Optus has announced the introduction of "Optus Loop", a cloud-based telephony system for small and medium-sized businesses that provides hybrid mobile and fixed-line services.
The telecommunications carrier partnered with unified comms provider BroadSoft on the project, with the latter's BroadCloud running the system.
Optus Loop provides voice, instant messaging and presence, voice, file sharing, and video conferencing services, with a soft client for desktops and tablets. It will be offered in three plan tiers -- Basic, Plus, and Premium Plus -- with a choice between 12-month plans or pay-as-you-go pricing.
According to Optus, the service could save hundreds of dollars in costs for SMBs annually by removing the need to purchase, manage, and maintain infrastructure.
Former BlackBerry Australia MD and now head of Optus SMB Matthew Ball added that Optus Loop will enable businesses to improve their customer service.
"When people need a service or business product, many do an internet search, ring the number, and if they can't get through or can't speak to someone, dial the next number. Small and medium business can't afford to miss out on these opportunities," Ball said.
"With Optus Loop, we are improving SMBs' call management capability so they capture calls through call re-routing, answering calls at their desk, and then taking the call with them on the go or having virtual call assistant pick up their calls."
Optus has been focusing on the SMB segment for the past year, in September launching the Optus Smart Shop marketplace with access to SMB cloud apps and technology, as well as a 24-hour technical support line.
Its smart shop includes access to Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft SharePoint, Sage One, Xpenditure, MozyPro, PlanHQ, Act Cloud, Cloud Flow, and security tools for identifying malware and viruses across files, emails, websites, and social media accounts.
Optus in May last year also opened 126 SMB specialist stores as well as an SMB call centre in Adelaide, and introduced "premium" support services for SMBs in order to "show that we're the small business support network".
Also working with BroadSoft is Optus' rival Telstra, which last month announced entering a multi-year deal to provide unified communications, collaboration, and contact centre services to Australian enterprise customers.
Under the deal, the BroadSoft Business suite of cloud-based unified communications applications will be deployed across Telstra's IP Telephony (TIPT), Digital Office Technology (DOT), and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Connect solutions.
TIPT is a fully managed cloud service providing medium and large enterprises with a unified communication solution supporting voice, video, messaging, mobility, and collaboration, while DOT provides for smaller businesses by offering a hosted on-premises IP calling solution across mobile, landline, and broadband connections.
SIP Connect provides customers with voice and data by shifting them from legacy public switched telephone network (PSTN) and integrated services digital network (ISDN) services over to the National Broadband Network (NBN) or the Telstra Next IP network.
BroadSoft said the deal was made "in response to the growing popularity of a mobile workforce across Australian businesses", with Telstra's unified communications solutions experiencing strong growth over the last year.
BroadSoft launched its APAC training and technical support centre in Sydney 10 years ago, which was collocated with its existing R&D centre in Chatswood, and has been partnered with Telstra on telco software since before then.