Microsoft officially launched its VOIP offering for small businesses this week, called Response Point. The product had been in Beta since March of 2007.
Response Point offers an automated attendant, voice mail, and ability to administer the phone system using a computer control panel. In addition to VOIP, the system can be adapted for use with existing analog phone lines.
One of the intriguing features of Response Point is voice activation. You will be able to perform actions such as transfer a call using just a voice command without punching in numbers.
(FYI, while I have not used the Response Point system, I am a regular user of Microsoft’s voice recognition software that is built into Windows XP/Office. It works remarkably well for dictating lengthy documents into Microsoft Word and even into WordPress. So if voice recognition works as well for Response Point, it could be a good productivity enhancer.)
To use Response Point you have to buy phone hardware from one of three vendors: D-Link (pictured), Quanta or Aastra. According to the website, Response Point is designed for small businesses from 1 to 50 employees. However, at $2,500 for 4 phones (one of the price examples given), realistically Response Point may be overkill for the very smallest businesses with, say, 2 or 3 employees.
Microsoft’s Response Point is just one more sign of activity in the telephony industry targeting the small business market!