It's All About Channels

Published: 2 Feb 2009

By Elka Popova


Response Point SP2 Hits the Market


As Microsoft releases a new version of its Response Point solution that offers some feature enhancements such as analog phone support, intercom, VPN and multi-subnet support, an after-hours receptionist setting and more robust audio, we need to evaluate again Microsoft’s chances for success as a vendor of voice communication solutions to small businesses.


For the uninitiated, the Response Point is a software-based telephony solution designed for businesses with one to 50 employees. It consists of a base unit and endpoints and it features the Magic Blue button that allows users to dial by voice and access various phone features by using voice commands (e.g. park, retrieve, transfer, etc.). The system is controlled through the Response Point Administrator software and offers a dashboard” for individual users called the Response Point Assistant. The initial release offered PSTN support via a FXO ATA, VoIP SIP trunking for Internet-only calling, an auto attendant (DTMF and speech-based), a built-in voicemail system, voicemail to email forwarding as well as voicemail retrieval over the phone. Some other benefits include Outlook integration, system status monitoring, voicemail usage summary, and system settings back-up and restore for administrators.


How Magic is Magic Blue?


While the Response Point boasts a number of advantages over other available small-business solutions such as ease of installation and management, a voice-activated dialing and auto attendant capability, from a technology point of view, it is hard to pinpoint any single capability that represents a unique competitive advantage. Microsoft touts the Magic Blue button as a strong differentiator, but a new announcement by Schmooze Communications and LumenVox provided evidence that the competition is catching up. Schmooze Communications has developed the Magic Button (“surprisingly” similar name) for open-source Asterisk PBX solutions. They claim a much lower price point for Asterisk PBXs deployed with the Magic Button than similar implementations of the Response Point.

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