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thirdlane

Can Your Mechanic Do An Oil Change? (Thirdlane Support)

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support, Thirdlane

thirdlane

We have been working with a company that was wavering between PBXware and Thirdlane. They have demos running of each option and are testing all of the features before making a final decision.

When testing inbound faxing (fax-to-email), the company ran into an issue on the Thirdlane demo. They reached out to Thirdlane support – it is worth mentioning here that their support department is just one person – who had no idea that their system even included inbound faxing. So much for troubleshooting the issue.

Fortunately, the testers were savvy enough to resolve the issue themselves, but left with a feeling of wariness about the utility of Thirdlane support.

Our Account Manager on the case made this poignant comparison: “If you bring your car in for an oil change only to find that the mechanic didn’t even know your car had an oil filter, you will be peeling out of there faster than you can say ‘rip-off’.”

In all seriousness, no platform is perfect and you are going to need support well beyond the initial purchase and installation. Don’t settle for anything less than an experienced, knowledgeable, and dependable team of support professionals.

network

New Year’s Network Issue

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

We had an interesting support issue within our own network on New Year’s Eve. The developer in charge tells his story below:

Right after 1:00am CET, I started to receive notifications that the Resource Limit matched the network for an average load >10. First I thought it was a scheduled task, but quickly realized that nothing that “heavy” would be scheduled at midnight (GMT). So I decided to stop watching my boring movie and look into what was going on.

I found a lot of failed calls with the same reason – that CAC was exceeded. I also realized that there were a lot of calls, even though it was New Year’s Eve and most of our customers businesses were closed for the holidays.

The top command showed all FreeSWITCHES processes and mysqld had >100% CPU usage. It was a mystery because there were no hard SQL queries and even FreeSWITCH had zero calls and the CPU was >100%.

First, I restarted the FreeSWITCHES one-by-one and tried different switches for the RT clock and clock sync. Nothing helped. FreeSWITCH compiled 2 years ago and nothing changed. How had it passed last New Year’s Eve?

freeswitch

The reason that FreeSWITCH was rejecting calls was a constraint that the minimum idle CPU must be 5% to ensure transcoding quality. I decided to disable this and left 3 FreeSWITCHES working to keep the load less and allow calls to pass. FreeSWITCH would occupy 3 cores and have room for calls. I tried several calls and had no problem with quality. It seemed that would be enough while I tried to find the problem and solve it.

This is how it looked in the morning when I finally had to get sleep, unable to solve the problem.

freeswitch

Later that day I decided to try a new FreeSWITCH 1.6 and 1.8. I compiled, prepared, and tried, but it did not help. The CPU usage was >100% again. Then I compiled a debug version and added it as the fourth FreeSWITCH in production to get the core dump and figure out why the idle FreeSWITCH was eating the CPU. I realized that FreeSWITCH had a problem with timers. I tried a different one, but it did not work. There were problems with the nanosleep function in FreeSWITCH, but it was fixed already. Somehow FreeSWITCH squeezed time and jumped into a loop.

Then I checked the time on the host, it was correct. Even /proc/interrupts looked correct.

My last option was to try adjusting the time on the host and sync with NTP. Restarting the ntp-client failed. Fortunately it was a problem with the DNS. Actually, the host was unable to access our local DNS resolver. I changed it temporarily to an external nameserver to resolve the NTP server and correct the time.

At the same moment when the NTP finished syncing, all processes went back to <5% CPU usage.

I realized that it was a problem with the leap second bug on an old kernel and it affected FreeSWITCH and MySQL, but it was corrected with NTP when NTP synced the time.

sbc

What is the Difference Between a Session Border Controller and a SIP Proxy?

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in PBX System, Support

session border controller

We often find that our customers have a misconception of Session Border Controllers (SBC). Customers that request a SBC often times need a SIP Proxy rather than a true Session Border Controller.

In general, people think of SBCs as a proxy that can be used for routing, security, and other types of network administration. Customers seeking some sort of routing administration – Least Cost Routing, for example – will request an SBC, thinking that is the solution to their need.

However, an SBC is actually a back-to-back user agent SIP application with a wide variety of other uses such as policy-based access control, transcoding, topology concealment, call accounting, QoS, and call quality statistics.

On the other hand, a SIP Proxy is an IP PBX component used for call functions such as routing. A SIP proxy will send SIP requests to the appropriate destination and return a response. SIP Proxies may also be used for registration, authorization, security, network control, and other call functions.

Download our SIP Proxy PDF to learn more. Or For a more detailed and technical explanation, visit Likewise.am.

This post was featured here.

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bicom-support.header

Bicom Support

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

Bicom Systems support techs are always prepared to respond to errors as quickly and effectively as possible. Recently we found reports that the Outcall2 Plugin had an issue with Outlook 32-bit on Windows 10 x64.

One of our support techs was able to quickly rebuild the plugin to support the 32-bit version and update the release. He responded to error reports with the update and instructions to reinstall the new version.

One user responded with the following:

“After reinstalling, the Outlook add-in does work perfectly on my Windows 10 x64 with Outlook 2016! I’d like to know, are you with the OutCall Project or with Bicom? If Bicom’s support is this responsive and effective, I can only imagine how awesome their support is on products they actually sell!”

If you encounter any issues or bugs like the above, please contact us for a solution!

More posts like this one:

  • Bicom Systems Custom Work

  • Customer Reviews

moving-voip

5 Considerations to Moving Your Business VoIP System

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, Phone Systems, Support, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

voip system

Moving a business is often a lengthy and complicated process. While VoIP technology certainly means less hardware and cables to move, it still involves some planning and forethought. So the big question is : to take the VoIP System along or start over at the new address?

Take It or Leave It : Moving Your Business VoIP System from Ziff Davis addresses that question and offers five considerations to take into account when making the decision.

1. Circumstances Around Your Move

Take the VoIP System if : The move is well organized or planned in advance. The business is being merged or relocated to somewhere without a VoIP System.

Leave the VoIP System if : The move is spur-of-the-moment or disorganized. The business is being merged somewhere with a better system.

2. Type of Environment

Take the VoIP System if : The new environment is similar or smaller than the current.

Leave the VoIP System if : The new environment is a shared space or an expanded space.

3. Your Phone System

Take the VoIP System if : You are still satisfied with your system and it is still a newer system. The system includes better applications than the competition.

Leave the VoIP System if : You are no longer satisfied with the system or have been wanting to change or expand. The system does not include the newest applications and capabilities.

4. Changing Communications Needs

Take the VoIP System if : The current system will continue to serve you for the next several years; if it is flexible and expandable.

Leave the VoIP System if : The move is about making change or growing and expanding.

5. What VoIP Vendors Can Offer

Take the VoIP System if : Your VoIP Provider offers options and deals to migrate the system to your new location.

Leave the VoIP System if : Other VoIP Providers are offering something more lucrative.

To read more, see Take It or Leave It : Moving Your Business VoIP System from Ziff Davis.

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5 VoIP Technology Basics That Increase Value

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Systems, Support, Telephone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

voip

We all know that VoIP reduces telephony costs, but we don’t necessarily know why. Understanding the technology behind VoIP allows us to better appreciate and market the value that VoIP brings to SMBs.

Ziff Davis explains the technology in their recent article entitled VoIP Primer – Five Technology Basics SMBs Need To Understand. 

