Transforming Network Infrastructure Industry News

[June 05, 2007]

Packet8 Outlook Toolbar

Originally posted on VoIP & Gadgets Blog, here:

Packet8 launched some new features today, including Virtual Office Outlook Integration. Virtual Office Outlook Integration lets you call your Microsoft Outlook contacts. The way it works is that when placing a call through Microsoft (News - Alert) Outlook, Outlook contacts the Virtual Office server and triggers it to ring the Virtual Office phone on the user's desk.In addition, incoming calls are displayed with screen pops based on your Outlook Contacts and it culls the contact info from any mailbox and any field (Business/Home/Mobile). Outlook Integration also places a button on your Outlook program so you can place calls directly from your address book.

All Virtual Office customers can download Virtual Office's Outlook Integration software at no extra charge. This program currently works only with Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Outlook 2003, and.NET Framework 2.0.

Packet8 also announced the availability of Overhead Paging and Toll Free Fax Numbers. Overhead Paging Extension enables simultaneous single or multi-zone voice paging to multiple locations within a single facility, branch office and/or remote locations utilizing a company's existing Ethernet network. Users pay a one time equipment ($49.99) and activation ($9.99) fee with no recurring monthly service charges. The Overhead Paging adapter is compatible with any type of telephone port and integrates seamlessly with a company's existing Overhead Zone Paging system to provide service over the Packet8 network.

I should point out that the new Packet8 toolbar isn't a new idea. Skype has an Outlook toolbar, but a closer comparison would be with Vonage (News - Alert), who also has an Outlook toolbar called Click-2-Call. The funny thing is that I forgot Vonage had an Outlook toolbar. I was standing by Rich Tehrani's desk talking about the Packet8 Outlook toolbar when he asked if I knew if Vonage has a toolbar. I said I didn't think so, but as a recovering Vonage customer, I wasn't absolutely sure.

So we googled it and found that Vonage's Click-2-Call has this capability. Rich joked "It's amazing that they have this feature and they haven't marketed it." Perhaps they do market the Outlook software in the Vonage web-based Dashboard, but since I no longer have Vonage, I can't say one way or the other. All you Vonage users out there - the comment lines are open.

Interestingly, I came across a Novermber post where I briefly mentioned Click-2-Call. Apparently, the software wasn't that memorable. In fact, then it hit me that I did briefly check out Click-2-Call a long time ago when I was a Vonage customer and was disappointed that it was designed for outbound calling only. It doesn't integrate with Outlook Contacts to show the contact info for an inbound call. So Packet8 does have one-up on Vonage with their Outlook integration.

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