FrontRange Targets SMBs With VoIP Upgrade

FrontRange Solutions has made available version 5.1 of FrontRange Voice, an IP telephony software application that can be installed on the desktop without the need for other equipment. It targets small and medium-sized businesses and offers upgrades in functionality and integration over previous versions.

The new version of the software permits routing of calls based on the skills of available service agents and integrates with FrontRange’s GoldMine, Heat and ITSM (IT Service Management) for office phones and call center support. Users can define screen pops based on the customer’s needs and have more control over application management.

Works well with others

The primary changes in 5.1 have to do with its integration with other FrontRange products, Mike Heberling, the company’s director of business development for IP solutions, told CRM Buyer. “We created a number of new functions to help Voice work better with other applications. For instance, with ITSM, we developed an entire suite of interoperability applications, including for self-service, and auto-ticket creation.”

Another change in 5.1 is the shift to an SIP (session initiation protocol) soft switch, he continued. “Call control and routing was accomplished by proxy in our earlier versions.”

For users, that means greater call control and feature control capability. “Now we are more of a PBX (private branch exchange) for small and medium-sized businesses.”

Other new features provide additional auto dial support, new support for broadband VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) carriers and support of a compression algorithm, G.729, that makes it easier to compress broadband.

Targeting the customer

The changes are geared to FrontRange’s hallmark constituency: small and medium-sized businesses. Over the last few years, FrontRange has been inching upstream toward the enterprise with other, more robust products.

Its Voice platform, though, is specifically designed for SMBs’ contact center and communication needs, Yankee Group analyst Ken Landoline told CRM Buyer. “In that respect, they are certainly a leader in the CRM space.”

There are not a lot of competitors in the telephony-in-a-box product category, he added, “although some vendors are putting out higher-end packages for enterprises.”

Voice allows customers to bypass several investments including a PBX from a proprietary vendor, specialized hardware, an IVR (interactive vice response), an ACD (automatic call distributor) and a recording solution. It also means users can forgo the integration of these investments and the expense that goes with it.

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