ANDTAK GmbH has upgraded its attendant console solution, the AND Desktop AC, to allow users to see team members’ Outlook calendars. The upgrade is designed to allow better call handling and improved customer service within any organization.
When businesses receive a call, the attendant console searches the database of phone lines to determine the status of each phone line before forwarding the phone call to the right person. When the person is not available, then the console can access the person’s Outlook calendar to let the caller know why the person is not currently available and when they can reach the person at a later time.
If a team member has a meeting scheduled on his or her Outlook calendar, for example, then the attendant console will not forward the call, which will save the customer valuable waiting time. Instead, the caller can receive more relevant information about the recipient’s schedule to ensure connection later.
Thanks to synchronization from the Exchange server, Outlook calendar information is constantly updated and made available to the attendant console. The wide availability of Outlook makes the console a useful tool for both SMBs and large enterprises.
Another IP telephony/Outlook integration comes from Broadvox. Cypress Communications (News - Alert), a Broadvox company, provides another tool that transforms Outlook into a multimedia communications tool. C4 IP provides softphone dialing from Outlook and also provides presence functionality within the same program. Within Outlook, users of C4 IP can view call logs, initiate Web conferences and utilize video calling.
The integration tool operates within the Inbox tab as a folder entitled “Multimedia” that stores incoming, outgoing and deleted call records. Additionally, a toolbar that runs across the Outlook header displays presence information and allows for one-click dialing.
Integrating IP telephony with Microsoft Outlook isn’t a new concept. Cisco’s (News - Alert) Unified CallManager Express has been able to integrate with Outlook 2003 since Version 4.x. With Outlook integration, users can control one IP phone through CallManager Express while dialing another phone through Microsoft (News - Alert) Outlook.
Users simply right-click their contact’s name and choose “Call Contact” from the drop-down list. A dialog box appears containing buttons for starting the call, ending the call, changing properties and creating logs.
Reviewers of Outlook 2013 have stated that aside from updating its appearance to appear more “Metro,” the program has not gained any remarkable new features. Still, as more companies develop innovative ideas to integrate Outlook into telephony, an old friend has gained a new lease on life.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi