New York based M5 Networks forayed into communications and business VoIP communications circa 2000, and have since taken the industry by storm. Precipitating this storm is a cloud services space made possible through ShoreTel’s acquisition of M5 earlier this year. Shoretel announced on March 26th that its new M5 cloud division is extending the UC capability to subscribers’ mobile devices.

For those who are unfamiliar with the terminology, cloud based phone systems rely on services delivered online, with “cloud” essentially meaning the Internet. The main requirements of a cloud based phone system are the ability to deliver calls via the web, route inbound calls to the correct workers inside a company, and provide telephony applications like voicemail and call recording.

With over a decade in the industry, M5 operates with a team of about 200 employees serving 2000 clients across many industries. I found a great asset of M5’s website to be their blog which dates back to February of 2009, frequently updated with advancements made in the industry and within the company. M5 also regularly holds company hosted events in addition to being in attendance at cloud communications industry conferences and trade shows.

Included in M5’s website is a comprehensive FAQ containing questions one may or may not have — depending on the nature of their usage of course. However, a concern any business would have that I could not find, was a description of their specific plans and cost. In my painstaking journey to find pricing, I did notice a “Contact Us” on the right side of the page as I delved deeper into what would prove futile.

Alas, my suspicions were correct, when their sales and services section of the FAQ read in bold – “How much does it cost? Can I get a quote?” M5 closed the answer to this vicarious question of an unnecessarily mysterious nature by stating, “We would love to assess your needs and provide a price quote” (I’m sure they would). Further, there was mention of an “implementation fee” and a time frame expected to last 30-45 days for a standard implementation. I found it quite cumbersome to get to this point, slightly confused as to why M5 did not provide what so many others in the industry are – an open, straightforward listing of services accompanied by what exactly they include. In my personal experience, quotes are best left to home improvement. Also, as company needs change, businesses should know exactly how their overhead might change.

Besides the difficulty I had in finding a price, M5 had a lot of exciting news and are clearly a cutting edge leader in the industry. Under Shoretel, Inc, their developments are moving quickly from conception to completion, with their cloud services exemplifying that the sky is the launch pad rather than the limit.

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