GoBeam: PBX-Paradise By The DashBoard
By Michael Gallo, Technology Editor,
260 N. Wolfe Road
Sunnyvale, California 94086
While GoBeam's products may not yet have achieved the same degree of
familiarity as Meatloaf's rock-opera epic, a first look at GoBeam's
DashBoard offering illustrates a hearty, voice-hosted platform presenting
an array of PBX, IP-PBX and IP services. Using Sylantro's SDK to fortify
their c-Business iCentrex middleware, GoBeam has leveraged the IP network
targeting enterprises from 20 to 500 employees through their Web-based GUI
to bring conferencing, click-to-call, instant messaging, find-me call
forwarding and auto-attendant features to end users without the need of a
Appended to my DashBoard account was a phone number with a 415 area code.
Many call-control options let me configure DashBoard to answer calls from
different users in different ways. For example, while in the office, I set
the UI to have all calls delivered to my office extension. Stepping out of
the office, I'd only need to enable the Find Me feature with a specific
call treatment to allow contact at certain phone numbers. Within each call
treatment, users are able to define different types of callers (based on
ANI information). This allows DashBoard to treat known callers differently
than unknowns, or treat business-related callers differently than friends
or family. DashBoard parses callers into five different categories: VIP,
Family, Friends, Refuse and All Others.
The Contact List is a core feature of the DashBoard product. It enables
single-click access to company directories, and also integrates with other
features such as conferencing and online data meetings, which aids in
making the product intuitive and easy to use. DashBoard provides all the
standard areas for information (addresses, phone numbers, titles) and also
allows users to set their call treatments while creating a new contact.
Adding a contact to a conference call requires only double clicking on an
icon to add the name to a conferencing register. The Contact List is also
searchable by keyword. GoBeam has partnered with 555-1212.com to offer a
yellow and white page directory look up as well.
On-demand, unscheduled conference calls can be assembled at any time,
without previous scheduling through DashBoard. Participants can be added
at the time the call is initiated or during a call through the GUI. We
tested this feature with a representative from GoBeam by first initiating
a conference between two participants and then adding a third participant
as the conference call was taking place. Voice quality was excellent. As
the conference originator, I had the option to join all, or drop all
calls, or mute a selected participant or participants. GoBeam also offers
scheduled conferencing for the accommodation of more conference
participants, which commands a different billing rate.
DashBoard users can also schedule online meetings to share documents,
attachments or desktops. The meeting interface allows users to define
preferences, invitees, meeting roles (speakers/listeners) and send out
meeting invitations via e-mail. I joined a meeting that a GoBeam
representative set up for our product walk-through. Sharing a desktop with
a representative from GoBeam's facility in Sunnyvale, California, I then
discussed the product's feature set while I learned through example on
Visual Voice Mail has its own messaging inbox. Part of the GoBeam GUI, it
allows users to check voice mail from any Web browser (provided the PC is
audio enabled). DashBoard clearly denotes read and unread voice mail,
while it allowed us to quickly select unheard messages or archive
important ones. Voice mail is, of course, accessible via telephone as
Starting at around $560 per month, a small office would typically get
about 15 stations, and a 'bucket' or block of minutes which can be
used for domestic calling and for unscheduled conference calling.
Interoffice calling is not included in this pricing scheme; since the
calls are pure IP, there is no charge. At the time this article was
written, GoBeam said they were issuing California area codes and phone
numbers, however, they expect penetration into the mid-west, Denver and
Atlanta markets soon.
To The April 2002 Table Of Contents ]
GoBeam's DashBoard offering targets SMBs by presenting managed voice
services as an alternative to a premise PBX. Providing end-to-end voice
capability as a subscriber service, while including many of the same
features provided by PBX systems, less the burden of installation,
maintenance, management and the high price tag associated with such
equipment, may indeed be paradise for some smaller or start-up com-panies.
But add GoBeam's beta soft phone and forthcoming ACD
queues with other impending functionality, and SMBs may indeed think they've
found heaven. GoBeam installs its service, trains GoBeam users and
provides complete customer support for its product.