How to Get Your Business Calls on Your Cell Phone

Updated: July 11, 2007

Even if you don't mind making such decisions every time you call someone, you may not want to force your customers to do the same when they call you. In that case, the only solution is to make sure that you can get all your business calls on your cell phone when you're away from the office, without the caller even knowing the difference. There are a number of ways to do so.

The most conventional way is through the office PBX (Private Branch eXchange). Many modern PBXes do a lot more than forward your office calls to your cell phone or call both numbers simultaneously or in order. PBXes also extend a greater or lesser part of the full set of PBX functions to that phone, including features such as call forwarding, transferring and conferencing. They also typically provide seamless bridging, so you can pick up one phone and hang up the other during the call without losing the connection.

Avaya and Cisco have similar solutions, though they prefer to emphasize the differences. Avaya calls its version Extension to Cellular, which offers such features as voice-activated dialing for road warriors who are literally driving their rental cars, as well as call recording and abbreviated dialing. Cisco, for its part, is particularly proud of the presence detection that it offers with its Unified Mobile Communicator solution. Cisco's offering also provides features such as access to corporate directory information and GUI-based voice mail access.

The less conventional approach is to go with one of the new Voice 2.0 services. For example Google Voice, gives you one phone number that can ring all your cellular and landline numbers at once. Google Voice can, incidentally, be particularly useful for those who change jobs a lot but want their business contacts to be able to reach them wherever they move. For that reason, you might want to have a good explanation ready when you tell your boss you want to put your Google Voice number on your business cards.

TalkPlus, by contrast, lets those committed to the mobile lifestyle dump the office line altogether and receive all their business and personal calls on their cell phone — without confusing the two. Here, too, having a good explanation for leaving your office number off your business card would be useful.

TalkPlus works by providing multiple numbers — say, business, personal and Saturday-nights-only — that ring on the same handset, with on-screen indicators that show both the phone number of the caller and the number they're calling. That'll save the mobile generation from answering a call from their boss with "Whassup, dawg," or whatever happens to be the cool greeting of the day for their particular demographic.

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