Is Microsoft a Threat to SMB Phone System Vendors?

April 6, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Microsoft’s Response Point Platform Has Many Shaking In Their Boots…But Should They Be?

Iotum CEO and blogger Alec Saunders has an excellent post about the impact that Microsoft will have on smaller players in the small medium business phone system marketplace with their release of their Office Communications Server, Office Communicator, and the Embedded Microsoft Response Point PBX. Alec makes some solid points in regards to Microsoft’s moves into this space and why small medium phone system vendors should be worried. The two most important points to consider?

Voice as just another application, and Microsoft is the KING of software.

I could not agree more with Alec’s points, but if I was a small business phone system provider, I would not as worried about Microsoft, as would with hosted service providers. Think about this for a second. If voice is just another application, and the current trend with applications is to have them hosted in “the cloud”, it makes sense that eventually there will be no need for a premise based phone system. Furthermore, as unified communications transitions to become unified business, the hosted service providers become hosted solution providers, delivering every business application; voice, erp, crm, etc. over an IP pipe. That is true unification within your business.

With the aggressive decline in the cost of bandwith, and the aggressive increase in bandwith pipe size, the reality of this scenario is very real, and is very scary for premise based phone system providers.

Why is the Hosted Model So Scary?

Because business and the way we work, is changing. The idea of a nine to five day is no longer. We work when we can. We need to utilize the “working moments” wherever they may be (home, hotel, car, plane, etc.) and premise based equipment DOES NOT allow you enough flexibility to truly leverage these moments. However, when your business tools are all hosted in the cloud, your office, your desk, becomes wherever it is that you happen to be. The hosted model is one that better suits our emerging work culture. In many respects the premise based is already dead – I use Skype more than my desk phones.

So yes, Microsoft is a threat to phone system vendors, but the even bigger threat to phone systems vendors is our emerging work culture, which revolves around working moments, that are only truly leveraged with flexible, accessible, on-demand, solutions which are only truly usable when hosted in the cloud. If I was a phone system vendor, my strategy would be to fight off Microsoft Response Point, and hosted solutions, by offering hosted-hybrid solutions that leverage both the benefits of a premise base solution and that of a hosted solution.

How To Install trixbox Video

April 5, 2007 by Garrett Smith

New Video Shows Your How to Install trixbox

Pal Kerry Garrison just pointed me to this awesome video he created that show a complete beginner how to get a trixbox VoIP phone system installed (and installed correctly)for the very first time. I think the best part of the video is when Kerry points out the fact that although trixbox phone systems are relatively easy to install and achieve a basic set-up, it is not easy for someone without Linux knowledge to manage and maintain going forward. Sound advice, that many have not taken in the past, from the guy who wrote the book on trixbox.

Here is the video:

If you are looking for VoIP adapters, a VoIP phone or even complete VoIP systems, VoIP Supply has everything you need for VoIP.

More from: trixbox Garrett Smith

Asterisk Voice Prompts By PBX Prompts

Sayers Media Group Launches PBX Prompts

Our sister company, Sayers Media Group, announced the launch of PBX Prompts yesterday. PBX Prompts offers a variety of standard voice prompt packages for the Asterisk Open Source PBX and custom voice prompts for your IVR, Voicemail, or in addition to our standard prompts packages. Recorded in professional sound studios, PBX Prompts’ standard, advanced, and custom voice prompts give your company a voice that is representative of your business. With no minimums, and a quick 72 hour turnaround, PBX Prompts can meet the demands of any voice prompt project.

PBX Prompts true value is in the ability for a customer to have a complete set of prompts including all system prompts and more importantly matching custom menus and on hold commercials is something that would cost a company a lot more than a couple hundred dollars if done from scratch on a one time recording. This is something that many small medium business and solutions providers have needed, but until yesterday have not been able to find.

“Over the past two years, we have heard over and over again about the difficulties many small medium businesses and value added resellers have had finding high quality professional voice prompts for Asterisk Open Source PBX systems,” said Garrett Smith, Director of Sales and Marketing for Sayers Media Group. “Based on these experiences we have created PBX Prompts with the help of these very same companies in order to deliver on a simple, easy to use, ordering interface and installation process for those who want an alternative to the default Asterisk voice for their phone system.”

PBX Prompts is currently offering voice prompts packages for Asterisk systems featuring male and female voice talents in English, English, and Spanish languages. PBX Prompts plans on launching additional languages, such as French, German, and Japanese, in the coming weeks. Prices for the current voice prompt packages for Asterisk systems range from $49.99 for select standard voice prompt packages for Asterisk systems featuring over 500 voice prompts, to $129.99 for advanced voice prompt sets for Asterisk systems that feature over 600 voice prompts. From now until May 1st, PBX Prompts is also offering FREE VoIP prompt packages for Asterisk® systems that contain 100 of the most popular voice prompts for Asterisk.