Five VoIP Technology Basics:

1. VOIP IS DATA
The first thing to understand is that VoIP is data just like emails or files or instant messaging. While PSTN was a dedicated technology meant only for voice, VoIP turns voice into another form of data. Data is a much more efficient and cost-effective technology.

2. VOIP USES THE DATA NETWORK
Legacy systems require two separate networks – one for voice and one for data. A desk telephone uses the voice network while the computer uses a separate data network. VoIP integrates voice technology into one data network, resulting in a less expensive and easier to manage solution.

3. VOIP IS PACKET-SWITCHED
For VoIP to be transmitted over the data network it must be digitized and transferred as packets. The advantage of packets is that they travel across the most efficient route resulting in high-speed and lower costs.

4. VOIP IS REAL-TIME
Legacy telephony has always offered high quality voice in real-time because that’s what it was made to do. This has been VoIP’s biggest challenge but after over 20 years it is finally a worthy opponent of PSTN. With an optimized network and good VoIP software voice calls can be in real-time just like traditional telephony.

5. VOIP IS STILL EVOLVING
While Legacy telephony is a tried-and-true solution, it is no longer evolving and improving. On the other hand, VoIP is not yet a complete solution meaning it still has infinite potential. As technology continues to improve, VoIP will improve along with it. For example, Unified Communications opens a world of options to users and is only going to get better.

In conclusion, understanding these 5 pieces of VoIP technology gives us a greater appreciation of the value of VoIP. To read more, visit VoIP Primer – Five Technology Basics SMBs Need To Understand.

 
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Huawei Handsets & PBXware

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Huawei, PBX, PBXware, Support, VoIP Phone

huawei

One of our newest partners ran into a problem with Huawei phones and PBXware, so we did interop testing and were able to fix the problem.

They were testing with a PBXware demo and nearly ready to make the purchase, but there was one problem: They could not register their Huawei PBX handsets.

Our support team quickly set up a test extension and the customer was able to successfully register and use two phones. At first, the handsets had no sound, but this was fixed quickly by adding huawei.com to the whitelist.

Moral of the story? If you are having any trouble, just ask! We are more than happy to discuss any problems and will do whatever we can to create a workaround.

Contact us today!

pop-header

What’s Up With POP Maintenance

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

If you ever wonder why we make such a big deal out of POP maintenance, let’s take a step back and look at the big picture.

Bicom Systems processes nearly one thousand concurrent calls at our POPs in London and Chicago.

With over 100 virtual environments served on SERVERware, we have thousands of extensions registered across the globe. Most of which have their own end user business customers also.

Some of these customers are time critical like hospitals, domestic violence hotlines, 24/7 factories, etc. Others are just regular business lines that have been promised a reliable system.

Regardless of who the customer is, we have a responsibility to either ensure their lines are working or give them time to make other plans.  A sudden loss of functionality is frustrating and stops users from performing their jobs.

It is because of this, that we try to give at LEAST four days notice before performing maintenance or updates in our POPs. We ask that you customers be understanding and make appropriate provisions for yourselves and your end users during down times.

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Bicom Systems To Release IP Key Systems and Other New Products at ITEXPO

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

itexpo-logo-2014

ITEXPO, FT LAUDERDALE (21 January 2016) – Bicom Systems will release its new IP KEY SYSTEMS product at ITEXPO in Ft. Lauderdale next week.

By reinventing traditional Key Systems to use modern VoIP technology, Bicom Systems created a more functional and flexible IP Key System.

TELCOs can expect significant business growth thanks to new features and capabilities, including auto provisioning, call control, presence, and much more.

In addition to IP Key Systems, Bicom Systems will present new versions of PBXware and gloCOM at the Expo. Expertly developed for TELCOs, version 4.0 empowers companies to make more sales and reduce customer churn. Visit www.bicomsystems.com/products/switch_now to learn more about Version 4.0.

To learn more about Bicom Systems at the Expo, please visit www.bicomsystems.com/ITEXPO_2016. Or to obtain FREE ExpoPlus passes, please click here.

Bicom Systems looks forward to meeting you at ITEXPO and learning more about your business.

About BICOM SYSTEMS

Bicom Systems is the world’s first and most mature Professional Open Standards Turnkey Telephony Platform. Since 2003, Bicom Systems has deployed flexible, reliable, and scalable New Generation Communication Systems to SMBs, enterprises, and governments worldwide by unifying the most advanced of latest technologies. For more information, please visit our website or contact us today.

www.bicomsystems.com | sales@bicomsystems.com
microsoft-integration

Microsoft Lync Integration

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

microsoft lync integration

Did you know that PBXware supports Microsoft Lync Integration? And in answer to a recent customer question – yes, even for Lync Server 2013!

Once integrated, you have a few options:

  • Set up PBXware to forward incoming calls to a given extension to a Lync extension simultaneously or after a set number of rings.

  • Send all incoming PBXware calls to Microsoft Lync simultaneously.

Of course this is not without a few inconveniences. For example, a call answered on Lync will leave a ‘Missed Call’ notification on the PBXware extension where it rang. Also, Caller ID is different in PBXware and Microsoft Lync.

Ready to get started? Contact your Account Manager today!

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AstManProxy

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

We recently received an email from the client that uses Manager heavily and gets a “We can’t support direct access to Manager Interface” message. They want to reduce the direct impact on the Manager Interface and reduce data flowing to clients. So they asked about implementing AstManProxy.

We told the client that they could try AstManProxy first, but also offered the following alternative with Manager Event filters.

Copy/paste from manager.conf.sample:

;eventfilter=Event: Newchannel ;eventfilter=!Channel: DAHDI.* ; The eventfilter option is used to whitelist or blacklist events per user. ; A filter consists of a (basic/old-style and unanchored) regular expression ; that is run on the entire event data. If the first character of the filter ; is an exclamation mark (!), the filter is appended to the blacklist instead ; of the whitelist. After first checking the read access below, the regular ; expression filters are processed as follows: ; – If no filters are configured all events are reported as normal. ; – If there are white filters only: implied black all filter processed first, ; then white filters. ; – If there are black filters only: implied white all filter processed first, ; then black filters. ; – If there are both white and black filters: implied black all filter processed ; first, then white filters, and lastly black filters.

So basically remove all Events that you think are redundant. Here are the ones we remove: eventfilter=!Event: RTCPSent eventfilter=!Event: RTCPReceived eventfilter=!Event: VarSet

We look forward to hearing from our client and anyone else that tests AstManProxy with PBXware.

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4 Reasons Why Voice is Still Better than Video

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Software

voice call

While video calling is gaining traction in the world of VoIP, voice calling is still the best choice in most business circumstances.

What makes voice better than video?

1 – Voice Eliminates Distractions

Traditional voice calls appeal to just one sense (hearing) and allow both parties to focus on simply listening to a voice. Video calling, on the other than, brings in a whole other sense (sight) and opens the door to distractions. For example, delays between the sound and image will distract the viewer and slow down communication. Video also brings in other factors such as clothing, expressions, or things in the background that distract and detract from the speaker.

2 – Voice Has Lesser Requirements

Video calling necessitates more hardware and a better network than voice calling. Aside from needing a camera and device that processes sound and video, video calling uses more bandwidth. Most VoIP voice calls use 8 to 24 Kbps while video calls can use from 128 Kbps to over 1 Mbps. Video calls have other consequences to equipment such as lower battery life.

3 – Voice is Easier to Setup

Whether VoIP or PSTN, voice is easier and quicker to setup than video calling.

