All business users and employees rely heavily on phone calls for various purposes, whether it is to get more sales, coordinate on team projects or provide round-the-clock customer support.
One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional phone systems, though, is that users are restricted by their location. Landlines cannot be carried with you everywhere you go, which means prospective customers cannot reach a sales representative when they are away from their desk. This can seriously hamper any business’ sales potential.
Enter hosted PBX, which resolves this problem by routing voice calls over the internet. This gives sales representatives the flexibility to make and receive calls from anywhere on any digitally-connected device. They can simply choose which device to answer calls on, depending on their circumstances at that particular time.
- When a mobile phone is not sufficiently charged, calls can be taken on the computer.
- While traveling across the country for a conference, customers can still be contacted from hotel rooms with any mobile device.
- Whether they are on the road or attending to other matters away from the office, your sales team will be reachable by phone at all times.
That’s not all.
Hosted PBX integrates easily with other business software so data can be shared between sales agents and customers more efficiently.
It also allows the entire sales team to access a group inbox, so customers can always get the help they need even when one sales representative is away on vacation.
Scalability of hosted PBX is another factor in its favor. Businesses are under no pressure to buy an estimated number of phones and phone lines from their provider. Instead, they can scale the software to increase or decrease users, depending on their needs.
Last, but certainly not least, businesses save money by not having to invest in additional physical hardware. They pay only for what they need, nothing more.
This is a huge benefit, especially for startups and mid-size businesses, where every dollar counts.
In short, hosted PBX eliminates the communication headaches that are typical with traditional phone systems.
Comparing Hosted PBX Vendors
This all sounds great, doesn’t it? But before you can switch from traditional landlines, it’s important to identify the best hosted PBX provider for your unique requirements.
Like any business solution, there are dozens of vendors to choose from. Choosing the right provider that fits your needs can be challenging to say the least. We know how important this decision is to your sales organization, though. So to save you time, we’ve assembled a ranking list of the top 13 vendors on the market today.
Let’s start with the best. The comparison chart below offers a quick comparison of the top 5 providers.
Here’s a more detailed look at each of the brands featured on the chart above as well as a few that did not make the top 5 list. To learn more about any of the providers just click on one of the links below:
- Ooma Office
- Alliance Phones
There’s a reason Nextiva tops our list of best hosted PBX providers. They ARE the best in the business.
With a combination of outstanding service, unparalleled technical support, and a wide range of features for businesses of all sizes, Nextiva has transformed business phone service for good.
If you are looking for either a hosted PBX or SIP trunking system that offers superior voice quality, flexible service plans to suit your requirements and budget, 99.999% uptime, and a real person to talk to when you need help, your search stops with Nextiva.
Why settle for second best?
Nextiva is the preferred phone system for businesses with multiple locations. The cloud-based VoIP system is simple to install and get up and running.
It is also easy to navigate, extremely reliable, and (most important) can be managed from one single online portal.
Nextiva Office offers just about every feature a small business would want in a phone system, from unlimited local and long distance calling to unlimited online faxing, music on hold, HD call connect, and the option to receive voicemails via text message or email.
The Nextiva Anywhere feature is also convenient for employees who work much of the time outside the office. This feature allows employees to redirect calls made to their business line to their home phone, mobile, or any other phone of their choice.
At no extra charge, businesses also get a complete conference calling service built into Nextiva’s phone system. This service enables any employee to set up their own conference call with up to 9 callers.
When it comes to sign up fees and contracts, Nextiva goes all out to make it easy for businesses with no setup fees and no hidden charges. Installing the Nextiva office phone system can save a business as much as 60% over traditional phone systems.
Making it even easier is the fact that businesses are not coerced into signing long-term contracts. You can sign up for a month-to-month service and cancel any time. This is a great option for any business looking to test-drive Nextiva’s famed customer service and support.
Let’s talk about the customer service for a moment. Nextiva claims to be fanatical about their customer support.
In the company’s own words, ‘Amazing Service isn’t just something we do. It is who we are.’
Are they exaggerating?
