Call Screening

One of the great things about the old-style answering machine was that you could screen your calls. Just by allowing the machine to pick up, you could listen, in real time, to what the caller was saying and then decide if you wanted to answer the call. With the advent of the digital PBX, this all changed. Until now!

With the release of Digium Switchvox 5.8.5, it is now possible to screen calls in real time! And, in the tradition of Switchvox, this feature can be enabled or disabled on a per user basis. Let's look at how it works.

We'll start with an incoming call, and we'll either let it go to voicemail naturally, or we'll hasten it with the Send VM softkey. When the caller starts recording, the line key and message waiting indicator lights will both blink amber, and a little recording icon will appear in the main screen's title bar, as shown to the right.

Below is a screen shot, better showing what exactly is on the display. Nothing looks out of the ordinary, except for the little recording icons.

At this point, we can press the Msgs button, the same one that we would use to listen to voicemail messages. The screen will change as shown, and we'll be able to see that a voicemail is being recorded.

We can answer the call, actually returning the call to our phone, by pressing the Answer softkey. But, we can also screen the call—listen in and then decide if we want to answer the call—by pressing the Screen softkey or by pressing the check mark. The screen will change and we will start hearing the recording via the phone's speaker or via the handset if we pick it up. We won't be able to talk to the person, we'll just be able to listen.

If we decide that we do want to grab the call, once again we have the Answer softkey which will bring the two-way call to our phone. If we don't want to grab it, we can simply hang up and let the caller continue to leave a voicemail, never knowing that we listened in. Now, you can be in control of your phone and better decide which calls to take and which calls to let go into voicemail. How much more productive could you be with this?