We’re getting used to having remote workers tied into a centralized office phone system, thanks to some of the many VoIP options available. But while these systems can sometimes be reconfigured on the fly, most of the control panels require a full Internet browser to navigate.
Now, AT&T (s t) has worked with
VoIP cloud-based phone system provider RingCentral to develop a mobile app that allows users to manage their company phone system directly from their iPhone (s aapl). The free app is part of AT&T’s Office@Hand system, which includes a comprehensive set of business-oriented features, such as:
- Toll-free or local voice and fax numbers (faxes can be forwarded by email)
- Cloud-based PBX, with extensions for individuals and up to eight departments
- Ability to transfer calls between mobile numbers and landlines
- Flexible answering rules
- Advanced call forwarding
- Call queues
- Voicemail with email delivery
The iPhone app can be used by managers to reconfigure the flow of an organization’s voice calls, change recorded greetings, and even purchase more capacity if needed — the additional services will be available immediately, and the charges will appear on the manager’s AT&T Wireless bill. The same iPhone app (and a more-limited BlackBerry app(s rimm)) can be used by non-managers to check their messages, configure call screening and voicemail, and make outgoing calls that will show the company’s phone number as the caller ID rather than their own.
While the manager needs to have an AT&T iPhone to use the iPhone app, other workers in the organization can be connected via other types of phones. I haven’t been able to try out the app myself, since I don’t have an AT&T iPhone, but the Office@Hand functions can also be managed using a standard web browser.
AT&T’s Office@Hand service is priced on a per-user basis, with costs starting at $16/user/month on top of whatever you are already paying for phone service. There are no setup fees, but you’ll need a mobile phone with a voice and data plan to use the service, and your carrier may charge voice minutes for forwarded calls. There’s a minimum of two users, and it works with up to 100 users. You may try the service for 30 days, and there are no long-term contracts.
How do you manage your company’s phone system while you’re on the road?
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