TAMPA, Fla. - Following the successful debut of iobi Home in May, Verizon today launched iobi Professional for small businesses in Florida. It offers these businesses unprecedented control over all of their communications services, both for individuals and entire work groups.
With iobi Professional, small businesses reap the benefits of advanced telecommunications without an investment in new hardware. Iobi Professional gives individuals unique call-management, voice mail, e-mail and other critical communications services using PCs, the Web or a voice portal. Managers have the added power of an administrative console to control features assigned to individual office lines. Because there is no hardware, installation is quick and easy.
"Informal feedback from customers in the Northeast tells us iobi Professional is more to small-business owners than just another software tool; it's a whole set of tools," said Karmalita Contee-Borders, product manager.
Available in New England and New York City since February, iobi Professional integrates phone call, e-mail, text and voice message management in a single PC, Internet or voice-based portal. It also provides programmable call-forwarding, a tool for directing calls as they come in with a click of the mouse, and integrated directories and calendars, along with various Web-enabled services.
Iobi Professional will be available this summer in the Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic regions.
[Editor's Note: Please contact us for a webcast or in-person demonstration of iobi Pro at your convenience.]
According to Contee-Borders, small-business operators look to iobi to help them manage connections and time.
"Communications features have long been a godsend to small-business people," she said. "What they want to do is exercise their skills and manage their products and services first and cope with managerial functions second. Good communications tools facilitate that."
Anywhere availability. Using spontaneous or calendar-based forwarding in conjunction with on-screen or wireless TXT-based call alerts, users can appear to their callers that they are right there, on premise, answering the phone, or, at least, available for the urgent customer query.
"All businesses nowadays involve some mobility, some field time, and all are competitive. There is an advantage to being available when customers need you. The alternative is to miss the call and lose the customer," Contee-Borders said.
Time management is augmented. Being able to see each call as it comes in and then take it, forward it, send it to voice mail or reject it gives absolute time-management control to the user. Working on accounting? Let the sales call go to voice mail. Drafting product plans? Forward the supplier call to a subordinate.
"We learned from Caller ID in the small-business bundle that knowing who's calling gives the called party the choice to stay on task or allow the distraction," Contee-Borders said. "This tool takes it one step further by allowing instant disposition of the call."
At $11.95 per line per month, customers consider iobi Professional the best bargain in telecommunications.
"The amount of time and trouble, the number of key contacts and messages, the volume of connections iobi helps manage more than cover the cost," Contee-Borders said. "Customers tell us iobi Professional is the perfect bundle of features at a price that individual features purchased a la cart could never touch."
The most popular features and their applications, based on informal feedback, are:
Iobi Professional is driven by a Verizon-proprietary data platform that integrates information from otherwise parallel networks so that it is accessible and usable in new and innovative ways. For example, with iobi, users can click on a button on the incoming call pop-up and instantly view an Internet-generated map of where the caller is calling from. The pop-up also displays the weather at the caller's location. Also Web-enabled is the on-screen instant directory lookup service.
An online press kit including high-resolution video, a flash demo and a features list is available at http://newscenter2.verizon.com/kit/iobi/.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of 212,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 45.5 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com