Gamma Telecom Launches FeaturePlus version 4.0

Gamma Telecom has launched version 4.0 of its hosted IP Telephony solution, FeaturePlus, to the channel. The new version builds on the existing features of the solution to bring additional functionality and, says the company, meet the requirements of the SME market as end-users find increasingly flexible ways of working with IP Telephony.

Gamma has worked closely with its channel partners since launching FeaturePlus in June 2006 and now has many thousands of FeaturePlus seats installed. James Bushell, Senior Product Manager at Gamma Telecom explains: “When we launched FeaturePlus we were the first to the channel with a true business class IP Telephony solution for small business and we knew our channel partners would need support as the solution grew in popularity. Both Gamma and our partners have been impressed with the way end-users have adopted this technology and made it their own, using it in ways we would not have thought of two years ago. As the product and market have both evolved we have continued to listen to the needs of our channel partners and their end-users and this latest version of the product includes four new features based on feedback from the people who sell and use the solution everyday.”

New functionality available with the release of V4.0 will allow channel partners to provide their customers with music on hold packages, the ability to use alternative number presentation and the ability to choose the quality of the call by changing between G729 and G711 CODECs using a bandwidth management facility.

The bandwidth management facility, one of the most important changes, means that FeaturePlus can now be sold as a premium service on a dedicated broadband line. Bushell continues: “When we first developed FeaturePlus, ADSL was capped at a 256k upload and we took the decision to limit the bandwidth used when making a call to minimise the number of dropped calls. The decision meant that the call quality would be better than a mobile call, but slightly less that a traditional PSTN call.”

“With ADSL Max now providing up to 832kbps on the upstream we now feel comfortable in allowing users to make calls using the G711 CODEC to provide PSTN-comparable call quality. Our new bandwidth management facility gives our partners direct control of the CODEC. This facility can be used when a customer demands the best possible call quality from their service and can be managed through the Gamma portal on a line-by-line basis.”

There is now also support for an 8 port ATA, enabling Gamma’s partners to connect up to 8 analogue phones using existing wiring and without the need to extend Ethernet cabling to work stations, keeping the cost of installation to a minimum.

Barry Ward, Business Development Manager at Swains Voice and Data said, “We have just finished a successful month of testing the new FeaturePlus release and we are already lining up opportunities off the back of the new functionality. We see the 8 port ATA driving sales in the sub 8 extension market, as it’s an ideal replacement for all the small systems out there. We can provide all the features you’d expect from a basic system and more, and as it doesn’t require any additional cabling or new handsets, the cost of installation is very favourable indeed.”

The music on hold function will allow end-users to play a number of on-hold tracks, presenting a more professional image and reducing the number of abandoned calls. It is designed to be sold as optional extra for a monthly fee and the option also exists to allow customers to provide their own custom made messages, providing yet another revenue opportunity for channel partners.