Open Source Voip
The channel is the lifeblood for the technology industry. It enables vendors to focus on R&D and gives end users a more personalized experience by purchasing through a local company (the reseller). While vendors are responsible for creating a turn-key solution that can give immediate benefit to a business, it’s the reseller who can truly build the business case and provide an extra level of value to customers.
Value-added resellers (VARs) are the perfect example of this theory. They give customers an extra level of value by providing additional services that go beyond the scope of what a vendor can offer. Many solutions require additional services to support them and customers are faced with finding another provider. However, VARs are able to bundle the service or feature with the product and sell it as one complete, value-packed solution.
Resellers not only offer value by creating a next-level end product, they are also instrumental in shaping the business case to potential customers for why they should choose a specific solution. In today’s B2B landscape, buyers are able to research different product offerings online and educate themselves. Many buyers have a clear picture of the solution they want before ever engaging with sales. While vendor websites are a great place for prospects to conduct research and narrow down solutions, it’s the local reseller who meets face-to-face with the customer and discusses exact pain points that can make all the difference in the world. By having someone present to convey exactly how the solution will meet the needs of each user, customers can feel more confident with their decision and know the true value the solution will bring to them.
Furthermore, local resellers can provide value to decision makers by giving a more in-depth financial justification for a solution. They are in a position to compare competitor pricing and give a side-by-side analysis, and they can accurately depict total cost of ownership with the extra services they offer. Additionally, as resellers are deep-diving with customers, they can frame the “cost of doing nothing” if prospects were to keep their existing solution and provide a true ROI analysis for deploying the new solution.
There is oftentimes a disconnect between how vendors market to end users and what customers are expecting to hear from vendors. Because vendors are sometimes forced to create ‘umbrella’ messaging to be relevant to as many people as possible, it can sometimes lose the personalization that customers have come to expect. However, resellers are able to take that messaging and craft it specifically to the customer and their exact needs, and, in essence, close that gap. Vendors create the solution, but it’s the resellers who are oftentimes the face of the solution and convey its value directly to the customer.
Vendors are the driving force behind a product, but they can’t be everything to everybody. That is why it is necessary to have a strong channel and partners who can provide added value directly to the customers.
At Sangoma, we treasure our channel and the partners who serve as the face of our solutions. And we are always looking to expand the reach of our channel into new and underserved markets.
The Fairphone ethical smartphone is now available with the Google-less Android /e/OS operating system
A few weeks ago, I recorded a podcast with Isha Mukherjee, Sangoma’s new APAC marketing manager. We talked about a wide range of topics, including WFH and how Sangoma has responded to it, to new products we have announced, and to APAC’s importance to Sangoma.
Regarding the first topic, Work from Home, Sangoma as a company is working from home, using our UC systems, so it’s been relatively smooth for us since we have a phone system that enables a softphone to your laptop or mobile phone with our office phone number, we have conferencing on that system, etc. We are also helping our customers by putting up a WFH / Remote working page on our website, and by putting up a support wiki as well for those customers who needed help using our many WFH features in our UC systems.
We’ve also hosted numerous webinars about how our products enable WFH. We will be hosting some soon in APAC, so be on the lookout for announcements about that if you are in APAC.
We also announced wireless headsets on March 31. These are also immensely useful in a WFH setting since you can be on calls and roam around the apartment or house if you need to.
We recently announced our Video Conferencing Service, Sangoma Meet™, which is free to all users at this time. Just go to https://meet.sangoma.com to use it. One way to help with overcoming the missing sense of community and human interaction is to utilize video more. Unified Communications, as readers know, is at the heart of what we do at Sangoma. Our UC hadn’t until this point handled video conferencing. Sangoma Meet has HD video standard, is secure (is encrypted and needs a password), can scale up to 50 users, and you can share files, chat, etc. You need to be on a WebRTC compatible browser like Chrome or Edge.
And like I said, it’s FREE to use right now. With your business or your family.
Isha also asked me about how important APAC was to Sangoma. It’s a growing region for us, and we are investing here. We expect it to grow. Most of our business in APAC is in the non-Unified Communications part of our portfolio (boards, gateways, phones), but one result of all this WFH stuff is that businesses see the importance of UC. And we provide exceptional value in our PBXact UC system. So we’re expecting growth over time here.
If you want to listen to the podcast, please go here: https://podcasts.sangoma.com/wp-content/uploads/sangoma-apac-001.mp3
We’ll likely be doing more podcasts so be on the lookout for them. And I’ll be in APAC as soon as we’re able to travel again.
The post A Blog about a Podcast with Sangoma’s new APAC Marketing Manager appeared first on Sangoma.
