On-Hold Music Stored In Solid-State Memory For SOHO Market

By Greg Scoblete On Apr 2 2001 - 6:00am

SAN DIEGO -On-Hold Plus has developed for the SOHO market a solid-state on-hold audio player/recorder.

The OHP 5000, currently shipping for a suggested $399, records and plays back on-hold audio (music or a mix of music and messages) on any phone that has music on-hold functionality-including conventional single or multiline telephones or more sophisticated business-phone systems.

Audio from the OHP 5000 is played back continuously and is heard by callers when their calls are placed on hold. The OHP 5000's flash-memory storage retains audio content in the event of power loss, and an integrated CD mechanism can be used to rip CDs.

The system ships with eight minutes worth of memory. Additional eight-minute memory chips can expand memory capacity up to 32 minutes.

Every OHP 5000 ships with a certificate for a free, studio-produced custom on-hold message read by professional voice talent and mixed with a choice of background music. The final production is put on a CD and sent to the customer, who can rip it onto the OHP 5000 to obtain a custom on-hold message.

In addition to CD ripping, the OHP 5000 records from any Windows PC loaded with On-Hold Plus' Message-Studio software. MessageStudio software lets users create audio messages mixed with music from a desktop PC.

The software lets users record unique messages and select background music from a variety of 20 royalty-free music tracks. New audio content is transferred from the PC's soundcard to the OHP 5000 via ordinary audio cable.

On-Hold Plus CEO Michael Sakakeeny said the company will ship an optional plug-in analog phone adapter module to let OHP 5000 users add audio-on-hold to conventional analog and KSU-less phones.

The adapter, called the MOH500I, will be built into the new OHP 5500 (due to ship this month for $499) and will let users plug in to up to four phone lines.

The OHP 5500 will retain all the features of the OHP 5000 but will be targeted more aggressively toward the SOHO and consumer markets-to take advantage of the widely installed base of analog phones without music-on-hold capability-and will retail initially at Fry's Electronics. The company will evaluate its performance at Fry's before determining a wider retail strategy and rollout.

"We're trying to create a sea change in this industry," said Sakakeeny. "These products have traditionally not been consumer or even small-office products. With the OHP 5500, we've changed that.

"Now you can plug an ordinary phone with a hold button into the OHP 5500 and have on-hold audio. There are 50 million home offices and 11 million business-phone systems, so the market is huge."

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