Open Source Voip
Last week, I explored why virtualization is a possibility for a UC solution and why it may be a viable option for some businesses.
This week, I want to go through some of the benefits.
One of the biggest benefits is saving money. If you already have a few servers running other business applications, then you don’t have to buy a new piece of hardware. You can put your UC software on the existing server. However, there is likely still some money to spend because you’ll need to buy virtualization software (such as VMWare or Hyper-V). RedHat does have a free one if you are using Linux. Additionally, you will be spending less money on cooling and electricity and have a smaller overall data center footprint because you’ll have less servers.
The environment and “going green” is also a big deal. You may want to do your part to help the planet or there may be business benefits for saying you are “green”. One of the benefits mentioned in the above paragraph is using less power than if every business application had it’s own server. Using as little power as possible means being as green as possible.
Another benefit that I mentioned briefly last week is improved uptime and disaster recovery. The virtualization technology also comes with the added benefit of not only scheduling multiple applications on the same server but also enabling two different physical servers to work together, bringing the benefit of increased reliability and uptime.
Please read our whitepaper to find out more.
Most of us understand the on-prem or cloud options when considering a new UC solution. But what about a virtualization option for on-prem solutions? That is, taking the UC software and running it on an already existing high-powered server that is running other of your business applications as well. This would save you money because you wouldn’t necessarily have to buy another piece of hardware to go with your new UC software.
First of all, let’s examine why this might be possible in the first place.
One reason is pure advances in computing power. The COTS (commercial off the shelf) server you buy today clearly has a lot more computing power than the server you bought 5 years ago or even 18 months ago. I learned all about Moore’s law when I worked for Intel. As such, you don’t need discrete hardware to run each business application. It’s a bit hard to wrap your head around if you haven’t thought about it, but it makes sense. If the server has more computing power, then for any given application there will be “wasted” computing power on such as server. So why not use up that computing power by having it applied to multiple tasks or applications?
Another reason is that, as the computing power has increased, software that allowed discrete applications to be run concurrently, yet separate from each other, on that same server came to the forefront. The initial virtualization technology that ushered in the cloud era was geared more toward transactional computing and not really suitable for VoIP applications that are sensitive to latency and dropped packets. However, today the virtualization technology can handle real-time communication applications as well.
The virtualization technology also comes with the added benefit of not only scheduling multiple applications on the same server but also enables two different physical servers to work together, bringing the benefit of increased reliability and uptime.
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Open Invention Network teams up with IBM, Linux Foundation, and Microsoft to protect open-source software from patent trolls
It was only a matter of time before someone bought the division since it had a robust channel. And so a couple of months after that original announcement, Mitel completed the acquisition of that division. It then predictably subsequently announced a Toshiba product phase out plan.
The phase out plan is now near its end. October of this year marked the end of any add-on hardware sales. So that’s it for any new sales, though there are two more years of support.
Obviously, Mitel would like the old Toshiba dealers to sell Mitel. However, since that acquisition Mitel is going all-in on cloud.
If you are a Toshiba dealer and would like to sell on-prem andcloud, not just cloud, what is one to do? Sangoma is there to help you. Our Switchvox Business Phone system is available both in the cloud and on-prem and better yet, they share the same exact code base. It looks and behaves the same.
Or if you are an end-user and your Toshiba system starts to get long in the tooth, what are you to do? You probably picked Toshiba since it did the basic functions well, and you didn’t feel like a number being a customer of a behemoth. With the world moving to UC, you want a good value-based UC system, and you want it from a company that won’t treat you like a number. Why not come to Sangoma, who has a great value-based UC system, sold by a great reseller channel.
As I’ve written about before, the drivers for buying UC phone systems typically revolve around efficiency improvement and productivity gains. These can be realized because with all the communications ‘unified’, there is less time lost trying to just connect with each other, track people down, and get info from other systems. In other words, different communications methods in one system enable a “best” way to get to someone when you need them.
