Big announcements today from open-source business phone systems and solutions developer Fonality.
Today marks the official release of trixbox Pro. Fonality is marketing the product as a free business-grade phone system that lets business users with 5 to 500 employees to make free VoIP calls.
What this means: more pressure on residential-VoIP providers as they try to diversify by upgradng their offerings to smaller businesses, as well as pressure on enterprise-VoIP as they continue to seek growth at the "M" (as in medium) sector of the SMB market.
But now back to trixbox Pro:
The product will not only offer free VoIP calls, traditional PSTN dialing and PBX features, but conference calling, unified messaging between voicemail and email, employee presence management, embedded corporate chat server, and the ability to integrate with Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM.
Fonality is also introducing trixNet, which it is marketing a free in-network calling service which lets any trixbox Pro user call any other trixbox Pro user, using their regular phone numbers. Calls over trixNet are not subject to any local or long-distance charges. Fonality says it soon extend trixNet to the trixbox CE (Community Edition) platform, its popular open source Asterisk-based software which the company notes has been downloaded more than 1.4 million times.
Early next year Fonality will extend free trixNet calling to include anybody using GoogleTalk, Google's instant communications service.
Here's how all this works, according to Fonality:
trixbox Pro is a hybrid-hosted phone system, which means the free software is first downloaded by a business and installed on a local computer and local IP phones. After this step, the local computer connects to the Fonality network where server health, call quality and usage are constantly monitored.
The base edition of trixbox Pro is free and there are two paid editions tailored specifically for the reseller market that are available for a monthly fee or one-time, per-seat charge. trixbox Enterprise Edition (EE) and trixbox Call Center Edition (CCE) have the enterprise feature sets required for larger businesses and professional call centers, but at a low fixed or monthly fee.