One direct impact of all this social distancing, not traveling, and working from home that is stark is the reduction in carbon emissions in the environment. It’s noticeable, dramatic in cases (such as people in Punjab being able to see the Himalayas for the first time in decades) and global.
Obviously, knowledge worker type employees not going to a building to work and working from home instead, and not traveling to see customers in trains, planes, or automobiles, is having a large impact on the environment. Companies that would have never embraced WFH before are starting to understand that WFH is possible, may not negatively impact the business, and may even have a positive long-term impact. For them.
For instance, employees may be happier since they don’t have to commute and spend time in traffic. And companies utilizing current technology available, such as video, to help customers remotely, or have team collaboration meetings, obviates at least some of the need for truck rolls or plane trips to go see them, thus saving the company money. Suddenly, work from home is more interesting since there may also be a financial benefit to the company.
These companies responded to a crisis by utilizing Unified Communications (UC), which gives the ability for employees to work from home as if they are in the office, or gives employees more tools such as video to help customers remotely or do team collaboration. They did it and utilized UC because they had to. There wasn’t some altruistic reasons behind these decisions. It was just figuring out how to move forward.
However, these work from home scenarios created less carbon emissions, something surely positive for the world. And therein lies an opportunity. Now that these companies are doing it, and in many cases, doing it successfully, will some of them embrace it and go on the path towards carbon neutrality? It’s a leap for sure, but when things “get back to normal,” could companies put policies in place to adopt WFH as a part of their company culture? That is highly probable. And if they do that, could they then take more steps and go for carbon neutrality?
Let’s examine first how could a company cut their carbon emissions? There are indirect ways of positively impacting the environment, such as recycling everything in your office (such as paper and aluminum), so reuse can occur. And using coffee cups instead of Styrofoam cups. Those are but a couple, but there are numerous examples I’m sure you can think of.
But there are also direct ways, such as changing air conditioning and heating even one degree as an example.
And there are companies exploring other ways, such as having smaller physical buildings to work in. We are already seeing trends where employees don’t each have an office or even their own cubicle. There are simply large work space areas where you go sit. Some of this is designed to try and foster better teamwork, while some is more practical given the need to try and cut monthly lease costs, or because more and more people were working from home anyway so there isn’t a need anymore for every single person to have their own space.
Whatever the original reason, the office square footage per employee has been decreasing, even before this crisis. This also has an impact on less heating and air conditioning required. In other words, for example, if work teams rotated when they came in an office, thus requiring less overall square footage the company would need to use, there would be multiple benefits to the environment. Less carbon emissions due to less employee travel and less heating/air conditioning. That’s a step, but not all the way to carbon neutrality.
So let’s say your company wants to embrace this. What does being carbon neutral even mean? It means having a net zero carbon dioxide emissions. How can a company become carbon neutral? Companies can start with the ideas like above, but also then support a myriad of carbon offset projects or initiatives that offsets what your company is putting into the environment. Companies are also taking it upon themselves to go further, driving to purchase clean energy, such as from wind or solar. A company can even strive to become carbon neutral certified.
All big ideas, but ideas that could turn into reality. And Unified Communications is an important pillar that can enable this to happen, because without UC, the FH from WFH isn’t really possible.
The post WFH, Potential for Carbon Neutrality, and How UC Fits into All of That appeared first on Sangoma.
As a Unified Communications (UC) provider, Sangoma has seen the potential for workspaces to stay more connected than ever while becoming flexible enough to allow employees to work from anywhere. So, we’re no strangers to working from home. Here’s some general tips for working remotely.Routine
The biggest pitfall employees working from home for the first time can encounter is the initial dissonance of trying to stay focused on work while surrounded by their leisure environment. It’s all too easy to slip into bad habits like inconsistent sleep schedules and wanting to “clock out” early.
Staying disciplined by sticking to a schedule and staying focused throughout the day actually makes the transition to working from home easier. If you start to mix work and leisure, the lines can begin to blur between the two, leading to either slacking or burnout.Disconnect Regularly & Take Breaks
Just like going into work, it’s not normal to sit for 8 hours straight. When in the office, you, no doubt, get up from time to time and walk around, take a coffee break, chat with a coworker, and stay stretched and refreshed. In just the same way, it’s important to get up every so often to move around even when you’re working from home.
