Thursday, March 29, 2012

Multi-Tenant PBX

I'd like to take a few minutes today to shine the spotlight on one of our favorite suites here at Bicom Systems. We love talking about how to use our trio of products - SERVERware, TELCOware, and PBXware - to start & run an ITSP, but what about the individual products and editions?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virtual Machine Technologies

I recently received this about using Amazon EC2:

"Here's what I'm finding... When a backup is made of the AWS instance (create AMI from instance), logging in immediately after the AMI is created will show all settings gone. Went out to the shell to look at the database, and it too was empty (except the default 1000 extension and multi-tenant PBXware default settings).

Restarting the system from the GUI, then logging in when it's back up will show all the settings back where they belong. Didn't do anything with licensing.

Then I did some backups, except didn't log in immediately when it was done. Waited 20 minutes to log in, and all the settings were there.

So it's something with the timing of how the machine instance comes up."

Conclusion : there are real problems using Virtual Machine Technologies and one must wonder about VMware too ?

Steve Wingfield
steve@bicomsystems.com

Monday, March 26, 2012

Plantronics Malfunction

For the past four days my life has seemed on the edge of a cusp.

Having got habitually accustomed to our new Glocom 3.0 working off our MultiTenant PBXware and working off the SIP client on the desktop with perfect voice quality - my $350 headset just disappeared. Not from the desk beside me but neither the Mac nor a PC I borrowed could recognise it anymore. Torment and ridicule followed.

Pulling USBs in and out of my monitor, laptop 1, laptop 2 and even the coffee warmer at one point, tried to find drivers knowing well that I'd throw the CDs away - this though was an endless task as are no drivers for the device. Almost burst to complaint to their head office secretary as she was kindly setting up a meeting for a site visit by two of their staff to assist Denis with further integration. Just as well I bit my tongue at that moment!

The only pleasure was that to be had by smirking colleagues - 'mine works!'

Bugged the dear lady at Onedirect.fr in technical support but refused her RMA muttered for another day and then did the sensible thing and gave up and surrendered. Printed the RMA form, disconnected the USB CB60 from the power and sulked towards the printer to pick up the RMA form.

In a last fit of madness I connected the USB of a device that did not have any power coming to it - to the MAC and ... you know the rest ...

the Fairy Lights of the Plantronic's device started flashing - all was working.

The moral of the story - whenever there is anything technical not working - start by shooting the fairies. (Then try disconnecting the power cable and re-inserting it).

Steve Wingfield
steve@bicomsystems.com

Yealink Completes Interoperability Testing with Bicom Systems

Bicom Systems is excited to announce our partnership with Yealink, the professional designer and manufacturer of IP Phone and IP Video Phone. After working closely with Yealink to develop customer solutions, we decided to celebrate our success with a joint Press Release announcing the partnership. For more information, click here.

Why to use SUPPORTED UADs?

It is important for serious Internet Telephony Service Providers to use only supported UADs. Here at Bicom Systems, we use only the following UADs:

Partnership in Africa

Here at Bicom Systems we like to give our partners "free press" whenever we can. One of the ways we do that is through case studies. You can browse our gallery of case study on our website.

Today I'd like to take a few minutes to highlight one of our clients in Africa. Back in October we partnered with Necor Zambia Limited to serve the Electoral Commission of Zambia during a heated and important election.

How to Compete with SHORETEL

In order to compete with Shoretel, you need to get a bit more creative. They have a great phone system that may very well be better in some ways than our own PBXware. To compete with that, Bicom Systems shifts the customer's focus away from the phone system and to the big picture.

How to Compete with MICROSOFT

Microsoft may seem like a huge, intimidating competitor, but it's actually not that difficult to win sales against them. Bicom Systems has determined that they have three major weaknesses that we can easily compete with.

How to Compete with ALCATEL LUCENT

Alcatel Lucent is a large industry leader that may be intimidating to competitors at first. But the secret to winning a deal against them is to take advantage of their weaknesses.

How to Win More PBX Sales

You step into the car dealership and look around at all of your options. Red convertibles, little sports cars, all-terrain trucks. In your mind, you're already flying down the highway, the breeze in your hair, music pouring from the car's speakers, when the salesperson interrupts your thoughts with his mundane descriptions of the type of rubber in the car's tires and the new fuel injection system.

