Verizon Brings iobi to Small Businesses in N.Y.C. and New England
NEW YORK - Following the successful debut of iobi(sm) Home last fall, Verizon today launched iobi Professional for small businesses in New York and New England. Iobi Professional offers small businesses unprecedented control over all of their communications services, both for individuals and entire work groups.
With iobi Professional, small businesses reap the benefits of advanced telecommunications without an investment in new hardware. Iobi Professional gives individuals unique call-management, voice mail, e-mail and other critical communications services using their PCs, the Web or a voice portal. Managers have the added power of an administrative console to control features assigned to individual office lines. Because there is no hardware, installation is quick and easy.
Iobi Professional was first unveiled last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The underlying Internet-based iobi platform allows information otherwise isolated on separate networks and separate hardware to be shared. Iobi Home and Professional tie the phone network, voice mail platform, e-mail, calendars, directories and Web information together into an integrated tool.
Iobi Professional offers small businesses a fully-integrated graphical user interface (GUI), which can be installed on devices such as desktop computers and laptops to interact with the Verizon network so that voice mail, e-mail and documents can be shared quickly and easily. Iobi Professional operates over a variety of Verizon wireline services including basic business lines, Centrex, ISDN, FTTP and others.
At $11.95, iobi Professional is extremely cost competitive, based on the features offered. Businesses who sign up for iobi Professional before April 22, 2005, will get the first month free. For more information on iobi Professional, businesses can go to www.verizon.com/iobi or call 800-809-7671.
Like iobi Home, iobi Professional features include a dynamic call log, address book, calendar, text messaging, e-mail messaging, instant SuperPages and personal directory number lookup, an always-on weather display, and access to calling-party maps. Based on the experience of iobi Home users, one of the most popular features is the Online Call Management feature. With this feature, iobi Professional allows workers to manage incoming calls in real time, from wherever they are, by clicking on an on-screen pop-up that displays incoming calls. One click allows the user to forward calls to any number, including wireless numbers; take the call at the phone the user is near; block the call or send it to voice mail.
For versatility, employees without access to the Internet can still access their iobi Professional features from any telephone, using a toll-free number to access the iobi voice portal, iobi By Phone.
The iobi Professional administrative console enables businesses to configure features and accounts for iobi-enabled business lines directly from any PC with Internet access. This means the business owner or office manager can add or change permissions for iobi Professional features for individual employees as needed. Also, if circumstances make it hard or impossible to travel to the main office, an office manager can access the iobi Professional administrative console from home or another remote location and reconfigure the office lines for each of the employees. (Note: See below for complete list of features).
Iobi Professional targets small-business owners who are mobile, may have more than one office locations and need to stay in constant touch with their main office. Iobi also allows the business owners to maintain control of their communications so that they are reached via the appropriate telecommunications device, based on their activities.
For example, a doctor working at multiple clinics can now monitor and respond to calls to the main office in real time. Using caller ID, the doctor can direct calls to the office manager for resolution or, if the call is urgent, answer it directly. An assistant can forward a patient's voice mail directly to the doctor's PC where the doctor can play the file, minimizing miscommunication.
Last September, iobi Home was offered for the first time to Verizon residential customers in New England and expanded to New York City in October. Verizon also plans to launch an iobi product for large-business customers later this year.
An online press kit including PC and broadcast-quality video, a flash demo and a features list is available at http://newscenter2.verizon.com/kit/iobi.
Verizon Voice Mail is recommended for full product functionality. Iobi Professional is provided by Verizon Long Distance.
iobi Professional Features
From the iobi Professional desktop client, the iobi Professional Web page or the voice portal (iobi By Phone), users can program call-forwarding on demand or use the iobi Professional calendar to create a call-forwarding schedule.
Caller ID Notification and Log
From the iobi Professional desktop client, the iobi Professional Web page or the voice portal, users can retrieve caller ID information. They can get text alerts in real time on mobile devices. Users can also transfer information from logs to the address book and maintain a call log.
Online Call Director
Users can manage the disposition of incoming calls from the iobi Professional desktop window by "clicking" to answer the call, forward it to another telephone or wireless handset, block it with a pre-recorded message, or send it to voice mail (if the business subscribes to Verizon Business Voice Mail).
Voice Mail Notification and Retrieval
From the desktop, the iobi Professional Web Page or the voice portal, users receive notification that a new message has been left in their voice mailbox. The message can be played on the PC just by clicking it or it can be forwarded to others as a sound file. The feature also includes SMS alerts to mobile devices to notify the user of voice mail messages.
Manage multiple iobi Professional accounts within a business.
One user can manage multiple telephone numbers on iobi Professional
Stores and manages contact information using the iobi Professional desktop client, the iobi Professional Web page or the voice portal.
Stores and manages tasks and schedules using the desktop window, iobi Professional desktop window or the iobi Professional voice portal.
Synchronizes calendar and address book data with Palm Desktop, Outlook, Outlook Express and Lotus Notes applications.
Text Messaging (SMS)
Users can send a text message to a pager or cell phone (up to 160 characters) from the iobi Professional window or iobi Professional Web page.
Users can send an e-mail message from the iobi Professional desktop client, the iobi Professional Web page and the voice portal (including sending voice messages to e-mail box as sound-file attachments over the voice portal) to any e-mail address.
Users can search People Pages for residential phone listings from the desktop client and from the Web portal.
Users can view the weather icon for their location.
Shows a map of the caller's location, based on the caller's number.