Bits & Bytes
AN ELECTRONIC RECEPTIONIST FOR THE HOME OFFICE
Working at home has a few drawbacks. For one, home office workers don't normally have a receptionist who can take messages or transfer calls while you're traveling. Bogen Communications Inc. in Ramsey, N.J., has a solution. Instead of hiring a human assistant, get a digital one.
Friday, the Personal/Office Receptionist, is a fancy digital answering machine that attaches to a standard telephone line and provides four voice mailboxes. Each mailbox can be programed to forward calls to another telephone number, say to your car phone, so you can still get urgent messages. Three announcement-only mailboxes are designed to play information such as office hours or new-product announcements. Friday can also detect the electronic screeches of a facsimile or data call and route them to the fax machine or PC. It even has a music-on-hold input jack for a radio or CD player. The device can hold 18 minutes of messages on microchip. Priced at less than $400, it should be in consumer-electronic and office supply stores by September. EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG