Posted on October 5, 2015 by Dan Quick
From far and wide they came. From international organizations with 170,000 employees all the way down to the first pair of visionaries for the powerhouse players of tomorrow, KazooCon’s guest list looks like a veritable who’s-who of the telecom industry. To make sure that not a moment was wasted for the group, KazooCon organizer 2600Hz jumped right in with both feet in getting down to business. Here’s a little recap of what has gone down so far-
2600Mz COO, Patrick Sullivan, was instrumental in setting the tone for the conference in his opening remarks. Sullivan opened by presenting a rundown of the content to follow in the coming days though the lens of the 3E approach to his business. Doing this underscores the fact that the open-source tools 2600Hz provides (and that most of the industry relies on) are successful greatly due to the sustainable business practices with which they bring them to market. If the morning’s first round of presenters are to be any indication, this holistic approach is the blueprint that companies are following to find success.
- Christos Kolias, a Network Architect for Orange, channeled Dilbert to empathize with the plight of the developer. Specializing in virtualization and the fact that there are often disconnects between expectations of leaders and those who execute software solutions.
- thinQ was keen to make it clear that working towards an optimal, cost-saving model for the future of telecommunications means that there is no “one-size fits all” for business. They used the concept of no one-carrier solution to highlight their innovative approach to fluid, real-time carrier access.
- Daniel Constantin Mierla from Kamailio reminded developers that it’s about more than just creating a scalable, flexible open-source SIP server, but that it’s important to focus on protecting it, as well. Also, he was keen to remind us that he was Romanian, not Transylvanian, therefore this was good advice to follow from an engineer, and not bad advice to follow from a vampire. True story.
- FreeSWITCH had some of the coolest presentations of the day as they unrolled their video conferencing platform – live. Introducing the product with the Empower concept in mind, FreeSWITCH Solutions was very interested in soliciting feedback from the audience to iterate on their already impressive platform.
The day broke from lunch and then the afternoon was spent demoing some of the powerful products and platforms that the 2600Hz family of services utilize. That wasn’t exactly in my wheelhouse, however, so I stuck to what I know and got friendly with the lady who makes cannolis. I mean, hey, this is Little Italy, after all.
There’ll be more to come tomorrow from the conference, of course, but make sure to follow us on Twitter as we keep up the live updates right from the show-room floor. Now, on to the After Party!
Batten The Hatches! Emergency Telephone Failover
Posted on October 2, 2015 by Dan Quick
For anyone on the Eastern Seaboard, this is nothing you should need a reminder on. However, because memories can be short, let me jog yours about what to expect as Hurricane Joaquin approaches the continental United States.
If you were there in 2012, you know that almost 8 million homes and businesses were without power following Hurricane Sandy’s arrival, some going without electricity for over a week. Plus you needn’t look much further than that to get even more examples, from the Gulf Coast to New England, the Atlantic Hurricane Season (which runs from June through November) has traditionally wreaked havoc on the coastal states. The billions of dollars of damage that follow these events are exactly why local governments and emergency crews have been scrambling to prepare for Joaquin over the past few days. From New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declaring a state of emergency, to the cancellation of the Ironman triathlon in Maryland, to even the NFL announcing plans to potentially relocate or reschedule this weekend’s games, it’s clear that people everywhere are preparing for the worst. That said, what are you doing for your business?
Words are fun, huh? Resonance aside, small and medium businesses don’t often have the luxury of alternate facilities in the country or emergency funds to gain access to during periods of heightened unpredictability. Therefore, a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) is the best way an organization can protect itself during these and any other unforeseen development. Whether from Mother Nature, technical failures, or any other man-made event, losing access to your office can cost thousands of dollars a day and yet those losses can be avoided with a relatively small investment of time or money.