It appears not.
Nextiva’s customers readily attest to the fact that this is absolutely true. Just take a quick look at some of their reviews compared to their competitors (on a scale of 1 to 5):
The company’s reputation for exceptional customer support is well earned. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for on the website, it is refreshingly easy to find a real person to take care of whatever you need.
Nextiva’s Amazing Service® encapsulates the ethos of the company brilliantly.
When you choose Nextiva hosted PBX, you can expect to enjoy powerful communications with incredible ease of use, and absolutely amazing customer support.
It’s not surprising then that Nextiva consistently wins industry awards for its cloud-based business VoIP phone system.
8 x 8
8×8 provides both business and residential VoIP solutions with advanced phone features at rates that are surprisingly affordable.
One of the oldest and largest hosted PBX vendors, 8×8 leverages their wealth of experience and broad market share to offer business and residential users a choice of customized plans to meet their unique business (and personal) needs.
8×8 business customers can choose from 8 different plans, including SIP Trunking, Mobile Solutions, United Communication plans, and specific faxing plans.
The company’s Virtual Office and Virtual Office Pro VoIP solutions offer businesses a combination of reliability, and affordability. Both products come with unlimited calling, US-based support, and a suite of VoIP-ready features that make it easier for sales representatives to connect with customers.
Their flexible residential plans are all designed around the similar theme of ‘freedom from minute limits’. Every plan offers some variation on unlimited calling, allowing users to choose a plan that is best suited to their requirements.
With more than 125 patents to their credit, nobody can contest 8×8’s commitment to developing pioneering solutions that enable business to work more efficiently, and perform more reliably.
An established name in the telecommunications industry, Vonage is the best hosted PBX for non-business users.
While most cloud solutions typically cater to businesses, Vonage has pulled out all the stops to meet the needs of everyday users who are looking for more cost-effective ways to communicate from anywhere.
Vonage offers multiple plans to suit a variety of users looking for unlimited and affordable local, long distance, and international calling along with a suite of tools to manage their calls, and voicemails, more effectively.
Residential subscribers can choose from 4 home phone plans, each of which comes with a variety of business-grade features. Every plan is flexible so it can be customized even further to suit individual requirements.
Residential users also have access to a variety of call handling features, some of which are comparable to those available for business cloud phone subscribers. Features include SimulRing, call forwarding, and call blocking, among others.
Subscribers who would like to retain their current phone number can also do this at no additional cost.
People are increasingly on the go today, and being able to take their VoIP service with them means they can continue being productive and creative anywhere, anytime. All Vonage calling plans come with the award-winning Vonage Extensions App that offers additional convenience for users by allowing them to make and receive calls on their smartphone as if they were at home.
Like Nextiva, Vonage is one of those rare providers that offer customers a 30-day money back guarantee. Though you may not need it, it’s nice to know that you will get a full refund if you are not satisfied with the company’s service or their products.
RingCentral offers powerful cloud-based phone systems and solutions for all businesses, regardless of size and industry. Whether you’re a small startup, a mid-sized organization, or a large enterprise, you will find a plan to suit your needs.
The company is dedicated to eliminating the communications barriers that are inevitable with on-premise hardware. This commitment is demonstrated by their range of cloud solutions that offer unmatched flexibility, reliability, and value.
RingCentral’s cloud communication systems include high definition voice calls, an intuitive product interface, top-rated support teams, and a complete suite of communication tools.
RingCentral Meetings is a stand-alone video conferencing option that is convenient for anyone interested in video conference software only. This software can accommodate up to 100 participants.
Unlimited calling and mobility are also highly desirable features in business phone systems, and RingCentral does not disappoint. Their cloud phone system works across all locations.
Account advisors are available around the clock to help users set up their systems if they are struggling to do it themselves.
Larger plans offer unlimited extensions for easier, 24/7 access to multiple office locations.
With an impressive portfolio of communication solutions for businesses of all types and sizes, Mitel is a shoo-in to any list of best hosted PBX providers.
