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.
The post The Difference Between Retail and Wholesale SIP Trunking appeared first on Sangoma.
Educators and administrators are tasked with keeping students safe as they go through the school day. From homeroom to the car line, quick and reliable communication is of the utmost importance. Whether calling the nurse to care for a sick student or office staff connecting with a teacher on the other side of the school, all professionals in a school must be able to communicate efficiently to ensure safety.
Unified Communications (UC) presents a way for schools to streamline all forms of communication in a single platform, including email, voicemail, instant messaging, and more. This helps keep everything centralized and accessible for school officials.
Here are some of the best ways to improve school safety with UC:
Mobile softphones allow teachers to communicate from anywhere in the school
In the event of hazardous weather or other emergency, teachers are often confined to certain areas of the school, such as hallways, classrooms, or the gym. Mobile softphone applications allow office managers and administrators to contact teachers without relying on the intercom system or desk phones.
Instead, teachers can make and receive calls via a mobile phone – all through their office extension.
Integrations with programs like Quicklert help administrators keep parents informed
Today, many administrators use a variety of communications avenues to connect with parents and staff during an urgent situation. This might include using robocalls to inform parents of inclement weather or a delayed start to the school day, or notifying staff of an unauthorized visitor on campus.
A UC solution like Switchvox allows school officials to integrate with programs like Quicklert, which simplifies responses by detecting emergency situations and notifying the correct parties. Check out this article if you’d like to learn more about Quicklert.
Call forwarding rules ensure nurses and resource officers are easy to reach
Within a school, there are plenty of staff members who are on the go, such as nurses, paraprofessionals, and resource officers. These officials must be able to look after students around the campus without losing contact with staff.
Call forwarding rules allow users to have calls sent to softphones or other extensions after a certain number of rings. So, if someone is not at their desk, the call rules set in place can automatically direct the call to the office, a softphone, or another potential responder, helping officials maintain communication during urgent events.
Switchvox offers a complete UC solution for schools looking to implement an affordable, reliable communications system. If you’d like to learn more about the features your school can implement with Switchvox, download our free Switchvox for Education guide.
Sangoma Products’ Support for Kari’s Law / Ray Baum’s Act and How We Can Help You (and your Customers) Comply
On Feb 16, 2020, the federal version of Kari’s law goes into effect. It’s a complex but important topic, and justifies a comprehensive treatment in this update, something Sangoma is uniquely qualified to offer. But it is indeed complicated, so after reading this, if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us!
The new law applies to business phone systems manufactured, imported, offered for sale or lease, first sold or leased, or installed after February 16, 2020. A key requirement of Kari’s law is to ensure that persons in distress can reach a PSAP by dialing 911, even from a multi-line telephone system (such as exists in a typical business or hotel) that might normally need to dial a prefix such as a 1 or a 9 to get to an outside line.
The purpose of the regulation is to prevent a tragedies like the 2013 death of Kari Hunt that ultimately led to the federal version of Kari’s Law.
Moving forward, regardless of their location in the U.S. or where they are dialing from, persons will be able to immediately connect with emergency responders by dialing 911, with no need to dial a prefix such as 1 or 9. Just dialing 911 from a business phone system, like you would from a house phone or a mobile phone, would get the caller to a PSAP.
An additional requirement of Kari’s Law is that a notification of any E911 calls being made, be sent to a central location at the facility in which the phone system is installed. Ray Baum’s Act is meant to ensure location improvement beyond what currently exists in Kari’s Law by defining “dispatchable location” as “the street address of the calling party, and additional information such as room number, floor number, or other similar information necessary to adequately identify the location of the calling party.” This is because identifying the exact location of the emergency for first responders is critical when dialing 911.
