8×8 Virtual Office Pro v2: SMB IP Telephony

If you run a small business with people in different locations but don’t want your customers to know that, then consider the latest Virtual Office Pro v2 from 8×8.com. For $50 per user per month, you get a desk phone and a collection of software that formerly was only available to bigger businesses or for a lot more dough.

The phone is an IP phone, meaning that it connects to your Ethernet network and AC power. The downside is that it can take several minutes for the phone to boot up, because this is really a computer under the covers. You have a clear speaker phone with conferencing, do not disturb, and other buttons, along with a good sized LCD screen.

There are dozens of features as you would suspect in the phone, but what impressed me is the associated software that you can use on your Mac or Windows PC (it is all Web based, by the way, so really you just need a browser) to make calls, send faxes, and set up your address book. You can record calls, do video chats, have Web meetings, and let your co-workers know if you are present or on a call or free. The screenshot at left shows you what this all looks like. There is another piece of software for your Web browser that is used to set up the phone and PBX features and line configurations. One downside is that the two programs have somewhat different user interfaces.

The price includes unlimited local and long distance calling.  The product is extremely easy to setup, within minutes really. If you are looking for a managed and hosted virtual PBX service that is inexpensive but feature-rich, then consider Virtual Office.

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