VoIP Supply: Creating Memorable E-commerce Experiences

May 5, 2008 by Ben Sayers

Based on current research, VoIP Supply represents 50 percent of online VoIP hardware sales with more than a dozen competitors making up the other 50 percent. Interestingly enough we also represent more than 50 percent of the total personnel involved in online VoIP hardware sales with 70 employees at the end of the first quarter of 2008.

While we have continued to grow our business over the past few years, enough to earn a variety of awards including the Inc. 500 last year, we have lost some of the market share we used to have to these new ecommerce start-ups. We also lost our largest competitor last year as a result of what I perceive to be a flawed business model; the model that all of our other competitors share today as well. Leading with price and leaving value out of the equation will only get you so far in business.

At VoIP Supply, we employ dozens of highly-trained technicians, engineers and sales executives, all of which are willing and able to help a customer pre-sale and post-delivery. Not one of our competitors can even go so far as to boast that they have a dozen employees. Our sales staff is trained daily on product information as well as selling value first and not being reduced to just another online retailer selling with the lowest price as their value proposition.

How else is price not the focus at VoIP Supply? We offer a live call center with 20 dedicated sales executives, nearly a dozen customer service professionals, our unparalleled go3™ warranty program, proactive outbound telephone calls to notify customers of shipping details, product back orders and firmware updates, provisioning and fulfillment services with real time access to inventory and shipping information, pre-sale technical expertise for complete PBX solution configurations, and dozens of internal initiatives to expand our service offerings and customer communications.

Price does matter and we recognize that. A lot of our customers have spent hours of their time invested in a series of pre-sale education and post sale technical support configuring their original deployments and have then gone to a “no value” ecommerce competitor when they need a bulk purchase; where price sensitivity is the leading factor. Growing our business foundation and infrastructure did not support being the lowest in the industry and often forced us to lose business or walk away from VoIP deals because of low profit margins. While our business model is still to lead with value and focus on what else we can provide to our customers before and after the sale, new tools and measures have been put in place as of this year that permit resellers of VoIP equipment to enjoy the benefits of VoIP Supply’s staff and their capabilities, while meeting their budgetary needs.

The really exciting stuff is yet to come and not far away. VoIP Supply will be launching a new version of its web site during the middle of 2008 and will be adding a lot of new tools, functionality and enhancements over the current version. Our internal teams of software developers, designers and marketing experts have been hard at work revamping and implementing these changes. We have also grown our sales department by more than 100 percent so far this year and are implementing several strategic partnerships to offer additional value to our new customers and the more than 50,000 existing VoIP hardware buyers. Great things are happening at VoIP Supply, so look for a lot of announcements throughout the remainder of the year!

Unleash your Polycom Soundpoint IP Phone… Introducing the Polycom Productivity Suite Package

May 2, 2008 by Garrett Smith

On April 2, Polycom introduced the release of its Productivity Suite application to run on SIP firmware version 3.0.0 and bootrom 4.0.1 on Polycom Soundpoint IP Phone models. The application was designed to allow companies to work more efficiently and effectively through state-of-the art communication tools. Three of the offerings included in the Productivity Suite specifically designed for this are:

Visual Conference Management– which allows the user to manage a four-way conference call directly from the Polycom IP Phone display. Users have the ability to add, drop, split, mute, and place callers on hold, all by the press of a button and all managed through the local phone. This means that there is NO more calling into conference phone bridges and NO access conference codes to initiate conference calls between your customers or clients.

Polycom Productivity Suite

Local Call Recording-yes that’s right; “local” call recording. This function allows the user to record a call directly to the IP Phone. Call recording is only available on the Polycom IP-650 IP phone simply because that model is accompanied by a USB drive. Call recording from the local phone is very simple; plug in a recommended 2GB USB flash stick in the USB Drive of an IP-650, make or receive a call, and simply press “record.” The phone will automatically begin recording the call to the external USB stick, but it goes much further than that. The phone will allow you to access the recordings in a wav file format, directly on the phone UI and then replay, rename, or delete your recordings on the USB stick. You can even replay your recordings from your desktop computer if you wish. This application will prove very useful for CEOs, upper management teams, sales managers, financial organizations, and medical firms.

Polycom Productivity

Polycom

LDAP or Local Corporate Directory Access– which allows the local user to access corporate contacts in one directory, whereas in the past, users would need to store their contacts in separate directories. Users can easily search for contacts by their first and last names, or phone number, and then filter a list by their search criteria. From the criteria users may select, view, and call the contact desired in a much more efficient and timely manner. LDAP is also compatible with Microsoft’s Active Directory which allows users to access this directory from the local Polycom phone.

