Response Point Upgraded

Response Point Service Pack 1, available now via a free download, adds support for SIP trunking, click-to-call functionality, a call history log and the ability to select music for parked calls and hold time.

Microsoft also revealed that the Aastra Telecom division of Aastra Technologies Ltd., its most recent Response Point OEM partner, is debuting its first Response Point-based hardware platform, dubbed AastraLink RP. Response Point, targeted at businesses with up to 50 users, is available on systems from three OEM partners: Aastra, Concord, Ontario; D-Link Systems Inc., Fountain Valley, Calif.; and Quanta Computer Corp., Taipei, Taiwan.

SIP trunking, a key feature, enables end-to-end VoIP calling with the Response Point system, said Richard Sprague, senior director of Response Point for Microsoft, Redmond, Wash. Channel partners can become agents to sell VoIP services from Microsoft's service provider partners, including Cbeyond and New Global Telecom Inc., he said. Microsoft also unveiled the addition of Junction Networks as its third VoIP service provider.

SIP trunking and click-to-call functionality via Outlook are two key features that channel partners have been waiting for, said William Brown, associate vice president of technology at D-Link.

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Solution provider Available Networks, which focuses on the SMB space, plans to use the launch of AastraLink RP as the foundation for its new VoIP push.

"and#91;SIP trunkingand#93; is going to be very significant for our customers," said Jeff Loucks, CEO of Available Networks, St. Catharines, Ontario. "People talk about how it lowers costs, but it's really about enabling you to work from home or from different locations."

Response Point systems still do not support T1 lines, a feature that some channel partners have said will limit the platform to only the smallest of customers.

The launch of Aastra's new system adds several new options for channel partners, Sprague said.

"The big opportunity for partners is that now they can sell Aastra, which is actively looking for partners, particularly Microsoft partners," he said.

Aastra's portfolio is unique in that it is the only Response Point product line to include a cordless IP phone option.

The vendor's lineup includes its AastraLink RP 500 base unit and 540 Gateway, along with the Response Point Administrator Application and Response Point Assistant Application. It also offers three IP phones: the 6751i RP, a one-line phone that features a three-line LCD display and speed dial keys; the 6753i RP, a six-line handset that includes a three-line LCD display and six programmable keys; and the 6757i RP, a nine-line phone that includes 12 programmable keys and a cordless handset. The phones range in price from $139 to $399. Aastra's starter kit, which includes the base unit, external analog telephony adapter and three phones, including one cordless model, is priced at $2,400.

AastraLink RP will be available to channel partners in the U.S. and Canada via Wesbell Technologies, the first North American distribution partner for Aastra's system.