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8x8 recently announced the availability of new features and services for its Packet8 Virtual Office small-business phone solution. The new offerings include Microsoft Outlook integration, overhead paging and toll-free fax numbers.
The Virtual Office Outlook integration is designed to integrate a user's Microsoft Outlook contacts with their Virtual Office extension, allowing subscribers to place and receive calls through their Microsoft Outlook email client.
Users have the ability to select a contact and then place a call to that party through a variety of options such as right clicking on the contact and selecting "Packet8 Call Contact" or double-clicking the contact and selecting the Packet8 tab. When placing a call through the Microsoft Outlook email client, Outlook contacts the Virtual Office server and triggers it to ring the Virtual Office phone on the user's desk.
The overhead paging extension is meant to provide simultaneous single or multizone voice paging to multiple locations within a single facility, branch office and/or remote locations using a company's existing Ethernet network. To add an overhead paging extension to Virtual Office service, users pay a one-time equipment ($49.99) and activation ($9.99) fee with no recurring monthly service charges. The Overhead Paging adapter is reportedly compatible with any type of telephone port, said 8x8, and integrates with a company's existing Overhead Zone Paging system to provide service over the Packet8 network.
Packet8 also now offers toll-free numbers for Virtual Office Fax Extension subscribers. This service is designed to enable users to fax a Virtual Office business for no charge regardless of their location. Two separate plans are currently available with this service — a basic plan that includes 100 inbound fax minutes (4.5 cents per minute thereafter) for $4.99 per month, and the Toll Free 1500 plan, which offers 1,500 minutes of inbound toll-free calls for $39.99 per month.