Posted on July 7, 2020 by Casey Houser
One of the first devices we were able to bring Video Calling to was the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone. This has enabled our testing team and customers to hold voice and video meetings with native apps on their Macs and PCs.
Our softphone is a powerful application. Its merits are worth repeating, and it has only improved since adding video calling capability.
In the development of our Video Calling feature we added 1-to-1 video calls to our softphone as one of our first steps. This allowed us to use an application we knew well as a test bed for what basic video chats would be like. It also gave us a proof of concept for how video would function on multiple operating systems.
The testing process for all the phones we’re verifying with Video Calling involves multiple steps. We check that 1-to-1 calling works and that video-to-voice chats work. Video conferences are then added to the mix.
Now our desktop softphone can handle all those situations and, in turn, has become an even more robust application.
VirtualPBX Phone System Features
We offer an extensive feature list for our Business Phone Plans that include necessities like Auto Attendant, Ring Groups, and Voicemail and reach into enterprise features like ACD Queues and Salesforce CRM Integration.
In addition to voice and video meeting capability, our desktop softphone can be used in all the features listed above. It’s also unique in its ability to work directly with customers’ Salesforce accounts so they can easily track contacts and reach leads with a single click to call.
Voice and Video Meetings
The VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone fits well in a number of business situations.
For smaller businesses that work remotely, it can help co-workers meet through voice and video meetings to keep everyone connected. Enterprise-level companies and call centers can benefit by adding the softphone to the computers of employees who complete a lot of calls each day.
We’ve had success with the VirtualPBX Desktop Softphone in our development of the Video Calling feature. Now we share it as an option for our customers in our Video Call beta test who want to become early adopters.
Interested in joining us? Get in touch today.
Posted on July 2, 2020 by Casey Houser
Our Video Calling beta test is in progress and has called for the need to address an important question: Is it legal to record phone calls?
The broad answer to this question is “yes.” However, the legality surrounding voice and video calls through our Business Phone Plans surrounds issues of one-party and two-party consent – the reason why you hear messages like “your call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes” at the beginning of many calls to customer service centers.
The Digital Media Law Project offers a detailed look at what one-party consent and two-party consent laws mean.
In short, the requirement of one-party consent could allow for a call to be recorded if only one party in the call – excluding the recorder – consents to the recording. When you make a call to a business, its disclaimer about call recording tries to gain the permission from the caller.
Two-party consent is different. Laws that require two-party consent ask for all parties of the conversation to give consent to a recording. This type of law has obvious ramifications for the recording of group calls using our Video Calling or Audio Conferencing features.
These types of call recording consent laws originate from a number of different legislation. The Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C law firm points out federal legislation – including the Federal Communications Act of 1934, Federal Wiretap Act, and Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 – that form the basis for federal law that, in general, requires only one-party consent to make call recording legal.
Many states, MWL Law says, follow this sentiment with their own legislation that only requires one-party consent. As of the writing of this article, though, 11 states have stricter legislation on the books that requires two-party consent.
What About Your Business?
Depending on where your business has residence, your answer to “Is it legal to record phone calls?” could be different than what you expect.
What we can tell you is that many businesses legally record their voice and video interactions with customers without stepping afoul of the law. Disclaimers are often necessary to gain consent, so when you’ve set up the proper notifications, you can reliably include call recording as a consistent part of your business practices.
Is Recording Phone Calls Legal?
VirtualPBX provides Call Recording for inbound and outbound calling. You can apply it at the user level, so some users on your system can record inbound, some inbound, and others both or not at all.
Our reach extends only to the point of offering you a high-quality product that’s capable of storing your conversations on your plan or in conjunction with Amazon Storage. We expect your business to complete its due diligence with regard to capturing conversations in a legal manner. Your local legal counsel is the first place to start when considering recordings for your own business.
Posted on June 29, 2020 by Casey Houser
The typical high-definition audio stream consumes about 40 Kbps of bandwidth. Now consider that a jump to low-resolution VP8 video conferencing more than quadruples that amount of data per second. Even more impressive is that HD video explodes the streaming requirement to a whopping 1,500 Kbps – greater than 37 times the amount of audio alone.
