Open Source Voip
TADHack Mini will be in Orlando in about ten weeks, at the very end of March, the weekend before Enterprise Connect. As per the TADHack website, a TADHack is an event in which people (e.g. students, graphic designers, project managers, product managers, IT Managers, Enterprise Connect attendees, computer programmers, interested individuals, and subject-matter-experts) collaborate on a software project focused on programmable telecoms. And for Enterprise Connect attendees, you get hands-on experience with communication APIs, intelligent agents/assistants, UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service), CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service), UC&C (Unified Communications and Collaboration), and much more
To read more about TADHack mini, please go here.
Sangoma is happy to sponsor this TADHack Mini where we will be bringing two communications development platforms to the Hack – Asterisk, our base communications platform and toolkit, and APIdaze, our CPaaS platform. We’ll be offering a $1,000 prize for the best application written on each. And the prizes do stack! If you write a great application utilizing both platforms, then the total $2,000 up for grabs will go to the one person or team responsible.
Winners even get to make their pitch at a special session at Enterprise Connect, which is some really good exposure.
We hope to see you there!
We’ll also have a booth at Enterprise Connect under the VoIP Innovations, a Sangoma Company, name. Please stop by, if you are there!
The post Bringing Asterisk and APIdaze to TADHack Mini in Orlando appeared first on Sangoma.
Teachers are already successful communicators, but there’s only so much time in a day. Adding additional resources to the school classroom can help educators maintain positive connections with parents – and your school phone system is the best place to look.
As they start a new semester, teachers are likely to find their email and voicemail inboxes filled with messages from parents asking about assignments, grades, or upcoming events. This is undoubtedly overwhelming, but Unified Communications (UC) makes it easy for teachers to balance their daily duties with the needs of parents.
UC solutions offer a myriad of features that can help teachers, administrators, and staff keep students safe, parents informed, and the school day running smoothly. And with Switchvox’s All Features Included pricing models, schools can stay within strict budgets and ensure teachers have top-notch communications capabilities.
Here are the top 3 ways that teachers can boost communications with parents using UC:
Teachers are often receiving calls and communication from parents throughout the day. And answering the phone in the middle of a lesson isn’t necessarily an option. This leaves educators will a full voicemail inbox, creating the potential for buried or lost messages.
With voicemail-to-email capabilities, parents can leave a voicemail which will be recorded and delivered to a teacher’s email inbox. Teachers can listen to the voicemail via the email message, sort them as needed, or mark the email for quick reference – allowing for easier organization and a clear voicemail!
Giving out personal phone numbers is usually a recipe for disaster, and it can be stressful for many teachers who want to be available to parents. Switchvox offers desktop and mobile softphone applications that allow teachers to make or receive calls when necessary using their work extensions on their computers and personal phones.
Office extensions can be listed on the school website directory, added to syllabus documents, or used in email signatures. This also helps keep staff from fielding calls for teachers, so they can focus on better aiding the students and visitors in the front office.
Teachers aren’t always confined to their classrooms – and, like it or not, their work often has a tendency to follow them home. So, advanced call rules are a must-have when teachers are on lunch duty, running to the front office, or grading papers away from their desk.
With call forwarding, teachers can have their calls sent to another extension or softphone after a certain number of rings, keeping them in contact with parents and colleagues throughout the busy school day and beyond when necessary.
Sangoma’s award-winning Switchvox UC solution offers the advanced phone system features that school staff, teachers, and administrators need – all for one affordable price. For case studies, white papers, and other resources on the Switchvox phone system for schools, check out our education industry page.
Or, if you’d like to see Switchvox in action, visit our demo center.
The post Top Ways to Boost Teacher-Parent Communications with UC appeared first on Sangoma.
People ask sometimes what’s going to happen in our industry in 2020. And I typically say “I don’t know” because I really don’t know. The telecommunications industry will always surprise you. But, usually, there are hints of what’s going to happen because something is already brewing in the background, and it will just come to fore or become more of a force in the coming year.
Take 5G. It’s easy to say it’s coming in 2020. But it’s not as easy to say that WiFi will continue to grow and, in fact, may take some of the luster off the need for 5G. Even within an office environment, it’s becoming more common for connections to your business phone system to be over WiFi – whether from a WiFi-enabled desk phone, a laptop softphone, or from a business phone system app that rings on your smartphone (which can be connected via WiFi or through a high speed cellular network). So it’s important that we not underestimate or forget the importance of WiFi in 2020.