4 – Voice is More Compatible

VoIP Voice calls are almost always automatically compatible between different parties, offices, and even parts of the world. Different software and/or hardware work together seamlessly. Video, on the other hand, results in endless compatibility issues. Both parties must be using the same video tool on the same type of device to ensure an easy connection and optimal quality.

What other things make voice better than video? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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A Visit from LanDynamix from South Africa

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Partners, PBX System, PBXware, Support

We had a great visit from the LanDynamix Team from South Africa at our office in Bosnia last month.

LanDynamix provides Information and Communications Technology services to growing businesses in South Africa. After partnering with Bicom Systems to use PBXware, the LanDynamix Team made the trip to Bosnia for training.

Peter Clarke, founder of LanDynamix, had the following to say on their visit:

Everything was excellent, the team really looked after us well, Davor specifically made sure we had everything we needed.

The training was just what we wanted, we really get everything and more out of it. 

Being able to sit with Sergej and dig deep into the system and analyse issues/questions live was really helpful. The rest of the team were excellent as well. The time with Denis was also very beneficial to ourselves as well, we showed him what we needed and what we had from the Broadsoft platform and I hope it helps him to develop the new console. It was also really nice to meet the support team, it’s nice to have met the guys we deal with on a regular basis.

It was probably one of the best trips I have had and definitely the most productive business trip we have ever taken, it exceeded all expectations.

Are you interested in doing the same? Contact us today!

voip-save-money-header

4 Reasons VoIP Will Save You Money

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Support, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

In today’s economy most businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and save money wherever possible. One great way to save money is your phone bill. Switching to VoIP will cut your monthly expenditures drastically.

VoIP is less expensive than traditional telephony in a few ways:

  1. Cost of calls – traditional calls go over copper wires and analog circuitry while VoIP calls go over your network at a much lower cost.

  2. Hardware – most VoIP systems will integrate with your existing hardware at no extra cost.

  3. Maintenance – a VoIP Telephony Service Provider will take care of maintenance and upgrades as part of your monthly fee.

  4. Features – VoIP includes a myriad of built-in features that do not require an additional fee like traditional telephony would.

Whatever size your company, VoIP is guaranteed to lower your phone bill and monthly communications expenditures. To read more, visit Looking to Shrink Your Company’s Phone Bill? Look at VoIP for Business from the IT Toolbox.

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How Bicom Systems uses Asterisk Manager

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Asterisk, PBX System, PBXware, Softphone, Support

We sometimes hear that our customers are using Asterisk Manager and always advise against it. Among other things, Asterisk Manager is not scalable.

Bicom Systems recommends using our own PBXware Proxy for a few reasons…

  • PBXware Proxy stores the Asterisk state in memcached in real time, so there is no need to ‘ask’ Asterisk anything when a client connects

  • Licensing can be done in PBXware Proxy

  • gloCOM depends on PBXware Proxy for many of its features

  • PBXware Proxy provides FULL PBX access

  • Multi-Tenancy

Learn more by visiting our website today!

sip-attack-header

SIP Attack Protection

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in 4PSA, Competitors, IP Telephony, sipPROT, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Software

sip attack protection

Recently we’ve been hearing of several hacks and attacks on 4PSA VoIPNow. It’s a worst nightmare come true for some users.

In one example a hacker managed to make €80,000 worth of calls before being caught! This user had no idea that VoIPNow was experiencing security vulnerabilities.

Another user did not experience an attack, but was kind enough to share some light on the situation.

These attacks are sure to cause financial loss, service downtime, password theft, and more.

Want to avoid being the next victim?

SipPROT is an extremely effective telephony app that provides real-time protection from SIP attacks.

Unlike the competition, sipPROT works with LIVE traffic, dynamically blocking and unblocking IP addresses that threaten the system.

SipPROT utilizes pattern recognition, brute force detection, and SIP protocol anomaly detection to detect all attacks.

Start using sipPROT today to protect your network, resources, and customers!

Learn more at our website or contact us at sales@bicomsystems.com

 
bash-header

Bash CVE-2014-6271, CVE-2014-7169 vulnerability

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in PBX System, Support

Dear customers,

We are aware of a security issue with Bash, which is distributed as the default shell for the operating systems like Linux, which PBXware is based on.

PBXware, SERVERware and TELCOware are affected by this bug, but only in the Setup Wizard, and only if malicious users already have your servers ‘root’ credentials.

If users are not authenticated as root in Setup Wizard, the system is not vulnerable (as no shell is executed at that point).

However small this potential vulnerability is in our case, we did not want to take any chances so we already created the patch.

To patch your PBXware Setup Wizard:

/opt/httpd/sh/stop

cd /opt/httpd/bin

mv mini_httpd /root/mini_httpd.bak

wget http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.8/mini_httpd

chmod +x mini_httpd

/opt/httpd/sh/start

To patch your PBXware 38x:

cd /opt/pbxware/pw/bin/

mv bash /root/old.bash

wget http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.8/bash

chmod +x bash

For older version we include the proper links at the end.

To patch your SERVERware 1.7.3.r15 or Newer:

To apply Setup Wizard security patch to your SERVERware 1.8 or 1.7 r15 and later,

login to your SERVERware Controller GUI and navigate to System ->

Updates and use your root username and password to authenticate.

When updates screen is displayed, select checboxes U and R next to Setup Wizard only, and press Start button.

After update is complete you can close your browser window.

To patch your SERVERware Controller (Only) 1.7.2x or Earlier Manually

/home/servers/httpd/sh/update

user: serverware

pass: update

/home/servers/httpd/sh/stop

/home/servers/httpd/sh/start

 

## Earlier PBXware Version Available

Download link for mini_httpd:

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.0/mini_httpd

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.1/mini_httpd

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.8/mini_httpd

Download link for bash in chroot environment:

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.0/bash

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.1/bash

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/cve-2014-6271/pbxware/v3.8/bash

off-the-shelf-header

An Off-The-Shelf Telephony Package: Is It Possible?

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Multi-Tenant PBX, Phone Systems, Support, Unified Communications

Off-The-Shelf Telephony

I was recently challenged by a prospect:

“What I want is that a salesman can walk into a prospect, close the deal, walk out to the car and come back with a dozen phones, plug them in and they work.”

Makes sense.

My first thoughts were, but how you going to know x, y, z … in advance, never mind that in the pressure of the sales meeting to get all the details into place.

Then as always, once the challenge is put, one’s mind starts to get to finding a solution.

It would not be difficult at all to create the templates in advance. 4 users, 8 users, 20 users. The Tenant Package already exists for this purpose.

It would not be difficult to populate one or two with some basic setups: 1 queue, 1 IVR (standard sound file options, press 1 for Sales, 2 for Accounts, 3 for Technical Support, 0 for Reception).

A dozen phones can be pre-configured to those extensions.

Upon determining the order, the correct number of phones can be left. The rest can be deleted at a later stage. Further tweaks can be done at a later stage.

The only part missing is the local network, to be sure that port 5060 is open.

Should be most interested to hear feedback from the field.

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An Erlang Integration for Real-Time Call Cost Control

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Products, Support, Unified Communications

erlang

Seudin Kasumovic, one of our engineers at Bicom Systems, recently presented a custom Erlang Integration to control call cost in real time at the Kamailio World Conference in Berlin.

He began by teaching his audience to control call costs with Erlang, outlining and explaining the entire process in detail. He explained how to integrate Erlang and Kamailio in order to benefit from this feature.