VoIP Supply Named ONE of WNY’s Best Places to Work

April 2, 2007 by Garrett Smith

VoIP Supply Named One of the Best Places to Work in Western New York
Company Named to This Distinguished List Through Employee Nominations

wny best places to workBUFFALO, NY (March 27th, 2007) VoIP Supply, a leading Internet Retailer of Voice over IP equipment, including IP Phones, VoIP Adapters, and Wi-Fi VoIP solutions announced today that it has been named one of the Best Places to Work in Western New York for 2007. The Best Places to Work in Western New York Nominees were selected based on nominations and feedback from employees across the Western New York region. The award, sponsored by Buffalo’s Business First newspaper and Quantum Research, looks to recognize companies in the Western New York area that foster employee-centric work cultures.

“There is only one word I could use to describe the feeling of being nominated as a best place to work in Western New York by the staff here at VoIP Supply,” said Benjamin P. Sayers, President and CEO of VoIP Supply. “Awesome.”

“This nomination speaks volumes about the work Ben and Brett (VoIP Supply COO, Brett D. Crandall) have done to make the work environment, fun, exciting, rewarding, an welcoming for all VoIP Supply employees,” said Garrett Smith, Director of Marketing and Business Development for VoIP Supply. “With all of the growth and transitions we have gone through over the past few years as a company, they have continuously put their employee’s first – and that is what makes VoIP Supply such a great place to work.”

VoIP Supply Nominated For infoTECH BETA Star Award

VoIP Supply Nominated For InfoTech Niagara BETA Star Award
Award Nomination is the Latest in a String of Nominations for the Internet Retailer

BUFFALO, NY (January 27th, 2007) VoIP Supply, a leading Internet Retailer of Voice over IP equipment, including VoIP Phone Systems, Telephone Adapters, and Wi-Fi VoIP solutions announced today that it has been nominated for the InfoTech Niagara BETA Star Award. The BETA Star Award is for the entrepreneurial firm bringing unique, innovative products or services to the market that show promise of becoming major economic forces. At the forefront of the cutting edge Voice over IP industry, VoIP Supply has emerged as the market leader in the resale of Voice over IP hardware, software, and services over the past two years.

“It is an honor to be nominated as a company bringing unique and innovative new products and services to a worldwide marketplace,” said Benjamin P. Sayers, President and CEO of VoIP Supply. “The fact that the nomination comes from a local trade association composed of our peers in the IT industry makes it all the more rewarding.”

The BETA Star Award nomination comes on the heels of VoIP Supply’s nomination as one of Western New York’s Best Places to Work for 2007. For more information about the InfoTech Niagara BETA Awards, please visit www.infotechniagara.org. For more information about VoIP Supply, please visit www.voipsupply.com.

Sangoma A101D PCI Card Released

Sangoma A101D is a Single Port T1/EI Card Echo Cancellation

sangoma a101dSangoma announced today that they have released their highly anticipated A101D highly-compatible PCI and PCI Express card for use with Asterisk based phone systems and other open source telephony systems. The A101D supports the same digital processing as the company’s other popular AFT-based family of telephony cards. It provides the benefits of hardware-based echo cancellation and voice enhancement for smaller, single-port T1/E1 installations. The A101D also supports DTMF encoding/decoding and tone recognition, voice quality enhancement and adaptive noise reduction.

Sangoma A101D Additional Features

Distinctive A101D features include:

  • Support for PCI Express and PCI bus architectures.
  • Support for 1024 taps (128ms) of echo tail handling on every channel (DS0) meaning that troublesome delayed echoes are properly handled.
  • Dynamic and selective activation of echo cancellation, making the system ideal for mixed voice/data applications.
    * The same PCI interface, architecture and digital path as all of Sangoma’s other AFT based analog and T1/E1 cards, meaning that the A101D has guaranteed stability, motherboard compatibility issues and proper interrupt handling.

The A101D is set to have an MSRP of $1,000 USD and will be available through Sangoma distributors and resellers later this week.

Sangoma A101D First Impressions

The A101D is the world’s first single port T1/E1 PCI card with echo cancellation and is yet another instance of Sangoma driving innovation in the open source telephony PCI card space. With Sangoma building a loyal following due to there superior performance and ease of integration with multiple server platforms, the A101D is yet another product that will serve to further push Sangoma to the forefront of open source telephony PCI hardware.

