In the rapidly growing VoIP industry, many individuals and organizations have found it difficult to determine which provider can best satisfy their needs. The most important things to consider when choosing a VoIP provider are price, operational needs, and the overall size of your organization. This article will briefly review the VoIP services that can be provided by 8×8. As one of the industry’s most competitive service providers, 8×8 may be able to provide your organization with reasonable solutions.
8×8 was originally founded in 1987 as a company known as Integrated Information Technology Inc. (IIT). The company’s original business model was primarily centered on vending semiconductors and other essential computing products. Naturally, in an industry that has evolved over the past 30 years as rapidly as information technology, the leaders at 8×8 have actively sought new ways to innovate.
The company quickly moved into the videoconferencing market by producing various software, hardware, and other products essential to creating videoconferences. After successfully establishing itself as an industry staple, the company decided to publicly list itself on the NASDAQ in 1997. Eventually, it would transfer from the NASDAQ to the NYSE and is currently traded using the ticker symbol EGHT.
Since 2002, VoIP service has been 8×8’s primary area of emphasis. Major highlights of the company’s efforts include being the first to offer replacement E-911 services, accepting 200,000 customers who were abandoned by SunRocket upon liquidation, and earning more than 125 patents over time. The company has established itself as a clear industry innovator and has been able to effectively continue finding ways to make VoIP services more efficient and applicable.
As of 2014 (the most recent year that data is available), 8×8 has reported providing more than 40,000 businesses with VoIP services. This business exist in a very wide range of industries and has included some major corporations including McDonald’s, All State, and NetSuite. Currently, the company has small, medium, and large sized VoIP packages available in order to appeal to the widest range of potential customers possible.
As stated on the company’s website, the products 8×8 provide can be described as “when unified communications in the cloud meets collaboration and contact center in the cloud.” Essentially, what seems to separate 8×8 from many of its competitors in the VoIP industry is that instead of relying on previous infrastructure models, 8×8 has continued to commit itself to finding innovative new ways to link cloud and VoIP technologies.
Elsewhere on the website, the company’s underlying mission is described with three simple—yet important—points of unification:
- One system of engagement to manage all employee and customer interactions
- One integrated experience for fast, efficient employee and customer collaboration
- One system of intelligence for constant learning and improving
By committing itself to this centralized, united model of communications, 8×8 hopes to establish a system in which companies can quickly adapt to an ever-changing world.
Current Product Offerings
As stated, 8×8 has several distinctive product offerings that are designed to cater to small, medium, and large businesses. With regards to cloud VoIP services, 8×8 currently has three different service plans available. The primary differences between these plans are their cost, their features, and the kinds of businesses they are designed to serve.
The most basic plan that 8×8 offers is referred to as Virtual Office X2 Edition. This particular plan costs $25 per month per user, which is fairly consistent with comparable alternatives in the industry. The X2 edition is designed to provide “essential communication capabilities.” This includes various messaging, communication, and collaboration features that are ideal for organizations that consistently work in small groups.
The mid-sized plan that is currently offered by 8×8 is called Virtual Office X5 Edition. This plan costs $35 per month per user, making it 40% more expensive per month than the X2 Edition. The primary difference between the X2 and the X5 are that the X5 is able to operate on a much larger scale. This includes things such as the ability to host larger conferences, call recording features, and the ability to manage larger workloads.
Lastly, the most exclusive plan that is offered by 8×8 is referred to as the Virtual Office X8 Edition. At $55 per month per user, this plan is certainly more expensive than many of the alternative options (both within the company and from other providers), however, it is also quite comprehensive. The company markets this particular plan as “the ideal choice for users that want it all.” This plan has an extensive range of cloud and in office features. It emphasizes its commitment to exceptional “communications, collaboration, analytics, and contact center capabilities.”
Deciding which Product is Right for You
The X2, X5, and X8 are all above average options. The one that makes the most sense for your business will depend on your specific needs and budget. The storage capacities for these products are 1 GB, 5 GB, and 10 GB, respectively. Some of the features that can be found in each of these products include voicemail, call queuing, mobile and desktop apps, unlimited internet fax, and business SMS.
While the X2 can effectively host 5 participants, the X5 can host 25, and the X8 can host 50. Additionally, there is a notable amount of variation in the number of countries that are included in the unlimited calling zone. While the X2 reaches 14 different countries, the X5 reaches 32, and the X8 reaches 47.
In terms of capabilities per dollar, the exclusive X8 package offers the best value. Some features exclusive to the X8 include salesforce analytics, other premium analytic features, and access to both the inbound and outbound contact center. However, many smaller organizations consider some of these features to be excessive.
Overall, it is pretty clear that 8×8 is an innovative VoIP service provider that can effectively meet the needs of a wide variety of companies. The primary drawback of this organization is that it is, in fact, a bit more expensive on a monthly basis than many of its competitors. But due to the many features and functions that each of 8×8’s service packages can provide, many organizations (over 40,000) have found the cost to be worth it.
Andrew is an experienced writer with degrees in Finance and Political Science from the University of Colorado. He also has experience in the real estate and life insurance industries. His other primary interests include economics, entrepreneurship, political philosophy, and nature.