Dash Business Phone System Interface

VirtualPBX Blog

The VirtualPBX Blog showcases topics that matter most to your business. Whether we discuss a trending Top 5 or dig deep into telephony, these features offer something for every business.

Phone System Reliability Shapes Our Relationships With Clients

CML Security Logo - CML Praised Phone System Reliability in Recent Case Study InterviewOf all the elements that are part of our relationships with businesses, our phone system reliability and usability are often deemed the most important.

We can impress clients with advanced Dash Phone System Features like Call Recording and CRM Integration, and make no mistake, we’re proud of those advancements. Before any of that becomes a focus, however, our system must function well as a carrier of voice calls. It must perform as expected when clients dial an office extension or when customer service agents wait for inbound calls from customers.

Phone system reliability and usability are paramount. It’s what makes our service stand out among the competition and gives our clients, like CML Security, reason to speak positively about their time with us.

Switching to Dash

We recently completed an interview with Scott Moore, the IT Generalist at CML. He handles all functions of information technology at the company – from customer support to printer installation to adding new phone system users.

Moore had used our legacy phone system, vConsole, and witnessed the switch from that system to our new platform, Dash. This is an upgrade many customers are making. His reaction to the process?

“I like the Dash interface better,” he said. “It’s more visual and laid out a lot better.”

VirtualPBX vConsole vs Dash Dashboards

While this is great news, we wanted to also know the ways in which CML uses its phones most often. And that response?

They complete and receive hundreds of inbound and outbound calls every day.

The Ordinary as Extraordinary

On the surface, that use is anything but extraordinary. Yet that exterior necessarily leads to something deeper. It leads to a phone system reliability that keeps each one of the hundreds of calls accessible and clear.

“We set it up,” Moore remarked about the switch to Dash, “and it just goes. I have no problems with the system. The call quality is clear, and the system works well.”

Moore continued by comparing our system to other voice services he’d used in the past.

“We’ve had no issues like ‘the phones sound awful’ or ‘the system isn’t working like it should.’”

Striving for Phone System Reliability

What we strive for at VirtualPBX is a phone system reliability that’s measurable to 99.999%. This means we reach the gold standard of only 5 minutes per year of downtime.

This does more than put us at the top of our class. We pass along the benefits of reliability to every one of our customers. Enterprises can expect their call centers to remain functional during peak hours. Entrepreneurs will have a consistent lifeline to their early supporters. And midsize operations like CML can keep in touch with their own business customers, which you can read more about here in the full CML case study.

It’s great to hear that our system is working as expected. Although that isn’t the usual, flashy talking point heard in the industry, there’s honestly not much more exciting in the business community than “it just works.”

Compare Our Mobile Business Phone Service Options

Commuter Talking on a Phone - VirtualPBX Offers Several Mobile Business Phone Service OptionsAt VirtualPBX, we’re well aware that employees need the flexibility to make calls within and outside the office. Our mobile business phone service options – VirtualPBX Web Phone, the VirtualPBX Softphone App, and VirtualPBX Mobile – all work with our Dash Business Phone Plans to create that flexibility.

All these device options work normally as devices in our phone plans. They can be listed within Ring Groups and dialed from your Automated Attendant.

That said, with multiple choices, there must be differences between each device. There are, and today’s blog explains how any one of our services could be the best choice for you.

VirtualPBX Web Phone

VirtualPBX Web PhoneWe consider our Web Phone to be a great all-around digital phone for making calls on any device.

As a mobile business phone service option, Web Phone stands out by attaching itself to software you likely already use. It runs in popular web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, so you can have a full-featured device work in a browser tab alongside your other online services and websites.

This means that it fits well inside your smartphone when you’re on a commute. Then it will continue to work on a desktop or laptop when you return to the office.

Our recent upgrade of Web Phone makes it possible for you to manage voicemail inside the phone’s dashboard. The code base of the updated Web Phone also lays the foundation for texting (SMS) and CRM integration inside your browser.

If you’re looking for a versatile browser-based phone that has the potential to grow quickly with the features of your phone plan, Web Phone is a great pick.

VirtualPBX Softphone App

VirtualPBX Softphone AppFor businesses that don’t use mobile browsers often, our Softphone App has a lot to offer.