Reliable and secure cloud-based phone systems are Mitel’s specialty.
This reputed VoIP provider caters to small, mid-sized, and enterprise businesses in all industries. Business customers get every tool they need to establish the reliability and convenience of VoIP calling.
With affordable monthly prices, Mitel’s MiCloud Office and MiCloud Business are designed to help fuel growth, making them ideal for small and mid-sized businesses.
Flexible and responsive, Mitel’s MiVoice Office 250 solution is designed to help smaller businesses cut down on their communication costs.
Another major benefit for new businesses is the ability to add or drop plans as their needs change.
For larger businesses, Mitel offers MiVoice Business, which can support anywhere from 5 to 65,000 users. Mobile and flexible, MiVoice Business provides users with built-in core applications such as Hot Desking, and Dynamic Extension. This flexible phone system allows employees to work remotely and have easy access to voicemail and Unified Messaging from anywhere.
The company’s customer service is top-notch. Customers looking for help have just one phone number to call for answers.
With their easy administration, seamless operation and outstanding customer support, companies can stop worrying about their phone systems and spend more time focused on building their business, and boosting their profits.
HOSTED PBX PROVIDERS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE TOP 5 LIST
The companies listed below are good in many aspects but fall short of being considered a ‘top pick’. When the competition is so fierce, every little counts.
Jive allows prospective customers to test-drive their services with a first month free offer, which is always welcome. Once customers sign up, they get access to additional features, upgrades and add-ons at no cost – another plus point in Jive’s favor. As an added bonus, their services are simple to use for both admins and users.
Layered authentication and encryption networks provide unparalleled security and unlimited messaging, and softphones and an array of mobile apps make it easier to communicate and conduct business on the go.
- Pros: Jive offers a variety of plans and features to suit business of all sizes, from small startups to large corporate. Customers can test-drive the company’s services and choose the perfect plan to suit their business requirements, and their budget.
- Cons: Past customers complain that customer support is a little slow to respond to emails. Calling customer support is a better way to get immediate help when you need it.
With over 100 features, unlimited calling included in their plans, almost 100% uptime, and 24/7 US-based support, Gabbit is one of the best phone services for small businesses.
Gabbit has one of the most straightforward pricing structures as compared to most other providers. For a simple monthly fee for each line, small businesses can access features typically found only with big business phone systems. There are no extra charges or hidden fees.
- Pros: Gabbit is tailor made for small businesses, with a host of features that can be customized to meet the unique needs of each business.
- Cons: Prospective customers do not get a trial period to test Gabbit’s products or services.
OnSip is the number one choice for businesses that are looking for efficient cloud communications for remote teams. OnSip customers enjoy superior HD audio and video quality, easy DIY setup, 100% uptime, and award-winning support.
- Pros: Affordable pricing with a pay-as-you-go facility, exceptional call quality, and outstanding customer support are three of many benefits OnSip customers enjoy.
- Cons: No call recording feature with any of their plans can be a major deterrent for some businesses. Having multiple conference bridges also tends to be expensive on their typical pricing plans.
With more than 50 business-class features, CRM integrations, professional installation, and simple setup, Megapath is a cloud phone service that is built for small to medium sized businesses. Clients can choose from 3 competitively priced VoIP plans.
- Pros: Customers get unlimited national calling, which can help save a substantial sum every month. Megapath also boasts a 30-day guarantee and no contracts to sign. These are two major pluses for businesses looking to test a new hosted PBX
- Cons: Certain features are bundled under the premium category. Clients have to pay extra to access of these features. Some users have complained about slow speeds.
A giant in the Business VoIP industry, Ooma Office offers customers 40+ business VoIP tools, including unified communications, free calls in the US and Canada, call forwarding to mobile, and 24/7 customer support with live chat. Has received rave reviews for exceptional call quality.
- Pros: Small businesses love the fact that Ooma Office plans are affordable, customizable, and help keep costs down. The fact that their plans include unlimited minutes is a huge plus for small businesses.
- Cons: There are complaints about call drops, downtimes, and a few other issues when users switched from their residence services to their business services.
