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IP Phone Features That Will Make Your Life Better

Certainly price is one factor keeping businesses at bay. IP phones, after all, are often the highest cost component in migrating from a traditional phone system to VoIP. Promising to help companies get more bang for their buck, however, are a whole host of special features included in most IP phones. The challenge is identifying these key attractions and ensuring that employees make proper use of them. While key features can vary from phone to phone, here are the ones that can make your employees' lives better: CMC (Client Matter Code): Having trouble keeping track of your billable hours? An IP phone can help.

Professional services companies, from law offices to accounting firms, can now associate inbound and outbound VoIP calls with specific billing or tracking codes. Specified by a system administrator, CMC can track factors including the length of calls for each client ? information that can later be packaged into detailed reports for accounting and billing purposes.Corporate Directory: Why keep a Rolodex when you can use your phone to search for coworkers' and clients' numbers? Simply press a soft key or a button to place a call to the phone number in the directory listing.

These listings may range from corporatecontacts stored in Microsoft Active Directory to your personal contacts in Microsoft Outlook. Either way, searchable directories appear right on the phone's display for convenient access. Some IP phones even go so far as to provide users with at-a-glance presence information for an entire corporate directory list so that they can instantly see which co-workers are available or on the phone. Touch-screen Display: Whether your goal is to watch streaming video or simply monitor incoming calls, an IP phone's backlit, pixel-based, touch-screen display can bring images to life. And by simply pressing a phone screen, you can access a full range of applications in seconds instead of pressing cryptic key codes on the number pad.

E911 (Enhanced 911): E911 is an enhanced version of the 911 emergency service that automatically delivers a caller's personal information, such as name and address, to a local dispatch center or Public Safety Answering Point, as required by the Wireless Communications and Public Safety Act of 1999. Although increasingly incorporated into VoIP packages, E911 has long been plagued with implementation problems, so it's worth asking your service provider what steps ? and obstacles ? are involved. The Federal Communications Commission has even jumped on board, issuing an order to providers to notify their customers of the limitations of E911 service. Enhanced Voice Mail: For a modern-day road warrior, picking up voice mail messages can be a painstaking process. Pagers, cell phones, BlackBerrys, laptops ? there's simply no shortage of devices you need to check.

With an IP phone's enhanced voice mail, however, you can listen to your voice mail over the Internet using the Web interface of your VoIP service provider or receive your messages as email attachments. that's more, the media files can be saved for future access or archiving. Enhanced voice mail also allows you to be notified of new messages wherever you are, through your mobile phone or pager. additionally, travelers can listen to their messages from any phone available. IP Video: It may not earn you frequent-flyer miles, but video-over-IP is the next best thing to being there in the flesh. As a result, some IP phones include features such as advanced VGA resolution camera sensors, color and rotatable LCDs, video call Hold/ Transfer/Forward, video phone books, and video-capture capabilities.

At least in a basic sense, you can engage in videoconferencing with geographically cattered colleagues and co-workers. Communications Control: So your entire California-based executive team is attending a conference in Utah? Rather than have them waste time calling in for voice mail messages, redirect all business-related calls to their cell phones using an IP phone's communications control features. In fact, nowadays, companies can manage an entire VoIP system across multiple sites with nothing more than a browser-based interface.

Doug S is the Owner of Astawerks. The website address is VoIP Hardware. He also runs a VoIP Web Directory



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