More from: Asterisk Garrett Smith

Linksys to Release Broadband Communications System For SOHO’s

New Broadband Communications System is designed for the 10 and under small office home office

According to a recent article in CRN, Linksys will soon be releasing a VoIP phone system for SOHO users. The system is reported to be similar to the Linksys Voice System that includes the SPA9000 phone system, except it will be smaller in scale. According to Sherman Scholte, Director of product management at Linksys, “Having a broadband communication system in the house will allow [consumers] to really see the true benefits of a voice system that they couldn’t have with existing old-world cordless phone systems.”

While I am certainly not surprised to see Linksys moving in the business VoIP direction since the company was founded as a SOHO routing company, I have never really thought of the Linksys SPA9000 and the corresponding components of the Linksys Voice System to truly be robust enough for the small business. In fact the more that we work with the system, it truly is best suited for a SOHO environment. It will be interesting to see what features and functionality will be included in the Broadband Communications System, considering the LVS 9000 is pretty water-down already.

Perhaps a VoIP gateway would help?

VoIP: Brilliant or Crap?

March 26, 2007 by Garrett Smith

When it Comes to VoIP Quality it Truly is Brilliant or Crap!

Peter Cochrane of Silicon.com has an excellent post on the state of Voice over IP call quality. Peter nails VoIP call quality when he writes,

“So the bad news is today’s VoIP over the internet works in two typically digital modes: brilliant and crap – and there ain’t much in between. Sometimes it works well and other times it does not. The good news is that moves are afoot to fix this flaw in the internet and it is relatively easy to fix in intranets and ultimately telephone networks that move to IP.”

Many Have a Love/Hate Relationship With VoIP

The hit or miss nature of VoIP leaves many with a love hate relationship with the technology, and I can’t exactly disagree with them. Poor call quality is annoying; and people hate to be annoyed. Poor call quality in a business setting, is not only annoying, but it is not professional and reflects negatively upon your business. As Peter notes in his piece, the internet is flawed when it comes to real-time communications and therefore VoIP calling will be flawed,

The internet is fundamentally flawed when it comes to real-time services of any kind. Raw packet switching cannot support voice or video with any degree of service quality. Additional network engineering is required to overcome the high likelihood of packet loss and overall lack of capacity.

Waiting For Utopian Calling

With the advent of cellular calling we were subjected to a lower level of call quality. We accepted this lower level of call quality, at first for the convienence and mobility cellular technology gave us. Later, as I found out during my days at T-Mobile, we accepted would accept less convienence and mobility, for a plan that cost less. With VoIP, we seem to have accepted lower call quality, increased risk (through unreliable network connections), less convenience , and mobility all for a lower cost. While it may be true that advances in network engineering is “on the way” it is tough to imagine these improvements will be made anytime soon. It’s gotta be pretty tough to re-invest in network infrastructure making fractions of a penny per minute!

New Aastra Dect 6.0 Handset

Aastra Continues IP Handset Innovation with New DECT 6.0 Wireless handset

At last week’s VON Conference and Expo, Aastra unveiled a new DECT 6.0 wireless solution. Aastra SIP-DECT is a mobility solution offering end users interference free and secure high- quality voice communications over a proven and powerful wireless technology platform.

The Aastra SIP-DECT solution is comprised of DECT Handsets and IP DECT Access Points that are managed by OpenMobility Manager (OMM) software and provisioned on a SIP based infrastructure as simple SIP extensions. The OMM administrates all handset and mobility activities (roaming, seamless handover and media stream) and can be installed on the IP DECT access point, on a ip phone system, or on a Linux-Server. The system utilizes the 1920 – 1930 MHz unlicensed PCS (UPCS) spectrum that has been recently approved for use in North America by the FCC providing exceptional RF coverage per access point.

The Aastra SIP-DECT solution is targeted for introduction on June 1st.

Linksys SPA8000 8 port Analog Telephone Adaptor

March 21, 2007 by Garrett Smith

Linksys SPA8000 8-port Analog Telephone Adaptor

The Linksys SPA8000 is the latest in the line of VoIP adapters from Linksys. The SPA8000 features eight RJ-11 FXS ports to connect analog telephones to IP-based data networks and includes a single multi-port RJ-21 50-pin connector offering an alternative connection choice when deploying the telephony gateway in varied environments. The device also has one 10/100Base-T RJ-45 Ethernet interface to connect to either a router or multi-layer switch.

Allthough the SPA8000 is a step-up in size for Linksys, who has until now played in the residential VoIP adapter sector, the greatest benefit of the SPA8000 is that it offers all the key features and capabilities with which service providers can provide customized services to their subscribers. The SPA8000 can be remotely provisioned and supports dynamic, in-service software upgrades. A secure profile upload saves providers the time, expense and hassle of managing and pre-configuring or re-configuring customer premise equipment (CPE) for deployment. The SPA8000 is “built” for large scale deployments needing a VoIP gateway.