01 Communique – Communicate v.10 review

fax/voice messaging software
Photo of 01 Communique – Communicate v.10
£39.99

Communicate (there’s supposed to be an exclamation mark at the end of the name, but…) is an all-in-one fax, voice and data messaging system. It is aimed at the home office user who wants the features of a fax/voice server without having to pay for expensive hardware or software.

Designed to work over a dial-up connection or via a network Internet connection, Communicate is most likely to be used with a modem. One of its strengths in this respect is that it can be used even if you have just the one phone line. It will auto-detect the type of incoming call (voice or fax) and act accordingly, either recording the phone message to the appropriate voice mailbox (you can set up unlimited numbers of these, each one protected by a numeric password) or receiving and storing the fax. In this respect it’s similar to programs such as Hotfax MessageCenter and TalkWorks Pro.

Communicate is claimed to be an exceptionally easy to use package, and for the most part that claim seems to be well founded. The ease of use is helped by the excellent printed manual and additional online help files. The installation process is straightforward and the only requirement for user configuration is to enter your name, phone number, address and a password.

Quick faxes can be sent by typing the recipient’s details directly into the program, along with any message, and then clicking ‘send’. Alternatively, for more complex faxes, you can simply print to the Communicate fax driver from any supported Windows application. A nice touch is that incoming faxes can be forwarded via e-mail or converted to text via the built-in OCR program, although as with all such tools, the accuracy is never perfect. Remote callers can access fax-on-demand documents by dialling in to the appropriate mailbox and you can check voicemail remotely in the same way.

The user interface is designed to look like an actual fax machine, complete with keypad and screen. This is a bit gimmicky, though, so it’s fortunate that the main activity screens use the standard Windows interface instead. From these you can manage incoming and outgoing faxes and messages, as well as e-mails; Communicate includes a full e-mail client along with an well-designed contact management database that links to a caller ID system. This doesn’t integrate with Outlook, though, so its usefulness may be limited.

There are some nice touches, such as the ability to record voicemail messages that are used at different times of the day (e.g. “Good morning…”, “Good afternoon…”) and the option of sending message notification to pagers or telephones or via SMS.

Company: 01 Communique

Contact: 00 1 905 795 2888


Verdict
As a low-priced alternative to the usual bundled modem software, Communicate v.10 has real advantages. If it has a drawback, it's the same one suffered by all programs of this type, namely that you have to leave your PC switched on all the time if you want it to record messages or faxes while you're out; which of course is the whole point.