And Artificial Intelligence, or at least smarter communication applications that can maybe predict what you may want or need due to data analysis, will become more and more commonplace.
To read more about my view on 2020, please read my FastMode 2020 Trends article here.
Ever heard of Moore’s Law? You probably have. Tech journalism rehashes the basic idea of Moore’s Law every time some big name chip manufacturer releases a new and impressive set of chips. The somewhat misleading name refers to the observation and prediction made by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit roughly doubles every couple of years. This “law” was pronounced in the 1960s and remained startlingly accurate until the 2010s. This exponential growth in chip performance and processing capability still ripples strongly throughout every industry, allowing for the rapid development and improvement of technology.
Oftentimes, the pace at which technology has grown and continues to grow leaves the casual bystander in awe, unable to follow every new development and not able to understand each new release’s importance. And before you know it, you start to hear that the technology, you’ve come to rely on and built whole business processes around (your business phone system, for example) has reached what the manufacturer calls “end of life.”
What does End of Life Mean?
End of Life (EOL) is the designation applied to platforms or products deemed by its manufacturer to have reached the end of its useful life. This typically occurs many years after production of hardware or development of software has ceased.
What that means for the owner or system administrator is that, for their phone system:
- No further development, updates, or improvements will be made to the particular product or product line the manufacturer is retiring.
- Technical support will typically be unavailable for that product after the expiration of existing support contracts.
- The manufacture of new spare or repair parts for that product or product line will be drastically slowed or ceased.
- No compatibility with new features will exist, and certain features or functionality may become limited or unavailable.
Why Should You Care?
Now, it would be easy to shrug your shoulders and assume there’s no harm in ignoring an EOL announcement on your system. Just thinking about updating or replacing your phone system sounds expensive, right?
While that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case, the truth is that there are many hidden and severe risks and expenses associated with trying to be willfully ignorant of an EOL system.
First and foremost is the obvious. If your system is EOL, warranties and support will end soon or already have ceased, with no options to renew or extend. This leaves those that rely on that system totally beholden to the hardiness of the technology. If a problem occurs, there’s no official means to receive help troubleshooting and getting the system running again. Every hour the system is down is another hour of lost opportunity and lost credibility.
Not to mention, more complicated phone systems can often rely on tech support to make changes to extensions and system settings. For those types of systems, EOL status could mean being essentially locked into whatever settings were in place before support expired.
The second reason you should care is less immediately apparent. Suppose your system is working fine for now and doesn’t rely on any services that the manufacturer may have ceased support for on your particular EOL model or system. It makes sense to try to squeeze as much life out of a phone system as you can, but eventually something is going to break. It’s at that point that many people realize they didn’t really save a lot of money by ignoring their EOL system. That’s because the longer a product or system is EOL, the more expensive even the smallest repair parts become. What was working fine one day, is costing hundreds or thousands of dollars the next, just to get back up and running. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get as much out of a system as you can, but always do so with caution and a solid plan for upgrading and replacing the EOL system.
Finally, you should care because there’s a reason your phone system is EOL, and it’s not just that your manufacturer is trying to force you to buy a new one that does the same thing. Sometimes a system is EOL because the manufacturer is simply repositioning themselves away from certain kinds of systems (like Toshiba ending their hosted and on-premise IP PBXs). But most often a certain product or system is EOL because major advances have been made and new functionality has necessitated better hardware or software. There’s no telling what new functionality or feature has been developed to keep your system secure and greatly improve the workflow of your business, maximizing the return on investing in a new system by increasing productivity. This is especially true if your EOL system did not possess or have access to Unified Communications (UC) functionality.
What You Can Do about your End of Life System
So you’ve got an EOL business phone system, and you’re wondering what’s the most responsible thing to do about it, eliminating the liability of an EOL system without making unnecessary purchases.
Well, it depends largely on your business’ situation and what type of EOL or soon-to-be EOL system you are currently using. Considerations such as what deployment type is currently installed and what budget, if any, exists for upgrades and replacements weigh heavy in deciding what you can do about your end of life system.