The VirtualPBX Softphone App comes in two distinct forms: A desktop version and mobile version. What you’ll find from the mobile version is one app for Android and one for iOS. This means that the application will work natively on any Android or Apple device and, as a result, will be quick and responsive when you complete calls.

The VirtualPBX Softphone App is a good choice for mobile business phone service because it can separate incoming calls to your business number without disrupting other applications. Unlike Web Phone, which requires a web browser to be active, the Softphone is less intrusive in that it can wait for incoming calls without attaching itself to other applications.

You can access your company directory and easily complete calls to other extensions with a single button push. A complete history of outbound calls (both answered and missed calls) is also available inside the app’s dashboard.

If you want native performance in a full-featured phone, and if a browser-based phone doesn’t fit your needs, our VirtualPBX Softphone can easily keep you connected on the go and in the office.

VirtualPBX Mobile

VirtualPBX MobileYour third choice for a mobile business phone service option is VirtualPBX Mobile.

VirtualPBX Mobile differs primarily from the options listed above in that it’s not an application.

When you sign up for VirtualPBX Mobile, you receive a SIM card that automatically connects to your account. You then place that SIM card in any compatible smartphone (including the iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2 sold in our VirtualPBX Store) to gain a separate local phone number on your chosen phone.

We have paired with a national mobile service provider to offer 4G LTE through VirtualPBX Mobile. This means that you gain the voice minutes your Dash Plan allows, which is unlimited for local calls on most of our plans. It also gives you 1 GB of data for each Mobile user on your account.

If you want to separate you personal phone from work phone, VirtualPBX Mobile fits that ideal. It lets you take our voice service across the U.S. without compromising access or requiring special application use.

Which Mobile Business Phone Service is Best for You?

There are clear distinctions between each of the mobile options we offer. You can stay in the browser, use a native mobile app, or gain an entire mobile phone altogether.

All that’s left is a decision about what’s right for your business. Is it one or maybe a mix of all three options?

Get a quote from our Sales team today or sign up for a free demo to try any of our mobile products. We’ll personally show you around and discuss your business’s situation. There’s no obligation to buy.

Simple Business Voicemail Management With VirtualPBX Tools

VirtualPBX Web Phone Voicemail Menu - Business Voicemail ManagementSimple business voicemail management can make or break a company’s phone system.

The voicemail component of business phone plans is so often underplayed. It works hard for customers yet never gets a chance in the spotlight. Even when compared to consumer voicemail systems, like we show in our What is a Business Voicemail Service? guide, the feature hardly stands out.

Our own Business Phone Plans are part of the near-universal adoption of voicemail as an included plan feature. That said, we’re proud to set our company apart from the competition by giving voicemail a chance to shine. Let’s take a brief look at how its inclusion in our Web Phone and in all our phone plans give this feature a – ahem – voice.

Web Phone 2.0

We recently updated our browser-based phone, Web Phone, to work better on desktop and mobile devices. We also included a number of new features, not least of which is Voicemail Management.

The Voicemail Management tab inside Web Phone gives users quick access to all the messages associated with their extensions.

Message playback, download, and deletion are all possible from within the phone. All voicemail managed in the Web Phone’s tab is linked to a customer’s overall Dash Plan. Therefore, messages deleted in the phone’s interface are removed in the same way they would be in the Dash User Portal.

Reaching Contacts

One important element of the Voicemail Management feature is its option for click-to-call-back.

VirtualPBX Web Phone Voicemail Screen

The phone icon seen in the screenshot here is a link to the phone number associated with the device that left the message.

VirtualPBX Web Phone Voicemail Click-to-Call DialogueRegarding what’s shown in this screenshot, clicking the icon would allow the user to call back extension 337. External numbers (format xxx-xxx-xxxx) may also be called with a single click. In both cases, the Web Phone opens a new dialogue to show that a call has been initiated.

User Portal

We’re also proud to offer Voicemail as a feature of all our phone plans.

Individuals can access their voicemails from inside the user portal. Like they do in Web Phone, users have options to play back, download, and delete their messages. Bulk selections are available, so management of dozens of listings is easy.

VirtualPBX User Portal

One of the key differences between consumer and business voicemail systems is that businesses may need multiple boxes to handle multiple employees and groups. VirtualPBX allows every employee to have their own separate inbox so the distinction between auditory properties remains clear among groups from 2 to 200 or more employees.

