Sangoma Taps into Cloud UC

by Sandra Gustavsen

Sangoma enters the hosted/cloud telephony and unified communications market with the new PBXact UCC (Unified Cloud Communications) service for small and mid-sized businesses and small enterprises (up to 200 users). The new service, hosted in Sangoma data centers and sold as a monthly subscription, is based on the features and functionality of the company’s premises-based PBXact phone system from the 2015 acquisition of open source IP PBX developer Schmooze Communications.sangomalogo

Sangoma is best known for its VoIP gateways, session border controllers and telecom interface cards and Microsoft Skype for Business (Lync) related products such as Express for Lync, an all-in-one Skype for Business server with a built-in SBC and VoIP gateway. In recent years, however, the company has tapped into new markets, broadening its customer reach by bringing new products and services into its portfolio. In early 2015, Sangoma purchased fax-over-IP (FoIP) provider RockBochs and open source IP PBX developer Schmooze Com and its two IP-PBX solutions: the FreePBX open source PBX platform and PBXact, a commercial version. Since then, Sangoma has revamped and renamed PBXact as “PBXact UC” which is available in six appliance models, handling from 10 to 5,000 users (the largest model, PBXact UC 5000, is new this September).

Hybrid Cloud

Sangoma’s entry into the cloud UC space is no surprise. Adoption of hosted/cloud solutions for business telephony and unified communications is well underway as businesses, small to large, recognize the benefits in subscribing to unified communications “as-a-service” (UCaaS) versus purchasing and installing hardware and software on-site. Sangoma’s new PBXact UCC service will meet the requirements of today’s evolving workplace and bring a new source of recurring revenue to the company.

UCaaS solutions like the PBXact UCC service are appealing to businesses looking to bypass the typical business phone system purchase. There are obvious budgetary advantages to selecting a subscription-based service (a recurring, operational expenditure or OPEX model) such as reduced capital expenses, fewer IT personnel and predictable per-user monthly fees, to name a few. And, there are strategic advantages in terms of scale, consistency across a network of locations and the ease of adding innovations and technologies that emerge in the future.

Furthermore, recent market studies also highlight a growing preference for “hybrid cloud-premises” implementations that protect existing investments by allowing a business to continue using on-site equipment, while taking advantage of a pay-as-you-go hosted service for some applications or to network a mix of premises-based and cloud-based solutions across geographically dispersed business locations. Because Sangoma is using the same software code base for both premises and cloud PBXact solutions, the company can flexibly support hybrid cloud-premises networks for multi-site business customers that may want to install on-site systems in some locations and utilize cloud services in others. Under specific requirements and service contracts, customers can also subscribe to Sangoma’s call center solution as a cloud-based service, according to the company.

PBXact UCC: Lite and Full Extensions

PBXact UCC is currently available in the U.S. and Canada, with plans for further expansion later on.  The company is offering a Lite Extension for lobby phones, conference room phones and other low usage scenarios and a fully-featured bundle (Full Extension) with popular telephony and UC functionality, plus options to add more advanced capabilities such as enhanced call center as-a-service.

Sangoma offers three of its own IP phones (s300, s500 and s700) which are automatically provisioned and configured when connected and which support Sangoma Phone Apps to control features such as Follow Me, Conference Rooms and Visual Voicemail directly from the phone (no codes to remember). End users can also select third party (non-Sangoma) SIP phones.

Below are some “fast facts” on Sangoma’s cloud-delivered PBXact UCC:

  • Acquired Technology: Schmooze (in 2015)
  • Target Market: SMB, Small Enterprise in the U.S. and Canada (to 200 users)
  • Data Centers: two in the U.S.
  • Service Delivery: Public Internet
  • Telephony/UC: Two plans:
    • Lite Extension ($8.95 per extension per month) for lobby phones, conference room phone and other low usage scenarios
    • Full Extension ($24.95 per extension per month) with popular telephony features, plus more advanced features like a built-in conference bridge, unified messaging (voicemail-to-email and fax-to-email), call recording and video calling
  • Advanced Applications: XactView Operator, Zulu UC desktop client, enhanced call center and third party hard and soft phone support

Sangoma hints that additional UC and collaborative features, such as desktop sharing and mobile client applications, are in development for the near future. Stay tuned.