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InPhonex Intros Cloud Telephony For SMBs

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InPhonex on Wednesday announced Televate, a fully hosted phone system for small businesses that incorporates customer relationship management (CRM) into its user interface.

Televate rolls up a trifecta of services -- private branch exchange (PBX), interactive voice response (IVR), and CRM -- into a single cloud platform. Though InPhonex also sells standalone phone services that integrate with SugarCRM and, VP of marketing Matt Bramson believes that the "come as you are" bundled approach helps set Televate apart -- particularly with smaller companies that haven't yet taken the CRM plunge.

"A lot of businesses don't view themselves as really ready for or needing CRM," Bramson said in an interview. "We think that's the key: Making it a part of the meal instead of simply offering ways you can plug in third-party CRMs."

The Televate CRM application will suck in contacts from a variety of sources -- including Outlook, Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook -- into a single management interface. On the telephony side, Televate's feature set covers the typical PBX list: voice, voice mail, email delivery, auto-receptionist, local and toll-free numbers, fax, and virtual extensions. IVR functionality supports a variety of automated call management features.

Bramson said that InPhonex places heavy emphasis on mobile integration, too, noting that smartphones have added fuel to a common phenomenon in smaller businesses: Everyone, from owner to intern, is a customer service rep.

"Everybody in the business needs to know who's calling, why they're calling, who they spoke to last, what was the outcome of that last call," Bramson said. "They need the ability to transfer that call to somebody else in the business without having to put them on hold and cradle their smartphone on their shoulder while they go look up what someone's extension is."

Televate launched with an Android app that offers the full functionality of its desktop UI; Bramson said the company will release iPhone and Blackberry apps in the second quarter.

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