With VoIP, however, location isn’t at the heart of the call. There is no physical location per se such as when using a copper landline. As such, over time, laws were enacted to ensure VoIP landlines had physical locations and a PSAP could understand where a VoIP call was coming from. This law takes it one step further. The business phone system is associated with an address, but what if the system is installed in a large building? Where in the building is the phone where the 911 call is being made? What floor and what room for example? Notifications such as emails, text, or phone calls need to occur to more accurately pinpoint location, and this is at the heart of this law as well.
All of this means if you are a business purchasing a new phone system (or a Sangoma business partner implementing one for your ‘end-user’ customers), you need to ensure this new phone system supports these federal laws. And we’re here to help you every step of the way!
At Sangoma, we have a few lines of business phone systems such as FreePBX, PBXact, and Switchvox.
Sangoma’s on-premise phone systems (Switchvox, FreePBX, and PBXact) are all compliant with the location portions of the Ray Baum Act and Kari’s Law by supporting/requiring that the customer provide their location during initial set up of the phone system. With these systems, the system admin/user will need to configure the dial plan to allow for direct 911 dial. These systems shall also be compliant to the location notification requirements by the February 16, 2020 deadline. If these systems also use Sangoma’s SIPStation SIP trunking solution, they can also provide a quick method of updating their location (by completing an efficient online form).
Our Cloud (or hosted) PBX systems (FreePBX, PBXact, and Switchvox) also operate as a multi-line telephony business system. And these cloud systems are already compliant to the 911 dial directive and the main office address directive. As with our premise systems, we support/require customers to provide their location during the initial setup of the phone system and even for updating location via the online form (see below). Regarding the new ‘notification’ requirements, by February 16th, all new installations of Switchvox Cloud will comply. PBXact Cloud will also comply, but will do so via the end-user admin (or the Sangoma business partner) configuring the system to provide notification of these 911 calls to other onsite staff (as determined by our customers).
For additional information on Sangoma products and Kari’s Law/Ray Baum compliance, please visit https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/ST/E911+Service#E911Service-InitialSetupoftheMasterE911DID, https://support.digium.com/community/s/article/How-do-I-Set-Up-Switchvox-for-Emergency-Dialing, and here for the online location form.
Additionally, individual states may have more stringent timelines and requirements, so please consult with your legal counsel.
For “non-fixed multi-line telephony system” phones or devices which are off-premises, such as a remote-office deskphone connected to the company PBX, businesses have two years to fulfill the regulatory obligations. Another example of this would be the Sangoma UC client softphone called Zulu (installed on your computeror mobile phone). Businesses also have two years in this case.
Beyond the PBX itself, another implication of this law is on SIP trunking because the additional information needs to be carried on the SIP Trunk. It’s critical for your trunking provider to offer 911 services, either as a bundled package or on a standalone basis. The key is to find a service provider whose SIP trunks enable managing E911 effectively and offer the tools you need to be compliant. Sangoma has two SIP trunking solutions that do exactly that: SIPStation and our trunking service from VoIP Innovations, a Sangoma Company (VI).
First, for SIPStation, the trunk needs to know the location, and this is done via the online form as described above. Additionally, when using SIPStation, a user can dial 933 to find the location on record, and then, if required, change the location on record via filling out the form.
And second for our VI trunking service, we have the ability to automate new registrations, edit existing registrations, and remove outdated registrations on any number on any network without having to move your number either through an online portal or via API.
In addition to making sure your phone system is compliant, VI offers several additional solutions that can help achieve compliance for a comprehensive solution that not only takes the new law into account, but the reasons for the law in the first place: safety and the need for immediate coordinated response to assist in an emergency situation. VI’s new Location Monitoring solution provides immediate notification of any 911 call placed by triggering a text message to a group of contacts that allows them to communicate over text but more importantly provides the ability to listen to the 911 in progress. Once on the call, you can talk with the other members of the alert group to coordinate an immediate response.
At Sangoma, as stated above, we offer multiple business phone systems (both premise and cloud) and two SIP trunking services. The good news is Kari’s Law and Ray Baum compliance is possible with all of them. We would also be pleased to work with you to upgrade an existing phone system (if necessary) to ensure compliance. And as mentioned at the outset, this is a lot! So, if you have any questions whatsoever, just reach out to us by going here.
