A Business Edition from Accent

by Sandra Gustavsen

Accent Communication Services recently expanded its VoiceONE business telephony offering with a more affordable option for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) in North America, the VoiceONE Business Edition. The new offering is an Asterisk-based solution that supports essential telephony features in either a cloud or on-site deployment. Chris Cameron, President and CEO of Accent, explains that the new Business Edition is a great fit for businesses with 5-150 users that don’t require sophisticated unified communications (UC) or contact center (CC) capabilities. He emphasizes, however, that the solution is not restricted by size and can actually scale to handle as many as 500 users or more.

Accent’s new Business Edition joins the earlier VoiceONE Cloud and On-Site offerings (based on Zultys call control) which have been rebranded under the umbrella VoiceONE Enterprise as these offer a more sophisticated suite of features for a higher monthly fee. The Business Edition is about 35% less expensive than the Enterprise Edition. An average Business Edition license is priced at $16.99 per user per month versus an average Enterprise Edition license of $28 per user per month.

Accent made news earlier this year when the company introduced an on-site version of its VoiceONE cloud service. The company, which has been a cloud-only provider of business communications services for years, found that not every business is ready for the cloud, and so, Accent designed and developed an on-premises system with the same features and functionality as its cloud counterpart. With the common software for both cloud and premises deployments, Accent hits on an important trend – hybrid cloud. Customers use the same phones and endpoints, experience the same functionality and access the same administration software whether the solution is deployed on-site or in the cloud. And, Accent can flexibly support hybrid cloud-premises networks for multi-site business customers that may want to install on-site systems in some locations, but utilize cloud services for others.

Also significant (and also trending) is Accent’s simple, subscription-based payment model that applies to both cloud and premises deployments. VoiceONE – either the new Business Edition or the Enterprise Edition and either a cloud-based service or an on-site installation – is available for the same monthly payment. Accent is among a number of Unified Communication (UC) vendors that recognize the appeal of subscription-based pricing and are coming up with new payment models that apply to both cloud and premises deployments (more here on this growing trend).

Accent VoiceONE Business Edition

  • Technology: Internally developed, Asterisk-based solution
  • Target Market: SMBs in North America without a need for sophisticated UC or CC requirements
  • Scale: 5-500+ users
  • Data Centers: Redundant data centers located in Ohio and Minnesota, with geographic failover
  • Service Delivery: Point-to-point, MPLS, private networking, Over-the-top (OTT) via public Internet, or managed service via Accent’s Cloud SDN service
  • Telephony/UC: Three Business Edition user packages come with unlimited service and support, as well as a good complement of business telephony features, including voicemail, auto attendant, unified messaging, ACD call queuing and distribution and reporting.
    • Mobile-only ($12.99 per seat per month) enables access to business telephony features and functions via an iOS or Android mobile device.
    • Standard ($16.99) adds desk phone support, including third party SIP phones (from Cisco, Grandstream, Panasonic, Yealink or Zultys) and analog devices (requires an analog telephone adaptor or ATA).
    • Premier ($21.99) includes a Grandstream desktop phone (GXP2135) in the package price and bundles in Accent’s voicemail transcription solution.
  • Add-on Options: voicemail transcription, SMS and MMS text messaging, multi-party audio conferencing, toll-free numbers, third party softphone support, SD-WAN managed service delivery

Accent VoiceONE Enterprise Edition

  • Technology: Internally developed, Zultys-based solution
  • Target Market: SMBs and Enterprises in North America with more sophisticated UC or CC requirements
  • Scale: 5-5,000+ users
  • Data Centers: Redundant data centers located in Ohio and Minnesota, with geographic failover
  • Service Delivery: Point-to-point, MPLS, private networking, Over-the-top (OTT) via public Internet, or managed service via Accent’s Cloud SDN service
  • Telephony/UC: Three Enterprise Edition tiers, include:
    • Standard supports popular enterprise telephony functions, along with more advanced features such as unified messaging, a mobile client application with presence and instant messaging, disaster recovery and ACD call queuing.
    • Advanced adds a desktop client, meet-me conferencing, third party application integration and voicemail transcription.
    • Contact Center enables Web chat, real-time queue and agent monitoring.
  • Advanced Apps: Optional add-ons are available for video and Web conferencing, call recording and outbound campaigns, to name just a few.

Both Editions (Business and Enterprise) support Accent’s real-time performance tools, VoIP Test and Cloud Status, that help to assess a customer’s (or potential customer’s) network connection and give subscribers confidence in the performance of Accent’s VoiceONE services and uptime. Additionally, customers can take advantage of Accent’s Cloud SDN solution that brings benefits in terms of network simplification, performance improvements, failover and cost savings versus traditional VPN or MPLS techniques. More developments are on tap for 2017. Stay tuned.