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July 26, 2007 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Softphone Receptionist?

Here's a poser that came up in a conversation about small businesses skipping over actual in-house infrastructure and just using Google Apps/Domains for the whole shebang. (that's a whole other thread, so let's focus on this phone question, please)

So let's say the office ALSO dumps its phones and just sets everyone up with a VOIP softphone account - as in Google Talk, Skype, Ekiga, etc. - instead.

How would the receptionist do the call screening/call forwarding/ tasks they do now, via < insert unknown software or interface here> ?

I'm not hep to the way VOIP actually works. Anyone doing this? Even on a small scale? Know of something that does this or is in the works?
posted by penciltopper to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Use asterisk
www.asterisk.org (open source)

It's open source!

I use it every day and have deployed it for numerous companies. Heck, I am on a call using it right now.

I recommend Polycom Soundpoint phones vs softphones. www.polycom.com
posted by evilelvis at 11:57 AM on July 26, 2007

yep, asterix. The last company I worked for had this setup, total hardware cost was probably under $600 (including POTS-conversion card or whatever, VOIP phones, and server), and my boss set it up himself. We previously had a receptionist, but post-setup, callers could dial extensions directly via a directory/extension system. You could still hit a live person by hitting zero, and each extension could set a do not disturb on their phone.

You can't really 'call screen' with this setup, but in theory, caller-id should help you do that, and anyone who doesn't know who they should be calling can get routed to the receptionist.

it's basically big boy pbx on a small biz budget. pretty cool, although I thought the voip quality could've been better (we got lag and echo on occasion)
posted by fishfucker at 12:14 PM on July 26, 2007

There are also paid virtual PBX services if you'd rather not deal with the setup and maintenance yourself.
posted by lowlife at 12:41 PM on July 26, 2007

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