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OnSIP Adds Browser-Based User Interface to Hosted PBX Service

Hosted IP PBX services have long had a shortcoming compared to premises-based solutions: They didn't offer onscreen call-handing capabilities. Premises IP PBXes typically have fancy "dashboard" software that runs on users' PCs. It lets employees see who's on the phone, click to call, drag calls to transfer and things like that. Now hosted providers are getting into the act. Vocalocity introduced a browser-based dashboard in April. And Junction Networks' OnSIP service has just introduced its own call-handling interface.

The new my.OnSIP interface also runs in the user's browser. It provides instant message chat capability, presence awareness and various call handling functions. The left side of the window shows a contact list, with information about contacts' status. Color-coded icons indicate who, for example, is on calls, available to talk, chatting, available to chat, and unavailable. Clicking a name initiates a call to the person.

The right side of the interface varies. At the bottom is the IM chat window. The top shows information about active calls, which users can drag to transfer. It also shows missed calls and voice mail, and can display an onscreen dialer. The dialer has a particularly useful capability: It lets users type in SIP addresses, so they can call Internet telephony subscribers as well as people at ordinary PSTN numbers.

Junction Networks CEO Mike Oeth says the new interface has a number of benefits in daily work life. For one, it makes it unnecessary to remember everyone's extension number. It's also a big time-saver to be able to see who is on a call or otherwise occupied. Rather than dialing someone and getting a busy signal, it's easy to IM or e-mail them, or wait until their call ends.

The my.OnSIP interface is free for users of the OnSIP hosted IP PBX service, which charges a flat monthly rate plus per-minute call charges. That contrasts with many hosted services, which typically charge a monthly fee for every extension, including those in locations such as reception areas or loading docks that see little use.


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