GENTOO vs CentOS or REDHAT for PBXware

PBXware uses Gentoo. Here are some of the reasons. Maybe you have your own experiences to comment on OSs ?

It must be said, "each Call Center is different."
Some are highly specialist boutiques inhouse serving the public or the organisation itself, others large and dedicated to their trade providing flexible campaigns to a wide variety of customers and many in low budget startup phases.
Here are some guiding questions that we at Bicom Systems have passed on to partners from time to time that have helped with prospecting.

Security and Bandwidth with PBXware

This week I had an interesting little puzzle to solve for the implementation of a PBXware MultiTenant PBX. Much of the scenario was familiar enough. The prospect had been using Elastix and Trixbox and was tired of being hacked. However two important distinctions were a low bandwidth provision in location and an absolute legal requirement to have the server located in the low bandwidth provision.

Why should we choose PBXware MultiTenant PBX vs Thirdlane Multi-Tenant PBX ? (Part II : Cost of Entry)

The single largest misconception that we have to deal with when customers are considering a choice between Thridlane and PBXware MultiTenant PBX with its softswitch capability is price perception.

The Side You Should Be 'Aware-Of' in this Business…

The technical side of a modern phone company…

As a developer and network engineer, understanding the way today’s hosted phone systems works is a fairly easy task. Yet such a profile is not found in every person that is willing to start in this business. In general, there are two profiles that look to start in this business more often:

No such thing as a perfect platform

Through the last few years of dealing with all types of ventures, deploying/designing hundreds of projects, and trying to accommodate everyone’s needs from the most simple to the most complex (that will never end), I have been trying to teach myself and my customers a simple idea: There is no such thing as a perfect platform.

Bicom System's Supporting of Partners in the Field - Example 1: Snetcom

Day to day, the greatest satisfaction has to be said to come from working with partners to see their businesses grow. Which over time has also seen our business grow.

There's always been a slight angst though of how to reciprocate the good faith that partners have placed in Bicom Systems. Fortunately with the time that comes from running our business long enough to put in place resource, there are an increasing number of answers coming to bear.

Zambia Presidential Election won with PBXware

Elections can be tense at the best of times. Sometimes staying up all night not quite knowing which side will win.

With the recent Presidential Election in Zambia for all the furore in the public gaze, we at Bicom Systems had worked our late nights prior to the big day and were quietly confident that a victory would be ours.

Why should we choose PBXware MultiTenant PBX vs Thirdlane Multi-Tenant PBX ?

It is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with Thirdlane, given how respectfully Alex Epshteyn at Thridlane has always spoken of PBXware MultiTenant PBX. I am demanded to reply to this question aurally and it seems only right to write.

Zambia Presidential Election won with PBXware

Elections can be tense at the best of times. Sometimes staying up all night not quite knowing which side will win.

With the recent Presidential Election in Zambia for all the furore in the public gaze, we at Bicom Systems had worked our late nights prior to the big day and were quietly confident that a victory would be ours.

Elastix vs PBXware

Hello! In this post I would like to compare our feature set with Elastix, this was produced in early 2011 during a project that PBXware won against Elastix.