Grasshopper offers small businesses unlimited extensions, conference calling for up to 500 participants, customizable call routing, and a personalized main greeting. Setting up their system is fast and easy. This is a great VoIP solution for small-sized businesses looking for a basic, affordable phone system.
- Pros: New customers get a 30-day money back guarantee and do not have to sign any contract. All customers, regardless of their chosen plan, also get a toll free number at no extra charge.
- Cons: Their plans are relatively more expensive for what you get compared to most other hosted PBX
Vovox offers flexible, customizable solutions for various business models. Small businesses get web and email enabled calls, free on-network calls, 3-way calling, SMS callback, call forwarding, call return, call transfer, and standard voicemail. All of this comes in at a relatively low cost.
Cloud Phone service, which is a virtual business phone number that runs on a smartphone or PC, is the company’s most versatile product.
- Pros: Vovox offers a wide range of services, including a free mobile app with basic calling features and a small amount of credit for calls and texting. Most services are fairly priced and include everything a business would look for in a communication service.
- Cons: The Cloud Phone monthly limits are very restrictive. Consumers get only 1000 minutes to be shared between two users. It is easy to exceed this limit and then have to pay additional fees.
Alliance Phones calls their phone system uncomplicated and reliable, and that’s exactly what businesses can expect from this hosted PBX solution. Their clients enjoy a robust system that is easy to set up and has 99.99% reliability.
The company offers three standard plans that are priced based on the number of system users. There’s the Easy Plus plan for 1-3 users, Simplicity Plus plan for 4-20 users, and the Effortless Plus plan for more than 21 users. All plans can be tailored to fit individual business’ needs.
- Pros: Prospective customers get a 30-day free trial, during which time they get a temporary phone number and unlimited calling.
- Cons: Customers who wish to use their mobile phone have to buy the application.
What’s The Next Move For Huawei?
Huawei assures users that they will still be receiving security updates and after-sales services amidst the Google/Android ban. Sources also revealed that company is poised to launch its own OS, Hongmeng, anytime soon. Click To Tweet
Following the decision of Google and Android to ban Huawei from contracting their services in conjunction of the government-led war against the Chinese tech giant and the executive order released by President Donald Trump, Huawei crumbles to assure users that current owners of both Huawei and Honor phones will still be receiving security updates and after-sales services.
In a short, unsubstantiated statement, Huawei highlight’s the company’s contribution to the growth of Android globally as Android phones from the company has seen unprecedented growth while other smartphone vendors are shrinking or stagnant. While the company promises the continuance of the services provided by Android to their smartphone users, and the promise extends to those units that were already shipped and in stock in stores globally, no additional guarantees were made beyond that.
“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry,” said a statement from Huawei.
“Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally […] We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” they added.
The revocation of Huawei’s license follows after the heightened crackdown by the U.S. government on Chinese companies. Previously, the Trump administration has been lobbying to its allies to ban Huawei’s 5G technology citing that the Chinese government can use the company for espionage and economic sabotage.
The latest blow against Huawei is the decision of Google to revoke the Android license of Huawei, forcing the company to use only the open source version of the operating system. A Google spokesperson confirmed that “Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
Because of the ban, Huawei is now restricted from using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), cutting the company off from critical Google apps and services that consumers outside of China expect on Android devices.
While existing phones from Huawei would probably be not affected by the decision, the future of updates and for those phones as well as any new phones Huawei would produce remains in question. But it seems like Huawei has prepared for the day that this would happen and already has a plan B in mind.
Earlier today, the China-based company released its very own operating system, Hongmeng. A source has confirmed that Huawei is set to officially launch Hongmeng, as the company has been working on it since 2012. The company has been testing the new OS on selected devices under closer door and closed environment. The source also said that the testing was accelerated for the new operating system to be ready for situations just like this.
Nonetheless, it is still unclear whether Hongmeng will be the official name of the OS from Huawei. Experts note that even if Huawei can successfully launch its operating system, the company will still be faced with the challenge of establishing an app ecosystem. It would take Huawei a lot of time to build apps that are compatible with the new operating system.