Get up and take a walk around the block. Actually take your lunch hour and cook something. Play with your pet. It’ll do wonders for your mental health while keeping your mind fresh for the work at hand.Make Time for Yourself
Similar to the other two points, it’s important to make time for yourself, especially for those working from homes occupied by other people. In these types of situations, it can be all too easy to slip from being connected to colleagues to spending time with family with no time to collect your thoughts and take care of yourself. So, make sure to keep a solid distinction between work hours and home hours, and schedule in time to look after your own needs. This will keep you happy and productive, whether you’re working from home temporarily or full-time.Goals & Productivity
Set daily and weekly goals
At the start of every week and every day, identify your top priorities and physically write them down, highlighting especially the top 3 or so. This will ensure you stay motivated working towards a goal and ensure you don’t lose sight of the big picture of the business. This will also help you remain focused – especially when working in a home environment where there may be many more distractions than usual.Stay connected and responsive
Without the possibility of popping into each others’ offices, it’s vital to ensure you remain connected and responsive. Yes, it’s fine (even good) to stop responding to chats for a while to tackle some project, but making sure you are in sync with your team, answering their questions and getting their insight, will ensure that you stay engaged with your work and avoid losing morale or direction.Schedule regular check-ins
At the same time, though, be careful not to rely on random messages, emails, and phone calls to stay connected as a cohesive team. Take the time to schedule regular check-ins with all the people you need to stay in sync with. This will eliminate a lot of headaches and ensure that productive collaboration can continue outside the walls of the business office.Environment & Sanity
Dedicate a workspace in your home
One of the best ways to stay disciplined, on a schedule, and maintain a healthy work-life balance is to designate one part of your house as your home office, even if it’s just a table away from the high-traffic areas of the house.
Perhaps you already have a home office? Make sure it doesn’t share use with other activities, especially during work hours. Many are accustomed to using their offices for hobbies or personal paperwork, so it’s important not to get distracted by personal activities that could sideline the work you need to get done.Keep drinks and snacks at hand
One of the most dangerous journeys one can take while working from home is to run to the fridge outside of taking a break. En route and back, you’ll encounter many distractions and sidetracks that it may be better just to wait for a break. Or… just keep a small supply of snacks and drinks with you to keep you refreshed. Heck, move the coffee pot into your home office if you can. Then your breaks aren’t always to eat and drink, and you can snack while working without having to run to the fridge and back. Win-win.Don’t feel guilty about ambience or entertainment
Finally (and this is especially important for new remote workers), don’t feel guilty about doing perfectly appropriate things that you couldn’t do in a business office. Open the windows wide, run that noisy fan, play your music without headphones. In your home office, you control the environment, both for good and for bad. So have fun while staying productive, and you’ll find that remote work may be what you always wanted.
Interested in a Communications Solution that Keeps Remote Workers Connected?
No matter what line of work your business prevails in, Sangoma has a business communications platform for you. Switchvox is a Unified Communications (UC) business phone system that integrates all the ways colleagues stay connected to each other and customers into a single platform. Best of all, it’s available in both on-premise and hosted in the Cloud, using the same source code. That means it’s incredibly easy to get started, and most users are able to use it from day one. Check it out!
At Sangoma, we are already in our 6th week of WFH. Given we are a Unified Communications company, it’s been relatively smooth for us since we have a phone system that enables a softphone to your laptop or mobile phone with our office phone number, we have conferencing on that system, etc.
But a lot has happened in these just over these past few weeks. It seems like we started this months and months ago, but it’s just been a few weeks!
So what have we done:
- We started WFH on March 16
- Sangoma put out our Covid19 response via a post on our website and through email the next day
- We were getting many requests (some from existing customers) about how our systems can enable WFH instead of just being a “phone system”
- We put up a WFH / Remote working page on our website
- Support put up a Wiki for our customers
- We announced wireless headsets on March 31. (This was always in the plan, and we were going to announce this at Enterprise Connect)
- We announced our Video Conferencing Service, Sangoma Meet, which is free to all users at this time.
In review, our systems can help WFH because of the following:
- Your business phone number can go to the softphone on your laptop or your mobile phone, enabling regular business calls to get answered by the right people in your company. The softphone is part of the system people have already bought, so no additional money was required to get these people up and running if they were not using it.
- The softphone is not just a softphone either. It’s really a softphone and collaboration client. So you can chat on it as well.
- We have wireless headsets to help you roam around your house while on phone calls.
- We have a video conferencing service that you can use to collaborate with co-workers, keep in touch with your family, whatever…
- You can take your phone that you use at work home. It needs to be connected to the internet, it needs power, and the admin needs to do some work, but we’ve had customers doing that as well (or buying a 2nd phone to take home permanently now) quite a bit.
- Our UC systems have built-in conferencing. Again that is part of the system and is not an additional cost to use.
