Flexion system ties voice mail with email

NetWorld+Interop shows communications box that integrates voice mail, fax and call-centre functionality with email

Startup Flexion Systems is shipping a communications box for small businesses that integrates voice mail, fax and call-centre functionality with traditional email programs.

The company's BusinessGuardian X300 device, which was rolled out in February, is a Windows NT-based device that accepts up to eight phone lines. (The box can be daisy-chained to support up to 64 lines.) Designed for companies with between 20 and 35 employees, it offers individual users fairly robust communications features.

For example, incoming voice calls pop up on an employee's PC display along with a series of call-centre-type options in an easy-to-use graphical user interface. The call can be answered, or the device's built-in caller ID allows a user to forward the call to someone else or send it into voice mail, at which point it could be saved as a voice-mail message within email or a database.

In addition, the box's built-in text-to-speech technology allows users to check email remotely via phone. Users dial into their voice mail and, through prompts, have their email read. Through more prompts, users can manipulate emails, whether it's closing, forwarding or deleting them. (Attachments, however, cannot be read aloud.)

At an estimated retail price of less than $6,000, (£4,003) the X300 is designed as a cost-effective alternative to more expensive and less functional centrex or key system machines.

At NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas, the year-old company, which has offices in San Francisco and in Maidenhead in the UK, announced it is working with SonicWall to create broadband security options for the X300. SonicWall, of Sunnyvale, California, produces the SonicWall Internet security appliance that combines firewall, content filtering and VPN functionality.

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