Not every UCaaS provider is an upstart operation born out of the Cloud revolution, looking to muscle in on the territory of the traditional PBX and UC system vendors. In fact, many vendors have undergone their own migrations to the Cloud, letting the winds of change fill their sails and making the journey over to hosted services.
Take IPCortex, for example. Founded by former telecoms software engineer Rob Pickering in 2002, IPCortex has established itself as a reliable name in the UK PBX market, providing on-premises systems to around 80,000 customers. With solutions for microbusinesses up to large multi-tenant sites, IPCortex rolled with the times to add Keevio, an integrated UC application suite to its PBX, and then developed a virtualised version.
But even those innovations were not enough to satisfy the company’s desire to adapt to shifting market trends. So as the market potential for hosted cloud communications services became apparent, IPCortex repurposed its business telecoms software solutions as a UCaaS offering. IPCortex Hosted Suite was born.
In that sense, for businesses considering whether to migrate their telecoms systems to the Cloud, IPCortex is a company which has already trodden the same path. And as part of its commitment to excellent service, it is keen to share what it has learned about cloud communications to help customers make the best choices. Read the IP Cortex Hosted Buyer’s Guide to learn more.
For the Hosted Suite itself, IPCortex bills it as a platform “for conversations that matter”. What is particularly interesting about the suite is that, unlike many hosted UCaaS services, the IP Cortex Hosted Suite is not modular. Instead of picking and choosing from a range of apps to create your own comms toolbox, IPCortex gives you everything as standard – including its full PBX software capabilities, the Keevio UC suite, contact centre and even call reporting capabilities.
Before we dig deeper into the pros and cons of this approach, please remember that UC Today does not endorse, market or have any role in the sale of any product. Our reviews are entirely independent and aimed at helping our readers make informed choices with their UC product purchases.
What Can It Do?
IPCortex Hosted Suite is built on the company’s popular PBX software platform, repackaged and delivered as a hosted service. As such, Hosted Suite delivers all of the business class telephony functions you would expect, including:
- Call queues with position announcements and alerts
- Call barging (listen only)
- Call whisper
- Call Management – hold, transfer, forwarding
- Hot Desking interface
- Pickup groups
- Integrated phonebook and address book
- Hunt Groups
Service subscriptions are on a per-user basis, so you can scale up and down as much as you need. Each user gets a channel, a DDI, 1,000 free minutes to UK geographic numbers, and a voicemail box with email and web access. Internal calls are free. The PBX software is compatible with all open SIP handsets and mobile SIP softphones, meaning you can use your existing office desktop phones and integrate mobile phones into the office.
As well as working with your existing SIP hardware, the Hosted Suite also comes with a web softphone as part of the Keevio app, meaning you can use any web-connected device to make calls. Keevio is IPCortex’s own fully integrated UC and collaboration platform, providing IM, video, presence, screen sharing and file sharing. A neat touch with Keevio is that it offers exactly the same functionality for external contacts and customers as for internal contacts, because it is all based on the same telephony-based functionality.
Indeed, as a contact centre solution, Hosted Suite really stands out. The ready availability of video, IM, file and screen sharing for external facing communications gives businesses the opportunity to innovate and create flexible, memorable contact points which fit with changing patterns of customer behaviour and preferences. The fact that all of this is available on the web-based Keevio platform means agents can sign in from anywhere, on any device, breaking the shackles of the traditional static contact centre and integrating customer service more closely with general business communications.
But best of all, Hosted Suite also comes packed with dedicated contact centre features, for no extra charge. These include:
- Wallboards with live call stats
- Queue management
- Detailed call reporting for every extension
- Call log details stored for up to a year
- All calls recorded and stored for 21 days
If you have any concerns over basing customer-facing communications in the Cloud, IPCortex covers that with full encryption of all communications through Keevio. It also provides HTTPS secure auto provisioning for your handsets, making sure your telephone endpoints are secure too. It also implements an active fraud prevention strategy, including unauthorised device quarantine, backed up by a guarantee of £450 cover for any incident which does occur.
What do we like?
IPCortex Hosted Suite has a lot to admire. Some people may prefer modular subscription services where you pick and choose (and pay for) the precise platforms you need, but there is a simplicity about IPCortex’s everything-for-everyone model. Where it stands out in particular is the contact centre features which come bundled in – these are services you would usually expect to pay a premium for.
Who is it for?
As with all UCaaS products, scalability is not an issue, and in theory Hosted Suite is suitable for any business of any size. However, with the included call minutes being allocated to UK geographical numbers only, the target market is definitely British. The everything-included model is also more likely to appeal to smaller to to mid-sized businesses rather than enterprise level, especially if they are looking for a highly cost effective way to access contact centre and reporting tools. It is a particularly strong option for external-facing comms.
What is it compatible with?
IPCortex makes a comprehensive set of APIs available for Hosted Suite. Covering all real time interactions with base PBX software, this means you can design your own custom integrations into pretty much any other workflow and productivity platform you like. IPCortex refers to this as enabling ‘contextual communications’, or making comms tools readily available as you carry out other everyday tasks.
Where to buy?
IPCortex Hosted Suite is available via a network of UK partner resellers and ISPs. Contact IPCortex directly to check your nearest dealer.
UC Today Opinion
The UCaaS market has become highly competitive as demand continues to soar, and vendors need to have something unique to make them stand out from the crowd. IPCortex achieves that by eschewing the modular, app-based model in favour of a comprehensive all-in-one package. Again, this will not be to everyone’s tastes, especially if the main appeal of the Cloud over on-premises solutions is flexibility in terms of the platforms you can access.
But IPCortex’s secret weapon, and its masterstroke, is to throw in a full set of contact centre solutions as part of the suite. That really gives it an X-Factor appeal, and combined with an intuitive single-pane-of-glass interface, hassle-free setup including secure provisioning, and a solid PBX base, you have a very strong hosted solution for external-facing communications.
Are you an IPCortex Hosted Suite customer? What are your thoughts? Was the inclusion of contact centre and reporting tools a key factor in your decision to go with IPCortex? Please let us know what your experiences have been by adding a comment below, and feel free to share this article on social media.
This article is part of the July Series of the Technology Track on Cloud Communications, follow the link to see all published and planned articles.
Look & Feel
The ideal solution if you want all your comms tools in one handy cloud package.