Recently I have been having people ask me about Office Communication Systems. OK, that's a big bunch of words. How about... Brian, what are you using for your phone system? This usually comes up when someone notices that I get my voicemail as email, transcribed.
There are probably several services available. For me, to get my voicemail transcribed, I use Google Voicemail. I actually have one for personal, and for the business.
But, what about a bigger office, or an 800 number, or web faxing?
For a larger office, one option is a service like RingCentral.
Here is what they have on their website, comparing RingCentral with Google Voice:
RingCentral and Google Voice
The launch of Google Voice created new functionality for existing and new Google users. The free service gives users a single number which connects their different telephone numbers. This web-based call management service has continued to get the attention of consumers, but to small businesses, RingCentral seems best.
While Google Voice helps you organize an individual’s existing phone lines, RingCentral organizes people and connects them to a central number. It provides its users with a virtual phone system that equips them with all the call management features that they need, at a very affordable price.
If you have an existing Google account, you can integrate it with your new Google Voice number. This way, you can access your voicemail messages through your email inbox. One feature that RingCentral has not launched yet is voicemail transcription. With Google Voice, you may listen to your voicemail messages as digital audio files, or read them as transcribed messages. However, the technology has not fully matured yet, so there are some errors in transcribed voicemails.
An important thing you have to take note about Google Voice is that all your information, as well as messages and calls made through Google Voice become their property. This makes the service best only for individuals and not for offices or businesses. With RingCentral, you can be sure that all information is transmitted through secure connections.
Aside from a unifying single number, RingCentral also offers fax and VoIP services. Starting at $9 a month, you can start using your office phone system from RingCentral. If you do not need as much features as an office, you can rely on Google Voice to help you organize all your calls to all your existing phone numbers, all for free.
The choice between Google Voice and RingCentral primarily depends on your phone setup. While Google Voice seems to be a great deal for busy individuals with multiple phone lines, RingCentral offers more functionality designed for a small business or office.
I haven't needed all of the features of RingCentral. But I am a small office, and communicate mostly thru email. I find Google Voice fits my needs perfectly. And it's is great for replacing your home/personal number.
For those that still cling to the 1990's, I do have a fax... connected to my rotary phone. Actually, for faxes, I have been using uReach.com for over a decade. I used to use it for my voicemail, before Google Voice.