Polycom Productivity

The next two features offered in the Productivity Suite package are designed for IT Managers’ usage and accompany the following:

Voice Quality Monitoring– which allows an IT manager to view Voice-quality metrics from the local phone through RTCP-XR (IETF RFC 3611) standard format. The phone publishes these metrics via SIP Publish which allows for easy monitoring of QOS issues. IT managers are NOT limited to what metrics they may analyze when using this feature and the phone actually offers a great deal of customization to single out a QOS problem. This drastically cuts down on the need for third-party network monitoring applications and allows the IT manager to specifically focus on one application to view, pinpoint and monitor Voice traffic.

Third Party Call Control– which allows a third-party application to control the phone and also view the state the phone is in. This allows the Polycom phones to be easily integrated with unified communication systems such as Microsoft’s OCS system, which will permit a user to view the present status of their contacts and allow calls to be initiated to their contacts all from the Polycom VoIP Phone.
The Polycom Productivity Suite and all of its available features do NOT apply to every Soundpoint IP Phone model. A listing of models and feature support is listed below:

Polycom Productivity Suite

So now you may be saying to yourself, “I want this,” “this is awesome technology,” “and I want to able to take full advantage of it!” Let VoIP Supply assist you in your needs. If you have purchased or are considering purchasing Polycom IP Phones from VoIP Supply, we can offer you access to the SIP firmware 3.0.0 version, which is the software needed to run the Productivity Suite application. The 3.0.0 version is not publically offered on the Polycom website yet, but is offered on their private PRC website to authorized resellers such as VoIP Supply. VoIP Supply can provide you the software, release notes, and instructions on how to perform the firmware upgrade to get your Soundpoint IP Phones up to 3.0.0 SIP firmware, and allow you to perform the next step: purchasing the Polycom Productivity Suite licenses.

To purchase a Productivity Suite License, gather the serial number from the bottom of the Soundpoint IP unit (located on the backside of the phones), and then contact VoIP Supply and provide us with your serial numbers. The Productivity Suite application is provided on a per-phone basis, which means you will need to provide VoIP Supply with as many serial numbers as you wish to push the Productivity Suite application. Each phone is then verified and a Productivity License is applied to that unit. The list MSRP is $11.99 per phone. After confirmation, you will receive an email with the directions and a link needed to download the configuration file for that unit. That configuration file will need to be loaded to the a provisioning server, then you will need to point the phone to that server and use methods HTTP or FTP to load that configuration file onto the phone.

Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Explained

First in a four part series

So it’s not the sexy new Pontiac G8 designed to rival the M3 or the latest version of the Apple iPhone. So what is it? It is one of the hottest features provided at the moment for a variety of IP Surveillance Cameras; Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ).

Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) consists of 3 basic elements:

  1. Pan: 180 to 360 degree rotation scanning every inch of the square footage you are trying to protect around the clock.
  2. Tilt: Up and down surveillance scanning so you can observe and admire every inch of the object in your eye.
  3. Zoom: Up close and personal ability for you to capture every detail of people who deserve it most.

With early surveillance system predecessors being designed to focus on one general area they have often left room for the swiftest elements to elude their tiny eye. Much like a scene out of Oceans 13 where fixed laser systems are dodged for the sake of capital gains by intrusion, the luxuries of the PTZ have been designed to protect your investment from such losses.

It’s no surprise that the largest manufacturers seem to show increased focus on PTZ product line expansion. Axis in particular is growing with more variety and offers both dome and fixed PTZ models. Increased focus on technology further proves the theory that the needs for surveillance are inevitably going to change, and as they do PTZ is poised to be the front runner in loss prevention measures.

VoIP Supply Expands Office Space

Voip Supply continues to grow in Buffalo, NY

VoIP Supply expanded its office to include space for its future plans and continuous company growth. This is the company’s fourth expansion in as many years.

The physical expansion consisted of 9,000 square feet of office space and 1,000 square feet of warehouse space which included: a new 20-person training facility, a new 1,500 square foot provisioning and fulfillment center, and 1,000 square feet of private stock warehousing, shipping and receiving. The expansions will allow VoIP Supply to further develop and expand on its current customer service practices.

“The office expansion was necessary to accommodate new employees and leave space for further growth in years to come,” said Benjamin P. Sayers, CEO of VoIP Supply.

Plans for 2008 include a total addition of 30 employees. These employees will fill the need for more individuals in customer service, marketing, warehouse, purchasing, technical support, sales, software development, systems management and call center departments, and include all levels of employment from entry level to professional.