Finally, he presented Bicom Systems product SWITCHware, an API-based telecommunications platform.

To learn more download Seudin’s slideshow or watch his presentation below:


call center

Call Center Motivation

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Call Center PBX, PBX System, Support

call center motivation

MOTIVATION is essential for Call Center workers whose work is typically monotonous and done individually. The nature of Call Center work lends itself to decreased performance and a high turn-over rate. But a good motivator in the office can make all the difference and improve customer service, attendance, and staff retention.

Motivation is simply and easy if you keep some key factors in mind:

THE ROUNDED APPROACH

The Rounded Approach involves three key points to consider when motivating a team:

  1. Goal: You must define a clear goal of what needs to be done.

  2. Capability: Ensure that your team is able to complete that goal.

  3. Incentive: Offer a reward (or consequence) that your team responds to.

HYGIENE FACTORS

Clinical Psychologist Frederek Herzberg established the Hygiene Factors theory for team motivation. In this theory, some factors (known as hygiene factors) only motivate if taken away, while are factors (known as motivators) motivate when provided.

Hygiene Factors:

  • Policy

  • Office Relationships

  • Work Conditions

  • Salary

  • Company Benefits

  • Status

  • Security

  • Personal Life

Motivators:

  • Achivement

  • Recognition

  • Work Accomplishments

  • Responsibility

  • Advancement

Find a way to give those motivators to your employees for a happier and more productive team.

CONSEQUENCES

Consequences motivate people to change their behavior and meet the given goals.

Consequences can come in many different forms:

  • Positive – prizes or rewards to reinforce good behavior

  • Negative – discipline or confiscation to punish poor behavior

  • Immediate – today, this month, this quarter

  • Future – next year, next season, down the road

  • Certain – something that will definitely happen when the goal is reached

  • Uncertain – a potential outcome that may or may not happen

The type of consequences that will have the most impact on your team are positive, immediate, and certain. For example, promising (certain) extra vacation days (positive) if the team meets this month’s sales goals (immediate) will motivate the team more than threatening potential (uncertain) pay cuts (negative) if sales do not improve over the coming months (future).

Positive consequences like prizes or rewards do not have to cost money. Other positive motivators can be forms of recognition like certificates or titles.

call center trainingTHREE POINTS TO EFFECTIVE MOTIVATION

  1. To be an effective motivator, you yourself must be motivated. A motivated leader will be evident to a team via confidence, passion, and enthusiasm, and will inspire motivation.

  2. Motivation necessitates measurable goals. This does not necessarily mean quantitative goals, but a way to determine whether or not the goal was met.

  3. Remember that motivation does not last indefinitely. It is not a one-time activity that will make its impact and last forever. Motivation must happen on a regular, even daily basis.

HOW IS YOUR TEAM WIRED

Different people are motivated in different ways. Determine where your team members fall on the following chart and work to motivate them in those ways.

PROBLEM FOCUS:

  • Towards – Motivation towards something positive (a raise when goal is met)

  • Long-Term – Goals for months or years out (an eventual promotion)

  • Big Chunk – A big goal that is probably long-term (double sales)

SOLUTIONS FOCUS:

  • Away From – Avoid an undesirable action (a pay cut)

  • Short-Term – An immediate consequence or prize (extra day off this month)
  • Small Chunk – Break goals and consequence down (increase sales by 10% to earn a bonus of $100 per week or $3 per sale)

If you follow the above steps you will be on your way to having a motivated team in no time. Want to read more? Visit Training Cheat Sheet – Motivating Teams from Call Centre Helper

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Enterprise PBX Market Declines in Q1 2014

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in PBX System, PBXware, Support, Unified Communications

According to Comms Dealer, the global PBX extensions/licenses market has experienced a 9% drop for Quarter 1 of 2014.

Breaking it down even further:

  • The Enterprise market (solutions with over 100 extensions/licenses) fell by 11%

  • The Below 100 market (solutions with less than 100 extensions/licenses fell by 6%.

This decline was caused primarily by the North American market which saw a 17% decline compared to declines ranging from 3% to 10% in other regions.

Potential causes for the drop are:

  • A record-breaking cold winter in North America. MZA Analyst Will Parsons said “Deployments in enterprise may have slowed more significantly due to the frigid North American winter, as US GDP contracted for the first time in three years”.

  • An increase of mobile and multi-tenant alternatives

  • Decreased spending due to the Global Financial Crisis

To read more, visit Enterprise PBX/call control market falls sharply in Q1 2014 from Comms Dealer.

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5 Steps to Migrating from Legacy to VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Telephone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

While VoIP has been around and available for over a decade, many businesses have yet to make the jump from a Legacy Telephony System to VoIP. Legacy Systems were a significant investment and were expected to last, so many businesses are hesitant to abandon them for the newest trend. However, VoIP is quickly becoming the mainstream choice in the world of business telephony, so it is time to take the leap.

Fortunately Ziff Davis wrote a guide that will walk you through the process step-by-step: Migrating Your Business to VoIP: Five Key Success Factors. We outline those steps for you below:

  1. RECOGNIZE THIS IS A JOURNEY
    The first step to transitioning from Legacy to VoIP is simply understanding that VoIP is constantly evolving and preparing yourself for constant change. But recognize that this change is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it means ever improving service and increased features. Moving to VoIP will entail some risks but we are confident that the benefits outweigh any roadblocks along the way.

  2. ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF 3 STAKEHOLDER GROUPS
    Once you are prepared to begin the journey of VoIP, your company must define its goals.  VoIP will impact three major players in your business and each can potentially benefit:a) Employees – Your employees will be the primary users. VoIP can increase their efficiency and effectiveness. For example, VoIP features like a softphone will encourage employees to quickly and efficiently communicate with coworkers or clients.

    b) Executives – The ultimate decisions will be made by the company executives. Points of interest to them will be the cost-effectiveness of VoIP, the increased worker productivity, and the ability to integrate the telephony system into a complete Unified Communications solution.

    c) IT – Company techs will be responsible for the VoIP system. They will enjoy the fact that VoIP is more user-friendly and most features and updates will not require their assistance, freeing up time for other matters.

  3.  CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEPLOYMENT MODEL
    VoIP gives you three deployment options:a) Premise – This is basically a continuation of your legacy system. It would mean a smaller change and more control of your system, but is more expensive and requires a comprehensive IT team.

    b) Cloud – The opposite of a premise system, a cloud system would save money by outsourcing management or hosting. This option is becoming more common as the cloud gains popularity.

    c) Hybrid – A hybrid system combines the best of both premise and cloud. A company that is not ready to part with its legacy system may choose a hybrid solution that will VoIP-enable their older system.

  4.  CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENDOR
    The next step is deciding whether to continue with your Legacy provider or shop around for a new provider. If you have a positive business relationship with your current provider and they offer an enticing and affordable VoIP transition plan, that may be the best option.However this may be the time to move on to a smaller company that is more specifically suited to your company’s needs. Nowadays you will find many options, even outside the world of telephony.

  5.  PREPARE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
    The move to VoIP will be a big change and your company must be prepared.

    Step 1 – Review your phone system contract and determine whether you can replace your telephones and system.

    Step 2 – Create a timeline with specific goals and targets. Assign responsibilities to specific people.

    Step 3 – Perform a network assessment to decide if your system is ready for VoIP. This will also help in the decision between Premise or Cloud.

