Phone systems are getting smarter and smarter every year and VoIP has become the standard for office based phone systems. Because VoIP is just a communications protocol it even has Microsoft and others joining the fray with software only phone pbx systems that run just on computer hardware. You still need some sort of handset, but the PBX is run on a computer. To date all of these iterations seem to be just incremental advances on the versions before them and continue the same line of thought. Not so a new service launched just recently.
Here is something totally out of the box, and right out of left field. Something that could revolutionise how end users use their phones every day and it seems to an ideal inclusion in a real estate agents communications arsnel.. This new system allows you to run your own personal phone network on top of your current connections. It does not replace your current hardware phones systems like mobile phon, office phone or your home phone, but it leverages them to a whole new level.
Normally I would give you the name of the product or company now along with a web link, but this time it will be at the end of the article so you don’t get distracted!. Imagine this sort of phone system if you will.
One Phone Number
- You get a new local number which you now use for all your calls as well as a web based interface for your new personal phone system
- Send and receive sms messages from any one of your mobiles from the web based interface.
- Place calls to anywhere in the country for free. You have to use your web interface or alternativly you dial a specific number on your handset, then dial the number you want.
- Each of your existing numbers now become a “handset” on your own private phone network. Your mobile, home phone and direct office phone numbers all join the network so when somebody calls your new number all of your handsets will ring allowing you to pick the call up wherever you are.
- Add or remove individual phone numbers as handsets to your network quickly and easily.
- Screen all your calls, even on your mobile. One advantage of a standalone answering machine is that you can listen in on the call as someone leaves you a message. This is now available on all your phone lines allowing you to listen in as someone leaves you a message so you can pick up the call if its warranted.
- Block calls from unwanted callers and apply specialised routing instructions allowing specific phones to ring any callers you nominate.
- Organise conference calls quickly and easily.
- Record any call at the press of a button and archive those calls for later.
- Transfer any call between your registered handsets. Running out the door, just transfer the call from your home phone to your mobile and continue with the conversation without missing a beat.
- That’s not the end of it either with a stack of other features and more to come like the ability for someone to fax to your new number which will automatically answer and email you the fax .
- You can even insert a “Call Me” button your your website, web profile or email which will connect you both automatically and for free.
- One voicemail box for the whole phone system that provides you access to all your messages from the internet or from any handset.
- You can be notified of your voicemail by SMS or email.
- Your voicemail can even be turned into text allowing you to “Read” a transcript of what somebody has spoken into your voicemail.
- Customised Voicemail greetings depending upon who calls. You can setup a special voicemail greeting for that special someone but nobody else gets to hear it.
- Forward voicemail to any other user on the system or download messages for storage.
Applications in Real Estate.
For a real estate salesperson this all sounds far too good to be true and the possibilities seem to be only limited by your imagination. From salespeople and PA’s to be on the one phone number, customised voicemail for each seller client. Recording and storing verbal instructions given to you from sellers or buyers. Use just one number in your adverts that finds you no matter where you are and integrating your single phone number and embeded Call Me” buttons into your emarketing, emails, website and personal profiles with “Call Me” buttons.
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
It is available right now and the “good” part is the ….. it is FREE!
The bad part is that its only available to a limited number of users as they finish testing although they are taking registrations now for wider releases due shortly.
The ugly part is that for now it is US only and although they have acknowledged they are looking for a wider distribution internationally no specific countries have yet been identified.
If you have not guessed already, the name of the system… Google Voice of course!
Other companies come up with innovative ideas but only Google has the economies of scale and the systems to pull it off on a free subscription service. Google purchased GrandCentral back in 2007 and has been quietly redeveloping the system into the newly launched Google Voice.
You can bet that Google Android phones which will flood the Australian market later this year will soon be positioned to really tap into this new Google Voice system.