Open Source Voip
When I go to shows where we are exhibiting, I like to work the booth when I have some free time. I like talking to our customers and prospective customers. This year, at ITEXPO, I got a few questions about what Sangoma is all about. Some of the folks knew us from the old days as a board and gateway vendor. And yes, we do that. And some of the folks knew us from Open Source comms, such as FreePBX and Asterisk. And yes, we do that. And some knew us from our cloud offerings, such as SIPStation and Switchvox Cloud. And yes, we do that.
We do all of that.
But then the question becomes what are we really about, and how does all of what I wrote above all tie together?
Sangoma today is an industry leader in delivering value-based Communications as a Service (CaaS) solutions for businesses of all sizes. We want to offer solutions that maximize customers’ return on investment. We deliver value. Our CaaS solutions include Unified Communications (UCaaS), Contact Center (CCaaS), Communications Platform (CPaaS), Wholesale and Retail SIP Trunking (TaaS), and Device (DaaS). And these CaaS solutions are augmented by a wide range of Sangoma’s own VoIP infrastructure products, such as on-premise UC PBX systems, fax services, networking interconnection products, and telephony hardware.
And our open source offerings enable different ways to get to a communications solution – a different way to value and a different way to communications innovation.
That’s how it all ties together.
By an Anonymous SWS Student When I was in kindergarten, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and see a dim light coming out of my dad’s room. I would sneakily peer in there. Eventually, he would notice me. “What are you doing daddy?” I would ask. ...
Ah, conference calls. They have the ability to make meetings so much more convenient, but like any technology, remote collaboration can come with a certain amount of “learning pains.” After all, it takes a while to adjust to new ways of doing things – especially when technology is involved. But, ultimately, conference calls and other forms of remote collaboration can improve productivity and elevate the efficiency of an organization’s business processes.
Just like in-person meetings, however, remote collaboration can quickly become a waste of time for those involved if it just becomes a way to fill calendars with no defined purpose. If you want to respect the time of all parties involved and keep your business productive, a little conference call etiquette can go a long way.
So here are 10 conference call etiquette tips to keep your conference calls smooth and productive.1. Watch the clock and make good use of everyone’s time
When you schedule a conference call, set strict time limits and stick to them. That’s not to say calls can’t ever or won’t occasionally go over, but it’s important to make a sincere effort to respect everyone’s time. Not only do people lose focus when conference calls drag on, but they also have to adjust the rest of their schedule accordingly, potentially throwing off their agenda. Be respectful and watch the clock.2. Define “To-Dos” with deadlines and who owns them
Conference calls have a tendency to be slightly less formal and structured than in-person meetings. As a result, it’s easy to drift into an hour-long conversation about a particular topic and come out of it with little to no action items. If you want to really improve productivity and the overall effectiveness of your conference calls, make defining action items a priority. Be sure to give them specific assignees, deadlines, and deliverables.3. Have an agenda, clear objectives, and role expectations
Agendas are important for meetings in general, but they’re an absolute must for conference calls. Knowing who’s leading the meeting, what needs to be accomplished by the end of the call, and who else is contributing are all key factors to making sure your conference call doesn’t turn into an obscure brainstorming session. That leads to the next point.4. Stay on topic
We’ve all been in meetings or on calls where you come to talk about one thing, then an interesting point comes up that the group wants to explore further. A half-hour later, the group has gone down a long rabbit hole and the original purpose of the meeting has yet to be discussed.
Elaboration is necessary. Debates are bound to happen. These are natural and conducive elements of good meetings, as long as they aren’t taken too far.
Don’t let your meetings get hijacked by off-topic discussions. Dive deeper on points when necessary, but always keep the underlying goal of the meeting in mind and make a point to schedule discussions around other topics that come up along the way.5. Always introduce all participants
One awkward aspect of conference calls is the inability to see participants. Without introducing everyone on the call before the meeting starts, it can be difficult to keep up with who’s on the line and who isn’t. This gets even more awkward during sales calls and others that involve several parties that may or may not be formally introduced.
Eliminate the possibility of referring to someone in third person when they’re actually in the meeting and the awkwardness of being on a call with people you don’t know by making introductions and properly identifying everyone on the call before it begins.6. Use a screen sharing application
When you’re referencing a document, it’s best to use a screen sharing application so everyone can see exactly what you’re referring to.
Cloud applications like Google Drive and Dropbox make it tempting to simply let everyone in a conference call access the document themselves, but that only adds unnecessary confusion. When you go that route, you have to make sure everyone’s looking at the same document, is on the same page, and can find particular aspects of the document you’re referencing.
