PingTone: “Enterprise-Ready” Hosted VoIP

Updated: June 21, 2010

Hosted VoIP services make a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. Chief among these is low cost of entry, minimal infrastructure management requirements and relatively easy scalability both upward and downward.

Challenges ensue when attempting to deploy VoIP in situations where high and consistent levels of performance, availability and reliability are required. If you're on a call with distant friends or family and a VoIP call is interrupted or dropped due to connection inconsistencies, it's typically only a minor inconvenience to have to redial the call. If you're in a conference room with several highly paid executives, lawyers or accountants, each minute of non-connected time could have costs in the thousands of dollars.

This means that selection criteria for business VoIP must be higher and more stringent than most consumer and SMB solutions can meet. PingTone, a pioneering VoIP supplier, set out specifically to address the gaps between what earlier hosted VoIP services offered and the performance levels many business users want and need.

In a recent conversation with Focus, PingTone president Bill Smedberg outlined some of the specific steps the company has taken to deliver enterprise-class hosted VoIP services.

  • PingTone works only with so-called "Tier 1" technology and service providers such as BroadSoft, Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems (now Oracle). PingTone collects key technology components into so-called "technology access points" or "TAPs." These are built upon a standards-based architecture that includes full redundancy of VoIP application servers and other key components, with no "bleeding-edge" technologies, according to Smedberg. Each application server pair can handle up to 200 simultaneous calls per second and up to 100,000 end users, according to the company. The network is designed for 99.999% reliability.
  • Customers can connect to PingTone TAPs via single or multiple public or private high-speed data connections. The majority of these connections are via private links, providing high levels of availability, performance and reliability, Smedberg told Focus.
  • The PingTone senior management team has multiple decades of experience working with providers of enterprise applications and networking services (such as Cable & Wireless, Covad and Oracle) and their customers. This experience suffuses all levels of the company with a passion for top-rate customer care and support, according to Smedberg.
  • The company has to date been privately funded by several "angel" investors, Smedberg said. This allows PingTone to focus intently on its technologies and customer service without the pressures of answering to venture capitalists or public shareholders, he added. The company has a positive cash flow and is profitable, according to Smedberg.

The results of this approach have been a hosted VoIP service network purpose-built for business customers. PingTone also enjoys an average account size as much as 10 times larger than that of competing providers, and very high levels of customer satisfaction and retention, Smedberg told Focus. "Our best customers start out with us, migrate away because of acquisition or whatever and then come back after experiencing disappointment with other providers," Smedberg added. (One such customer was affiliated with a venture capital firm that had invested in another VoIP provider.)

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