Friday, February 18, 2005

Request for Help ... Answering machine service for SBS

So, I was thinking today. I've done a lot of posting to this website, and probably helped a few people out with their issues. Why not get a little greedy and ask for help in return ....

I'm running SBS 2003 at home (as most of you probably know), and it has a modem in it. I don't do much faxing... because, well, email is cooler :). But what I would like, is some way to have an the server answer the actual phone with a message, and deliver the message into the specified exchange inbox.

I know there has to be something out there: Work does it. I don't have that kind of coin though. So I was hoping for a simple application that after X rings (configurable) it will answer the phone with a predetermined message that I can record with my mic that says something like:

You've reached, please press 1 for Sean, 2 for Kendra, etc. Then when the user presses one it says:Leave a message for Sean after the beep

Then once the message is left, the .wav file is delivered to the specified users inbox within Exchange.

It doesn't have to be exactly like that, but that's what I had in mind. Does anyone know of such an application? Help is greatly appreciated.


Steven Teiger said...


I don't have it on SBS but I still use a version of Talkworks (came with Winfax) sitting on a workstation doing what you ask.

Jeff Middleton said...

It's a service called Vonage. That's how I worked from AU. I forwarded my cell phone to my Vonage number. Also the numbers are Vonage based. The only tradeoff is that you either need to forward your regular line to it, or abandon your regular phone to use IP phone permanently.

Alex said...

I believe the program "Microsoft Speech Server 2004" does this. It does actually a lot of more stuff. But the requirements of this program are pretty serious. 2GB of RAM and 2.5Ghz Dual Pentium IV.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the few places where MS dropped a very nice product. Microsoft Phone. This product would answer the phone, and drop your voicemail into your Inbox. You also had the ability to call your home and have it read your email via MS Voice.

I was really disappointed when this got dropped. I've always hoped this would come back in some other MS product.

Sean Daniel said...

Hrm, I haven't heard of this application before. I spent some time today digging through the archives, but haven't been able to find it, do you know what year MS Phone came out and if that was the official name?

Alfonso said...

There are several voice integration solutions for Exchange 2003, the latest and "bestest" probably being Adomo Voice Messaging for Exchange (, and one the earliest and most robust being Cisco Unity line of products.

The con is that these are corporate solutions (for 500+ users) and tend to use separate hardware to interface with PBX boxes.

I haven't found a one-server solution that simply uses the server's modem for environments with just a few users.

Have you found anything yet?

Sean Daniel said...

Nope, I'm still looking. :(

Jason Miller said...

Hey Sean, try taking a look at Asterisk@Home. Probably overkill, but it IS free. :)

Single-CD install, linux based system that you can have up and running in a flash. Adding in a $25 pci fxo card will enable you to connect Asterisk to a single incoming analog line, and then on the internal side, allows functionality normally reserved for office-style PBX installs, including integrated messaging.

Free softphones are available, so you can (in theory) connect to your home line from anywhere you have your PC. To hook up a standard analog phone to the system inside your network, you'll need to add an fxs pci card to your server as well.

John Evans said...

I have the answer for your answering machine problem - and cheap.

I am using IVM
With Diamond SupraMax 56K V.92 PCI Voice Modem

Easiest setup ever with IVM.

Now if you don't want to replace your modem and want unified messages (both fax and voice) you can get a VOIP account from (lots of places) and have your IVM answer that line and you still have the modem to answer faxes.

Just a thought which is amazing lots of my clients - JUST NO RDP to the server (use Secure VNC).