By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
VoIP provider 8x8 added new IP phones for its Virtual Office small-business telephony system as well as a hosted key service and new distribution partner.
Starting this month, the company will sell Virtual Office through Staples.com, which joins Office Max and Office Depot as 8x8 partners.
The small- to medium-sized business VoIP system will be sold for $79.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
According to 8x8, Virtual Office has more than 12,000 subscribers.
8x8 also added three new IP phones for use with its Virtual Office platform.
Developed with communications manufacturer Aastra Telecom, the Packet8 675xi series of IP phones incorporates 8x8's Network Address Traversal technology, which allows users to plug the phones into public and private Internet connections and call without network or firewall configuration.
The phones will be sold in three models. All the phones will feature corporate directory display/look-up and direct-dial, intercom paging, shared-line appearance and power-over-Ethernet.
They will also include a full duplex speakerphone, programmable softkey appearances, LCD displays, embedded XML browsers and up to nine call-appearance lines.
The $129 6753i will be the entry-level offering. The 6755i midlevel piece adds a fourth call-appearance line, a larger LCD display, and the ability to program when the phone turns on and off.
It will retail for $199.
The top-of-the line 6757i CT phone includes a DECT-based cordless handset with a 300-foot range from the base station.
It will retail for $349.
Finally, 8x8 announced a new "hosted key" service. According to the company, the service is "designed to replace traditional premise-based telephone key systems typically used by companies whose size or structure dictates the sharing of multiple, common phone lines among employees, regardless of where the employees are located."
The hosted key functionality will be added to the Virtual Office platform and will be available using the new IP handsets.
It will support a searchable corporate directory, direct intercom paging from phone to phone and shared-line appearance functionality, "which allows a group of users to accept a call, place it on hold, page a colleague and ask them to pick up the call on any one of up to nine separate lines," 8x8 said.
The new IP phones will work with both the Packet8 hosted key system service as well as the Virtual Office hosted iPBX service, separately or in combination in the same office environment.
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