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Jamie Navarro
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pc / networking ... web development ... voip
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VoIP / Asterisk-based phone system
Feature-rich, low cost
Your phone system is the core of your business. It's what connects you to your clients and vendors. Unfortunately, phone systems are not cheap - often costing thousands of dollars. Especially ones that have the features you need. And forget about the ones that you really want. For small businesses, this can be very frustrating. Not to mention shopping for a phone system can be overwhelming in itself. Terms, features, pricing plans can be complex.

Enter Asterisk. Asterisk is an 'open source framework for building communications applications' (such as a phone system).

PIaF (PBX-In-a-Flash - my current favorite) is a popular 'distribution' that is a complete, full-featured IP PBX phone system with Asterisk as it's core. PIaF has the features of a large corporation's phone system, but with a small price tag - free! The only thing you have to pay for is the computer for which it is to run on. Technically, that's all you need - you can use free software on your computer as the 'telephones' that connect to it. However, most companies will want to buy dedicated, IP/SIP-compatible 'hard phones', or adapters to utilize your existing phones. If this is a litle (or a lot) confusing, I can help explain all of this as how it pertains to your situation. Then I can make recommendations to fit your requirements.

Some of the features included in a standard Asterisk-based distribution are:
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Music on Hold
  • Overhead/Local Paging
  • Intercom
  • Voicemail Visual/Audio Indication
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Remote Call Pickup
  • Remote extensions
  • Blacklist
  • Call Forward
  • Call Parking
  • Conference
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Call Monitoring
  • Call Queuing
  • Call Recording
The list goes on. For a more comprehensive list of features, visit www.asterisk.org/support/features. Other features can be added fairly easily such as Wake-Up Calls, Weather Reports, and more.

Another great thing about trixbox is that included in this distribution is the popular web-interface called FreePBX. It makes configuring your phone system a lot more simple and straightforward. Adding an extension is as easy as clicking a few links and filling out a few form fields. So if your company has any tech-savvy employees, you could probably set up and/or modify your own extensions after we set the system up for you initially.

Not only can trixbox save you money in the short-term, but it can save you money in the long-term too. It allows you to use ITSPs (Internet Telephony Service Providers) to provide outgoing and/or incoming phone service which are generally cheaper than your local telephone company.

If you have more questions or would like to know more, then please contact me. Or if you think you are ready to start saving money and have a more robust phone system, then please don't hesitate to contact me.


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