General Telephony

KazooCon Wrap Up Day One
October 5th, 2015

VirtualPBX Platinum

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-

Enable, Educate, Empower – 2600Hz’s 3E Platform

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!

KazooCon 2015
September 29th, 2015


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.

KazooCon 2015

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.

After the Party is the After-Party

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
September 25th, 2015

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.

E-Commerce and Online ReviewsMore Educated Buyers

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.

If it Seems Too Good to be True…

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.

Negative Outlier Reviews & Their ImpactTrolls Need Not Apply

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.

It Takes A VillageMotivation For Writing Reviews

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.

So, How Are We Doing?

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, 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.

Protect ya Neck – My, What Large Blueteeth You Have!
September 18th, 2015

In this series of blogs we examine all topics under the information security umbrella. From corporate blunders to rogue state attacks to the occasional celebrity hack, we believe there is something for businesses and individuals to learn from any cyber security event. We also believe that, while experience is the best teacher, it’s even better to let other people make the mistakes for you.

Little Red Riding Hood

You may have seen on our Twitter feed the article from WIRED about the latest update to iOS and how it is going to protect you by correcting a vulnerability through your device’s Bluetooth connections. What? You don’t follow us on Twitter? You should probably correct that first, and then proceed to the body of this post. The long and the short of it is that hackers can access your devices and be inside them via Bluetooth connection even without accepting the “pairing” to an unknown device. Seeing a foreign device or network on your phone that can threaten your security absent any interaction with it is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Hackers Upgrade, Too

It’s not terribly unheard of to note that PC users are less likely to run the most current operating systems on their machines than their Apple product counterparts. There are some conclusions that can be drawn from that information but mostly it’s due to Apple’s cessation of support (and therefore, their app developers as well) for earlier software once new versions are available. Either way, updating your OS is far more than a ticket to a new default screensaver. Proper update practices can be the difference between becoming the victim of a cyber security breach and never being targeted in the first place. This is because, just like you want to have the slickest, fastest, sharpest-looking version of your favorite programs, hackers want to have the most effective means to penetrate your defenses too.

The relationship between developers and hackers is entirely akin to a cat and mouse game set to the theme song of The Bennie Hill Show. There is a race going on each day to outsmart defenses and anticipate attacks, and if you’re not using the latest versions of your device’s operating system then you are behind the pack, and if you’ve ever watched a nature documentary, you know that being on the edge of the pack is never a good thing.

Stay Ahead of the Crowd

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again- your password strength matters. A lot. It’s unfortunate to realize how many people see the most important attribute for a password to be that be easy to remember. False. Categorically false. To be sure, though, here’s a little checklist for you to consider when examining your current security protocol-

  • Use your password like it was meant to be used and create a first line of defense against malicious attempts to access your information.
  • The next thing you should consider is not ignoring the various updates in your digital world until the point where your software is rendered inoperably obsolete.
  • And finally, remember that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are a hacker’s easiest way into your information. Not sure if a network is safe? The Public part of Public Wi-Fi Network should tip you off.

That’s about it from us for this time around, but as sure as the sun will set in the west, we’ll invariably have more security blunders, breaches, or ballyhoos to talk about again before you know it.

Stay safe out there and remember to Protect ya Neck!

IM & MBA – Instant Messaging for Work
August 24th, 2015

Business Messaging

Maybe you’ve heard, one of the most blocked for business websites, Facebook, looks to be getting into the business messaging game. This seems to be the norm now with instant messaging (IM) transitioning from the personal communications world and becoming a viable business tool. Communications for companies across all sectors are moving more and more into the cloud. Now that these changes have become more prevalent, though, what are some lessons we can learn from how well they are being received?

Software Advice has the Answers

Once again, the experts in comparative software analysis and recommendation have shifted their focus on researching the impacts of IM as used for business communication. Research based on topics that are familiar to us (let’s face it, texting and IM are pretty ubiquitous activities these days) often reveals surprises as frequently as it provides data that serves to reinforce and validate existing assumptions, and this most recent report is no exception.

Efficiency is Key

IM Productivity Benefits

Like anything in the accelerating rate of business in the modern world, process improvement is essential for profitability, if not for survival. Adding new business tools and project management interfaces may initially seem like an appealing way to boost efficiency, but without a meaningful improvement to workflow or with too long of a learning curve that threatens adoption, they can actually have the opposite effect. Fortunately for businesses that adopt an IM platform for their company, the results seem to be categorically positive.