Interested in our new Video Calling feature, but worried about your internet connection’s capability? You’re in luck because most broadband internet connections will have the ability to transfer HD audio and low-resolution video without an issue. You might even be lucky enough to smoothly stream HD audio and video without a slowdown in the rest of your network.
Part of our job at VirtualPBX is helping you understand the manner in which video calls will take place on our network. We show a few figures below related to internet speed, so take a minute to perform a brief speed test to see how your connection measures up.
A Quick Note About Codecs
All audio and video information that passes through the internet requires the use of a codec, which is simply a computer program that encodes or decodes information. It allows two computers to communicate with one another by using a common language.
The common language our Video Calling service defaults to is VP8. This open-standards codec works in all major web browsers and is supported on many other hardware devices. It’s a great choice, therefore, to match well with testing desk phones and softphones as we prepare for the public launch of Video Calling.
We also support a few other similar codecs. It isn’t necessary that we dig into the details of these codecs and how they work. For most VirtualPBX Phone Plan users, it’s only necessary to know that these codecs help us work with a wide range of devices. You can begin a deeper dive into the VP8 codec with the Wikipedia articles linked here.
Video Conferencing Bandwidth Requirements
VP8 video conferencing bandwidth are the primary concern for video conferencing users. In short, people what to know if their internet will clearly and reliably handle video calls.
We have built our Video Calling feature to respond to the unique needs of all our customers. Some businesses will have more bandwidth to spare than others; this means they can consistently stream video at higher resolutions. However, a common internet connection does not bar you from participating in video. Video Calling will adapt to your needs as a user.
|Video Resolution (VP8)|| Bandwidth|
|HD Audio Only||40 kbps|
| Low-Res Video (240×180)|
+ HD Audio
|150 kbps||240 kbps|
| SD Video (640×480)|
+ HD Audio
|540 kbps||865 kbps|
| HD Video (1280×720)|
+ HD Audio
|1,500 kbps||2,500 kbps|
The table here shows the bandwidth requirements for various types of video resolutions that can be used with our Video Calling feature. Simulcast values may be required during conferences with many participants in order to accommodate their device capabilities.
You can compared the values here with the bandwidth shown in your speed test. How does your internet speed align with the values shown here?
We Can Help Out
Some of our other services can help you improve the quality of your internet connection. A Network Health Check can determine what’s causing unwanted performance in your network, and VPN for VoIP can tunnel all your VoIP traffic to give it priority and keep it free from fluctuation in speed. Although we can’t make your internet move more quickly, we can help you better understand the nature of video and how it can work with your current business capabilities.
We’re available to chat 24/7 and will be happy to discuss Video Calling with you at length. Whether you have a question about VP8 video conferencing bandwidth requirements or the devices on which our service will work, we’re happy to let you know how VirtualPBX will work with your business’s needs.
Posted on June 24, 2020 by Casey Houser
With our Video Calling beta test in full swing, we wanted to do something a little different this week. What you can read here today is a profile of several Yealink video conference desk phones.
We have tested multiple Yealink phones to work with our Video Calling Service. These desk phones are marketed to business professionals and small groups that need to complete video conferences, and it has proven an excellent phone for working with our new service.
Video Calling Aspects
What allows these phones to stand out among the competition is a focus on video. Both the T58V and VP59 include high-definition cameras that allow meeting participants to create a full presence through picture and sound within any video call.
With the T58V, users gain 780P video capability. This expands to 1080P video with the VP59. Both make sure that other video conferencing participants can clearly see the user in any type of office setting.
Similarly, screen size on each model is at the high end of desk phone models offered in the market. The T58V includes a 7-inch, 1024 x 600 screen, and the VP59 an 8-inch, 1280 x 800 screen for ease of use during calls and conferences.
The video signals sent and received through both models means to be crystal clear for the benefit of all members of a call.
Audio and VoIP Features
In addition to video capabilities, these models reach beyond what a traditional desk phone can accomplish.
