01 February 2010

ACT! Dialer with VoIP

Back in the "old" days, all you had to do is go to Tools>Preferences, and on the Communications tab click the Dialer button and tell ACT! the modem to use (if it hadn't already), and the dialing preferences, and you were able to dial a contact's phone number within ACT!  VoIP does not use a modem, so here's how to keep (or recapture) that functionality...

Now that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is gaining popularity, we're seeing more of these lines in both homes and businesses.  Since it uses the network/internet connection, there's essentially no modem to choose, and even if you have one, it's a dead end with VoIP.  The key is a intermediate (a.k.a 3rd party) program that runs on your computer, configuring the system to see the VoIP phone line as a "modem".  This faux modem shows up in the ACT! preferences in the modem drop-down, and when chosen, ACT! thinks it's a modem, and will dial.  Actually, it's a bit more involved that that, but it's done behind the scenes, and once configured, to you and ACT! it works as expected.

One caveat, there are multiple VoIP providers, and phones/phone systems.  I've gotten this to work just fine with some systems, usually with a few settings given to me by the company that intstalled the phone system.  If you're thinking of integrating the dialer with your VoIP system, I'd love to help!

p.s. configuring VoIP to integrate with your computer system actually opens up this functionality to all programs that use auto-dialing.  e.g. the Outlook Contact interface has this capability as well.

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