Magazine article Black Enterprise

Together at Last: New Tools Unify E-Mail and Phone Services

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Together at Last: New Tools Unify E-Mail and Phone Services

Article excerpt

In an age when the average American has at least two phone numbers, the time has come to streamline the telephone system, linking multiple phones with one phone number; to consolidate voice mail from multiple lines into one file; and to bring together instant messaging, phone, and video. It's called unified communications, and the first such IP-based products have just begun to hit the market.

Canadian firm iotum (www.iotum.com), designed for those with multiple phone lines and messaging services, uses proprietary algorithms to interpret information about how you want to communicate, based on personal preference, history, and relationships. Its Relevance Engine technology decides which device should take the call and rings only if you want it to, based on your schedule and preferences.

The Relevance Engine takes relationship information from address books, IM buddy lists, and social networking sites and combines it with information taken from your IM presence, calendar, location, and other factors. With iotum, your availability will be broadcast to your contacts and vice versa, so you know when people you want to contact are available, eliminating annoying and repeated contact attempts. Various plans are available for mobile, consumer, and enterprise or business users; pricing was not set at press time, but features for Blackberry devices were free.

GrandCentral (www.grandcentral.com) consolidates multiple phone numbers into one line with numerous features, including call recording and tagging, or forwarding voicemail. …

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