The post Sangoma Products’ Support for Kari’s Law / Ray Baum’s Act and How We Can Help You (and your Customers) Comply appeared first on Sangoma.
I was walking through an airport towards the end of 2019 with my Sangoma backpack, and someone approached me and asked if I worked there. I said, “yes,” and the person then asked me if we still sold the Dialogic boards (since he knew Sangoma bought the Dialogic board and gateway business two years ago).
We got to talking a bit, and he said that he still needed a few boards for a call center solution he needed to upgrade. And we reminisced about him coming to the NJ HQ years ago.
I told him he could buy the boards he needed through the same distribution channels he always had used or to find a distributor from our website. And I told him we continue to provide operating system updates and other sorts of firmware upgrades where possible and are also in fact working on a new gateway. And I told him we still had an office in NJ.
So YES, we still sell them, and we still use a contract manufacturer based in North America to manufacture them. And we’ll continue to make them while we can and while there is still demand.
So why are they still required? Well, the whole world is not yet on VoIP (even though a lot of the people in the communications industry act like that). Some solutions are still connected to the PSTN and require these boards for that purpose. Some solutions are connected to a VoIP network through a gateway, but the solution does not need to be re-architected because of the existence of that VoIP gateway. So the boards are still used in the solution. That scenario was the case of the guy I met in the airport.
So, if you need Dialogic boards or gateways and don’t know where to go, visit our website or give us a call.
The automotive market is incredibly interesting. It is incredibly saturated, yet, with ups and downs, demand for new and used vehicles remains fairly steady. Millennials may not be lining up to buy houses, jewelry, or meals at fast-casual restaurants, but even they buy cars.
For the typical customer, buying a car sits at the intersection of needs and desires, both of which pull at their hearts and minds when they shop for their new vehicle. That’s why car buyers can feel clueless. More customers than ever know exactly how much they want to spend, either total or per month, but many do not know what brand or model is right for them.
And that’s exactly why dealerships still employ salespeople. If buying a car was a purely financial matter, salespeople would have been replaced by cashiers decades ago. But the road to the car deal is not purely logical. Many customers rely on the attention and dedication of a salesperson to help them find the car they’ll fall in love with…and ensure they don’t get wet feet when it’s time to splash out for their exciting new rides.
The Key to Selling Cars? Communication.
Every step of the car sales process relies almost entirely on the communication skills of the salesperson. And typically, most of that is done face to face. But it’s the time and effort devoted to communication with customers who aren’t on the lot or in the showroom that separates the sales legends from the run-of-the-mill top performers.
The best thing a dealership owner, general manager, or general sales manager can do to increase sales and create more sales legends is to invest in the technology that will facilitate faster and easier customer communications.
If you’re selling enough cars already, disregard this…
Unified Communications (UC) is the answer to the prayers of owners and managers nationwide who dream of seeing their dealership thrive and create opportunity for a new generation of sales professionals.
Business phone systems operating on a UC platform integrate all the various methods of communication into a single communications system that connects to CRMs and other business tools. This massively increases productivity by automating routine work and eliminating the time spent switching between tools.
How does UC increase sales and gross profit?
So, you’re probably wondering how improving your communications platform will increase both the quality and quantity of car deals being made in your dealership.The key to more sales: handling communications more efficiently.
Let me illustrate with a story. Jeff is a sales professional with several years of experience working for a decent-sized dealership selling three or four domestic auto brands. He’s focused, attentive, and knows the sales process backwards and forwards. His customer service skills are ridiculous, and he typically closes his deals on the second pencil without manager turn-over.
Jeff lives to sell cars and loves what he does. He’s a real car guy. He’s one of his dealership’s top performers, but every month, he feels a little disappointed because he keeps hitting what feels like a limit to his sales. There’s just not enough time in the day, even working well past “bell to bell.” He has the drive and the skills to become a sales legend, but he needs the tools to push it to the next level.Switchvox gives dealerships the tools they need to create more happy customers.
