In 2012, GetVoIP compared Vocalocity and 8×8. VoIP is a competitive business, and new features, new prices, and even new companies can emerge all the time. Vocalocity is now Vonage Business Solutions. 8×8 hasn’t changed their names, but they have continued to add new features, rack up more awards, and win big-name clients. Both providers offer big-time features at a small-time price. Let’s compare the strengths and features of these two popular providers.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
8×8 has a background and experience nearly unmatched in today’s market. 8×8 was one of the first VoIP providers to go to market. 8×8 started making semiconductors for early videoconference hardware. By the early 2000s, they were already leading the way for hosted PBX. By the time Vocalocity was founded in 2009, 8×8 was already a market leader.
8×8 has won more than its fair share of awards, including Forbes Best 100 Small Companies, 2013; Frost Sullivan Market Leader in Hosted Telephony North America, 2013; Unified Communications TMC Labs Innovation Award, 2013; and Infonetics Research Leading Hosted VoIP provider, 2014, to name just a few.
One of 8×8’s major drawbacks is that they are less than friendly before they get to know you. To be sure, the customer service is exemplary, but you might not know it right away. Their website buries the prices of popular services, pressuring you to call their sales agents. If you get their services, they’ll be happy to waive activation fees, but if you cancel, they’ll make you pay for them. If you sign a long-term contract, it automatically renews, and if you want to cancel you have to give them formal notice. But unfortunately, there’s a bit of a balancing act because if you want to cancel outright and end your service before the contract is up, you may get stung with a fee.
Vocalocity was founded in 2008 and was purchased by residential VoIP powerhouse Vonage in 2013. Their greatest strength is their desktop software. The Vonage Business Desktop integrates social media and cloud software to call up important information about the caller as soon as the phone rings. Call information can also be quickly be reported and analyzed by CRM software. Having this information right at hand lets subscribers remember important personal and professional details about their clients.
Vonage Business Solutions, as Vocalocity, has also won a number of awards, including the TMCnet Excellence Award, 2013; Inc. Magazine Top 100 fastest-growing private Telecommunications companies in America, 2013; and TMCNet Internet Telephony Product of the Year, 2012.
One possible disadvantage to Vonage Business is that if you’re looking for a tailored plan to cut down the price as much as possible, they aren’t the best choice for you. 8×8 has both the Virtual Office and the more expensive Virtual Office Pro, but Vonage Business only has the one major pricing plan. You can mix and match paid options, but you have to work in step with Vonage Business’s strengths to get the most out of it. If you are a light phone user, or you don’t know how to use the Desktop, you might have to get more than you’d need.
Metered and Unlimited Plans:
Vonage Business and 8×8 both have metered and unlimited plans. 8×8’s unlimited plan is $19.99/mo/extension for Virtual Office or $49.99/mo for Virtual Office Pro. The more premium plan includes virtual meetings, call recording, and paperless fax. Vonage Business has a $39.99 unlimited plan.
Vonage Business offers a metered plan for $14.99/mo plus 3 cents per outbound minute for each metered extension. Keep in mind that in order to get a metered extension you must already have an unlimited extension. The number can go to additional home or cell phone calls, or even go directly to voicemail. 8×8’s metered plan is $24.99 for 250 minutes, + $0.029/min overage.
Both providers have excellent hosted PBX features, including
- Find Me/Follow Me
- Voicemail to Email
- 3-Way Calling
- Call Logs
- Click2call Website Widget
- Outbound Click2call Plugin
- Do Not Disturb
- Call Transfer
- Hold Music
- Call Park
Toll-Free and Virtual Numbers:
One of the ways to illustrate what I mean when I say you that Vonage doesn’t let you tailor your plan as much is to compare the ways in which the two providers handle toll-free extensions. Vonage Business has a straight $39.99/mo toll-free extension, which has unlimited minutes. 8X8 charges a base price of $4.99/mo for the number or numbers, and then the subscriber buys a pool of inbound minutes for all numbers to use.
Here is the chart for how many minutes you may buy with 8×8.
|Inbound Toll-free Calls||Monthly Fee||Per Minute Equivalent||Overage Per Minute|
Vonage Business charges $9.99/mo for each virtual US local number.
8×8 charges $4.99 for local US numbers, $6.99 for Canadian local numbers, and $14.99 for a toll international virtual number. 8×8 charges a one time $9.99 activation for numbers. International Toll-Free calls from 8×8 are $14.99/mo with a $24.99 one time activation; minutes are charged depending on the country.
Automatic call recording is an extra $49.99/mo for up to 500 hours on Vonage Business. On-demand call recording is only $4.99/mo/extension for up to 15 hours of recording.
8×8 Virtual Office Pro includes 1 GB of call recording, which equals 35 hours. Additional recording time is $12.99/GB.
Paperless Fax replaces bulky fax machines with scanners and email. Vonage Business charges $14.99/mo to send paperless faxes. 8×8 includes it in their Virtual Office Pro, although you can also get it as an add-on to Virtual Office.
Activation and Cancellation Charges:
8×8 charges a one time $39.99 activation fee, which is automatically waived for Office Pro subscribers. You may also be able to get the fee waived entirely depending on your service, but that is up to the sales agent. There is no charge to port over your existing number. If you get fees waived, you may be liable for them if you try to leave 8×8 before your service contract is up. If you sign a yearly contract, it will automatically be renewed, unless you ask it to be changed to month-to-month before the contract is over. If you do want to cancel your contract outright, there is a disconnect fee of $59.99.
Vonage Business does not charge to activate the service or port the number. If Vonage assigns you a fax number, they may actually keep you from porting it unless you agree to a $100 charge.
8×8 Virtual Office gives you a traditional audio-only conference bridge that supports up to 15 callers. With Virtual Office Pro you can use their videoconference software, which allows desktop sharing and supports both video and audio. Up to 15 callers are included with this plan, but for an extra charge, you can include more than 15.
Vonage Conference Bridge is $14.99/mo + $0.03/min, and supports up to 30 participants, audio-only.
Vonage Business really makes its bread and butter from its cloud integration. The Desktop Software calls up information from search engines, social media, a CRM software and it pops on the screen whenever a call is made. The Desktop Software keeps track of the calls you have made so you can easily analyze them. You can also custom make your own screen pop by having it launch a web site of your choice when the phone rings. For good measure, you can even have it give you the weather of the person you are calling.
It syncs with the following free services:
- Google Search
- Google Contacts
- Microsoft Outlook
- Custom make your own (Web Launcher)
It also syncs with the following premium services:
- Method CRM ($2.99/ext/mo)
- Microsoft Dynamics ($2.99/ext/mo)
- Intuit Quickbooks ($4.99/ext/mo)
- Salesforce.com ($2.99/ext/mo)
- Sugar CRM ($2.99/ext/mo)
8×8 is no slouch when it comes to cloud integration. Just like with Vonage Business, when you get a call on 8×8, a screen will pop up with relevant information about the caller.
It syncs with the following services:
- Sage ACT!
- Sugar CRM
Vonage and 8×8 were two of the first names in VoIP, and it’s only natural that they would still be two of the biggest. Vonage Business brings to the table a powerful desktop tool able to supercharge your productivity. 8×8 brings with it a time-tested formula and dynamic tools at a competitive price. Picking the right one for you depends largely on which provider’s platform makes more sense to you.
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