At the second annual Microsoft Small Business Summit, Microsoft Corp unveiled a small-business Internet protocol (IP) phone system, code-named “Response Point,” designed for ease of use and manageability. The new system comes in an easy-to-install box, supports both voice over IP (VoIP) and traditional phone lines, and includes a voice-activated user interface.
Now in beta testing, “Response Point” will be generally available later this year in three models: D-Link DVX-2000, Quanta Syspine and Uniden Evolo. “I am proud and honored to work with leaders in the computing, telephony and networking fields to bring ‘Response Point’ to market,” said Xuedong Huang, general manager of the “Response Point” team at Microsoft. “Each of our OEM partners brings its own special expertise to our customers, allowing us to serve a much broader range of small businesses.”
Putting the Customer in Control
Microsoft designed the “Response Point” software to empower small-business customers to manage system changes themselves. “We know from years of networking experience that many small businesses want an IT specialist to install their networking infrastructure,” said Keith A. Karlsen, executive vice president of D-Link Systems Inc. “But they also want to manage simple things like moves, adds and changes on their own.” With the user-friendly, PC-based “Response Point” management console, tasks such as adding a phone for a new employee or creating a call distribution list can be completed in a couple of minutes.
The “Response Point” phone system software makes the voice communications experience much easier for end users. “The ‘Response Point’ voice commands and speech-enabled auto-attendant will offer users a powerful experience that differs radically from other small-business phone systems on the market,” said Rich Tosi, president of Uniden America Corp. “A small-business employee can press one button on the handset of a cordless phone and then access anyone in the company directory, anyone in his Outlook(R) contacts, and a range of calling features with a few simple words. That is a very powerful user experience.”
Recognizing that phone systems are a critical part of day-to-day operations for small businesses, the “Response Point” team created a specialized architecture designed to optimize system reliability. “We worked closely with the ‘Response Point’ team to develop the Quanta Syspine phone system,” said Mike Yang, vice president of Quanta Computer Inc. “‘Response Point’ makes Syspine an intelligent, turnkey solution and complements our strengths in hardware design and engineering.”
“Response Point” is one of the strategic initiatives supporting Microsoft’s vision for VoIP communications. “The ‘Response Point’ voice- enabled user interface is a great example of how innovative new technology can be applied to solve everyday customer problems,” said Rick Rashid, senior vice president of Research at Microsoft.
In addition to “Response Point,” Microsoft delivers an extensible, software-based VoIP foundation through Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007. Microsoft will distribute the public beta versions of Communications Server 2007 and Communicator 2007 later this month. The Beta 2 release of “Response Point” is scheduled for early April.