Because messaging applications are simple and most people are familiar with using them in their personal life, their rate of adoption in the course of business is tremendously high. Furthermore, that familiarity also contributes to a relatively seamless learning curve. With quick adoption and easy use, IM for work is allowed to execute on its primary goal, which is to reduce cluttered communications and streamline day-to-day employee interaction. According to the results of the Software Advice report, an overwhelming 98% of respondents were able to identify at least one area where messaging has provided a meaningful benefit to their workday. Though there is no actual data to support this claim, I would assert that the remaining 2% haven’t actually begun using the app yet. Just like how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.

Innovation Driving Technology

Rich Presence

Most messaging systems are fairly straightforward; you send a message, receive one back and so on, but slowly there have been small improvements that provide a substantial benefit. Most notably is the advent of chat presence additions to contact menus. Just like they sound, chat presence shows the status of the people in your list of contacts. Most messaging apps native in smart phones don’t have these though it’s rather common in many third-party apps. Building off of standard presence information, the inclusion of more than simply the binary availability/unavailability of a contact is known as Rich Presence, and it is with this that employees are getting even more out of their business IM systems.

Just like IM is designed to reduce unnecessary communication and boost efficiency, Rich Presence integrates even more information directly into the application. From just a quick glance of a contact list, any number of statuses can be immediately visible. Again, this added layer of information prevents unnecessary and unhelpful messaging like pinging a colleague who is in a meeting or on vacation if you need an immediate response.

Operation: Integration

The story of how messaging applications have been able to enhance the workplace and overall business communications is headline worthy on its own, but it is also simply a function of a much greater movement. Adding messaging to the battery of business communications tools is indicative of the transition to a truly unified communications approach to business. Incorporating all of a company’s communications needs; everything from conferencing to email and telephones, is exactly the direction that VirtualPBX technologies is taking businesses everyday and why we’ve been awarded multiple Unified Communications Awards.

business’ network connection to the amount of time it takes to manage it, VirtualPBX drives system improvement everyday. To learn more about how your company can benefit from a unified communications system from VirtualPBX, contact our Communications Experts who are standing by to help right now.

We Think We Understand Drought
August 19th, 2015

The Africa Trust Well

But the reality is, we don’t. Here in California (plus much of the western half of the United States) we’re in the middle of a four-year drought cycle that is decimating local agriculture, turning America’s Salad Bowl into dust bowls, and even threatening to kill the mighty Giant Sequoia. But we still all have working faucets, and not everyone is that fortunate.

Life & Death

I know, that’s pretty heavy-handed but access to clean water is very much a life and death issue. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are as many as 780 million people without access to an improved water source. When nearly one billion people are without clean water, the results can be staggering.


  • Over 800,000 children under the age of 5 perish each year due to diarrheal diseases attributed to unclean water
  • 20% of young girls are not going to school in these areas during puberty as a result of no clean access hygienic sanitation (versus 15% of boys in the same areas/ages)
  • The worst affected place in the world for unclean water is sub-Saharan Africa with 69% of inhabitants without access to clean water

But there is hope, and by carefully choosing our business partners, we’re doing our part.

AquaAid to the Rescue

Everybody needs water, our bodies are no exception. After reviewing our options, and through the lens of local and global water supply challenges, we’ve decided to invest in water dispensers from AquaAid. By purchasing our AquaAid Water Cooler for our office in San Jose, an automatic donation has been made to The Africa Trust. The Africa Trust is dedicated to building sustainable, accessible clean water pumps based off of traditional rope-pulley systems. By building these simple, clean, and effective wells all over the African continent, The Africa Trust is ensuring that Africans will always have a clean and manageable access to life-bringing water. So far, AquaAid has donated over $15 million to charity and have helped to build over 5,000 of these critical wells.

Leave the Right Marks on the World

We’ve been notified that a well is being built right now with funds from our partnership with AquaAid and that, when completed, the VirtualPBX name will be displayed on a dedication panel. Obviously, Clear Channel doesn’t sell a lot of advertising space in the area. We don’t even care if anyone outside of the villagers who use it ever see our name on that well. What is important to us, though, is that we make every effort that we can to give back to our communities; locally, commercially, and globally.

here. Of course, we’re always available to go over any of your business needs, as well, even if they are more about your office’s faucet than your office phone.

Infographic: VirtualPBX Concierge
August 17th, 2015

They say that good things come to those that wait. We say that you’ve got a lot going on, we wouldn’t want to make you wait for anything. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also have good things, either. Introducing VirtualPBX Concierge, your dedicated unified communications expert. When you are busy doing what you need to keep your company moving, your concierge expert is hard at work keeping your lines open and your information flowing. Also, instead of waiting to encounter challenges before changes are made, concierge service includes a constant analysis of your network to course-correct for obstacles well before they arise. Take a peek at this infographic and see how VirtualPBX Concierge is like putting a new member on the team without with the flip of a switch.Infographic: VirtualPBX Concierge

VirtualPBX Support: Tuesday Toolbox
August 4th, 2015


We’re back at it! Because our first Tuesday Toolbox was such a success, we’ve gone back to the wellspring of information. That’s right, our Customer Support Team has put together a few more commonly encountered challenges with a hosted telecom service and, more importantly, guidance on how to avoid facing these yourself. Because let’s face it, what’s the value of pointing out a problem if you aren’t also ready to offer a suggestion on how to fix it?