    Step 4 – Determine what will change for your employees and prepare them for those changes.

    Step 5 – Test the new system with a specific group of users to ensure it is working as promised, particularly during busy times.

Transitioning to VoIP may sound like a daunting task, but thousands of companies have made a successful transition with great benefits in the short and long term.

Want to read more? Check out Migrating Your Business to VoIP: Five Key Success Factors from Ziff Davis.

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5 Benefits of Hosted VoIP (Cloud VoIP)

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

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As companies today make the move to VoIP telephony, they are faced with two options: Premise or Cloud.

While premise is a popular option because it is similar to legacy systems and gives more control to the company, Hosted VoIP offers several benefits to SMBs.

Ziff Davis shares give benefits of Hosted VoIP in Five Implications that make Hosted VoIP Good for your Business. We outline those benefits below.

1. SIZE DOESN’T MATTER – ANYONE CAN DO IT

While bigger often has the advantages in business, Hosted VoIP levels the playing field and represents an opportunity that even the smallest business can deploy.

A Hosted VoIP system means that a third party is taking care of most aspects of the communications system like managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, etc. SMBs that do not have extensive IT abilities will still be able to use the system.

2. YOU’LL GET CLOSER TO YOUR CUSTOMER

While legacy systems were primarily focused on giving employees a means of internal communication, VoIP opens the doors to customers on the outside. Hosted VoIP offers extensive features such as softphones, video calls, chat, and mobile. These open up the lines of communication with customers and ensure their satisfaction. While this is plausible with premise VoIP as well, it would require a comprehensive IT team to carry it out.

3. YOU’LL GET MORE LEVERAGE AS A CUSTOMER FOR TELEPHONY

The Hosted VoIP market is a consumer’s market that boasts several choices. Legacy systems were not built for SMBs and required costly investments for a less-than-ideal products. Hosted VoIP, on the other hand, is available in many different packages with varied prices and features. SMBs can shop around and choose a provider that meets their needs and budget.

4. CLOUD IS A BETTER BUSINESS MODEL FOR VOIP

Hosted VoIP provides a better model for SMBs that are on a budget. Expenditures are reduced via a lesser initial investment and lower usage costs. Monthly fees are a fixed rate that fit into SMBs budgets.Additionally, Cloud VoIP means more reliable service that is not susceptible to local weather conditions or power outages. Employees can work from home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

5. GROWTH-FRIENDLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Hosted VoIP is a good decision for long-term growth. While legacy systems were an investment, they did not drive growth or improve with time. Hosted VoIP can scale and evolve at a low cost as the company grows. It is simple to add new offices or work-from-home employees.

In summary, Hosted VoIP can do so much more for SMBs than simply save money. To read more, visit Five Implications that make Hosted VoIP Good for your Business from Ziff Davis.

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There is NO Such Thing as FREE

Written by Kevin Langford on . Posted in PBX System, PBXware, Support

I’ve been with Bicom for almost two months now and have spoken with a few companies who use FREEPBX and regret it. Granted, it’s “free” at first, but then when you run into the problem of who will help you..

Support is $150 / hour and who knows how long it will take to get your issue fixed.

One thing a good friend of mine who is an HVAC tech says: “Pay me now or pay me later (plus whatever you invested in your first purchase)”.

The costs that people have sunk into set-up / training and 1 year of support issues with FREEPBX is almost as much as our PBXware solution for a small company. Not so free after all, is it?

I would be more than happy to talk with you and show you how PBXware is that much better for your company in terms of both features and support.

Oh yeah, did I mention that our support contracts give you UNLIMITED support tickets?

Do it right the first time! You get what you pay for.

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WebRTC: Success or Disappointment?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

WebRTC brought huge hopes and expectations to the world of communications. It brought lofty promises and appeared to be a revolutionary technology. But did it fulfill those expectations and live up to its promises? We think not.

While WebRTC certainly has had some success, it has fallen short in many ways. No Jitter shared an article about the three major failings of WebRTC:

1. It is not ubiquitous. WebRTC is only supported by Chrome and Firefox, leaving Safari, IE, and mobile users out of luck. Developers cannot count on End User compatibility as was originally expected of WebRTC.

2. It is not plugin-free. The workaround to the compatibility issue is Browser Plugins, WebRTC’s second broken promise. WebRTC was meant to elimiate the need for Plugins and the accompanying security threats and extra work for the End User.

3. It is not free. While WebRTC is technically free, its legality is not. Ongoing legal disputes over patent claims hang over WebRTC and prevent it from being truly ‘free’. While Cisco offeres a free license solution, this brings us back to the issue of plugins.

In short, WebRTC has broken several promises and failed to deliver a new, revolutionary solution. However, not all hope is lost. WebRTC may be the foundation needed to inspire future innovation. Developers now have a framework to change, improve, and create something new.

To read more, visit the No Jitter article WebRTC is for Losers.

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Our Verdict on Polycom

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Phone Systems, Support, Telephone Systems

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We asked the Bicom Systems support team what they thought of Yealink Telephones. Do they recommend them? Dread working with them? Have a different preference?

The consensus was a green light for Yealink phones.

Support was quick to point out the issues they had run into with Yealink phones – after all, that is their job. But the issues were minor and not enough to change their positive view of Yealink.

For example, when the new T4X devices came out, Yealink introduced a new firmware version that was meant to fix previous issues. However, the improved firmware brought several bugs with it. Support felt that with each release that fixed one bug, a new bug yealink would emerge. This was not entirely Yealink’s fault – the firmware upgrade instructions stated that the devices should be restored to factory settings, something that most users did not bother to do.

While Yealink phones “are not Polycoms”, they actually possess some benefits over Polycom to certain users. They are less expensive and more user-friendly. Users that do not require advanced customization will get sufficient quality from Yealinks, especially for the lower price. Polycoms can be intimidating and require a steep learning curve.

In short, while support does encounter bugs with Yealink telephones, they still recommend them to customers due to their user-friendliness at a lower price.

What are your thoughts on Polycom? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below! Or head over to our website for more information.

See also: Polycom vs Aastra & our Polycom Products

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Our Verdict on Yealink Phones

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Phone Systems, Support, Telephone Systems, Yealink

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We asked the Bicom Systems support team what they thought of Yealink Telephones. Do they recommend them? Dread working with them? Have a different preference?

The consensus was a green light for Yealink phones.

Support was quick to point out the issues they had run into with Yealink phones – after all, that is their job. But the issues were minor and not enough to change their positive view of Yealink.

For example, when the new T4X devices came out, Yealink introduced a new firmware version that was meant to fix previous issues. However, the improved firmware brought several bugs with it. Support felt that with each release that fixed one bug, a new bug would emerge. This was not entirely Yealink’s fault – the firmware upgrade instructions stated that the devices should be restored to factory settings, something that most users did not bother to do.

yealinkWhile Yealink phones “are not Polycoms”, they actually possess some benefits over Polycom to certain users. They are less expensive and more user-friendly. Users that do not require advanced customization will get sufficient quality from Yealinks, especially for the lower price. Polycoms can be intimidating and require a steep learning curve.

In short, while support does encounter bugs with Yealink telephones, they still recommend them to customers due to their user-friendliness at a lower price.

What are your thoughts on Yealink? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below! Or head over to our website for more information.

