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Dialpad Offers Free Cloud Calling

Pure-play cloud communications providers make all sorts of gambits as they work to convince businesses to move from traditional on-premises telephony systems into the software-as-service model. Typically their focus is upmarket, enticed by the high seat volume of large enterprises. But not necessarily Dialpad, the UCaaS provider brought to life by former members of the Google Voice team.

Dialpad today introduced a free cloud phone service, called Dialpad Free, for the smallest of the small businesses -- companies with no more than five employees. These are the small office/home office places that quite often don't bother with a formal phone system but rather rely on cell services, Craig Walker, Dialpad CEO, pointed out during a briefing.

Catch 'Em Early

Dialpad Free comes with one office phone number and provides the ability to support five employees with dial-by-name calling or via extension. It includes many of the features available via a paid Dialpad plan, including HD calling, voicemail, call recording, call logs and analytics, interactive voice response with extension dialing, audioconferencing via Dialpad's UberConference service, video calling between Dialpad users, and chat between staff, and more. In addition, Dialpad Free integrates with LinkedIn and Google G Suite, the latter for which it supports single sign-on.

Dialpad Free does come with a couple of upper limits. While customers can receive any number of inbound calls monthly, they're capped at 100 minutes of outbound calling monthly, Walker said. One hundred is the monthly cap for inbound and SMS messages, too.

This isn't a trial offer; no need to upgrade after X period of time using the freebie offer. Rather, as long as a small office/home office customer doesn't hire a sixth employee or require functionality not included with the service, it will not receive a phone bill from Dialpad.

"We love small businesses. We started as a small business. We think small businesses are the backbone of the economy," said Walker in explaining the company's down-market rationale. And, here's the clincher, "we want to get every single small business's use out there. And some of those small businesses are going to turn into big businesses, and we'll be the guys that were with them from the beginning, and hopefully we grow with them," he said.

Dialpad has its UberConference experience as a proving ground, Walker said. It's approaching a double-digit conversion rate from its freemium conferencing service to a paid version -- much higher than the 3% or so norm, he added.

Going with Google... and Beyond

That's not to say Dialpad doesn't have its share of larger business customers. Dialpad provides its voice and UberConference services in more than 40 countries today, serving some 48,000 companies of all sizes, Brian Peterson, company co-founder and VP of engineering, told me in a call this summer. Motorola Solutions is a case in point, he noted.

Indeed, from the Enterprise Connect 2016 stage, we heard from Greg Meyers, CIO at Motorola Solutions, about how the company uses Dialpad for voice services as part of a Google Apps for Work (now called G Suite) cloud communication and collaboration solution serving 22,000 employees -- believed to be one of the largest cloud communications deployments at the time.

With its roots within the Google Voice business, Dialpad retains close ties to Google. Its cloud communications services run in the Google Cloud Platform, for example, and the Dialpad phone system natively integrates with G Suite. About 80% of Dialpad users are on G Suite, Vincent Paquet, Dialpad VP of Product, told me in late October when the company announced this integration for the Google Add-on portfolio.

Beyond the G Suite ecosystem, Dialpad offers integrations with a wide range of other cloud software, including LinkedIn, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and Zendesk, Paquet said. Additionally, it has a number of partnerships with identity providers -- particularly important for enterprises -- to support single sign-on and directory sync-up, added Amanda Bourque, VP of Strategic Partnerships, Business Development, Channel Sales, at Dialpad.

Kill the Phone Bill

Today's Dialpad Free announcement extends the company's mission to "kill the desk phone" -- a message prominently displayed on the company's website home page and delivered by CEO Craig Walker during an Enterprise Connect 2017 session on endpoint decisions. To that mission it now adds the undertaking to kill the phone bill, too... well, for those smallest of the small businesses, that is.

The Dialpad Free mission begins in the Bay Area, where G Suite users there will be able to try out the service, Walker said. Dialpad will refine the service based on what it learns from those initial Bay Area users, and extend to other cities over time.

Hear more from Dialpad at Enterprise Connect 2018, March 12 to 15, in Orlando, Fla., during the session, "Phones & Personas: Endpoint Decisions in the Cloud Era." Register now using the code NOJITTER to save an additional $200 off the Advance Rate or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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