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Response Point Service Pack 2 (SP 2) is GA

The Response Point team have done it again. Response Point SP 2 is now generally available.

Some new features include:

– 1 way paging

– 2 way intercom

– After hours / time of day rules

– Out of band DTMF

Tom has a great in-depth review of SP2!

SMB Phone Launches SMB Digital Voice for Canadian Small Business

SMB Phone announces Microsoft Marketing Alliance for Response Point and launches SMB Digital Voice™ in 48 markets to provide enhanced choice and services for Canadian small medium businesses

Response Point and SMB Digital Voice enable reliable communications for small businesses in Canada.

February 2, 2009, IT Expo East, Miami, “The World’s Communication Conference”
SMB Phone Inc., a new Canadian telecom carrier created exclusively for Microsoft Response Point services announces, simpler, smarter and easier phone service for Canadian small business, in partnership with Microsoft.

The Microsoft and SMB Phone marketing alliance heralds a new era of affordable, feature rich, easy-to-manage, easy-to-use business communications integrating voice recognition, email, computer and mobile services for small medium business in Canada. Canadian small medium businesses now have affordable, easy, online access to a new generation of business communication features and services with Microsoft Response Point and SMB Phone.

Response Point is the highly innovative, award winning telephone system from Microsoft designed specifically for small medium businesses with up to 50 users. Extremely easy to afford, manage and use, Microsoft Response Point provides small medium business customers unprecedented control over a rich suite of business communications features including voice recognition enabled auto-attendant and user features, integration with the Windows desktop for inbound caller ID, click to call, and call control functions, voicemail to email delivery, extensive call history and call detail reporting, and seamless call integration with mobile devices. SMB Phone President, Erik Lagerway comments:

“A phone system is a strategic investment for businesses today. Response Point enables business owner managers to serve customers more effectively, reduce and control costs and provides employees the means to increased productivity.”

“SMB Phone is demonstrating an innovative, progressive approach as a Canadian market leader and certified Response Point service provider,”

John Frederiksen, general manager, Microsoft Response Point, had this to say,

“The combination of Microsoft Response Point and SMB Phone’s Digital Voice services provide Canadian small and medium sized businesses with outstanding functionality and value including the ability to activate a new business line in minutes within any of SMB Phone’s 48 markets using SMB Phone’s automated Response Point activation process. We look forward to our continued work with SMB Phone as we serve and grow our Canadian Response Point customer base.”

SMB Phone’s Digital Voice service is designed specifically for Response Point users and provides an alternative to “POTS” (Plain old telephone service) lines with enhanced features at lower costs, instant service activation, and is easier to manage than traditional business telephone lines. SMB Digital Voice features include:

– instant activation of new SMB Digital Voice lines directly through Microsoft Response Point Administrator software
– digital line groups provide for multiple simultaneous calls
– Direct Dial numbers for employees, departments, projects etc.
– unlimited North American long distance usage
– Cellular toll bypass to eliminate cellular long distance charges
– “cloud” number administration service for remote call control management
– “virtual presence” numbers provide a local phone number anywhere in Canada

SMB Phone Inc. is making small medium business communications simpler, smarter and easier as the world’s first Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) dedicated to providing certified Microsoft Response Point services. SMB Phone and our network of dealer/partners currently serve 48 local market areas in Canada with Microsoft Response Point phone systems and SMB Digital Voice service for Response Point. For additional information on Microsoft Response Point, SMB Digital Voice and SMB Phone please visit http://smbphone.ca

SMB Phone Inc.
Media Contact: Trent Johnsen | 1.866.473.0516 | trent.johnsen@smbphone.com

The more things change the more they stay the same. New VoIP providers acting like old-school telcos.

Why is it that new phone service providers find it necessary to act like old-school telcos? I thought the new era of IP communications was supposed to bring a wave of new era thinking!?

Your new telephone company?

Here is something that really bugs me.. When a service provider can not deliver service as advertised (let’s say because they can’t provide proper far-end NAT traversal for instance) and then implies this is the customer’s problem to solve. In this situation the providers seem to make it their mission in life to put the customer through absolute hell before admitting to the fact that their service does not work without quite a bit of heavy lifting, on behalf of the customer.

I just spent the better half of a day solving problems for one of our Response Point customers (bought a systems few months back) who took service from a US provider claiming to be able to deliver service in Canada for Response Point. After several hours of waiting on the provider to solve the problems (no inbound calling for starters), the customer requested that I “please do anything to fix this”.

I installed an SMB Digital Voice package and had the original service provider forward the customer’s numbers to the new SMB Digital Voice phone number. The customer’s phone service has been restored. 