Also see: Yealink Completes Interoperability Testing with Bicom Systems & our Press Release & our Yealink Products

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3 Steps to Testing Hosted VoIP Systems

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Support, Telephone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

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Is your company upgrading to a Hosted VoIP Phone System? With the clear financial and functionality benefits it probably was not difficult to reach that decision. But narrowing your options and making a final choice is more difficult.

Use this simple 3 step test from Ziff Davis to compare your three favorite vendors.

  1. Assign three users to test three separate phone systems.

  2. Choose an IP telephone that is compatible with all three candidates and configure one for each user.  Give the same telephone to each user so that the only variable is the phone system, not the hardware.

  3. Have each user test one system for an entire month, making note of what they like and dislike. While call quality and basic operations will not vary greatly between hosted systems, there are a few important things for the user to pay attention to:- Support from the provider

    – Reports

    – Voice mail

    – Billing

    – Competence of the provider’s back end systems

    Make sure the test lasts a month so that the test users have time to become comfortable with the system and fully appreciate the differences from the current phone system.

To read more, visit Ziff Davis’ Simple Ways to Test a Hosted VoIP System

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Polycom vs Aastra

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, PBXware, Phone Systems, Polycom, Support, Telephone Systems

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We recently received an email from a customer debating the pros and cons of Polycom vs Aastra telephones. They were going to begin using Polycom telephones but one employee brought up his poor past experiences with Polycom and pushed for Aastra.

He shared three reasons he preferred Aastra telephones:

  1. Autoprovision – handsfree, fire and forget setups – reduces time and increases customer satisfaction

  2. Ease of use – as above

  3. Robust

In his experience, Polycom was slow and cumbersome – taking too long to reboot between changes and lacking an extensible interface to extend the functionality of the telephone.

They asked us for some advice on the benefits of Polycom phones. We responded with the following:

Polycom changed a lot with firmware v4.x. You should trial that first.

It can now update ‘some’ of its configuration without rebooting. For instance, if you send a SIP NOTIFY packet, it will re-download the config files and not require full reboot (this depends on which options are changed).

There is also a new web interface (although I do not recommend to use it in combination with auto provisioning) which allows for the modification of almost all options (previously this was not the case).

Yes, it is more complex. You need to read its Admin guide from beginning to the end to truly understand the concept.

Sure, they still boot slowly and you may have some trouble until you set it up, but it is the type of device that once you setup, you don’t tweak around constantly. It is not a perfect ‘dev’ device (where you have to constantly add/remove accounts etc).

See also: Our Verdict on Polycom & our Polycom Products

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Call Back Option

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, Phone Systems, Products, Support, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

It is often difficult to provide lucrative and cost-effective solutions to end users in more distant or remote locations. Whether it’s a lack of infrastructure, government-regulation of VoIP, or a major difference in costs, these discrepancies and distances sometimes lead to a loss of potential clients. Unless you use Bicom Systems Call Back Option, that is.

Our Call Back Option gives Service Providers a way to offer inexpensive calling options to end users without the installation of hardware and phone lines in their home country. By using the Call Back Option, end users in other countries can still access the U.S. or Europe-based solution without special equipment or phone lines.

To start saving and reaching more customers today, contact us at sales@bicomsystems.com.

 
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IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations Buyer’s Guide

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Telephone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

The costly and uniform telephony systems that dominated businesses for years are quickly becoming a thing of the past. IP Telephony is a more economic and flexible option that makes sense for most companies today. Whether you are looking to start fresh with a brand new IP Telephony system, or simply to upgrade your current system to better fit your needs, IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations, Buyer’s Guide from Ziff Davis is a must-read article. Below we highlight their top ten points that companies must consider when shopping for an IP Phone System.

  1. Usage – While legacy phones were solely meant for voice calls, IP phones have a much wider range of capabilities and options. From video to conferencing to messaging, considering how the phones will be used allows you to get the most out of the system.

  2. Who – We used to choose one type of phone and all employees would use the same one. IP phones, on the other hand, come in many varieties and can be used in more places. Now more employees can have phones and each type of employee can have a certain type of phone.

  3. Type – Desktop phones were the only option in the past, but IP phones come in a number of forms. Decide whether your employees need traditional-looking desk phones, softphones, or even wireless devices.

  4. Budget – Telephony systems are no longer a major investment expected to last for years. The cost of transitioning to VoIP has dropped greatly and the overall cost of telephony and equipment is lower as well. Different budgets may be assigned to different employees or departments.

  5. Voice – Traditionally, telephony was only used voice. And voice is still the number one use today. While VoIP may not offer the same quality of voice as a legacy system, it is a less expensive option. HD voice is an emerging market to consider.

  6. Features – Your company should weigh its required features and desired features. Choose a system that offers everything you ‘need’ and then look for extras.

  7. Display – Different systems offer all different kinds of display options. From basic text to bigger and better screens to camera and video, your company must think about what kind of display it needs.

  8. Video – Along the same line, video is now an option with IP telephony. If some or all employees need video, they will need video-enabled devices and a network to support it. However, IP phones can only take you so far with video.

  9. Mobile – If desk phones are no longer a necessity at your business, you may begin shifting towards mobility. Some IP phones are compatible with mobile phones or can help the company begin to shift in that direction.

  10. Power – It is no longer a requirement to use AC power and keep telephones close to outlets. Your company may opt for Power over Ethernet (PoE) which allows power and connectivity to use the same cable.

To read more, see IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations, Buyer’s Guide from Ziff Davis.

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Joe Pine & Mass Customization

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Products, Support

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BBC Global Business recently published a podcast on Joe Pine and his promotion of ‘Mass Customization’.

A term originally coined by Stan Davis in his book Future Proof, MASS CUSTOMIZATION signifies a shift from the mass production of identical products to the production of customized products tailored to a customer’s needs. Mass production was a revolutionary idea that began with Henry Ford in the early 20th century. At the time, Ford’s method meant affordable products that anyone could obtain. However, mass production is an idea that should remain in the 20th century as mass customization leads the way in the 21st century. 

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How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

As the world of telephony has evolved over the past few decades we are faced with an ever increasing number of decisions on what kind of system to use. The move from legacy telephony to a VoIP or Unified Communications is a big jump that requires thought and understanding. How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications from Ziff Davis discusses the difference between the two options and is an important tool to making an informed decision.

The article discusses 5 considerations to keep in mind when choosing between VoIP and Unified Communications.

  1.  What is driving the need in your business?
    If your business is looking to cut costs, VoIP is the clear choice. It will mean a much lower cost while not causing a huge change for users. The savings are seen almost immediately.On the other hand, if your business is looking for the newest features and capabilities in order to increase productivity and efficiency, Unified Communications is a good option for ‘the latest and the greatest’.

  2.  What is driving the need for IT and your network?
    The switch to VoIP can be adjusted according to your company’s budget. If the budget allows for it, you can do a gradual shift to the new system and even get new hardware. But if the goal is to save money, you can do a minimal switch.Unified Communications will almost certainly involve a financial investment to get started, but be more feature-rich and effective in the long run. UC will require more support from IT to maintain and run.

  3. What are the needs of your employees?
    If your company does not want to make a major change for users and plans to continue user desk phones, VoIP is the best choice. It allows the company to take a step forward while not causing a drastic change for the employees.If employees are ready for more usability and change, Unified Communications will offer them a more features and tools. With training employees will adapt quickly.

  4. What are the needs of management?
    As we’ve repeated again and again, VoIP would be the best option of management is considered with saving money. Costs can be cut drastically and quickly.But if management is interested in increasing employee productivity, Unified Communications will allow more options and features. This is a strategic decision not based directly on price.

