Everything is moving to the cloud, including phone systems. Today, RingCentral.com is launching new features for its completely cloud-based small-business phone system called Cloud Presence. The new system keeps track of where you are, even if you connect using multiple devices such as a mobile phone, tablet and laptop.
The service complements RingCentral’s existing Cloud Connect, which – like eFax – lets you send and receive faxes from a Web browser. Cloud Connect integrates with Box.net, Dropbox and Google Docs so you can fax documents from these services directly.
As with many cloud-based services, the idea is to help small businesses present themselves like larger ones – without having to spend big bucks. For example, let’s say you have employees working from home in several different locations. They can use the service to appear as if they are working from different office cubicles with the same overall business phone number. The system provides all the typical services of such an environment, including three-digit dialing of these extensions, voicemail boxes and a corporate online directory. The idea is for it to be indistinguishable from an expensive dedicated PBX system.
RingCentral has tried to make its service simple and easy to use, and the entire package is available for $30 per month per user for between 4-19 users. Other examples of pricing here. There are no setup charges or monthly contracts required. You can also purchase preconfigured IP phones from the company – just plug them into an Ethernet jack in your office with Internet service, and you are off and running.
All of these services can be managed from either a Web browser or a smartphone directly; the latter feature is not yet offered by RingCentral competitor 8×8.com.