OnSIP: Real PBX Flavor in the Cloud

Junction Networks is a hosted PBX app provider that lets startups and small businesses pull a VoIP phone systems out of thin air or, more accurately, out of the cloud.  The company was founded in 2004, and open standards were practically written into their constitution.  In other words, they support SIP.

Their OnSIP hosted PBX service has a maturity level that will appeal to businesses—tech and otherwise—that want a phone system and not a collection of APIs with some sample apps.

I spent a  morning setting up and testing auto-attendants, hunts groups, conference bridges, and voice mailboxes on my OnSIP demo system.  It worked without a hitch.   And it was rewarding, in a telecom kind of way, to  finally use my collection of free SIP softphones (X-Lite and SIP Communicator) as true office phones and bask in the glow of emulated message waiting indicator lights.Continue reading

Twilio’s OpenVBX: Open Source Attendant

I downloaded OpenVBX, Twilio’s bendable, programmable cloud-based unified communications platform, tried out a few call control flows, and then drifted off into a reverie about telecom start-ups before the dot.com crash.

When the CLECs and ASPs first came on the scene in the 90s, they were offering hosted personal attendants (or assistants)—which was the term used before “Google Voice-like”—that allowed subscribers to configure find-me/follow me schedules for cell, home, and office numbers,  set up voicemail notifications, and craft simple IVR menus. They would often  throw in  speech rec, and support virtual presence through local phone numbers.

Maybe $30 per month, with a cap on minutes. These personal auto attendants were  tasty telecom appetizers and considering what was available from incumbents at the time, practically disruptive.Continue reading