Then, his dealership deployed Switchvox, the fully-featured UC business phone system from Sangoma. Jeff understood how to use it from day one, and instantly, his performance was increased. For every two cars he was used to selling, he was now getting a third one out the door. Within a year, he was being awarded by the manufacturer as one of the brand’s top selling professionals in the country. How did Switchvox help him do it?
- Mobility: Switchvox Mobile enables Jeff to access every Switchvox feature and capability via his smartphone, including call controls, call recording, visual voicemail, and more. This means that Jeff can conduct all communication through his work extension on his personal device, no matter where he is. Walking the lot, pulling cars around, out to lunch, Jeff gets more opportunities to sell cars because it’s much easier for customers to reach him and there’s no confusion about which number is his.
- 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. Jeff never had trouble remembering a customer, but now customers are happily reporting that every time they call, Jeff sounds like he was expecting their call, with no need to fill in old details. This personal touch not only saves time, but the impression it creates has been a huge source of referral customers.
- Call Queues: 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. This has helped Jeff immensely because now incoming new customer calls are forwarded directly to the sales professional queue, with very few lost to the old system of parking calls for salespeople to pick up.
- Call Recording: Switchvox gives the ability to Jeff and his managers to record calls easily, with the press of a button. That means Jeff can easily record calls to review later, which means not a single detail is forgotten.
- Personalized Call Rules: With Switchvox, Jeff has the flexibility to set which of his phones ring, in what order, and what time of day. He can even have his status determine how his calls get routed, allowing him quick and dynamic control over his calls. This saves him and the customer time.
- Reduced Cost: With Switchvox, the communications for all of his dealership’s locations are combined into one. This allows for faster call handling as all incoming call traffic can be handled by one receptionist, instead of paying unnecessary salaries to several. Dealerships that implement Switchvox save an average of 40-60% on their monthly communications costs, which means Jeff is seeing a lot more spiffs for Saturday sales events.
Jeff has thrived since his dealership deployed the Switchvox UC business phone system, and so has the dealership which has increased sales by over 50% while saving significantly on communications costs compared to their older legacy phone system.
Are you ready to create your next sales legend?
Explore Switchvox, the UC business phone system designed for modern dealerships. With powerful functionality and productivity-increasing features, Switchvox is a true game-changer for every person involved in the car sales process.
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!
A few weeks ago, Sangoma released Switchvox 7.3. In one way, it’s a typical point release like all software point releases as it brings the product forward with incremental, interesting improvements to functionality.
On the other hand, this particular one represents a real coming together of Sangoma and Digium. When Sangoma acquired Digium, Switchvox had its own roadmap for the releases in progress at the time. Sangoma didn’t interfere and didn’t want to slow it down. As such, the next release, which is this one, is where we wanted to merge some Sangoma items with Switchvox to create a better overall business phone system solution.
What does that mean? This latest release includes integrations with the Sangoma line of DECT phones, which Digium didn’t have, and with the industry leading SIP trunking service, SIPStation.
Switchvox 7.3 supports Sangoma’s DECT handsets which provide secure, wireless communication for work environments that demand mobility, such as required in retail, manufacturing, construction, and other office mobility sectors. Also on the phone front, an all-new sidecar has been created for the D65 IP phone, supporting up to 40 programmable buttons on a 5-inch full-color, backlit screen across two pages which can be daisy-changed for greater numbers of buttons.
The SIP trunking integration is also significant. According to a 2019 Eastern Management Group survey, Sangoma’s SIPStation is the best SIP trunking service available. Using an auto-provisioning tool that is new to the Switchvox 7.3 administrative interface, customers of all VoIP knowledge backgrounds can quickly and easily connect their systems to the outside world. SIPStation provides a self-service management portal and is available with monthly and yearly service plans.