Huawei accounted for 19% of the worldwide smartphone market and became the second largest smartphone manufacturer, overtaking Apple, in Q1 2019.
The blunder faced by Huawei following the Google ban has caused severe market instability not only for Huawei but for the volatile US tech markets as stocks drop following the shocking decision. Huawei is dragging the entire tech industry with it as market uncertainty brought upon by the apparent tech trade wars. As Huawei’s future remains at the limbo, it brings with it the rest of the tech world.
“If this remains enforced, it’s going to create some opportunity, but companies are working with their compliance departments to get out of the way of this Huawei situation,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. That’s difficult because “Huawei has its tentacles in so many parts of the technology sector. That’s why this is not a one-day event.”
Nissan-Renault’s Ghosn: From Hero To Zero
In a time when Nissan was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy, Carlos Ghosn stepped in not only to save the company but help it to rise back as one of the world’s top car manufacturers. Today, Nissan is facing a similar financial crisis, but this time around, the Japanese carmaker had Ghosn removed from the company.
Through Ghosn’s efforts of restructuring and eventually, reintroducing innovations to Nissan, the company rose significantly within the last two decades under Ghosn’s lead. He also made the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi agreement possible that made them one of the leading car companies in the world.
The company had a good track record. But, CNN reported last Tuesday, May 14, that Nissan posted a significant drop in profits where operating profits plunged to 45% at 318 billion yen ($2.9 billion) in the fiscal year that ended in March and revenue fell 3% to about 11.6 trillion yen ($105 billion), while vehicle sales were down 4.4% to 5.5 million.
This is “rock bottom,” Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa said during the earnings presentation.
Moreover, analysts also expect Nissan to plunge at decade-low numbers in the coming year. Nissan forecasts operating profit for the fiscal year to March 2020 would fall to 230 billion ($2.1 billion). Also, Nissan shares closed down at 3% in Tokyo.
On Friday, May 17, the Japanese carmaker proposed plans to make changes within its executive board as a reaction to Ghosn’s fallout from the company.
The firm told shareholders that they would start implementing a new board structure composed of 11 members, which 6 of whom would be external.
“With the lessons from the recent executive misconduct still fresh, Nissan resolves to rigorously pursue the separation of supervisory and executive functions,” said the firm.
Thierry Bollore, Renault’s chief executive and chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will both be included in the proposed board.
Nissan conceded to allowing Senard into the board though Bollore’s urges. The Japanese firm isn’t too happy about Senard siding with Ghosn during his arrest.
On the other hand, Nissan’s current CEO Hiroto Saikawa has also been reported to be pressured from vacating his position in the company for doubts that he is capable of turning things around for the company and his close relations with Ghosn.
Saikawa responded that he wishes to stay on the company until he sees it return to profitability and will consider the idea of stepping down “at the appropriate time.”
Additionally, Saikawa told reporters that Renault chairman Senard “has one idea in mind, which is integration or merger.” He also added that “what we’ve told Mr. Senard is this is not the right timing to discuss this matter.”
Regarding the topic of a possible merger between Renault and Nissan, the Japanese company seems to be against the idea since Nissan brings in a lot more profitable compared to the two. But, ironically, Renault holds more stake in the company.
Obviously, the Japanese brand has been struggling to manage internal structures with Ghosn leaving its ranks for multiple cases alleging financial misconduct.
Allegedly, Ghosn is accused of abusing and taking advantage of his power and position in the company to meet personal gains. Specifically, Ghosn allegedly used a Nissan subsidiary to send millions of dollars of payments to a business partner of the company abroad, which then sent money to a third company that he controlled. The actions were taken for the purpose of obtaining a “personal profit,” The New York Times reports.
Prosecutors accused Ghosn of using the method on three occasions from December 2015 to July 2018, resulting in a total of $5 million in losses to Nissan.