A new Frost and Sullivan UCaaS report adds a few more value propositions to the mix. As seen from the table above, improving customer experience and satisfaction and launching new products and services are also important. The improving customer experience and satisfaction, to me, are about obtaining efficiencies – but from the customer point of view. For instance, when I call in to a call center, my phone number identifies me, and my call history can pop up. So while that saves the call center time, it also saves me time and makes me happier because I don’t have to report rote information. So it gets me to my reason for calling, quicker.
Launching new products and services is very interesting. In my opinion, this is just about the entire UC value prop. There are many elements of UC, and it’s doubtful a user, during the initial deployment, utilizes all of them from the get-go. We frequently see customers who like 1 or 2 elements of UC, and that’s why they buy it. Yet, over time, they really like other functions that weren’t part of the purchasing decision. And these other functions enable new services that they hadn’t thought of before. For instance, with mobility, your office phone number can ring on your smartphone. And since your smartphone is with you at all times, maybe you can offer expanded service support times and charge more for that.
Often, one technology has to be retired to make way for newer, more efficient technology. Wooden ships that relied solely on wind and tides gave way to steel ships with powerful onboard engines and sophisticated geopositioning technology, cutting ocean passage times dramatically. In the same way, telecommunications technology has advanced, and telecom service providers worldwide have begun the process of retiring the older technologies and infrastructures. The public switched telephone network was upgraded to the integrated services digital network (ISDN), which now faces retirement to make way for more advanced IP communications networks.
What is the ISDN?
In the late 1980s, the public switched telephone network (PSTN) received a massive upgrade. Implementing new digital signaling protocols, such as Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI), allowed the traditional circuits of the PSTN to transport voice services digitally as packets of data.
Opening the door for a number of value-added services from service providers, the new ISDN was born and enjoyed widespread adoption across Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia.
ISDN Switch Off
This technology was revolutionary and defined twentieth century communications. But as the world has grown comfortably into the twenty-first century, these technologies now represent an expensive liability as the aging network struggles to keep up with the demands of the modern world.
Thus, nearly all service providers have announced dates in the 2020s as the end of life for the ISDN and PSTN.
British Telecom (BT), for example, will cease supplying in 2020, with a full migration to digital voice services by 2025.This move comprises a part of their cost transformation program. High maintenance legacy telecommunications infrastructure is not sustainable. Retiring the older technology opens up capital for investment in next generation IP networks that will not only be more cost effective but will provide more flexible services to meet the increasingly demanding business needs of the future.
While this does present massive potential for growth and progress, the ISDN switch off affects over two million businesses in the United Kingdom alone, with millions more being affected in the coming years as European and Asian service providers also migrate toward IP networks and cease ISDN service.
What is Sangoma’s Solution?
Understandably, retiring the ISDN leaves customers with the challenge of reviewing their options before the network switch off. Luckily for these businesses, Sangoma has been preparing for this situation for years, developing a portfolio of products designed to ease the transition from PSTN and ISDN to full Voice over IP (VoIP) and Unified Communications (UC) service.
In fact, Sangoma’s solutions allow businesses to migrate at their own pace without getting left behind and without service.
Businesses ready for a major communications overhaul will find Sangoma’s on-premise and cloud hosted UC business phone systems the perfect full service solution with hardware, phones, accessories, and services like fax and SIP trunking service available from the same vendor.
Those that need more time to transition their network or that simply want to get a little more life out of their existing PBX solution will find in Sangoma’s variety of VoIP gateways and other offerings the right hardware and services to connect their existing equipment to the IP network.
Regardless of the pace at which a business is seeking to migrate, Sangoma is confident they will find switching to VoIP advantageous not only in its long-term cost effectiveness but also in productivity that can be gained by incorporating Unified Communications into the business workflow.
As expected, I’ve had a few questions about why we purchased VoIP Innovations.
One of the most obvious reasons is the addition of revenue (and recurring revenue at that) and healthy EBITDA. You can read the press release to see those kinds of details.
