Unified Messaging Made Ultra-Comprehensive
InternetPBX allows users to access voice messages, emails, faxes, and more from a single Web interface.
- By Barry Shilmover
- January 01, 2001
To many people, unified messaging is defined as “the
ability to access all data, at any time, from devices
ranging from PCs and pagers to cell phones.” COM2001.com’s
InternetPBX product comes very close to meeting this definition.
Unlike some unified messaging products, InternetPBX is
a PBX replacement, not an add-on. If you implement this
product, you’ll no longer need your PBX phone system.
Like many competing systems, InternetPBX is a combination
hardware and software solution. What sets it apart is
the hardware choice. The minimum configuration includes
a rack mount, dual-Pentium III Dell PowerEdge server with
1GB of RAM, dual-SCSI hard drives, and DAT tape backup
system. The system also incorporates Microsoft BackOffice
4.5, dedicated PBX hardware, and software.
While InternetPBX is configured professionally by one
of COM2001.com’s resellers, the interface is intuitive
as it uses an MMC Snap-in for all administration. The
InternetPBX client software installs a nifty tool bar
that allows you to control your little part of the phone
system. With this tool bar, you can check your voicemail,
call people, place calls on hold, create conference calls,
and set the console to “Do Not Disturb.” Another feature
is the ability to create phone pools such as a tech support
feature on the phone system. Using the console, you can
check who’s currently logged into the pool (logging into
the pool will forward tech support calls to an available
technician), see who is currently talking to customers,
and join the pool.
One of the features that really blew me away was InternetPBX’s
Web interface. COM2001.com’s developers rewrote Microsoft’s
Exchange Outlook Web Access (OWA) to support the different
data files used by InternetPBX. What this means to your
users is that a single interface now can be used to access
not only their e-mail, contacts, and calendar, but their
voice messages and faxes as well. In fact, using the new
OWA interface, you can have InternetPBX call a contact,
call your cell phone, and then connect the two.
|With this single Web interface, InternetPBX
users can access their voice messages, email, faxes,
contacts, and calendar. (Click image to view larger
Text-to-speech is another InternetPBX feature—you can
call the system and request that it “read” your email
messages to you. You respond to these by having the system
record your reply and then attaching it to an email as
a .WAV file, or by converting the text to speech.
While InternetPBX isn’t the cheapest solution around,
you get what you pay for. The system is solidly built
from both the hardware and software sides. And the fact
that the hardware is fully tested with the software is
a bonus. InternetPBX delivers everything that it promises.
Barry Shilmover, MCSE+I, MCT, owns Shilmover Consulting Services, a Microsoft
Solution Provider specializing in Windows NT/2000 and Exchange 5.5/2000 solutions.
He has co-authored books that include Windows 2000 System Administrator’s
Black Book and Exchange 5.5 Exam Cram, both from Coriolis Press.