In the end, file sharing in a real-time setting such as a conference call ultimately cause more confusion than it’s worth. Avoid the friction and use a screen sharing application.7. Use visual aids
People retain much more information from a visual and oral presentation than they do from what they heard from an oral presentation alone.
When you use visual aids, be sure to number and clarify all slides used in your presentation. This helps when either you or someone else on the call references one of your slides. It can get confusing to explain which slide you’re looking at, and sometimes the confusion can throw off the momentum of a meeting.
So use visual aids in your conference calls to keep everyone engaged, but be sure to organize and label your visual aids in a way that makes them easy to reference during a discussion.8. Pay attention
No one likes talking to someone who is preoccupied or only halfway paying attention. Plus, it’s embarrassing to be called on in a meeting when you don’t know what’s going on. Everyone’s busy, but it’s important to make sure that when you’re on a conference call, you take steps to eliminate distractions.
Put your phone on “do not disturb” mode or simply turn it off during the meeting. Don’t fall into the trap of checking your email. No matter how casual it may seem, you’ll be tempted to respond to something you see, and just like that, your mind checks out.
If the topic of the conference call requires you being at your computer (as it most often does), try closing out all apps that may send distracting notifications.
Most importantly, practice exercising some good old fashioned self-control during meetings. You and the other people on the conference call will appreciate your full attention (and you won’t get embarrassed for not knowing what’s going on).9. If leaving during a conference call, state you are leaving
It’s extremely frustrating to be on a conference call and pose a question to someone you think is on the line, only to be met with silence. You don’t know how long they’ve been gone or if they missed the entire conversation. Now you have to fill them in on what’s going on before you can even get their input on the topic.
Announcing when you’re leaving gives everyone on the call the opportunity to ask any final questions or make any final comments before you leave. It also prevents them from feeling the frustration of talking to someone who is no longer on the line.10. Use Unified Communications solutions to your advantage
Unified Communications solutions are business phone systems that integrate business tools onto a single communications platform with advanced applications for things like chat, conferencing, presence indicators, and much, much more. These Unified Communications (UC) solutions have made inter-office communication much easier, and they can help tremendously with conference calls.
Aside from the actual conference call capabilities of UC solutions (which they make extremely easy), UC solutions also give you the ability to set your phone and chat status to “In a Meeting,” minimizing distractions and improving communication with co-workers. This tells everyone what you’re doing and signals that you’re not to be disturbed unless it’s absolutely necessary.Next Steps
Want to see what how a Unified Communications solution could improve your business? See the benefits businesses are enjoying after making the switch to UC. Download the free eBook now!
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On Saturday, February 2nd, 2020, the Sacramento Board of Trustees attended a regional Board of Trustees Conference held on campus in San Juan Hall. We were grateful to work with all the Northern California Waldorf School Board members, including representatives from the Westside Waldorf School, Pacific Palisades. It was both ...
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Seventeen years ago, a group of recent UC Davis graduates living in Sacramento, learned that the Gardenland Northgate neighborhood of Sacramento, an area with one of the lowest average family incomes, had one of the highest concentrations of children in the Sacramento area. Knowing this, the group initiated safe and ...
Your California Life: Students at Sacramento Waldorf School are currently collecting donations for the Homeless Period Project for the third year in a row.
A lesson in humanity; students in Sacramento are helping the homeless in the capital city.
Sangoma has concluded a thorough investigation into a misconfiguration of an internal, long unused customer support ticketing system historically used by Sangoma’s support and engineering departments to resolve IT and customer issues. As part of that investigation, we were obliged to comply with applicable legal requirements and procedures and have reported the incident to the appropriate legal authorities: we are now permitted to make this public.
While the investigation found no malicious use, we want to be transparent about this incident with all customers and reassure them that we are taking it very seriously and holding ourselves accountable.
Our investigation has determined that a permission change made to the two deprecated Jira projects, by the IT team, on Nov 12 2019 allowed public read only exposure of the data. In specific search phrases, the contents of those Jira tickets were being offered as part of search engine results. Individuals would have been able to click on the search result and enter into a specific Jira ticket offered by the search engine.
We became aware of the issue on Dec 17, 2019 and, on the same day, Sangoma IT remediated the configuration to restrict the jira access and prevent any further unauthorized access. This issue was specific to two internal deprecated Jira projects: INFRA & SIP, that have NOT been in-use for a number of years and were only used for internal support cases by IT and Cloud Services support teams.