  5. What are the needs of the vendor?
    Vendors and service providers are gradually moving towards Unified Communications, but VoIP is still the more common offering. This is an opportunity to become the incumbent vendor.Always remember that you ‘get what you pay for.’ Choosing an extremely inexpensive system will probably come back to hurt you in the end.

Overall, it is important to learn as much as possible about all the options and make an informed decision. To read more, see How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications from Ziff Davis.

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Cisco Call Manager

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Support, Virtual PBX

I recently received an interesting question from a client that I thought was worth sharing…

My customer has a Cisco Call Manager virtual machine installed in a hospital that handles about 2000 extensions (Cisco 6911, Cisco 6921, Cisco 6941 and Cisco 6961). The customer is complaining about this solution because it cannot handle a single call per line. For example, each extension handling two concurrent calls gives a free tone even if its during a conversation. The customer has made a request to Cisco, but they cannot make changes to the configuration, so they are evaluating alternative solutions for their PBX. Of course we should reuse those phone models and we should ensure only one simultaneous call for extensions… Can we technically do it? … If yes, what do we need in terms of resources for the VM?… finally, what about the costs for this scenario (only PBX features needed, no special requirements or CTI)?

Can anyone please confirm this – that Cisco Call Manager has no means by which to limit the number of inbound calls to an extension? It seems hard to believe.

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Multi-Tenant Comparison Table

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Competitors, IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBXware, Support, VoIP

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Are you looking for a Multi-Tenant Telephony Platform and overwhelmed by all the options?

Tired of clicking back and forth between websites and trying to remember which features go with which company?

Search no further. We have compiled a Comparison Table just for you.

Click on the image to the right or Download the PDF and weigh your options today.

Bicom Wiki

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Cisco IP Phones

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, Phone Systems, Support

cisco ip phone

Cisco IP phones are the worst phones to be used with our system.

Perhaps they are ‘the best’ phones in your mind, but apart from having the ‘Cisco’ brand name and good hardware, the software is nothing but a problem.

We do have customers using this phone, but they control their network fully.

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Voice Encryption

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, Support

One of our customers recently asked us about Voice Encryption. We thought our response might be useful to others as well:

In order for TLS to work, it is not just ‘click and it works’.

You need private and public certificates. For phone to accept the certificate, it should come from a valid Certificate Authority already pre-installed on the phone. Not many Certificate Authorities are installed by default into phones, each phone documentation needs to be checked on the list.

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SWITCHware

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Hosted PBX, PBX System, Support

One of our customers is using our SWITCHware product in an interesting solution for a client that may interest others in the telecom industry :

John at AAPT Limited writes:

We are using SWITCHware as the core soft switch for one of our customers.  The customer wanted to offer hosted PBXs using Multi-Tenanted PBXware systems and SIP Trunking for customers with their own systems. They provision their PBXs and SIP Trunks using the web interfaces offered by PBXware and SWITCHware. Each SIP Trunk customer and  PBXware tenant  has their own SIP Trunk into SWITCHware which is used for call control and routing to carrier networks. Using SWITCHware allows us to centralise and precisely control call routing and billing through the CDRs produced by SWITCHware.

For more information on SWITCHware, visit our website.

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Bret Fisher and IPSMARX

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Competitors, PBX System, Support, VoIP, VoIP Software

The story repeats. We had a prospect Mr. Bret Fisher who, deciding between us and IPSMARX, made the choice to place his trust in IPSMARX some twelve months ago. As we know all too well, ‘customers always come back’.

This time, though, his experience was so bad that he requested I provide his contact details to prevent anybody having to suffer the same experience. Please feel free to make contact :

Bret Fisher

Caller-IP

239-340-1679

bret@caller-ip.NET

 

Other Articles on IPSMARX:

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Servers for PBXware and TELCOware

Written by Faruk Kasumovic on . Posted in PBX System, Support, Virtual PBX

Customers often ask which servers should be able to support PBXware and TELCOware, so we’ve compiled some specifications to clarify.

Generic x86 distribution that support more than just specific hardware configurations.

The most common issues with installation are:

  • We do not support Software RAID controllers, mainly due to bad support for drivers under Linux.

  • Some new 10Gb network cards require driver updates.

  • Sometimes the clock source must be changed (Linux configuration option)

  • Corrupted CDs are often the result of download and burning the ISO image and it failing to install. We recommended using USB image but if CD is the only option to burn at a low speed to avoid this.

Other, currently unknown issues or bugs are always possible 🙂 .

It is always a good idea to have some method of remote access to machines (like KVMoIP) in case you need assistance with any problem that make servers unavailable by network like SSH telnet.

If you need PBXware and TELCOware, we recommend using SERVERware:

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/serverware/serverware-1.7.3-r8.iso

There is also a USB disk image available:

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/serverware/serverware-1.7.3-r8.img

This allows you to create virtual machines with almost native performance. You can create PBXware , TELCOware, SIP and Voice Monitoring servers, as well as plain Gentoo Linux. It contains virtualization and has performance advantages, but you cannot put windows in this kind of virtual machine, only in Linux.

You will need at least one IP per each VM on a network, its bridged on host interface, with no other options like virtual networks etc.

The web console for SERVERware is pretty basic; it allows you to create virtual machines, configure IP, start/stop, and other basic things. There is no option for resource limitation in the GUI, all machines share CPU memory and disk by default. However it is possible to apply limitations per VM, outside graphical user interface if needed, though in most cases the default works just fine.

There are others features such as duplication from one host to another, automatic failover, mirror, etc. You can read about these in more detail, on our website. It is described on our web page as a cloud platform, but will actually let you start small and then scale. I recommend the Server Edition:

http://www.bicomsystems.com/products/serverware-server-edition

Another option is to simply use a PBXware CD, you will get what you see on Amazon now, but installed on your server. Telcoware doesn’t have CD, it can be installed on top of the PBXware system, replacing PBXware.

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/pbxwarecd/pbxware-3.8-r9.iso

http://downloads.bicomsystems.com/pbxwarecd/pbxware-3.8-r9.img

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SAS vs. SATA

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

The difference between SAS and SATA drives lies in performance and price. While the two are physically similar, they are designed for entirely different purposes.

SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) drives are able to rotate much more quickly than SATA (Serial ATA) drives. SAS drives can function up to 15,000 RPM while SATA drives typically operate around 7,200 RPM. This means that response time will be up to twice as fast with a SAS drive.

Why are they so much faster? SAS drives are built for performance. They are more durable and offer a better performance, but at a steep price. On the other hand, SATA drives are built for affordability. They are less reliable and do not offer the same level of performance, but are available at a reasonable, affordable price.

All this to say, SATA drives are not necessarily a bad choice. They are ideal for desktop computers and one-user scenarios. An SAS would be overkill on a desktop computer and simply too expensive for the average user. SAS drives are the best choice in the case of servers or data centers. Their faster performance and increased durability is essential when multiple users are depending on one device. The higher price is more than worth it in a server scenario.

In summary, SAS drives are ideal for servers while SATA drives are ideal for desktop computers.

