Optus has announced a new cloud-based telephony system aimed directly at small to medium businesses (SMBs). Dubbed 'Loop', the product is a hybrid mobile and fixed line service with a host of unique features. If Optus can be believed, the service will save businesses hundreds of dollars annually compared to a traditional telephone switching system. Here are the details.
Over the past year, Optus has been aggressively courting SMBs via a redesigned support network that boasts dedicated call centres, specialist IT staff and physical business stores. (There was even a glitzy marketing campaign, that inexplicably starred Mark Wahlberg and Ian Thorpe.) With the launch of Loop, Optus is clearly hoping to bolster its SMB credentials even further.
Developed in conjunction with unified communications service provider Broadsoft, Optus Loop is a cloud-based telephony system that challenges the traditional PABX. The system provides voice, instant messaging and presence (IM&P), file sharing, virtual meeting rooms and voice/video conferencing, as well as the ability to listen to voicemails through email.
Businesses can add a landline number to a mobile to "seemingly be in two places at once" and easily transfer calls between landline and mobile numbers. It comes with a soft client for desktops and tablets with the ability to receive calls directly from computer (all you need is a headset.) The service also offers an automated attendant that directs calls to the appropriate person or department in your business.
During the launch, Optus' SMB manager Matthew Ball said the system will allow small to medium businesses to turn their backs on "costly" PABX infrastructure. "SMBs can do away with clunky and expensive telephony systems to now run their business seamlessly and easily on a fixed and mobile integrated service,” he said.
Optus Loop will be offered in three tiers: Basic, Plus and Premium, with the service requiring a fixed or mobile broadband internet service depending on the plan. (You can use service providers other than Optus too.)
Loop is being offered on a pay-as-you-go model and on 12-to-60 month plans, with prices stating at $35 per first user. ($25/month per each additional user.) You can check out the full range of plans here.