8x8 launches small-business phone system 8x8 Express

Designed for businesses without an IT team, 8x8 Express offers unlimited calling and gives access to 8x8 Meetings, a platform for collaborative video conferencing.

8x8 Inc. has launched 8x8 Express, a business phone system designed specifically for smaller businesses that don't yet have an IT staff.

8x8 Express does not require implementation services, and the vendor claimed online setup takes minutes. 8x8 Express gives users unlimited calling to the United States and Canada; HD video conferencing; business messaging, including text messaging and group chats; and intelligent call routing. All features are available on desktop and mobile for both iOS and Android.

Additionally, 8x8 Express includes the recently released 8x8 Meetings platform. This enables teams to collaborate with HD video conferencing with screen sharing. The Meetings platform is accessible through the same mobile and desktop apps that are used for calling and texting. Collaborators can join meetings from browsers without downloading software. 8x8 Meetings is in early access now for new 8x8 Express and X Series customers on X2 packages and above.

Other features of 8x8 Express include the following:

  • call forwarding, auto attendant and ring groups;
  • voicemail;
  • moving existing businesses' numbers to 8x8;
  • HD voice and video;
  • compatibility with multiple Poly desk and conference phones;
  • integration with Office 365, Outlook Calendar and Google Calendar; and
  • self-administered management tool.

8x8 Express comes on the heels of a few other small-business phone system launches in recent months.

In May, Google launched CallJoy, a phone service for small businesses that gives them a local phone number and provides customer service options. A CallJoy agent can be customized to provide information to customers and block spam calls.

Earlier in July, LogMeIn Inc. launched Grasshopper Connect as a unified communications product designed for small businesses. Grasshopper Connect combines multiple forms of business communication into one inbox and enables small-business owners to create a dedicated business phone number through an existing phone.

8x8 Express is available now in the U.S. and Canada starting at $12 per person, per month.

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