If your business is currently using a phone system hosted in the Cloud that is set to be discontinued, the good news is that transitioning to another hosted phone system can be a smooth, easy transition, with little or no upfront investment. If Cloud has been working for your business, there isn’t much reason to stop using a hosted service.
The situation is only slightly more complicated for those businesses operating end of life on-premise phone systems. For these systems, the fear isn’t usually phone service being discontinued as much as the system being unsupported by its manufacturer and becoming increasingly, exponentially more expensive to maintain and repair.
If your business is using an EOL or soon-to-be EOL on-premise phone system, you should take the steps now to replace the system, but you typically have some time to transition more gradually. Milk any warranties and maintenance contracts you may still have for all they are worth. You paid for them, after all. A reliable VoIP gateway and SIP trunking service will save you money on connectivity and allow you to get a little more mileage out of your EOL system while these warranties and contracts are still in effect.
Then, when any warranties and maintenance obligations from the manufacturer are due to expire, you have two options.
Many businesses who currently operate EOL on-premise systems will find switching to a hosted phone system favorable. It does not require a large upfront investment. The Cloud offers flexible, easily-variable service to accommodate every business, from startups to enterprises, and it takes the complexities out of linking multiple locations.
The needs and wishes of every business, however, do not always lend themselves to a hosted phone system. For medium-sized and larger businesses with stable needs that change at a slower pace, a new on-premise phone system provides reliable, supported service while allowing the business to fully control its network and maintenance. In addition, for organizations that have the budget for investing upfront, an on-premise system, whether deployed on a dedicated appliance or installed in a virtual environment, is more cost-effective over the life of the system than any other deployment type.
Whether it makes more sense for your business to transition to the Cloud or simply replace your end of life system with a new on-premise option, it’s important to start planning and shopping around now.
Solutions from Sangoma
With almost four decades of experience, Sangoma has helped countless businesses upgrade and replace their end of life hardware and phone systems. With a global community of satisfied customers and experienced integrators, Sangoma’s robust portfolio of products and services — built on open standards — is uniquely equipped to help modern businesses adopt future-proof, feature-rich business phone systems at a price point accessible to even the smallest businesses. There’s a reason Sangoma is widely considered the best value in Unified Communications (UC)!
Best of all, customers in the Sangoma family don’t have to deal with the headache of purchasing and installing different pieces of their communications infrastructure from different vendors. Sangoma offers complete solutions, giving customers piece of mind that every part of their business phone system was designed to work together. Our portfolio of product and service offerings includes gateways, cards, and IP phones, as well as full UC systems and Cloud services, such as faxing and SIP trunking.
Explore Switchvox, our premiere UC phone system available on-premise or hosted in the cloud. Or if you would like some personal guidance on the best options for your EOL system, contact one of our friendly solution specialists!
The post Technology Reaching End of Life? Why You Should Care… appeared first on Sangoma.
For SMBs in search of a solution to transmit basic data to your central office or headquarters, there exist many more options today than in the past. Standard DSL and cable internet connections have become economical choices for typical business use.
But for large retailers transmitting mission-critical real-time data from each location to headquarters, the ubiquitous T1 connection may still be your best option, even with these newer connection types available on the market. Plus, large retailers with established solutions working over T1 are typically hesitant to change their connection method at all.
A T1 connection is more beneficial for large retailers in a number of ways :
- Offers reliable Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and guarantees performance for applications in real-time, such as voice and video calling.
- Not affected by distance from the exchange.
- Not affected by contention ratios.
- T1 line providers offer an uptime of 99.9%, making the service suitable for mission-critical applications.
- DSL and cable internet may not exist in the geographical area, whereas T1 typically does.
The only real competition for T1 in the large retailers market niche is carrier-grade Ethernet, but that is not always an option since this type of technology exists mainly in large urban areas.
So, with all the benefits of a T1 connection for large retailers, what do they do when virtually all vendors of T1 equipment have discontinued their solutions? In the past, several vendors provided T1 data cards, used by integrators, to create custom gateways. They would be used at each of the retailer’s store locations to collect and transmit mission-critical real-time data back to headquarters. But today’s reality is that the market has become barren, including support for these products, leaving retailers stranded in search of a supported alternative.
