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Smart Card Solutions Company Eliminates PBX Maintenance Costs with 8x8

OTI America needed a business phone system that could provide conference calls, web conferencing, mobile applications, and other communication needs that its premises-based PBX could not handle. And it needed its phone system to be as low maintenance as possible. 8x8 delivered a business VoIP solution that met all these requirements and more.


OTI America is a subsidiary of On Track Innovations Ltd. (OTI), a global leader in contactless smart card solutions for homeland security, payments, electronic passports, national IDs, petroleum payments and other applications. With sales, marketing, and technical support teams all working out of the Iselin, New Jersey office, reliable phone service, collaboration and flexibility are essential.
Maintaining Previous Solutions Took Too Much Time
Allan Berkovitz, OTI America’s director of technical support, doesn’t have fond memories of the company’s premises-based PBX. The old system did not support key business features such as web conferencing and audio conference bridges, and did not integrate with Outlook or Gmail contacts. Even worse, the installed PBX took Berkovitz at least an hour a day to maintain, and sometimes more when repairs or upgrades were required.

“Our previous system was behind the times and expensive,” recalled Berkovitz. “And since it didn’t offer conference bridges or web conferencing, we had to obtain those services from other providers at additional cost.”

Berkovitz decided to replace his company’s premises-based PBX with a more cost-effective hosted IP PBX from a third-party provider. Unfortunately, that just made everything worse.

“With the hosted IP PBX solution, we no longer had equipment on site to maintain and our communications costs went way down. But we had constant problems with the system, and less control over the server. We had to rely on our service provider, and their technical support was terrible.”

Berkovitz estimated that he and his IT staff spent two to three hours a day trying to resolve problems with their hosted IP PBX solution. There were ongoing issues with voice quality, static, and echoes on the line. 
One Source for Phone and Conferencing Features Saves Money
After researching a number of hosted VoIP solutions, Berkovitz replaced the company’s phone system again — with Virtual Office Pro from 8x8. This time the company’s phone system “worked like a charm.”

Instead of paying for multiple communications services, OTI America now gets all its telephone and conferencing features from one provider. Berkovitz estimated that 8x8 service is saving his company $500–600 a month. The 8x8 solution includes 15 extensions, web conferencing, conference bridges, Internet faxing, call recording, auto attendants and more.

As a regional office of a global company, OTI America also benefits from 8x8’s easy-to-use mobility features. When employees must travel to work abroad, they can use their mobile phone or a softphone client on their laptops to log in to their 8x8 service through any standard web browser. That flexibility allows them to call contacts, set up meetings, attend web meetings and conference calls, and chat from any place with Internet access.

“We used to spend a lot of money on international conference calls,” said Berkovitz. “With our 8x8 service plan, they are much less expensive.”
Cloud-Based Services Ensure Business Continuity
Another key selling point for Berkovitz was 8x8’s cloud-based communication services. When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012, OTI America was in the middle of a major website development project for the city of Dover, New Hampshire. Although the office in Iselin, New Jersey, was without power for a week, employees used their cell phones and laptops to access 8x8 services and work on www.easyparkusa.com from their homes and hotel rooms. Despite the power outage, OTI America continued meeting with the client and working on the website remotely.

“Like everybody else on the East Coast, we were offline for the first 48 hours,” recalled Berkovitz. “But once power and cell phone coverage were restored in a few places and we had Internet access again, we logged into 8x8 and got our business going. In the end, the storm didn’t affect us much.”
Simplified Management Saves Time
Berkovitz believes 8x8 is the “perfect and ideal solution” for OTI America for a number of reasons. First, while in the past he sometimes spent hours a day maintaining OTI America’s phone system, these days he spends almost none.

“8x8 is the easiest of all the business phone systems I’ve had to deal with. Installation was just a matter of activating the phones and configuring our firewall. 8x8 also has a great interface that’s very user-friendly.”

Berkovitz pointed to 8x8’s web-based Account Manager as a significant time-saver. “The online Account Manager is simple to use, and lets us manage multiple extensions at once, set up ring groups and auto attendants, and make use of virtual numbers to grow our business as needed.”

Second, 8x8 is collaborating with Berkovitz to establish a SIP trunk interface with OTI’s headquarters in Israel. If that goes well, all of OTI’s global offices will be connected the same way, making it easier for employees around the world to communicate. “This is something new that we’re trying out,” explained Berkovitz. “8x8’s support has been incredible in working with IT staff in the U.S. and Israel.”

Third, Berkovitz noted the convenience of having mobility and other time-saving features available to users. “It’s incredibly convenient to make calls using 8x8’s mobile app for iPhones, iPads and Droid devices,” said Berkovitz. “You can immediately look up and dial a number as if you are using your office phone. And when someone calls your 8x8 number, you can immediately add them to your Gmail contacts and then click to call them from your browser. There’s no more wasted time looking around for someone’s phone number and then manually dialing it.”

But for Berkovitz, 8x8’s low-maintenance, cloud-based approach remains the stand-out feature. “The fact that 8x8 hosts our VoIP service is huge for us. Because our company is growing, we needed our phone system to just work and not be in the way. With 8x8, we don’t have to spend hours every day on PBX maintenance. As long as we have Internet access, we can use 8x8 services to run our business. Even when the power goes out, 8x8 is still with us.”
8x8 Benefits for OTI America:
  • Cost savings
  • Ease of use
  • Time savings
  • Business continuity
  • Improved collaboration
  • Flexibility and mobility for employees