As of date, Ghosn has been arrested on four separate occasions including the first arrest in November on charges of underreporting his compensation. The second when he was rearrested on related charges and then a third time on suspicion that he had shifted his personal financial losses onto Nissan’s books.
However, Ghosn and his team of lawyers have consistently denied all allegations about him. In a video Ghosn posted before his fourth arrest, he told that the allegations made against him “is about a plot, this is about conspiracy, this is about backstabbing.”
Meanwhile, the French carmaker, Renault also made new allegations against Ghosn, claiming that there were “questionable and concealed practices” regarding the expenses made under Ghosn. Moreover, Renault also announced Ghosn’s resignation from its board.
Facebook Opens A Swiss Company To Develop Own Virtual Currency, Report Suggests
There is no denying that cryptocurrency is slowly becoming the most used currency in the world. The future is bright for virtual money as people started to become a lot more dependent on the internet on almost all aspects of their daily lives. And when a technology thrives, Facebook does not falter to offer the same thing. Reports suggest that Facebook has set up a company overseas to develop its virtual currency that users can send to their friends and contacts.
The social networking giant reportedly opened up a company in Switzerland to focus on payment and blockchain technology, similar to the technology that powers bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.
According to a Swiss publication, Handelszeitung, the Facebook cryptocurrency would be tied to the US dollar and therefore will remain stable unlike bitcoin, which started crashing since 2017.
The report also revealed that Facebook has already set up a company called Libra Networks in Geneva several weeks ago. They noted that Libra is the tech giant’s internal project name for Facebook money.
Owned by Facebook Global Holding II in Ireland, the Swiss company will focus on developing the software and hardware for crypto-related functions like payments, blockchain, analytics, big data, and identity management.
Facebook is hesitant to comment regarding their plans for the digital currency and did not confirm nor denied the reports of its existence. Nonetheless, the news is consistent with an earlier report that Facebook created a team of 50 individuals to develop their cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to be used across the network and on its WhatsApp messaging services.
That design would be geared toward avoiding a speculative frenzy like the one that caused the value of the primary cryptocurrency, bitcoin, to soar and then crash. While Facebook also did not confirm anything related to the leaked project at the time, the California-based company confirmed that they are interested in blockchain technology.
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology,” the company said in a statement. “This new small team is exploring many different applications.”
Blockchain technology serves as the virtual ledger for every transaction using a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, and it builds up a set of data blocks recording transactions and who made them.
Meanwhile, existing crypto companies still face a huge problem in the banking system, and Facebook may face a similar obstacle in case the reports on its own crypto money turns out to be true. Earlier reports suggest that crypto companies around the world are having trouble in opening bank accounts for their operations.
The report followed the complaint filed by Sam Bankman-Fried, Chief Executive Officer of the quantitative crypto company, Alameda Research that “the standard answer of ‘just go to your local Chase branch’ doesn’t work in crypto.” Bankman-Fried also added that it is not illegal for banks to serve crypto businesses, but “it’s a massive compliance headache that they don’t want to put the resources in to solve.’’
The report pointed out that while larger banks avoid getting into a transaction with crypto and blockchain corporations, smaller banks are getting hold of the unserved market.
Silver Bank in San Diego said in its November 2018 filing for an initial offering that cryptocurrencies companies have a total of $40 billion to deposit and larger banks are letting go of it.
Blockchain investment, trading, and advisory firm NKB group have also struggled with establishing banking relationships with a lot of major banks. According to NKB Group’s head of Brokerage Ben Sebley, “denying basic banking is madness, impedes sector growth and forces companies to get creative to solve the problem […] The banks are being overly prudent.”
The facilitation of cryptocurrency in banking has been an ongoing debate after major banking giants like JPM, and other American banks have banned the purchase of cryptocurrency using their debit and credit cards. However, supporters have argued that this ban is a step back for the banking industry.
“If they are policing digital currency transactions by de-risking the activity on the basis of protecting customers from market changes, they are going to be on the hook for market changes where their financial products are used where they did not intervene and de-risk to protect consumers,” said attorney Christine Duhaime, founder of the Digital Finance Institute.
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