Technology has created a world in which you are always in touch with the office. Cell phones, voice mail, e-mail, pagers, smart phones and PDAs all keep you up to date with what’s happening while you’re away.
But while all these chips and circuits have made your life simpler, they have also made it more complex.
The problem is that messaging comes in so many different forms, over so many different systems. Workers use landlines and wireless phones to receive calls and check voice mail. They must go to a fax machine for faxes. E-mail comes to their computer desktop, and often workers must go online to check mail.
Messages in different formats often turn out to be redundant. A customer couldn’t reach somebody on the phone, so he paged. When the page wasn’t answered, he e-mailed and/or faxed. The business user must go to different systems to find the messages.
Multitudes of passwords, user codes and product-specific instructions slow the retrieval of information to a crawl. Checking messages and returning calls shouldn’t require two computer consultants and an electrical engineer. That is the idea behind InternetPBX from COM2001.com.
“We developed a phone system that takes advantage of the full power of Microsoft NT,” says David Perez, president and CEO of COM2001.com. “It integrates traditional voice, unified messaging, e-mail and fax. It utilizes Microsoft Outlook and Explorer, along with a personal assistant with voice recognition features.
“For the small business guy who is away from the office or working from home, he will have every feature there as he would in the office.”
All messaging is handled through the server, so when the system administrator backs up your computer data, he or she is also backing up your voice mail and faxes. The virtual personal assistant, Alexis, can access e-mail, voice mail and faxes; manage calendars; compose and send messages; and even screen your calls. Users can set single number “find-me, follow me” service.
Users gain real-time call control and screening on their computer screens. An integrated Outlook database provides information on identified callers. A single mouse click lets users place, accept or transfer calls. Users can arrange four-way conference calls and set up high quality digital conference bridges for team meetings.
The toolbar will display all the participants and their contact information from Outlook.
The same interface delivers unified messaging to users of InternetPBX. Outlook captures and displays all voice mail, e-mail, paging and fax mail grouped together and available over the same system. Any message can be played, saved or attached to other messages for forwarding.
The profile of the company that would benefit the most from the InternetPBX is one with 10 to 100 employees and a basic need for mobility. This could be sales people, medical staff, accountants or attorneys, for instance.
“Anyone who needs to constantly be in touch with the office could benefit,” says Perez. “If all you have are clerks, then it probably won’t work well. But if you fit the profile, it costs 1/10th the price of a Lucent system with the same features.”
A system optimized for 10 people would cost about $300 a month with all the options. The servers come prebuilt from Dell.
How to reach: COM2001.com, www.com2001.com
Todd Shryock (firstname.lastname@example.org) is SBN’s special reports editor.