GBDS.US suggests several tools for integrating instant messaging or IM systems into your business. CampFire is preferred as it's related to BaseCamp and HighRise and is produced by those excellent folks at 37 Signals who've got their finger of the pulse of what's emerging on the Internet. It's also web-based which makes it a stand alone. We don't recommend the other IM systems (e.g., AOL, MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, Jabber, Skype and Google) since you have to be a member of the club to interface.
Internet-based IP phone systems such as Vonage do not have the coverage and reliability desired for a business operation. There are emerging a few local IP companies (e.g., Rio Communications in southern Oregon) who provide an alternative to the traditional phone and cable companies by integrating a high-speed Internet connection with an IP phone.
There's the iPhone for those who have and can afford one, but it still doesn't solve the integration issue for those who don't have iPhone. As an alternative we recommend Skype which is not web-based, but is free and reasonably reliable internationally.
We've identified elegant, yet simple to use web-based solutions
for voice and instant messaging as part of our
Essential Business Tools package.
Group Instant Messaging and Chat
Voice, Instant Messaging and Chat with Visual
As a couple of stand alone web-based systems for (800) number service with call forwarding in audio mp3 format and a fax service to and from your email account. There's also a free conference call and recording tool for group audio presentations.
Voice Messaging and Fax
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