Fortunately for this market, Sangoma offers supported T1 data cards that are drop-in replacements for those products discontinued by other vendors. Since 1984, Sangoma has been producing and supporting T1 data cards for custom gateway deployments. Among our satisfied customers are some of the largest and most trusted retail chains in North America and beyond.
Lanner Electronics Inc., for example, uses Sangoma T1 cards in their custom fail-over solutions for large retailers. A leading global provider of advanced network appliances and rugged applied computing platforms for system integrators, service providers, and application developers, solutions from Lanner Electronics include a wide range of vCPE white box hardware, pre-validated by major SD-WAN solution leaders in the market to accommodate the demands for resilience, performance, and enhanced connectivity.
“We have been using Sangoma A101 and A102 T1 data cards in our appliances for years now, to support some of the largest retailers for T1 failover solutions, “ says Sven Freudenfeld, CTO of Lanner Electronics. “They are highly compatible, very reliable, and very easy to integrate. We recommend Sangoma’s T1 cards for all integrators who need to build custom gateways to interface with T1 and Point-of-Sale.”
If you are an integrator looking to create a gateway solution to interface with T1 and connect to point-of-sale systems, Sangoma is a trusted leader.
For more information, visit https://www.sangoma.com/telephony-cards/sd-wan/
The post For Large Retailers, Hope Still Remains for Integrated Service T1 Gateways appeared first on Sangoma.
If you are a SMB (Small to Mid-sized Business) owner, you probably keep hearing, “You should move to the Cloud!” or “The Cloud is the future of business communications.” You are not alone. Moving everything to the Cloud is a not only a business trend, but it’s also a smart business decision. The “Cloud” in communication terms, is essential the same thing as your typical on-premise phone system, except it is hosted by a vendor in their data center. Your phone service is delivered to you over the internet. The golden question most business owners are asking is: “How do I know if the Cloud is a good fit for me and my business?” I invite you to ask yourself the following questions.
Do you have a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider)?
Internet is arguably the most important aspect to have in place before moving to the Cloud or any hosted service for that matter. In order to receive high-quality voice and video, there are certain aspects of your network that need to be validated. We call this “VoIP Network Readiness.” In general, we recommend at least 100Kbps per concurrent call both internal and external. You can check your network’s bandwidth, latency (delay), packet loss, jitter, and quality of service here by using our free comprehensive VoIP network test.
Do you have many projects going on right now that might be tying up money on hand?
A cloud-based phone system is categorized as an OPEX or Operational Expenditure, meaning that it’s a subscription that you pay for over time with little to no upfront investment. Many SMB owners are trying to establish inventory, personnel, and keep their feet underneath them. Being able to distribute the cost of a business phone system and phone service over the course of a few years can allow for more money to be spent upfront on immediate needs.
Are you a small-medium sized company with little to no IT footprint?
On-premise appliances are known to come with some physical maintenance issues from time to time. All technology hardware needs to be properly maintained with updates and occasionally some parts replaced. When an SMB doesn’t have a dedicated IT staff to maintain all of this physical technology, it can become a burden to the business owner or whoever the “tech-savvy” person in the office might be. A hosted phone system is housed in the data center(s) of the vendor that is providing the service, giving the business owner peace of mind and less to manage. When software needs to be updated or hardware replaced, you can feel confident that the vendor is maintaining that on your behalf, freeing up your time to focus on your business and customers.
Do you have remote workers or multiple offices?
In today’s modern business world, more and more companies are allowing employees to work from home. In fact, some studies are showing that those in the new workforce generation are expecting the option of working from home as needed. A hosted phone system allows you to communicate anytime, anywhere. As long as you have internet access, you can connect to the PBX hosted in the vendor’s data center. The ability to have your business phone calls roll to your mobile phone is a commonly requested feature. This is giving business owners the luxury of extending office hours and keeping customers happy by always having someone available to answer the phone. A hosted phone system is also ideal for businesses with multiple offices because you don’t have to stress about piering multiple devices together. All the phones/endpoints register to the Cloud, no matter where they are deployed.
Is the growth or future of your company a concern?
