Response Point answers call
REVIEW: Microsoft’s VOIP system for SMBs boasts easy-to-use features
By Andrew Garcia g WEEK LABS open?” or numerous other varia- obtained over the phone or e-mailed
Microsoft’s voip system tions of that and a couple other ques- to the user as a WAV file.
for SMBs boasts a few tions.
glitzy next-generation As for the other two areas of focus The hardware
features that make the system incred- that Gates cited, Response Point microsoft hasn’t delivered
ibly easy to use, and it comes in an falls short. The system uses only the Response Point as softwarefor custom-
appliance form factor that makes the G.711 codec, which delivers decent, ers toinstallon Windows Server. Rather,
system a snap to deploy. but not high-definition, call qual- they have created a software platform
In his keynote speech at Interna- ity. Using Network Instruments’ built atop Windows XP Embedded for
tional CES in Las Vegas, Microsoft Observer 12, I found calls recorded hardware vendors to install and sell on
Chairman Bill Gates indicated that a consistent R-factor scores around their own equipment, so each vendor’s
primary focus during the next digital 84.070 (translating to a 4.170 mean iteration of Response Point will be a
decade will be to connect little different.
people, and that key elements I tested Quanta Syspine’s
of these experiences will be version of Response Point,
high-definition media, supe- the Syspine Digital Operator
rior network connectivity and Phone System A- 50. D-Link
natural user interfaces. also offers a Response Point-
When held to this standard, based solution called the DVX-
Microsoft Response Point, the 2000MS (and that hopefully
company’s new VOIP (voice means the end of the line for
over IP) software platform D-Link’s disappointing DVX-
for small and midsize busi- 1000). Aastra should also be
nesses, certainly delivers on selling a Response Point sys-
the last of the three criteria, tem sometime this year.
boasting a natural user inter- The base price of $2,500
face on a scale I’ve not seen Response Point-based appliances include those from Quanta Syspine. buys one A- 50 appliance
from any VOIP system—no and four Syspine phones.
matter the cost or target audience. opinion score). And because G.711 At $625 per user, the initial costs
Each Response Pointphonehasa uses more bandwidth than other may seem high compared with
blue Response Point button which, common codecs, Response Point is small-business-oriented solutions
when pressed, allows the user to not really viable as a VOIP solution from Allworx or one of the purvey-
place calls (internal or external), for remote users with slower WAN ors of open-source-based solutions.
check voice mail, or park, transfer connections, so it lacks the connect- However, there are no additional
or conference calls by verbally telling edness to which Gates referred. per-user licensing fees, so the per-
the system what to do. It’s a stunning Overall, the call applications that user cost will drop dramatically as
use of speech recognition technology Response Point provides are pretty customers approach the system
that is brain-dead simple to learn. straightforward. The system sup- capacity of 50 users. Simply buy a
Additionally, the system can be ports Call Transfer, Conferencing, new phone (Syspine’s costs $159)
used to answer certain common Park and Hold. The single auto and plug it into the network.
real language questions automati- attendant prompts incoming callers Microsoft is also offering financ-
cally. For instance, Response Point to find names in the system direc- ing terms so customers can spread
will tell incoming callers the office tory, or companies can defer the the upfront cash outlay for the sys-
hours, whether they ask “What are use of an auto attendant in favor of tem over the course of three years.
your hours?” or “What time are you a receptionist. Voice mails can be The A- 50 [CON TINUED ON PAGE 39]