Our investigation confirmed that substantially all of the records did not contain any personal or CPNI information in accordance with our standard practices. After reviewing the contents of all Sangoma INFRA & SIP Tickets that were exposed to the internet and cross referenced the tickets to the access logs, we determined that there were two cases of possible exposure. None of the data exposed was material and we informed our affected customers.
We are committed to the privacy and security of our customers and are taking action to prevent future occurrences of this issue. We have updated our procedures to make sure that such changes do not occur in the future: alerts will be triggered on configuration changes along with scheduled period reviews of public facing systems.
We want to sincerely apologize and reassure our customers that we are taking it seriously and working diligently to make sure that such mistakes do not happen again.
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The ability to capture leads and close a sale is firmly wrapped up in seamless communication through your dealership’s website, CRM, and business phone system; contact information should be prevalent. Even after a sale, customer retention and loyalty is based on the quality of customer satisfaction, which again, comes down to communications. Investing in solutions that enable seamless and effective communications is vital in this competitive industry, and the need spans beyond a traditional phone system.
The Switchvox Unified Communications (UC) system has been used in auto dealerships for years, benefiting every department’s unique communication needs. Switchvox boasts advanced and flexible features that work well across multiple locations, so multi-site dealerships can seamlessly connect to the same solution. Implementation of Switchvox is simple and can be done with little or no IT staff. Here is a quick look at the features within Switchvox that can help your auto dealership:
- Mobility: Switchvox Mobile enables the sales team to access every Switchvox feature and capability via their desktop or smartphone (iPhone or Android), including call controls (transfer, conference, send to voicemail), call recording, visual voicemail, and more. The customer only sees the dealership’s caller ID information, which keeps the salesperson’s personal contact information private, and also allows the brand of the dealership to be persistent in all customer communications
- CRM Integration: The Extend API lets users build integrations with CRM applications, which triggers “screen-pops” displaying important caller information, location, and notes from previous interactions. Salesforce CRM integration is available out of the box.
- Call Control Interface: The Switchboard allows the receptionist to have a call control interface on their desktop. This web-based application increases worker efficiency by allowing the receptionist to see who is or is not on the phone, click-to-dial, transfer, and instant message any employee, regardless of location
- Reporting: You can schedule call reports to be automatically emailed to track marketing campaigns or the productivity of your departments. See how long customers were on hold, with whom they spoke, and use high and low call periods to properly staff during the day
- Call Queues: These allow you to control the call flow of the dealerships. Queues enable calls to be delivered to the correct department or employee with little or no staff interaction. Queues ensure your customers are taken care of as quickly as possible based on your staffing levels.
- Call Recording: Managers have the ability to record calls to ensure that employees are handling situations as they were trained to do
- Personalized Call Rules: Users have the flexibility to set which of their phones ring, in what order, and what time of day. They can set up calls to automatically ring to their desk during work hours, to their mobile phones after hours, or to go straight to voicemail when needed. You can also have your status determine how your calls get routed so you have quick and dynamic control over you calls
- Training Tools: Switchvox provides several easy-to-use, yet powerful training tools, such as listening in on calls, being able to speak to the employee over the phone without the customer being able to hear, and helping troublesome calls by “barging in”
- Reduced Cost: Switchvox combines the communications of all your dealership locations into one. This can allow all incoming call traffic to be handled by one receptionist, instead of paying unnecessary salaries to several. Also, due to increased visibility, more locations can be run with fewer managers. Dealerships that implement Switchvox save an average of 40-60% on their monthly communications costs
Unified Communications is expanding and streamlining the way auto dealerships communicate- from the beginning of the sale to ongoing customer care. Access our Switchvox for Auto Dealerships guide for a detailed overview of every Switchvox feature your dealership can benefit from.
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SIP trunking is growing. According to the Eastern Management Group, the global SIP trunking market was approximately valued at $14.4 billion in 2018 and projected to grow 7.6% annually through 2020. The predominant reason for this is the growth of IP phone systems, which need to be connected to SIP Trunks.
But if you are a business, what types of SIP trunks should you buy – retail or wholesale?
Retail SIP trunks are designed for small to mid-sized businesses and are bought from a provider in much the same manner as the business buys other forms of telephony. Pricing is typically calculated per line, per month.
Wholesale SIP trunks are intended for service providers and large enterprises that consume large amounts of telephony service, either internally or as a provider. There is often a minimum commitment per month (in the form of usage) that you’d be required to sign up for, and after that, it would be metered. In other words, this is for organizations that utilize a lot of minutes, or intend to resell into the retail business.
There are many other considerations as well, including SMS, fax, and fraud protection. Please read our whitepaper for more information.
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