Switchvox 7.3 also introduces new, major contact center features for improved caller experience and contact center management which enhances the customer experience and improves operations. A new Queue Priority feature enables agents assigned to multiple queues to respond to high priority customer calls first.
Additionally, the new Global Arrival time feature tracks a caller’s total wait time so that their priority is respected system-wide if they are transferred between queues or departments. Callers also now have the ability to disconnect and keep their position in line with the all-new Queue Call-Back feature.
As with all of our product and service releases, Sangoma strove to improve the overall customer solution set with this release.
For more information about Switchvox, please visit this page.
Most consumers would say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. When a customer calls into your business with an issue, a poorly designed or outdated phone system can throw them over the edge, and you can quickly lose them as a customer. Understanding the most frustrating experiences customers have with a business’s phone system is the best way to design a solution that enhances your customer’s experience by solving their issues quickly and efficiently.
Here are some of the common customer pain points with a business phone system, and how a Unified Communication (UC) solution can solve them:
Pain Point: Inadequate staffing & long hold times. (The customer might say, “I’ve been on hold for over five minutes. Maybe you should hire more people to answer the phones.”)
How UC Solves: Managers can correlate agent staffing with call reports, which show the heavy and low-volume call times during the day. Appropriately staffing call center agents based on call volume reduces on-hold time for customers, enables issues to be resolved faster, and can save on costs.
Pain Point: Confusing phone menu (IVR). A poorly designed IVR is a very frustrating experience for customers, yet the majority of businesses have just that: an outdated, unhelpful, confusing IVR . (The customer might say, “I pushed 2 for support and it transferred me to sales. Can I just speak to a manager now?”)
How UC Solves: The IVR was designed for several reasons: to enable customers to help themselves without involving an agent, to route customers to the correct agent who can help them with whatever they need, and to provide general business information. A solid UC solution will provide businesses with several options for their IVR needs, including stock voice prompts, stock music, extension setup, and integrations allowing for more advanced features and capabilities. With the correct tools, your business can create a helpful IVR that will reduce customer frustrations and get them the information they need, faster.
Pain Point: Lack of communication mediums to work through a technical issue. (The customer might say, “I’m having an issue with this feature… there is a little box and a confusing pop-up thing. I wish you could just see what I’m seeing.”)
How UC Solves: A web-based solution allows for collaboration among internal and external users (customers and agents) without the need for plug-ins, separate applications, or passwords; all users need is an Internet connection. Some customer issues are hard to explain without visually seeing what’s happening. In cases like this, the right UC solution allows employees to screen share or host a live video session to walk the customer through an issue or to demonstrate a feature.
Pain Point: Having to repeat information. (The customer might say, “I already dialed in my case number, and now you’re asking for it again?”)
How UC Solves: In addition to a well-designed IVR, CRM integration enables an agent to view detailed customer records as soon as the call comes in (including recent case numbers). If there is an issue, the agent can identify the appropriate person to handle it, check their presence to see if they are available, send them an instant message to give them a heads up about the call, and then route the call. While the IVR provides options for customers to be directed to the appropriate person, the CRM screen pop provides the agent information about the customer. With these two UC features, the agent should have a good idea of who the customer is and how they can help before they even engage in conversation.
Pain Point: Lack of proper agent training (the customer might say, “You aren’t understanding what I’m saying. I need to speak with a manager!”)
How UC Solves: Barge and Whisper features allow a manager to interact on a customer call by joining the conversation (barge) or speaking to the agent without the customer hearing the conversation (whisper). These features are also useful when training new call center agents on the appropriate (and inappropriate) ways to handle a customer issue. These conversations can also be recorded and filed in agent’s personnel folders or used for future training sessions.
Request a personalized demo to see for yourself how Switchvox can immediately improve the customer experience for your company!
The post Customer Service Pain Points a Unified Communications Solution Can Solve appeared first on Sangoma.
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.
The post The Virtualization Option for Unified Communications appeared first on Sangoma.
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.