution now scales to meet the requirements of even larger organizations with 5,000-10,000 users or more. ThinkingPhones cites an average customer size of 1,000 users for new sales in 2015.TPN

Additionally, ThinkingPhones continues to launch its multi-tenant UCaaS offer in new regions, opening data centers in Asia (Hong Kong and Singapore) in 2015 for a total of 10 data centers worldwide to date (five in North America, three in Europe and two in Asia). Another data center is planned in the Asia Pacific (Australia) in 2016 to further accommodate the company’s growing number of larger, multi-site customers (mainly based in North America) with offices overseas.

ThinkingPhones is also expanding through acquisition. The company acquired Whaleback Managed Services in 2014, a provider of cloud-based managed voice and UC services for small and medium enterprises in North America, followed by Contactive and its Klink contextual intelligence platform in early 2015. Cloud video conferencing company Fuze marks the third, and most recent, acquisition. The Fuze portfolio of voice and video conferencing and content sharing services for devices, desktops and meeting rooms brings a key technology in-house (ThinkingPhones had been offering the iMeet online conferencing service from partner PGI).

Industry analysts are taking note. Market research firm Gartner positioned ThinkingPhones as a “Visionary” in its September Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service, citing strengths in customer service, voice quality and user experience, as well as innovation from internal R&D and acquisitions. The recently acquired Fuze company also earned Gartner’s “Visionary” status in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing study and was named an “Innovator” in the Aragon Research Globe Report for Web and Video Conferencing for its competitive pricing and integration of video and meetings with project- and team-based collaboration, among other strengths.

Feature Bundles

ThinkingPhones has designed six feature bundles for basic, mid-range and more advanced business needs and user requirements.

The bundles are cumulative, each incorporating popular telephony features and voicemail, but also going above and beyond some competing UCaaS offers to include the company’s in-house analytics application that equips businesses with intelligence about employee performance, customer engagement and business processes. Data is collected and aggregated across voice, mobility, video, presence, contact center, conferencing and third-party CRM applications, to provide visibility and insights into how teams and business units are performing and how applications are being utilized.

  • UC Basic supports popular telephony features and voicemail and provides access to the analytics business intelligence application, with dashboard statistics viewable via the customer portal.
  • UC Core comes with significantly more productivity features, including a softphone and a mobile client (called Communicator), Google Gmail integration, click-to-call plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook and major web browsers and the Contactive contextual intelligence application which combs through a large number of public and private data sources to display in-depth profiles for incoming and outgoing calls.
  • UC Power builds on UC Basic and UC Core to add more advanced applications such as for meet-me audio conferencing, 6-party video conferencing, fax-to-email and API Connectors APIs to integrate data from the ThinkingPhones platform with dozens of third party business applications (i.e. Skype for Business, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SugarCRM, etc.) for call control, inbound screen-pops, reporting and analytics purposes.
  • Attendant View adds operator/receptionist functionality, including visibility into the calling status of users on the system and contact center administration.
  • Contact Center Agent includes UC Power features and also enables ACD agent and call queuing functionality, as well as call recording (contact center administration and visibility are not part of this user bundle).
  • Contact Center Supervisor enables supervisory privileges such as managing call flows and live queues, call recording visibility and a call monitoring/whisper/barge capability to monitor, guide and take control of a call.

User bundles start at $25 per user per month (list price). Customers can subscribe to ThinkingPhones UC services directly through ThinkingPhones’ sales team or indirectly through one of the company’s wholesale partners that can choose to brand and tailor the offer as their own under a white-label/OEM program.

The Fuze Integration

ThinkingPhones tells us that the integration of the Fuze web and video conferencing technology is still being sorted out, but we can expect more details on the bundling in the first quarter of 2016. In conjunction, the company will also introduce a new unified client application that combines all modes of interaction (voice, email, SMS, video, etc.) and allows users to easily move between modes for more efficient and effective communications.

Meanwhile, ThinkingPhones is offering the current Fuze personal and room-based plans as standalone services that can be utilized over-the-top of any businesses’ existing telephony environment. Here is a run-down on the current Fuze plans and pricing.

  • Fuze Free includes 3-party voice and video, plus screen and content sharing.
  • Fuze Pro is $20 per user per month and includes 25-party voice, 12-party video, screen and content sharing and unlimited U.S. dial-in.
  • Fuze Premium is $40 per user per month and includes 250-party voice, 12-party video, screen and content sharing, unlimited U.S. dial-in, webinar and meeting recording.
  • Fuze Rooms is $40 per room per month and includes 250-party voice, 12-party video, screen and content sharing, unlimited U.S. dial-in, webinar and meeting recording.

On the Roadmap

The integration of the Fuze web and video conferencing services and the forthcoming new unified client are a major focus for 2016. Additionally, look for architectural enhancements related to the contact center and connecting calls more efficiently across geographically-dispersed agents. Stay tuned.

Sandra Gustavsen