Strategically, adding VoIP Innovations supplements Sangoma’s long term growth and direction as a Communications as a Service company – we provide UC, Contact Center, SIP trunking, and Device all as a Service today. This deal enhances our SIP Trunking and CPaaS “as a service” offerings. While we will still obviously continue to sell and invest in hardware such as UC/PBX on-prem, gateways, SBCs and phones, etc., the industry is evolving towards Cloud, and, thus, Sangoma needs to continue to evolve in this direction. VoIP Innovations helps us in this continuous evolution.
One of the biggest questions I’ve received is related to why we are going down a service provider path, given most of VoIP Innovations revenue comes from their wholesale carrier services. Well, there are two reasons.
First of all, with Cloud, the demarcation line between enterprise and service provider is blurred. For instance, Sangoma itself is a service provider because we offer cloud services to business users. So are we in the enterprise business or service provider business? Where is the line? The customers of the VI wholesale carrier services tend to be MSPs and large enterprises who also need UC solutions. And, as I just wrote, we can deliver that to them. So we see channel synergies.
And, if you go back to the “traditional” definition of service provider, it is not like Sangoma is NOT in the service provider business. We sell to quite a few service providers, and when the Dialogic gateways came over in early 2018, Sangoma also picked up quite a few wholesale carrier customers and other service providers. So we know service providers, and there is also synergy with that part of our business and VoIP Innovations.
Finally, the CPaaS development platform APIdaze will enable additional applications to be written (by us and by third parties) and paired with Sangoma solutions. We are excited about that opportunity going forward.
In summary, we see revenue growth from the additional selling opportunities each side obtains by bringing the two companies being together.
We’ve all been there, the conference call from hell. Where someone is not muted and you hear their dog or kids in the background and you can’t figure out who it is because half of the attendees are working remote that day. The guy who always arrives late and interrupts the person speaking with the entrance “beep” of shame, or the exact opposite of that where someone bails out of the call because “someone just walked in”, but in reality they just lost interest. After that someone always asks, “Who just left?” followed by an awkward chorus of “I’m still here” from all the remaining participants. Finally, my favorite conferencing conundrum, someone puts the entire conference call on hold and now the speaker has to shout over the hold music in order for everyone to hear. I am sure that Mozart and Beethoven are rolling over in their graves right now knowing their best symphonies are being shouted over by passive aggressive business people, all secretly dispising that inconsiderate coworker.
Now that you are sitting there with that knotty, lump of annoyance and dread in your stomach, let me ease your troubles by saying there is a way to solve all of those annoyances with Switchvox’s new conferencing widget. Yes, it’s true, you can see everything. The participants as they leave and enter the conference call. A speaker icon next to the individuals who have any audio coming from their end, whether they are speaking or there is background noise that is loud enough to be picked up by the phone. You can join your conference bridge from you switchboard or Sangoma D-series phone with one click of the mouse or button press and hang up. No more dialing in and then entering your own conference pin as if you are one of the attendees.
(In best TV salesperson’s voice) But that’s not all! You can mute all attendees with one click or button press, or you can mute individuals depending on the situation. So, when that one person has scary noises coming from the background, it will be illustrated by the speaker icon and you can mute that specific person, or better yet, you can kick them from the call entirely! (Mwa-Ha-Ha) Finally, you can end the conference with a click or button press and everyone will be removed from the bridge.
It’s worth mentioning that this conferencing widget is available to every user on your Switchvox system at no extra cost. Grant admin privileges to specific co-workers, customize the music on hold, or make it to wear participants cannot talk until an admin is present. Scared to call the IT team and ask them to set this up for you? Fret no more, since this is all set up in your user portal yourself. As long as you are on Switchvox version 7.1, you will see the new conferencing widget appear in your switchboard edit menu and on your D-series phone. Even if you have not had the chance to upgrade, there are still advanced conferencing features silently waiting for you just around the corner in your user portal.
Schedule a demo with our one of our Account Executives and see the conferencing widget live! I promise we don’t bite, but we do reek of Halloween puns. Ah well, tis the season! Happy Conferencing!
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