Jun 21 2006
PhoneValet from Parliant
The PhoneValet solution consists of two main components: a phone line/USB adapter and a call management system. This combination of software and hardware not only replaces the need for an automated phone answering service, it integrates with your Mac’s most powerful abilities.
Getting the Message
PhoneValet will take your calls, messages and faxes and send them where they belong. Record your own menus, send messages to multiple voicemail boxes and log your calls. After a simple setup, you have yourself a digital receptionist with a professional polish.
Your PhoneValet screens calls, and can alert you with on-screen caller-id. You can even program PhoneValet with specific actions based on the caller (your mother-in-law will wonder why you’re never home). Alerts don’t stop there. Phonevalet can email you your messages in your choice of format.
Of course, you can call in to retrieve your messages – and while on the call you can remotely control your Mac through AppleScripts executed by touch-tone. And that’s just the beginning of the neat OS integration features. The system runs in the background as a menu item, imports from Address Book and will even change your iChat status and pause iTunes while you’re on a call.
Scripts can send messages right to your iPod, and schedules can change the behavior of the answering system by time of day. Version 4.0 includes Intel compatibility. Not only can you record all your calls, but a new 4.0 feature archives them to CD and DVD.
In practical use, PhoneValet is very efficient and easy to use. The simple interface will fool you – there are loads of features in this system. As I mentioned, it takes moments to set up and comes prepackaged with some useful AppleScripts.
The downsides? Growl support would be nice – or maybe BonJour notifications to another Mac on the network. I do wish it came in a lite version. PhoneValet can handle calls for a multi-line small business. It would be nice to have a simplified version built for home use. I’m not saying it isn’t worth the money. It would just be nice to have a more consumer oriented version for less.
All in all, PhoneValet is a very interesting an fun solution for your inbound calls. It brings your Mac’s flexibility and easy of use to your phone line, making it much more useful and fun. While PhoneValet starts as a message machine, it opens possibilities from remote system control to Podcast interview recording. I think we’ll see this application evolve in new directions. There are just too many things it could do.
For freelancer, small business owners and Mac enthusiasts eager to enhance their phone line, PhoneValet is a very usable and satisfying phone solution.