Among the many features in a traditional BCP are-
- Alternate location plans in the event of an evacuation
- Chain of command and contingent authority procedures
- Communications strategy for both employees and customers
It’s the final point there that can cost the most if overlooked. When there is no access to an office building, but all of the employees are fine and physically safe, why then should there be a need to interrupt operations? There shouldn’t be! If you have a cloud-based VoIP platform for your company, you’re already covered should you lose access to your building. If you are still using a traditional, on-site phone system, you can have all of the protection of a hosted system with the PBX Parachute business failover system from VirtualPBX.
By mirroring only the parts of your business that you decide, PBX Parachute can keep essential, customer-facing departments up and running by enabling employees to access their company phone from anywhere they can get internet access. Also, you can program automatic triggering events where the PBX Parachute is deployed that include emergency messaging specific to the audience. This means you can have pre-recorded information accessible only to your company and another message for your customers that you can even remotely update as new information becomes available.
Getting started with your BCP by using PBX Parachute is as easy as it is important. To see how to get started or to learn more about the technology, contact one of our Business Continuity Experts today. In the meanwhile, batten down the hatches, man the mizzen mast, and start working on protecting your company today. Also, you should go back to reread those first two things with the voice of a pirate. Stay safe out there, mateys!
Posted on September 29, 2015 by Dan Quick
Silicon Valley is no stranger to a wild business get-together. With Genetech renting AT&T Park (yes, the whole thing) each year and Apple regularly picking a new city block to occupy for a few weeks prior to each new product introduction, there’s more than one claim to the title of “Tech Event of the Year.” Like all great Bay Area interests, however, the biggest or most well-promoted options are rarely the ones most coveted and revered by the people who live here. This is an area that values the journey over the destination and recognizes that what you find off or the main road might just be the best thing you never knew about. Yeah, thanks, hipsters.
This year’s sleeper hit is likely to be the brainchild of telecommunications service and technology provider that provides much of the technology and firepower behind the world’s leading telecom brands. 2600Hz powers communications for companies in so many different capacities that their network stretches far and wide. Casting that wide of shadow means that, when everyone they touch congregates in San Francisco in October for KazooCon 2015, the concentration of telecom intelligence will be off the charts.
If an event claims to bring the industry’s best and brightest to the table, however, although the people who actually call the shots around here are too modest to say it, let me go on record that no such list would be complete without representation from VirtualPBX. That said, our very own COO, Lon Baker, is also one of the key presenters this year at the event! Clearly, it seems that these folks mean business.
The knowledge-sharing and innovative discussions at KazooCon are likely where the future of communications will be designed, but of course, not all conferences are for education and networking alone. Not one to be missed, this year’s KazooCon After-Party details are intriguingly being held closely to the chest of the event’s organizers. In spite of all of my best efforts, I’m still in the dark as to the specifics, but I know that the best way to find out is to be there for yourself!
To register for the event you can still visit the event website and, while it is in no way a replacement for being there, stay connected to our Facebook and Twitter feeds to learn more about it all when it goes down. Just don’t expect to get a door prize through your tweetdeck.
See you in San Francisco October 5-6!
Looking Out For Each Other – Ecom & Online Reviews
Posted on September 25, 2015 by Dan Quick
We’ve been privy to some predictive, informative, and sometimes even entertaining insights from the analysis of Software Advice’s research department. However, a study from the folks at the internet’s most-trusted software review platform takes a look into the topic of online reviews, and the results are possibly the most revealing to date.
Consumers have access to a more immediate and comprehensive library of reviews of product and services today than ever before. Now, with Amazon becoming the largest retailer in the world, the popularity of online shopping has conditioned buyers to even expect reviews to be included in the actual purchasing experience. This should mean that when Software Advice’s research shows that 3 out of 4 purchasers consulted online reviews prior to making a decision, no one should be surprised. What wasn’t immediately clear, though, was how the mix of positive and negative reviews impacted the buying process.
