Ooma has begun a promotion about their latest offering, the Ooma Business phone system, but is this system designed with YOUR business needs in mind?
Before I get started with this post, I want to make it clear up front that this is in no way a hands on review of the service, this is an outside looking in perspective of the publicized features and functionality of the Ooma Business phone system from someone with nearly 15 years as a telecommunications technician.
The Ooma Business phone system compares better to a regular land line phone system than any of the other VoIP business solutions that are available on the market.
The device is LIMITED to 5 extensions (physical phones) and 15 virtual extensions (forwarding to cell phones or other telephone numbers.
The device is LIMITED to 10 "phone lines"
This means that your business is limited to having no more than 5 workers handle no more than 10 phone calls at any given time. This might suffice for many small businesses, or start ups. The problems do not end there however. Since regular land line phones are used, initial start up costs are kept to a minimum and any off the shelf telephone or cordless telephone can be used for each of your employees extensions, but that means that there are no special function buttons for the phones, such as hold, or transfer. All additional functions must be performed by memorizing the special codes to use these features.
The service does come with an IVR, but you would need to record and set up the IVR system yourself. They do not provide professional voice actors to record, nor do they perform the set up of your IVR menu functions. Again, for a small or home based business this may not be a negative factor. Some smaller businesses want to appear accessible to their customers and do not mind recording their own IVR prompts, but do you really want to learn how to, and then set up all of your ring groups, and phone system functions on your own?
Once you get your phone system up and running, and decide that you want additional functionality such as an overhead paging system, or a door phone intercom connected to your phone system there is NO way to accomplish connecting these additional systems to your Ooma Phone system, so you are going to have to start over again.
While I commend Ooma for trying to break into the Business phone market, I think that a device like this would have worked much better as a stop gap many years ago as a transitional service to the more robust functionality that many of the hosted PBX telecom providers now offer, such as Telebroad (which employs me)
While there is a place for the Ooma Business phone system in the market, I believe that it is a very small niche market of small start up businesses that do not have much aspirations for growing their companies beyond several employees, and have no future plans for adding additional features to their communications system.
They do mention the device will do faxes, but I believe this to be fax over VoIP, which I would never recommend, hopefully it is FoIP, which the device actually caches the fax and transmits it similar to how an efax would be transmitted. If you plan on using this device for faxing, make sure to ask the questions - and I would highly recommend live testing the faxing functions before porting over your fax number to them.
All in all, if you feel that this system will meet your communications needs, you can go here http://www.ooma.com/business/refer-a-friend?referral_code=VEF3711 to order.