Feature Codes

It’s also worth including one other powerful feature in this discussion of business voicemail management: Feature Codes.

Any user on the VirtualPBX platform may dial *97 to reach their personal voicemail box. This feature code works from within Web Phone as an alternative to its visual interface, and it works from all other devices connected to a business’s system.

Use of a desk phone, conference phone, the VirtualPBX Softphone, and VirtualPBX Mobile devices can all complete this action. Management of messages after dialing *97 is straighforward; users can even change their PINs.

Our Business Voicemail Management Works for You

How does your current phone system let you manage voicemail? If you’re struggling every day to reach your messages, the system could be holding you back from an otherwise unproductive day.

Small changes make a big difference. Although our voicemail is similar to what many others offer – including playback and storage – we try to stand in front of the competition with accessibility and universal access. We let you choose your preferred device with the knowledge that your voicemail will always be within reach.

A Brief Look at the Features of WebRTC

With the update of our Web Phone this month, we wanted to give you some more background on the features of WebRTC, the project that lays the groundwork through which our browser-based phone completes voice calls.

WebRTC, the well-known project managed by Google, makes it easy to transmit audio, video, and data through a web browser. Our developers at VirtualPBX have used its APIs – application programming interfaces – to create a phone that runs in desktop and mobile browsers. And you can use it to create your own business applications that manage audiovisual information and transmit data.

How is this accomplished? Three of the basic APIs you use in your Javascript control the bulk of what takes place in an application.

getUserMedia to Access Hardware

The first part of establishing any type of browser-to-browser connection is understanding what devices are involved. Therefore, the first WebRTC feature we’ll look at is the getUserMedia API.

Take a look at this HTML5 Rocks article that shows how getUserMedia can identify and request to access an individual’s camera and microphone before starting a call.

As a developer, you’ll only need to pass parameters to getUserMedia like these:

{audio: true}

or

{video:true, audio:true}

Camera Permission Dialogue in BrowserThe first request would have getUserMedia ask to use a microphone, and the second would ask to use the camera and microphone. For the developer, WebRTC hides a lot of code behind the scenes so requests like this are easy to initiate.

If you’ve ever seen your browser ask for permission to use your camera, the action behind that request could be initiated by getUserMedia.

RTCPeerConnection to Establish a Connection

What comes next is establishing a connection between two (or more) peers so information can be shared between them. This second primary WebRTC feature is the RTCPeerConnection API.

The most basic RTCPeerConnection code looks like this:

var connection = RTCPeerConnection(config);

The config part of that example requires more detail like the servers you want to use to help establish a connection. Ultimately, you will create the connection with that request and then handle audio and video streams with code that resembles this example:

pc.addTrack(track);

Javascript Code Snippet from MDNThe screenshot here shows a code snippet presented in the Mozilla Developer Network article that expands upon the syntax for the addTrack function, which is part of RTCPeerConnection.

In short, you will use RTCPeerConnection to establish a connection between users and then refer to the getUserMedia audio and video devices; then you’ll add those devices to media tracks that keep audio and video connections active between your users.

RTCDataChannel for Arbitrary Data

When building a WebRTC application, you might also want to let your users share text or files. To do this, you’ll need to use the RTCDataChannel API.

This final feature of WebRTC we’ll cover in this article is presented in detail again at the Mozilla Developer Network.

Once you establish a connection with RTCPeerConnection, as is shown above, the next step is to create a data channel within that connection:

sendChannel = connection.createDataChannel("sendChannel");

What has happened here is that a channel called sendChannel has been created within the connection configuration (referenced previously, inside this article’s section RTCPeerConnection to Establish a Connection). sendChannel can now be monitored so the application knows when the data channel is open or closed:

sendChannel.onopen = handleSendChannelStatusChange;
sendChannel.onclose = handleSendChannelStatusChange;

Features of WebRTC You Will Use

While this article barely scratches the surface of what you can accomplish with the WebRTC project, we hope that it gives you a glimpse into the ease of creating applications with it.

Keep in mind that there are many layers beneath getUserMedia, RTCPeerConnection, and RTCDataChannel. These three APIs only ask developers to input a handful of options to create a connection between users. What happens in the background involves interfacing with web browsers, connecting to servers, handling codecs, and managing the flow of data between peers. Developers don’t have to manually do any of the heavy lifting.