There isn’t any company or product that is perfect for all people and under all circumstances. As much as we might want to pretend otherwise, there’s something that seems a little fishy about 100% of reviews being 5 stars. The net result, it turns out, is that having a realistic mix of positive and negative reviews actually improves the authenticity of a company. Sure, positive reviews are what people want more than anything else to steer their decision (43%), but there was a minimal decrease in weight for those with a mix of positive and negative reviews (34%). This underscores the fact that the most important thing in a product review is believability, and that’s something that only comes with a believable distribution of positive and negative reviews.
Speaking of a believable mix of review positivity, the e-thuggery of a disgruntled employee or soured business contact has actually less impact on the online review footprint of a company that you may expect. When polled about the impact of negative reviews that were part of a trend versus an isolated rant, respondents were 4-5 times less likely to let the isolated negative review affect their decision. What this means is that statistically significant outliers are less impactful because they don’t fit into the overall narrative that the entirety of reviews are telling.
The most revealing outcome from this most recent research, however, came from an analysis of the motivations most people had for writing reviews in the first place. To set the scene for that, first it’s useful to note that an overwhelming 98% of respondents reported that online reviews were at least moderately valuable or above, and zero respondents cited them as being not helpful at all. With this in mind, it was reassuring to learn that the majority of respondents (59%) wrote a review with the specific intention of helping others facing the same purchasing choices they had. This reciprocal relationship between consumers in the middle of a purchasing decision and those who have recently exited a similar choice suggests that online reviews will only continue to grow in use and, therefore, also in value.
It seems only logical to add that we’re pretty active in the review game, ourselves. You can read our reviews on our site, the reviews that are made directly on SoftwareAdvice.com, or you can find us listed on Yelp. We’re proud to make service the cornerstone of our business and, I for one feel pretty confident that our customers agree.
What Ghostbusters Can Teach Us About a Good Router
Posted on September 22, 2015 by Dan Quick
Okay bear with me here. We’ve previously compared the performance-boosting advantages your network will have after undergoing a Network Health Check to the perpetual need for “more power” that Captain Kirk would impress upon his crew in the sci-fi saga, Star Trek. Seeing as how well that was received, however, I’m inclined to believe that we can learn something from Ghostbusters about getting a proper router. Plus, we clearly didn’t quite find the boundaries of what constitutes “too-much-geek” to include in our blog. Let’s give it another shot, shall we?
Easily the best name of a movie villain ever, Gozer is more than just a powerful spirit hell-bent (sic) on reducing our world to a smoldering pile of rubble. Gozer represents the acme of supernatural power, and power needn’t always be used for evil. What other ethereal, intangible, nearly supernatural force flows through the world with the ability to build and destroy entire empires? Yep, you’re using it to read these words right now.
As the spirits released from the eco-chamber in the Ghostbusters’ headquarters begin to rain terror down upon the city of New York, two characters are pivotal to the realization of Gozer’s most Gozerian of incarnations- the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Your unified communications, browsing, research, remote data storage, and every other component of the network you rely on are your Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, and you’re equally dependent on unlocking access to his chewy, sugary potential.
Using the router that came with your network access is fine for most personal use, but chances are good you need enterprise-grade hardware to handle the use over your Wi-Fi. Upgrading means more than just optimizing your performance, it also means added features and security. Unless you have in-house communications IT staff to handle all of your unified communications needs, chances are good you are familiar with mostly consumer-grade features for routers and modems. That’s okay, we’re here to help.
Just like we regularly conduct industry-wide audits of the VoIP telephone market to produce a curated selection of the best options available for business, we’re now doing the same for routers. Take a look at the results from our extensive hardware review and see which one of these advanced routers for business is right for you. Still not sure which one is right? Our Network Experts are standing by right now to assess your needs and help pair you with a good router that is the best option for your company.
Finding the right hardware used to be something fear doing, but it isn’t as long as you have VirtualPBX to help. C’mon, you know it was coming- so who ya gunna call?