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PBX for a TV Channel

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Support

I recently advised a partner on creating a PBX solution for a leading television station. Some things to take into consideration:

  • How many phone extensions are needed

  • Sound mixing requirements

  • Queues (for call-in programs in which callers are queued while waiting to go live)

As for pricing, the following is a starting point:

CITEL Link Gateway @ $3000 for 24 Digital Phones Xorcom 32 CO lines @ $2075 + 8 FXO @ $710

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VMware

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in PBX System, Support, Virtual PBX, VMware, VoIP

UPDATE: PBXware is now on the VMware Solution Exchange as VMware PBX

While the rise of VMware seems unstoppable, Bicom Systems generally does not support virtual machines or VMware. The reasons are simple.

First, the clock source needs to be accurate. Because this service relies so heavily on time, any time-related problem will result in choppy audio, clicks, etc. The time must be accurate. When you open up facebook.com, for example, you won’t care if it is 100ms or 600ms at times. What you care about is getting SOMETHING. But when it comes to voice, this is not the case.

A MySQL/Orace Support forum user stated it best: “if you want a database for production, do not consider virtualization AT ALL. It is impossible to guarantee that when you write to the ‘disk’, you have actually written anything.” This has been tested and proven by professionals.

A second issue is not only the limit on the number of calls, but the reliability of that limit. Because of the real-time requirements of voice and video in PBXware, VMware simply cannot guarantee consistent performance. The exception is a fixed pre-allocated in real bounds of hardware, but that would usually mean no more than 2-3 VMs per machine, at most.

In short, virtual machines are a big no, but virtual servers such as SERVERware are made to the purpose of VoIP. If you must use a virtual machine, we recommend no more than 200 extensions more machine.

VMware Enterprise ESG is a robust and reliable platform for our products:

– Customer running PBXware Multi-Tenant CD install for about 3 years, 60,000 Calls / mo

– Customer running SERVERware with PBXware Multi-Tenant, test mode for 2 years, Calls Volume 20,000 in bulk no issues

– Customer running TELCOware with 2 PBXware for 3 years.

For more information, visit the Bicom Systems Wiki.

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Sugar CRM

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Softphone, Support

Bicom Systems offers a CRM plugin for SugarCRM software prior to version 6.4.3. A few notes:

  • Our preference is the crm plugin for version 6.4.1.

  • The crm plugin for version 6.5.x only has one working feature: click2dial and only works with gloCOM.

  • Version 6.4.0 (Beta 2) is not supported until bugs are fixed.

  • Version 6.2.1 is not supported as it shows two click2dial images.

SugarCRM is an open source CRM software.

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Maintaining Customer Satisfaction and Escalating New Feature Requests

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Support

Bicom Systems’ number one concern is the satisfaction of our customers. Consequently, our top priorities are effective communication and rapid problem-solving. If we receive a customer inquiry or troubleshooting issue we attempt to respond and address the problem as quickly as possible. Whether it is a simple question, some sort of error or problem, or a request for custom work or upgrades, our number one goal will be to ensure your satisfaction as quickly as possible.

If you find that you are not satisfied with the priority or the response, we have a very explicit escalation procedure. Please read : www.bicomsystems.com/support/  If used, it works to get you what you want.

As we receive customer inquiries, we determine their level of urgency and place them on a list for review. Issues or questions that are less pressing and urgent may have a slightly longer wait time. If a customer simply cannot wait for the review process to complete, they could submit an endorsed custom feature request which would give them number one priority.

Of course we’re also counting on our customers to keep in touch with us and reply quickly to our emails or calls. Customer satisfaction must be a two-way road in which both parties communicate in a timely and professional manner.

If you have a problem or need custom work done, please contact us as soon as possible. Do not wait until the problem escalates into something larger or more urgent – this causes undue stress on all parties involved – please let us help from the very beginning.

Also, if you do contact us with an issue or request, please be prepared to follow up with us. If we put in the time and work to respond to a customer, we expect that the customer will remain actively involved and continue communicating with us.

All that said, Endpoints are a separate type of support category, falling under Feature Requests. This means that if an Endpoint is highly sought after by our customer(s) we will put it on a Review List. After review, we will a schedule a time convenient for us to add-on the Endpoint.

Please note that Endpoints do not fall under the standard support contract as they take more time and are projects in and of themselves.

As we add in Endpoints, all customers will receive them as part of free updates to their system.

Having a Support Contract with Bicom Systems will allow you to get your inquiries and requests to the correct place more quickly and efficiently. Please contact us at sales@bicomsystems.com for more information.

Eldar Avdic

Technical Support Manager

Bicom Systems

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IPSMARX vs. PBXware and How to Upgrade

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Competitors, IP Phone, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

We received an email from a customer a few days ago asking how the IPSMARX product compares to our own? (IPSMARX offers an IP-PBX solution similar to our Multi-Tenant PBX and has even tried to pose as Bicom Systems.)

Our response: while the two products may appear similar at first glance, we’ve noted some significant differences.

  • IPSMARX is not open standards, Bicom Systems is.

  • IPSMARX may appear simply an adapted prepaid calling system turned into a Multi-Tenant Service Platform, we have created a specialized product to give SMBs huge feature functionality, not adapted.

  • IPSMARX platform does not always integrate with other platforms via SIP trunks, ours does. We know – that’s why their customers have come to us !

  • IPSMARX being closed means that sooner or later to do things that open systems allow requires their intervention and payment.

  • IPSMARX does not have the largest Telco’s driving their development. A good example is the softphone that has delivered a simple dialler but not taken communications to a unified extreme.

To find out more about the difference with PBXware and GLOCOM … please contact us : sales@bicomsystems.com

UPDATE: How to upgrade from IPSMARX?

Since I posted the above blog we have been slightly taken aback with the response we have had. Some customers of IPSMARX were so dissatisfied they asked for their monies back. Credit must be given where it is due. For example, Ikon Telekom in Turkey felt their investment in IPSMARX was a huge mistake.

IPSMARX came forth and were very honourable about the matter. However the numbers of customers contacting us seems to be growing a quite a rate. Many at the brink of decision, some having just placed deposits, others already with established customer bases. One such company claims that IPSMARX is a fraud.

At first we could not understand why this was so prevalent. However the more we speak with customers the more we come to understand that sooner or later that wall is hit and there seems no way round or beyond.

The Breeze Unified Communications offering is a good and recent example, certainly it makes a first attempt. Beyond the basics there seems though no further goal plan. However we’ll leave you to your own conclusions compared with :

gloCOM

To see is to believe.

The problem also is clear that the longer this goes on the more customers will be stuck in one set of infrastructure and dissatisfied to the point they must look elsewhere.

So – what can we do to help ?

Here’s our offer:

Any deposit paid to IPSMARX in the past 3 months we will refund on purchase of a PBXware TELCO Solution from Bicom Systems.

Any existing deployment : we will provide conversion credits to assist.

We will also provide a transition roadmap to assist with the process.

Sign up for a free account today and ask for a call from a dedicated and experienced Account Manger.

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Elastix Multi-Tenancy

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Competitors, Support, VoIP

So, I follow on Twitter and there is this event in Madrid: www.voip2day.net

And of course Elastix, and apparantly the new “3.0” version, will have Multi-Tenancy.

So off I go to elastix.org to try it.

I downloaded ~650MB and installed it in VMware. Well guess what? It didn’t even create a database for Asterisk PBX in the end and I cannot even add Extensions or anything. There is no sign of any Multi-Tenancy. You just login to its Web interface and it says in Spanish (this is complete lack of consistency) – cannot login to database.

All I am saying… Open Source and everything. Steve, if they ever come to you and say we are going back to Elastix.. just tell them – good luck with that.

Sergej