5 (More) Best Practices for VoIP Users

  1. Extension Activation: Remember to have each extension user activate their extension through their phone to complete the extension registration. From the auto-attendant of any extension handset, press pound to bring up the login prompt, then follow the instructions to record your name and voicemail greeting. Until this process is completed, an extension will not be registered in the either the user or dial-by-name directories.
  2. Robodialers: A robodialer is what the industry uses to refer to an automated dialing system typically used for advertisements or political campaigns. At best, these are not much more than irritations, but the can also end up costing you money with overages and unexplained charges to your phone system. Using Auto-Attendant to require input from the caller is a good way to screen for autodialing because you can require inbound calls to select form a list of options once the call is received. By configuring the Auto-Attendant Replay and Return to Auto-attendant features each to, “hang-up,” you can protect your system by automatically disconnecting the call if no option is selected. Auto-Attendant Guide
  3. Daylight Savings: Just like your clocks at home (do people even still use clocks not located on their mobile device?), your VirtualPBX phone system needs to be updated manually twice a year. Not updating to accommodate the time change will affect any Day/Night settings that you have in place for your system. Administrators can log in and edit the time in Advanced configurations. Daylight Savings Guide
  4. Lines vs Extensions: In your VirtualPBX system, lines refers to the number of VoIP devices (desk phones, softphones, etc) that you have active on your account and therefore that is the number of billable “seats” that will be reflected on your account. Extensions are not fixed directly to a cost and can be added and subtracted without creating a billable event.
  5. The Power of Power-Cycling: You know what power-cycling is, right? It’s basically the technical term for the simple act of turning something off and then back on to reset it. As unsophisticated as it sounds, sometimes any piece of technology can, “get stuck,” (also a technical term, obviously) and not even VoIP phones are immune to the occasional, “sticking.” If a phone no longer makes or receives calls, try unplugging both the ethernet and power cables for a minute. Often this will correct whatever was the matter with your device but, if not, just know that our Support Team is there to assist you with any problem you may have.

On that point, we’d just like to offer a friendly reminder that VirtualPBX is one of the last companies to include all of the award-winning talent and know-how in our Customer Support Team for free. Plus, they’re all still located here in our main offices in the Silicon Valley, and standing by to make sure you stay up and running through any ordeal.

Protect Ya Neck – The Internet Of Things
July 30th, 2015

In this series of blogs we examine all topics under the information security umbrella. From corporate blunders to rogue state attacks to the occasional celebrity hack, we believe there is something for businesses and individuals to learn from any cyber security event. We also believe that, while experience is the best teacher, it’s even better to let other people make the mistakes for you.

Internet of Things

Maybe you’ve heard by now that this whole “internet fad” doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. Quite the contrary, in fact. Connectivity is an increasingly important part of our everyday lives, so much so that now companies are looking to further integrate it by networking our physical world, as well. Much like how the global introduction to the internet seemed like science fiction to many people at the time, this new endeavor of creating The Internet of Things (IoT) has people similarly awestruck. Whenever a new layer of technology is introduced in to the world, though, there seem to come with it a host of unforeseen, or unprepared-for challenges. It turns out that networking our every last possession is rife with such challenges. Color me shocked.

All the Things

The Internet of Things is set to leave no area of our lives untouched by the “intelligent” label that any inanimate object can garner once it has become connected. The IoT is encompassing everything from refrigerators that can order more groceries from an AmazonFresh account to space-age end-caps for bat/club/racket sports that provide immediate data feedback and swing corrections right to your smartphone. But how does a connection for every object impact our security? Apparently, that impact is only barely beginning to be calculable, but for one company the cost is potentially crippling.

Not Like a Rock

Well, maybe falling like one. This week we saw Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hit with a record-setting $105 million fine stemming from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) settlement over disturbing news about some of their vehicle’s on-board computers. By exposing how two hackers can access a vehicle over its, “head unit,” or basically the car’s internet-connected brain, a Wired article set in motion the events which led to the auto giant’s troubles. But the problems don’t stop with just a simple fine. After quickly announcing a patch for the vulnerability in their cars’ head units, FCA had to hit the bargaining table with the NHTSA to very quickly find a solution to their little problem. That’s because the software update has to be manually installed with a USB (download the software update here) or by a dealership service agent. Oh, and also because the IT crusaders who exploited the weakness plan to publish portions of the code they wrote at the Def Con Hacking Conference next week. Better get moving, Detroit.