IPCS Word of the Day: Archive

April 30, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Archive = When recording and storing video surveillance footage, the term “archive” typically refers to the number of hourse, days, weeks or month’s worth of video footage a user would like to save to a library. Archive requirements will vary, but typically range from several days to several weeks. The larger the archive timeline, the more storage required.

Gentech Wireless Announces Dual Network Access For GSM Cell Phone Users

GENTECH Board of Directors announce greater control of cell phone bills

GENTECH Wireless Inc. (“GENTECH”) announced today that its Board of Directors has approved the dual network approach for consumers allowing cell phone users to carry dual provider phone numbers and access entering into a global strategy.

Subscribers to Gentech Wireless can now travel and receive dual coverage regarding cell service and control the amount of their cell bills while abroad or at work /home. The offer allows consumers to purchase access to the network with no airtime charges eliminating the need to watch the clock, with plans starting at a low monthly rate of $19.95, with unlimited incoming and outgoing calls; making cell service affordable to a wider audience.

Gentech Wireless has embraced the IP world and the power it can offer to consumers by leveraging new technology and creating a low cost network for consumers to benefit from. Their approach to environmental concerns is to educate consumers on green technology to reduce power consumption and duplication of network functionality by adopting a true wireless network from end to end. This approach reduces clutter and reduces power consumption while increasing functionality on the overall scheme of things.

GENTECH WIRELESS Inc. is a diversified communications company whose core business is providing broadband High-Speed Internet, Digital Home Phone, Mobile Phone, telecommunication services (through GENTECH Consumer and Business Solutions) and Wireless direct-to-home services.

If you are in need of further information, VoIP Supply has a great relationship with Gentech. Please feel free to contact me, Justin, directly either through email or telephone, E-mail or Call 716-250-1981.

IPCS Word of the Day: Analog

April 29, 2008 by Garrett Smith

Hi all you IPCS fanatics! In order to further help you when considering buying an IP camera, we are going to have some educational blogs on this site. There are many terms that buyers should know in order to learn the basics of IP cameras and surveillance. Therefore, we are going to have an ‘IPCS Word of the Day’ to expand our readers’ and potential customers’ knowledge base. If there are any terms you are confused about, please let us know!

And today’s word of the day: Analog.

Analog = Precursor to digital IP. DVR’s and analog video cameras fall under this classification as they do not use IP as their primary mechanism.

Guest Poster Khyle Keys Says ‘Sit down, have a drink from the TAP’

With the rapid acceptance of VoIP in the marketplace and the inroads VoIP providers are making into businesses and residential markets, VoIP is certainly going mainstream. But it’s not enough.

One of the great benefits of VoIP is that it is feature-rich. With programmable phones and soft phones, new functionality can be added quickly. You simply can’t do that with a standard PBX. All VoIP providers can, to the extent that their resources allow, present those features as value-adds to retain their customers and get more revenue by providing solid value.

However, there’s a new market that is developing that will affect not only VoIP providers, but a huge portion of businesses – small and large. Allow me to introduce you to a relatively new term – Telephony Application Provider (TAP). There are a plethora of companies that allow telephony interaction via API (Application Programming Interface). For all sorts of businesses, they can now voice-enable their existing applications to reach out to their customers in ways that were previously impossible or cost prohibitive. VoIP providers have the ability to form partnerships to use these TAPs to extend their feature set in a very fast, efficient and cost- effective way.

Then there is the company I work for, http://www.dialogtech.com/. I like to think we (and the companies above) are bridging gaps. Our Survos (IfByPhone’s name for our Interactive Voice Response implementation) allow companies to offload calls from their call centers, qualify leads, and much more. Click-to-call technology helps Search Engine Marketer’s bridge the gap by tracking phone calls that are generated from internet ad campaigns (in addition to existing web analytics). Call tracking allows companies to measure online and off-line metrics as part of a single campaign.

The great thing is that all of these companies present a huge opportunity. Implementations can be as easy or as complex as you want them to be. You can create a fully-fledged application that uses your business rules, and runs against your data, dynamically changing the path of the call while the user is on the phone. Or, you can send a simple message. It’s your choice. VoIP providers that capitalize on the opportunity will ultimately be the most successful in differentiating themselves in the marketplace.

The technology behind all these companies is not new. But the market we’re creating is. And the smart people are going to be the ones who can take full advantage of the emerging marketplace.

If you’d like to talk to me, just click here, and I’ll call you back.

Khyle Keys
Channel Manager,
IfByPhone