What’s most impressive is the disparity between the underlying complexity of WebRTC’s back-end and the user interface in applications like our Web Phone. If you’re in the market for a new phone system and want to see what our Web Phone can offer, take it for a spin in a 14-Day Free Trial.

Does My Browser Support WebRTC?

WebRTC Logo - Does my browser support WebRTC?One question we hear often from businesses that want to use our Web Phone is this: Does my browser support WebRTC?

Our Web Phone uses the Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) programming interface to let you make calls from your web browser. WebRTC makes it easy for our developers to create a phone that can run on nearly any device. It also makes using our Dash Phone System convenient for many people because they can complete calls without having to purchase a desk phone.

Not all browsers, however, understand the code the WebRTC provides to make these calls possible. Today’s blog will give you a brief rundown about what WebRTC is and which browsers support it and the projects that use it.

What is WebRTC?

WebRTC allows web developers to create applications that can make audio and video calls inside a web browser. The ultimate goal of the project is to let individuals communicate with one another in real time – meaning there is no noticeable lag between the sending and receiving of messages.

The WebRTC project that many people know about is managed by Google. Although there have been other projects that carry a similar name, such as OpenWebRTC, the one you’ll likely find supported in your browser, and the one VirtualPBX relies on, is Google’s implementation.

All RTC projects of this type provide web developers with application programming interfaces (APIs) that make it easy for them to capture and transmit information between browsers. Instead of needing to code from scratch the use of a voice engine, video engine, and data transport framework, developers simply refer to interfaces like getUserMedia or RTCPeerConnection that accept parameters to achieve those same goals.

As a rough example: Developers tell getUserMedia to ask for the names and addresses of two users’ cameras and microphones. When getUserMedia is given permission by both users, RTCPeerConnection uses those names and addresses, among other information, to start an audio chat between the two peers.

Developers essentially plug information into a system that’s already build to handle voice and video. Both getUserMedia and RTCPeerConnection are APIs inside the WebRTC project. Both those interfaces refer to a lot of existing background code that makes communication possible. In short, WebRTC eases the burden on developers and creates an interoperable standard for users so each group can expect popular web browsers to interface with one another.

Does Your Browser Support WebRTC?

VirtualPBX Web Phone in Chrome While the WebRTC project is widespread, it only has support with browsers that know how to process the interfaces like getUserMedia and RTCPeerConnection. If a browser doesn’t know what the special phrase getUserMedia means, it won’t know how to complete a WebRTC request.

Luckily, several popular web browsers work with Google to help keep the WebRTC standard alive. If you use an updated version of any of the following browsers, you should be able to run an application like our Web Phone that requires WebRTC:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Android and iOS versions of the browsers listed above

Partial support (or non-native support created through browser plugins) exists in:

  • Edge
  • Safari

Asking How It Works

There is some variability in how each of these browsers and how specific applications can handle WebRTC. Therefore, it can be pertinent not just to ask, “Does my browser support WebRTC?” but also to ask, “How does my browser support WebRTC?”

What you’ll find if you look in the code is that applications may, for instance, request a specific video codec. WebRTC supports the VP8 and VP9 codecs by default. However, at the time this article was published, the stable Safari release (Version 12.1) did not support VP9.

This isn’t necessarily a problem; it only requires a work-around. If an application running on Chrome asks the same application on Safari to use VP9, it would not be able. However, each browser could default to VP8 so they can speak to one another in that instance. In further connections with other browsers, the same Chrome browser application might have the chance to use VP9 if it’s supported on both ends.

What this means for users isn’t usually pertinent to how they conduct daily business. That said, it does demonstrate the power of WebRTC and the options available to make audio and video connections interoperable between browsers.

Try WebRTC Today

You may have used WebRTC before if you ever had a conversation on Google Meet. If you’re one of our customers and have used our Web Phone, you’ve also experienced and audio chat through your browser.

Hopefully this article has provided you with some insight about how audio and video chat works within your browser. The topic can be complex, but the end-user result is typically friendly.

We try to make use of our phone system as user-friendly as possible. Curious about how it works? You can give our Web Phone and complete Dash Phone System a try today in a 14-Day Free Trial.