Digium Gets Into Hosted UC Game With Switchvox Cloud


Digium launched a hosted version of its Asterisk-based VoIP system Switchvox, allowing small and midsize businesses to access its unified communications solutions in the cloud.

For Digium partners, the new Switchvox Cloud solution represents an opportunity to sell Digium's UC platform in a services-based model, earning recurring revenue as they go. According to Bryan Johns, product manager of Digium Network Services, partners in some cases already see recurring revenue streams by offering subscription renewals for the on-premise Switchvox solution, but they are "minimal" compared to the recurring revenue they will see selling Switchvox Cloud.

"The Switchvox Cloud recurring revenue model will provide a much more consistent cash flow for our partners," said Johns. "This should allow our partners to more efficiently run their business as they will be more assured of monthly revenues."

[Related: Calling Card: Digium Delivers Own Built-And-Branded IP Phones]

Digium is offering the Switchvox Cloud service in a private cloud environment with a month-to-month payment plan that ranges from $29 to $35 per user, depending on the length of the contract. In addition to VoIP phone services, Switchvox Cloud comes with unlimited local and long-distance minutes, local DID, unlimited extension-to-extension dialing and HD voice, according to Digium.

Switchvox Cloud will deliver the full suite of UC features available with the on-premise version of Switchvox, the company said, while also allowing users to tap into these features from mobile devices, including iOS, Android and BlackBerry smartphones and tablets.

Dale Whitney, president of NetImage, a Shelton, Conn.-based solution provider, said his company plans to offer Switchvox Cloud, particularly within the SMB space, as it can be positioned as a low-cost alternative to competing, on-premise UC and VoIP solutions.

"We think this will be a good fit for smaller clients that are not ready yet to invest in infrastructure and are looking for a solution that can be paid for on a monthly basis," Whitney said.

What's more, Whitney said Switchvox Cloud will round out its broader cloud portfolio with a voice solution while growing its recurring revenue streams.

"We have been offering cloud services for the past few years on the data side of our business, so this will now give us a solution on the voice side," Whitney said. "Our recurring revenue business has grown significantly in the past few years due to our managed services and cloud offerings -- this will just help to increase that revenue."

Whitney also said the fact that Switchvox on-premise and Switchvox Cloud tout such similar feature sets makes it easy for his staff to support and sell.

"By having the same solution for both premise and cloud, it makes the sales process easier and does not require any additional training for our support staff," he said. "We also think it's compelling that a client could start off with the cloud solution and then grow into a premise-based system and still keep the same phones, client interface and feature set."

Digium has been gaining momentum in the channel over the past several years, thanks in part to the growing popularity of Asterisk, the open-source IP PBX of which Digium is the primary developer.

The launch of Switchvox Cloud heats up the competition among Digium and UC rivals Cisco and ShoreTel, which also offer hosted UC solutions.

PUBLISHED MARCH 15, 2013