Parliant PhoneValet Message Center 5.2.1

Parliant PhoneValet Message Center 5.2.1

Parliant’s USB adapter is the magic connection between your Mac and your telephone line.


If you work from home, run a small business, or have a household full of family members who receive calls on the same landline, PhoneValet Message Center 5.2.1 could be a high-tech but affordable solution to the problem of missed calls, lost messages, and the messy stack of sticky notes next to the telephone. (Parliant’s Mac-based hardware/software solution can be expanded for multiple lines, too, but we tested it using a single residential phone line.) The beauty of the system is that you no longer rely on an answering machine or a voicemail service that requires you to be right next to the machine or to call a separate number to retrieve messages. PhoneValet can sort everyone’s messages into separate boxes, have those messages emailed to the person to whom they’re directed, interrupt what you’re doing when an important call comes in, route calls to another number (if your phone service supports it), and so much more.


Getting the system up and running is a simple matter of connecting the Parliant USB adapter to the phone line and then to the Mac. After entering your registration code, you’re ready to customize your setup. PhoneValet uses the metaphor of call trees to handle incoming calls. In Preferences > Voice Mail, you can keep it simple by having all unanswered calls handled in the same way, or you can create options that branch out below the main greeting, letting callers press certain number keys to leave messages for specific people, and even assigning “extensions” to everyone so that callers can bypass the main greeting to directly reach the person they want. The voicemail setup wasn’t immediately obvious, but a minute or two of digging into the manual put us on the right track. Overrides allow you to set up special actions for specific callers or time frames, such as outside business hours or when the family is away.


The system also can interrupt you - or not - based on who’s calling. And you can customize ringtones, shoo away telemarketers with prerecorded messages (“We’re not interested. Please don’t call again.”), and place calls with a single click. PhoneValet integrates with iChat and iTunes the same way Ovolab’s Phlink does, and also has excellent AppleScript support. An add-on called PhoneValet Anywhere ($59.95) lets you access calls from any Web browser, networked computer (even Windows peecees), and your iPhone. The Anywhere iPhone interface is streamlined for quick viewing on the iPhone’s 3.5-inch display.


The bottom line. Feature for feature, PhoneValet Message Center and Ovolab Phlink compare favorably. But for flexibility and expandability, PhoneValet offers more options - especially for business use.


COMPANY: Parliant


PRICE: $169.95

REQUIREMENTS: G3 or later or Intel processor, Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, QuickTime 6.5.3 or later, USB, analog telephone service

Flexible call handling. Integrates nicely with Apple apps such as iChat and iTunes, and with Skype. Great AppleScript support. Universal binary.

Semi-steep learning curve for setting up certain features.





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Just note something the review does not make clear: you cannot use your Mac for the call beyond dialing the number. You must still have a separate telephone device attached to the line.

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