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Adding Power to the PBX

Newton, Mass.-based GotVMail has a virtual PBX product that adds voice mail and a whole lot more to the basic business features of a corporate phone service without requiring any CPE.

“Ours is a next generation solution using a tried and true technology,” says Mark Feldman, the company’s vice president of business development. “The deployment method and web interaction are next generation but the underlying technology is basic dial tone.”

The company is targeting businesses that are not too large and not too small. “The market we’re after is businesses with under 20 employees down to 10 employees and even all the way down to the SOHO space,” Feldman says.

So far, he claims, the company has 10,000 business customers on pricing that starts at $9.95 per month.

The service offers a virtual toll free or local phone number without busy signals, voice mail, music on hold, and sophisticated premium features such as automatic call distribution (ACD) in which incoming calls are evenly divided between employees in a call center or sales team.

Messages in voice mail can be delivered to computer in MP3 format, and the mailbox can be managed through the web or by phone through voice activated scripting. For example, the system could request a caller’s name and a subject for the call before connecting the caller. Companies can set call groups and can also enable employees to continue to receive office calls no matter where they are.

“We see demand for this from businesses, such as consultants, whose only phone number is a cell phone,” says David Powers, GotVMail director of communications.

A good host

“This enables ISPs and webhosts to make their resellers and customers look more professional,” adds Siamak Tagaddos, CEO and co-founder of GotVMail.

GotVMail is reaching out to ISPs and webhosts because the company is interested in reaching a large number of businesses of its target size. The company is particularly interested in webhosts that are acquiring new customers at a rapid pace.

It feels it has plenty to offer in return. “Webhosts are looking to offer value-added services,” says Feldman. “Domain names and web design are an easy extension of the business. Next is basic telecommunications, such as getting a toll free number.”

GotVMail brings a lot more. “You can connect any phone anywhere in the country,” says Tagaddos. “You can add a mailbox name, change a greeting, or turn on new features instantly.”

At the high end of its feature set, the goal is very ambitious. “We bring call center functionality to informal call centers,” says Tagaddos. “We give them all the capabilities that the monster systems have.”

Pricing and availability
The product is available now. Retail pricing plans are listed here.

For ISPs and webhosts, the company offers a simple referral fee relationship, but is willing to offer a recurring revenue stream to companies that will commit to delivering specific quantities of new customers.