ELASTIX FEATURES Steve says Saulio says Sergej says
Call recording YES YES YES
Voicemail YES YES YES
Voicemail-to-Email functionality YES – With Self Care user interface YES – With Self Care user interface YES
Flexible and configurable IVR YES – Also IVR Tree and PIN Bases/Multi-Digit IVRs YES – Also IVR Tree and PIN Bases/Multi-Digit IVRs YES
Voice synthesis support NO
IP terminal batch configuration tool YES – with auto discovery and csv uploads YES – with auto discovery and csv uploads YES
Integrated echo canceller by software YES YES YES
End Point Configurator YES – All popular brands, including xml directory and blf keys YES – All popular brands, including xml directory and blf keys YES
Support for video-phones YES YES YES
Hardware detection interface YES YES YES
DHCP server for dynamic IP YES YES YES
Web-based operator panel YES – Administrator – Level Based and Selfcare Interfaces YES – Administrator – Level Based and Selfcare Interfaces YES
Call parking YES – and Enhanced Parking YES – and Enhanced Parking YES
Call detail record (CDR) report YES – Including call recording and Faxes if available YES – Including call recording and Faxes if available YES
Billing and consumption report YES – With optional billing module YES – With optional billing module YES
Channel usage reports YES YES ?
Support for call queues YES – Lite Queue / Ring Groups or Advance Queue on Call Center Edition YES – Lite Queue / Ring Groups or Advance Queue on Call Center Edition YES
Conference center with virtual rooms YES YES YES
SIP and IAX support, among others YES YES YES
Supported codecs: ADPCM, G.711 (A-Law & μ-Law), G.722 YES – And t38 passthru YES – And t38 passthru YES
G.723.1 (pass through), G.726, G.728, G.729, GSM, iLBC (optional) among others. YES – And t38 passthru YES – And t38 passthru YES
Support for analog interfaces as FXS/FXO (PSTN/POTS) YES – Auto detected and Auto configured YES – Auto detected and Auto configured YES
Support for digital interfaces (E1/T1/J1) through PRI/BRI/R2 protocols YES – Auto detected and Auto configured YES – Auto detected and Auto configured YES
Caller ID YES – With enhanced options YES – With enhanced options YES
Multiple trunk support YES – Unlimited trunks with LCR and Routes manager YES – Unlimited trunks with LCR and Routes manager YES
Incoming and outgoing routes with support for dial pattern matching YES – DID manager with automated E164 or Simple Routing YES – DID manager with automated E164 or Simple Routing YES
Support for follow-me YES – also Call Forward and Group Hunt YES – also Call Forward and Group Hunt YES
Support for ring groups YES – with advanced options like greeting, timeout greeting, music on hold, exit digit and last destination YES – with advanced options like greeting, timeout greeting, music on hold, exit digit and last destination YES
Support for paging and intercom YES YES YES
Support for time conditions YES – DID level – IVR Level or Queue Level with global code for enable/disable times YES – DID level – IVR Level or Queue Level with global code for enable/disable times YES
Support for PIN sets YES YES YES
Direct Inward System Access (DISA) YES – DIDs YES – DIDs YES
Callback support YES YES YES
Support for bluetooth interfaces through cell phones (chan_mobile) optional optional NO
Fax server based on HylaFax YES – Not bases on hylafax YES – Not bases on hylafax NO
Fax visor with downloaded PDFs YES – PDF and TIFF with desktop application faxAGENT for sending/receiving directly from desktop YES – PDF and TIFF with desktop application faxAGENT for sending/receiving directly from desktop YES – PDF and TIFF with desktop application faxAGENT for sending/receiving directly from desktop
Fax to email application YES YES YES
Fax to email customization YES YES NO
Access control for fax clients YES YES ?
Can be integrated with Winprint Hylafax NO NO NO
Online embedded help YES YES YES
System resources monitor YES YES YES
Network configurator YES YES YES
Server shutdown from the web YES YES YES
Access control to the interface based on ACLs YES YES YES
Centralized updates management YES YES YES
Backup/restore support via Web YES YES YES
Support for skin YES YES YES
Configurable server date, time and timezone YES YES YES
PBX-integrated calendar with support for voice notifications NO NO NO
Phone Book with click-to-dial capabilities NO – Desktop Apps: Present Panel for presence/click to dial/status and outCALL for Outlook integration NO – Desktop Apps: Present Panel for presence/click to dial/status and outCALL for Outlook integration NO
Two CRM products integrated to the interface (vTigerCRM and SugarCRM) Optional Optional NO
Openfire instant messaging server NO – JABBER server integrated NO – JABBER server integrated Alternative
IM client initiated calls NO NO NO
Web based management for IM server YES YES NO
IM groups support YES YES YES
Support for other IM gateways like MSN, Yahoo Messenger, GTalk and ICQ NO NO NO
Report of user sessions NO NO NO
Jabber support YES YES YES
Plugins support YES YES YES
LDAP support YES YES NO
Server-to-server support YES YES YES
Mail server with multi-domain support YES YES NO
Web based management YES YES YES
Support for mail relay Optional Optional NO
Web based email client NO NO NO
Support for quotas NO NO NO
Antispam support NO NO NO
Based in Postfix for high email volume YES YES NO