Unfortunately, the customer is now being held hostage by the current service provider who is insisting that in order for their service to function, the customer must now;

  1. Make all sorts of changes in their existing firewall. And / Or
  2.  Buy a special Firewall traversal device.

As a service provider, if you advertise your service as being “certified” or “compliant” with Response Point but can’t get your service working with Response Point, don’t make the customer pay for your lack of interoperability testing! 

A note to Response Point customers looking for service for their new small office phone systems, “don’t sign any long term contracts with service providers you have little or no experience with”.

If you are buying or have bought Response Point, and you are looking for a “certified” Response Point service provider, this is the list you should be going by, published directly from Microsoft’s VoIP Service Provider website. If the provider is not on this list, it’s likely a safe bet that they are not certified.

NGT NGT
http://www.ngt.com
Cbeyond Cbeyond
http://www.cbeyond.com
Junction Networks Junction Networks
http://www.junctionnetworks.com
Packet 8 Packet 8
http://business.packet8.net/virtual_trunking/index.html
Bandwidth.com Bandwidth.com
http://www.bandwidth.com

Response Point Wins Another Award

Rex Backman just posted this beauty, “The Response Point team has put another win in the bag with the InfoWorld 2009 Technology of Year Award

Apple and Microsoft topped the list of InfoWorld’s annual product award winners this year, nabbing three and four Technology of the Year Awards, respectively. Announced today, InfoWorld’s 2009 Technology of the Year Awards recognize the best hardware and software products evaluated by InfoWorld reviewers during 2008.

Response Point Service Pack 2 – Get Ready!

I am loving the updates to Response Point on Service Pack 2. I can’t wait to see it released, our customers are going to love these new features. Some bits are a gimme, other improvements simply make me giddy.

Andy's 2.0 Telco Top 10

Thanks for the mention Andy, I have been busy with my own projects for the last couple of years but I appreciate the fact you still remember some of the projects I had some significant success with, just a wee bit disappointed you forgot to mention them, that’s what I get for not speaking at eComm I guess 🙂

The list of course is bang-on, considering the source that should be no surprise.

I will in fact see become more active this year as my latest startup “SMB Phone” ramps towards general availability and launch. My last conference calling service provider startup “Lypp” is on auto-pilot and is growing nicely, thanks in part to Jay Phillips and adhearsion. The next stop for me will be at Internet Telephony Expo in Miami where I will be talking a bit about why we chose to build a new ITSP “SMB Phone” serving Microsoft’s new Response Point PBX.

Here is the Response Point Seminar schedule:

Tuesday, February 3rd Presentations:

4. An Integrated Solution: SMB Phone Goes to Market
with Response Point

3:00 pm

SMB Phone is a unique VAR and ITSP. Come learn how they identified Response Point as a key technical and business component in their nation-wide go to market programs focused on SMBs.

Presenter(s): Trent Johnsen, VP Business Development – SMB Phone

Wednesday, February 4th Presentations:

3. Response Point Service Provider Roundtable

Interact with the key members of the Response Point Ecosystem. Service Providers will be represented and open to discuss their service offerings and VAR/Agent programs.

Presenter(s):
Bandwidth.com, Cbeyond, Junction Networks, NGT, Packet8, SMB Phone, TotalTel

If you will be attending the show and would like to schedule a meeting, please email Trent Johnsen or myself or call us toll free: 1.866.473.0516 , say either “Trent” or “Erik”.

Nortel yanked from NYSE?

Telecom equipment manufacturers are put to the test as the economy tightens.

Things are not looking all that rosy for Nortel these days, Canwest news had this to say..

With significant declines expected for the telecom equipment market in 2009, Nortel Networks Corp. runs the risk of losing market share regardless of whether it actually files for bankruptcy.

But while the company has denied it is pursuing insolvency protection and analysts say reports that it will are premature, others say a pre-emptive filing might not be a bad idea.

While Nortel is unlikely to face cash issues in 2009, UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos said it might make sense to file in advance of a cash crunch.

Nortel on Thursday received notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it has six months to bring its average common share price back above $1 US, although the company said it is considering another share consolidation to remedy the problem.

Is this a reason to completely remove Nortel from consideration when shopping for a new small business phone system? No, it’s likley that they will get bought up or the government will bail them out (ugh, that is a whole other blog post), but if I were an SMB/SME looking at a Nortel solution I would likely give it some extra thought.

Can Response Point compete with Nortel in the SMB/SME space? I certainly believe that Response Point, when combined with high availability Internet and VoIP SIP trunks, drives great value and features not usually found in the 50 seat and under IP PBX offers.

The most significant advantage Response Point has over the competition (not just Nortel) is that it’s so darn easy to manage. Check out the Response Point Videos, more information on Response Point for Canada.

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