The future of any SMB can be hard to predict, but making sure you invest in technology that can grow with your company is a priority for any ambitious business owner. A hosted business phone system is very flexible and future proof, giving your company the ability to add and drop users as needed. If you have a seasonal business, then this flexibility will particularly benefit you. All business owners want to see their company grow and expand; knowing that you have a phone system that will grow with you can give you the added confidence you need to push full steam ahead.
If any of the above reasons resonate with you, then the Cloud is something you should definitely consider. Communication is certainly the lifeline between businesses and their customers, but when you are juggling all that comes with owning a business, the last thing you need to worry about is maintaining expensive on-site hardware. A hosted phone system is meant to give the end user a reliable, worry-free, and effortless experience.
At Sangoma, we maintain all the software upgrades and hardware replacements behind the scenes so you don’t have to. Switchvox Cloud arrives with all features included and is quick to install and easy to use. With everything coming from one vendor, not only does it simplify your monthly expenses, but it can also mean big savings as well. Click here to see a quick tour of Switchvox Cloud and see how your business can grow and benefit from an all inclusive, hosted business phone system!
Why does it seem that CPaaS and SIP trunking goes together, like chocolate and peanut butter (or chocolate and anything!)? At first glance, these offerings seem to be for different markets – one for developers and one for end users.
To offer good CPaaS, you need a few things beyond the basic good CPaaS platform (useful APIs and SDKs for voice, video, SMS, security, email, other comms platform integration, etc.).
Like what? For one thing, you need good bandwidth, and these come via reliable and fast SIP trunks. After all, if your applications are not running on-premise, then your applications are being accessed remotely through a cloud. And that cloud needs to perform well. As such if you are offering Platform as a Service, then the latency needs to be as low as possible. You also need to be able to offer phone numbers if you want this communications application to scale outside of peer-to-peer internet communications. And you need to be able to do this globally. SIP trunking offers all of this.
Thus, the seemingly at-first-glance strange marriage between CPaaS and SIP Trunking becomes less strange.
Sangoma recently acquired VoIP Innovations. That means we can offer both CPaaS and wholesale SIP trunking now as well. It made sense to us.
When you experience a day in the life of Switchvox, you understand how Unified Communications (UC) connects your workplace like never before. Switchvox unifies your business with your employees and customers. Using Switchvox’s powerful communications tools throughout your day makes you…a Switchvox pro!Why Unified Communications?
Today’s modern business phone system is more than office extensions and employees fielding incoming customer calls. Companies look for Unified Communications solutions to effectively manage their business communications.
UC integrates enterprise communications services and tools and provides a more effective user experience. Think of your business phones, instant messaging, and presence technology all working together seamlessly. Now think bigger. Imagine dozens of applications all working together, connecting your business, your employees, and your customers around the clock. That is Unified Communications.
A Switchvox UC solution connects your workforce with multiple applications from a single turnkey solution. These applications include mobility options, call center capabilities, queue monitoring and management, conferencing, reporting, IVRs, alerts, and notifications.
Receptionists and office administrators alike enjoy the intuitive browser-based interface of the Switchvox Switchboard because Switchvox connects and informs. From the moment your coworkers arrive at the office or remote locations, you’ll know their status and if they’re available or busy. They even have the option to post a customized message.
Whether your incoming calls are from new customers or valued clients, powerful UC features help provide a seamless interaction from the instant they call to the moment they leave. Routing a call to the correct party is as easy as a drag-and-drop transfer.
The Switchboard Queues widget allows for multiple queues that can be easily managed in single or multiple panels. Add the dedicated Wallboard widget, and you have the ability to monitor call queue statistics in an easy-to-read location. Now that’s using UC like a Switchvox Pro!
Most importantly, Switchvox integrates with business applications such as Salesforce.com, Zendesk, and Outlook. And that is just the beginning.
One of the many features that set Switchvox apart from other UC offerings is mobility. The Switchvox Softphone app brings the power of your IP phone to your desktop, laptop, and mobile device! You can send and receive calls from anywhere as if you were at your office. Make extension to extension calls and utilize advanced Call Control options, such as transfers, 3-way calling, and more. You also have the ability to set your status and view the status of others.See Switchvox in Action
Switchvox has so much to offer! Switchvox’s powerful Unified Communications solution is available on-premise, virtualized, or hosted in the Cloud. Learn how you can become a Switchvox pro by signing up for your free demo today!