- Each one offers a touch screen for easy access to phone options.
- They can connect to a user’s laptop to share content from those devices.
- Built-in Wi-Fi access lets users download and share files.
- Corded-Cordless capability lets the phone act as a base station for other DECT handsets.
The OPUS codec is available for each of these models so clear audio will be transmitted during any call. Moreover, noise filtering keeps background sounds from interrupting conversations.
These models also represent one of the greatest benefits that VoIP phones gain on phone systems like VirtualPBX Phone Plans. Our users, on all our plans and using any VoIP phone, can manipulate calls through features like Transfers and Hot Desking. Users can, respectively, transfer a call to another user or switch phones themselves during a live call.
This can be done with video as well. The video-based calls on our system will act just like audio calls on our system, so any type of call manipulation that would normally be possible with audio will be able to extend to video.
Further Testing in Video Beta
The breadth of available features on VirtualPBX Phone Plans requires an extensive amount of testing to make sure our entire system works well with all types of VoIP phones.
Yealink video conference phones give us the opportunity to test how C-suite level phones will perform with our plans. VirtualPBX COO Lon Baker explained the Video Calling testing process as the “start of a new era for the company” because of the mix between VoIP capability and the power of phones like these Yealinks.
That said, VirtualPBX is on track to include video capability on our Web Phone so any user can complete video calls with no extra expense for a new device. We’re excited to support the gamut of phones, from web browser-based phones like Web Phone to commercial desk phones from popular brands. It’s certainly a formative time, and we’ll keep you updated as the Video Calling beta test progresses.
Posted on June 18, 2020 by Casey Houser
It’s time to switch phone service providers, but you don’t want to lose the phone numbers associated with your business.
Don’t worry. Phone number porting lets you transfer those numbers and keep your business branding intact.
The Phone Number Porting Process
Phone service providers like VirtualPBX can accept phone numbers from other providers by using the porting process, which involves the exchange of information from one carrier to another to establish ownership and usage of a phone number. This occurs every day, and our customer service staff is well versed in the steps it takes to successfully move your number from your previous carrier.
When speaking to VirtualPBX about switching to one of our Business Phone Plans, you can inform our staff that you have numbers you want to continue using. They can help you through our online porting interface that accepts information about your current service provider so we can reach them to have the number moved to your new account.
It only takes a few minutes to fill out the required information. Once the initial online process is complete, you can see the status of any porting requests from within your VirtualPBX Dashboard. Local numbers take between three and five days to port in most circumstances.
Forward Calls in the Meantime
To keep your phone number, it’s important that you keep your phone service active with your previous carrier while you’re switching to VirtualPBX. The previous carrier will then still own your phone number during the porting process, so it should be simple for us to access and transfer to your VirtualPBX Plan.
This will create a period of time where you will be between carriers. Phone service with your previous carrier may still be active, but eventually your phone number will be moved from one service provider to another. You will want to be ready so your customers won’t ever reach an inactive line.
All VirtualPBX Business Phone Plans come with at least one included phone number. You can forward calls to that number or to your personal devices while porting is completing. Most service providers have a Call Forwarding feature that will send all calls from one number to another.
Your included phone number from VirtualPBX will act as an intermediary during the short period when phone number porting takes place.
Continuity in service is one of the most important elements of business success. A customer who reaches an unresponsive phone line may be turned off enough to cancel their subscription; they may even leave a negative review if the problem were to persist.
We make the phone number porting process as simple as possible so your business can offer continuity to its customers. Our online portal, the transparency into the process, and our 24/7 Support gives you all the tools you need to remain steady for anyone who needs to reach your business.
Even while number porting takes place, you can make sure that customers receive the same attention they expect. A few simple precautions like forwarding your calls and relying on your included VirtualPBX number will keep customers unaware that any change in the underlying phone service is occurring.
Need More Information?
Start a chat with our team today to discuss your needs. We can recommend which VirtualPBX Plan fits you best, and you can port as many numbers as you need from your current service provider. We’ll help you through every step to make sure that your image remains consistent and your customers can always reach you at the phone numbers you specify.