The good news, and I swear there is some, is that if you’re one of the owners of an affected Dodge or Chrysler vehicles that are at risk, then part of the settlement with the NHTSA is for FCA to also buy-back the balance of the cars not yet up-to-date with the software patch. But seriously, what kind of real sense of security does this leave you with your new car, regardless of the make or model? With more technology trickling down from luxury automobiles into all trim levels, we’re likely to only build our number of access points (read- vulnerabilities) with each new model year.

Doom & Gloom For Improvement

Just like Chicken Little proved to us way back in the day, things are never as bad as we initially fear they will be. Elvis Presley and The Beatles didn’t portend the End of Days, neither did the Mayan Calendar. I’m going to make a stand here and say that the IoT isn’t going to completely destroy our lives, either. What is going to happen, though, is that people are going to need to more conscientiously design systems that can bring really cool Jetson’s-caliber features into our lives but that have Skynet security clearance. Wait, maybe they shouldn’t design it just like Skynet, but you get the picture.

So go ahead, buy your fancy new spatula that knows when you’ve whipped the batter enough to start sampling it for “quality control” and don’t be afraid it will actually become sentient and poison you and empty your bank account. That’s like 99% unlikely to happen. What you should do, however, is make sure you’ve thoroughly read about the capabilities of any connected device, how they link/communicate to other devices and the internet, and perhaps most importantly, follow the manufacture on Twitter or through an RSS feed. After establishing solid password protection habits, one of the best protections for your personal or digital safety is simply staying informed. Just like FCA proved, often times these threats are ones that can’t be predicted until they’re discovered, so it’s best to be ready to act fast once and if they are.

That’s it. Good luck out there, and remember to protect ya neck!

Digital Nomads
July 22nd, 2015

Digital Nomad

Imagine, if you will, the bleak and barren wasteland setting of a dystopian novel. Where there once were thriving commercial centers there has risen a new class of production, driven by the remaining few who have adapted to their unpredictable, and often hostile new landscape. Working from a seemingly endless number of different locales, this new class of traveler is part provider, part hunter/gatherer, and all nomad.

Art Imitates Life

A little imagery can be fun, but it’s important to recognize the meaning behind the theatrics. This futuristic, post-apocalyptic scenario may not be too far from the truth for some businesses that are experiencing a shift in how, and more importantly where, their business is conducted. Though mobile workforces have been the choice of nimble businesses to encourage satellite operations for some time now, larger corporations are even getting into the act. Insurance giant Aetna now even claims that in the small time since they’ve introduced a flexible work-from-home program, participation has skyrocketed and nearly a third of their employees are now completely remote. This groundswell of adoption from large and small companies alike has helped to create a new subset of workers that relies totally on telecommuting.

The Digital Nomad

The remote life of a working professional has often only served to provide opportunities for freelancers to earn some fast cash between travels. Now, however, with increases in home exchanges and sharing economy giants like Airbnb, traveling to and working from anywhere in the world is easier than ever and allows the nomads to hold full-time jobs if they so choose. There are also an ever-increasing list of useful technology tools that make remote work access possible, tactics on how to maintain a productive and rewarding career without ever setting foot in an office, and communities for trouble-shooting and connecting with other nomads. Be it for the practicing or aspiring nomad, the breadth and depth of the burgeoning field of permanently remote employment’s growing resources make entering into or sustaining this lifestyle more feasible.

No Overhead for Nomads

A company needn’t break their commercial lease and shutter its doors to begin benefitting from the advantage of a nomad or two on their team. Simply by considering the pool of qualified, nomadic talent the next time there is a contract or job req that needs to be filled is a fine place to start. Businesses in expensive areas needn’t justify the cost of moving a candidate halfway around the world if he can also work from where he is. Furthermore, employing tools like the free-to-download VirtualPBX Softphone App that integrates with an existing unified communications strategy saves on additional office build-out. Many Digital Nomads are also part of the BYOD community to some extent saving businesses even more, both initially and ongoing, by deviating from the traditional, in-office approach to employment.

Getting your company started for this shift is easy if you have the right information. VirtualPBX’s award-winning Customer Support Team is always available to help discuss the challenges your company might have with its communications and how we can help you to best overcome them. And more importantly, they, unlike our other nomadic coworkers, are also located right here in San Jose so you’ll never have to worry about them zip-lining through the Amazon when you need some answers.