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A remote answering machine is a type of telephone equipment that is configured to allow users to dial into the device and use a series of passcodes to access and manage any messages saved on the device. Typically easy to operate, answering machines of this type are relatively inexpensive and function with the use of touch tone prompts to access and manage the recorded messages. The use of a remote answering machine is considered an alternative to utilizing other types of messaging options with landline telephone services, such as online virtual message answering and answering services provided by telephone companies.
The configuration of a typical remote answering machine requires that the device be connected to a landline as well as a home telephone. The device can be set to answer an incoming call after a specified number of rings, and play a prerecorded greeting that prompts the caller to leave a message after a beep or tone is emitted. That message is recorded on a digital chip or a small cassette that is inserted into the machine itself. When at home, the user can utilize the keypad on the landline phone to access the messages for playback, saving, or deletion. When the machine functions with the use of a mini-cassette, it is easy for the owner to load important messages onto one cassette for permanent storage, and insert a new cassette into the recording device.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the remote answering machine is that the user can call into the device from a remote location. In order to manage the connection and be able to play any saved or new messages, the user must call in using a line that is equipped with touch tone service. Most answering machines are configured to detect the digital tones emitted as part of that service, allowing the user to enter a passcode that the system recognizes. The touch tone service is also necessary in order to prompt the system to save, replay, or delete any current messages.
Use of a remote answering machine is an inexpensive alternative to utilizing answering services provided by independent companies or even a service provided by the user’s telephone company. This is because those alternatives normally require some sort of monthly charge, as well as the activation of certain other services such as call forwarding. Since a remote answering machine can be purchased for a relatively small amount, the device can easily pay for itself with just a few months of use.