The tech world has done it again. This time the new iPhone app is a virtual PBX for your cell phone.
Like other apps and products coming out, such as Republic Wireless, the eVoice Mobile App uses WiFi or 3G/4G networks with VoIP.
The eVoice Mobile App even has an auto attendant to direct incoming calls. eVoice’s app also adds extensions for employees and intercom functionality.
The app assigns extensions for employees, contacts, etc, which allows communication without using eVoice or cell phone minutes. It sounds like speed dial, but it’s a little different.
The intercom feature allows users to make a direct connection in one eVoice account. Other users have to be logged into the mobile app to show up in the list. Similar to other VoIP apps, calls within your own VoIP network use up no minutes.
With the app, you also get an eVoice business number that separates calls between your business number and your personal cell phone number.
Here's a demo with some really bad elevator music.
Basic eVoice App Features in the demo:
- voicemail to text
- search messages
- message folders
- caller ID
- speed dial
The demo is actually from 2010 before j2 Global, owner of the eVoice service, updated the mobile app. eVoice’s app is capable of a lot more than what’s detailed in this demo, according to the press release from November 2011. eVoice Mobile App website
eVoice service is free for six months. (The eVoice website says: The free trial includes 1000 total minutes OR 60 total voicemail transcriptions. If either of these limits are reached before 6-months, your trial will end and you will be billed at $12.95/month.)
The new version of eVoice Mobile is a little different from typical iPhone VoIP apps. It focuses on SMB rather than the individual or casual user, who would be more concerned with using up cell phone minutes. Still, it lets you use your personal phone for business purposes without using personal finances—unless there’s only 3G/4G around.
It's great to see so much enthusiasm for VoIP, which is quickly becoming the main mobile alternative. Yet I'm not convinced the iOS is the answer for all business communications. Okay, there are many iOS users in the business world, but the hype for the technology is a bit misleading.
How much business can—or should—be conducted in transit (such as the subway example in the press release)? Does an iPad have the connectivity and CPU capabilities to mutually edit a spreadsheet?
VoIP is definitely growing and yes, it will overtake circuit switched networks some day. I'm just skeptical of iOS devices becoming "the business tool of choice" when a) there's a lot more to business than phone calls and b) more people are using Android smartphones for equivalent tasks.
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