- You can enable the “find me, follow me” in case you need to send phone calls to your mobile phone number or your home phone number.
So, yes, a lot has happened in a month. I can’t wait until we go back to what we knew as normal, but no one really knows when that will be right now, so in the meantime, we’re all working hard to make this work.
As I was trying to figure out what to write about this week, I was thinking that doing business over a video calls is good, but not quite the same as FTF. And thinking about tradeshows that have been postponed or cancelled and the longer term business impact of that. Time will tell. But as we enter our 6th week of this, I, like many others, are probably starting to have a harder time with this.
Like everyone else, I think talking in person with someone to find out or learn new things is why I go to tradeshows, and conversation over a video conferencing solution like Sangoma Meet isn’t quite the same – it’s a bit too formal.
So I thought about the last tradeshow I attend, which was IT Expo. There, I did a stand-up interview with Rich Tehrani at IT Expo. It’s always good seeing and talking with Rich. We’ve known each other a long time. While I’m sure Rich would do a video call with me if I pinged him, it’s not quite the same as seeing him and talking to him.
Anyway, you can watch the interview here.
In summary though, Rich was asking about how it’s going at Sangoma. And everything is going well. We’re getting organic growth with our UC products. But he also asked about integrations of some M&A we did the past few years. Soon after we bought Digium, there was concern in the channel about both PBXact and Switchvox, because these are two different UC/PBX platforms and the concern was whether both would continue on. The channel now understands both products are still there – they serve different purposes and different target audiences. And then in October we bought VoIP Innovations and that integration is going well as we’ve added more resources to the SIP Trunking business. And then he asked me if we had other M&A on the horizon, like he always does, and this time I surprised him and I was like “ah… we just bought .e4”.
Sangoma is Offering Sangoma Meet Video Conferencing Service – Early Access and Free Right Now for Anyone to Use
Unified Communications systems, as I’ve blogged about numerous times already, with their ability to offer softphones with your business number, conferencing, collaboration, presence, and mobile phones that also utilize your business phone number, are at the forefront for enabling this new work remote / work from home environment we’re all experiencing right now.
We’re starting to see more and more articles about missing the sense of community, camaraderie, and really just necessary human interaction that comes with chit-chat at a water cooler, coffee station, or lunch room, and starting to see more and more articles about how to combat loneliness as we self-isolate right now. The need to be connected is more significant than ever now.
At Sangoma, we recognize this because we see this happening in our company as well. UC has most certainly helped. But there’s been a key ingredient missing. One way to help with overcoming the missing sense of community and human interaction is to utilize video more. Unified Communications, as readers know, is at the heart of what we do at Sangoma. Our UC hadn’t until this point handled video conferencing, but it’s been in our roadmap and we’ve been hard at work on it.
Given what is going on out there, and the large need we saw for it right now, we accelerated the development of it. We have been using beta versions for video conferencing ourselves, and we saw the positive impact it had made for those of us who had used it. And it’s ready now for a broader usage even though we will continually be adding features to it in the coming weeks and months.
And so that’s why today we’ve decided to make our video conferencing and collaboration service available in Early Access phase to our partners, and friends and family, and blog readers. For Free. Your feedback during this time is important, so please insure when you exit you fill out the feedback form.
Sangoma Meet™ is our video conferencing and collaboration solution. Go to https://meet.sangoma.com to get started. It is a stand-alone service that can be used independently or with our award-winning UC solutions.
Once Sangoma Meet goes GA, we’ll continue to offer it for free for as long as this new normal is normal. No gimmicks or anything – we are just trying to help as we’re all just trying to figure out the best way to stay connected. To be used with your company, your work teams, or even your family.
If you want to use Sangoma Meet, use it! Get going with your teams or your family and regain some of that camaraderie and sense of community.
Sangoma Meet is a web-based, multi-party (up to 50) video conferencing solution based on Jitsi Meet that can be used with any WebRTC compatible browser, such as Chrome or Edge. Sangoma Meet also fully encrypts its password-protected video conferences, and uses HD Video as the default video format. Optional calendar integration and dial-in capability to the video conference from a separate phone, will be available shortly, and will also offer enhanced security using a PIN.
By the way, UC will certainly continue to evolve, and I’ve written in the past about some of what I see out there. Rest assured, Sangoma will continue to evolve our UC solutions to meet the ever-changing requirements of UC, just like we’ve released this video conferencing solution.
At any rate, try it. It’s free so you might as well try it. Go to https://meet.sangoma.com to get started. Just set up your first video conference with your team and see how it goes. Have a virtual happy hour or just have everyone see each other. I have to go to a virtual coffee break with my team right now….