Tag Archive | ip pbx

The PBX is Dead! Long Live the PBX!

Well, maybe the PBX term is dead. Maybe, going forward, we will be referring to the platforms delivering PBX functionality as “communications systems” or “UC solutions” or something else.  But it is just funny how industry pundits frequently seek a sensational effect by using strong terms like “death” and “extinction” to refer to certain aspects of technology evolution. The reality is – market trends take a long time to mature and legacy technologies just don’t disappear over night. We were quick to “bury” the TDM PBX some ten years ago, but TDM line shipments, lo and behold, account for an impressive 25% of total line shipments today.

I was reading my colleague Alaa Saayed’s upcoming study World Enterprise Telephony Platform and Endpoint Markets and the following excerpt made me smile so I thought I would share it here.

•Just like in 2009 many observers prematurely pronounced the death of IP desktop phones, today, the same group of people is predicting the impending death of premises-based telephony platforms.

•Our findings show that the premises-based telephony platform market is still very much alive and displaying sizeable growth rates in terms of both shipments and revenue across the world.

•Although Frost & Sullivan recognizes the relentless advancements in communication technologies that are, today, allowing businesses to choose from multiple deployment and architectural options for enterprise telephony, including hosted and cloud-based technologies, premises-based solutions are still the most popular and dominant type of architecture among businesses of all sizes and verticals. The unfamiliarity with other technologies, the uncertainty about the benefits offered by the new delivery models, and the potential risks associated with decommissioning and/or replacing existing solutions are some of the main reasons why businesses continue to choose premises-based systems.

•Instead of the death of the premises-based telephony platform market, Frost & Sullivan prefers to talk about the death of the “PBX” terminology and the continuous transformation of communications architectures. In fact, since the introduction of enterprise IP telephony technologies around a decade ago, the traditional PBX platform has been completely re-designed, enhanced and re-purposed for the ultimate benefit of the customer. The multiple “boxes” required to support an enterprise-grade communications architecture in the past have been condensed into a smaller number of multi-purpose servers. The market has shifted from hardware-centric solutions to software-based, application-centric solutions. The call-control component of the PBX (practically, the heart of the PBX) has been extracted, in many cases,  and modified into a software application that can run on any third-party standard servers or treated as a virtualized application in a virtualized data-center environment. Finally, the IP PBX functionality is increasingly becoming just one of several applications in a comprehensive unified communications solution/bundle.

•While all these technological advancements have certainly transformed the communications marketplace, from large, isolated, proprietary cabinets to easily distributable low-cost, space-efficient, rack-mountable chassis equipment (servers for call control and media gateways for port interfaces), this evolution should not be misconstrued as the death of enterprise premises-based telephony.

The study will be published within the next few weeks on Frost & Sullivan’s Enterprise Communications portal.

Some Ideas for Enhancing Communications in Healthcare Organizations

Following up on my previous post requesting feedback on implementing UC technologies in the healthcare space, I reviewed some case studies (thanks for the links, everyone) and spoke with some vendors and end users. We are still finalizing our study and plan to talk to more people and review further sources, but I thought I would share some interesting insight that I received from a company called Software Advice.

Having recently installed a new IP-PBX system in their own office, Software Advice got thinking about ways medical practices could combine electronic health records with IP-PBXs. By combinging the two technologies, they think there is a great opportunity for medical practices to reduce telephony costs, improve office efficiency and potentially improve patient care.
They found out that, surprisingly, there are few medical-specific IP-PBX applications. So to spark some interest in the Asterisk development community, they decided to compile a list of seven applications that could be developed, including:

Find me, follow me – The system would prioritize an after-hours call based on the urgency of the situation. Emergencies could be immediately forwarded to 911. Calls from patients that recently had an ambulatory procedure might be forwarded to the physician’s mobile phone. All others might receive voicemail or the answering service. Urgency could be assessed not only by patient responses (e.g. pressing 1 for an emergency), but also by the content of recent encounters (e.g. yesterday’s botox injection).

Dunning Voicemails – If a patient hasn’t paid their balance after a given time period, this module automatically calls and leaves a voice message: “Dear [INSERT FIRST NAME], we recently noticed your balance of [INSERT OVERDUE BALANCE] has yet to be paid. If you’d like to pay now over the phone, press one. If you think you have received this message in error, press two.”

To read more, visit: Seven Great Applications for IP-PBXs in the Medical Practice

Innovative Phone System Benefits Local Company

As our little telecommunications company continues to grow Microsoft continues to take notice. Most recently our partners in Redmond have completed and published a case study on one of our customers “True North Drafting” (TND) a specialist in creating the detailed shop drawings that guide the fabrication and on-site installation of commercial-grade glass and aluminum structures.

TND has been a long time customer of ours and before purchasing their Response Point small business phone system they were using the Lypp conference call services.

This marks the second Lypp case study by Microsoft. The first was on Lypp itself, as a value added reseller for Response Point.

Thanks goes out to Rex and his team at Microsoft for the mention and to our customer of the month, “True North Drafting”, for their ongoing support.

Response Point Phone Systems for Canadian Small Business

I thought it was time I chimed in on the new service pack [SP1] that has just been released to the Response Point manufacturers and what it means to Canadian small businesses that might take some interest in buying a Response Point PBX.

Response Point Service Pack 1 is mostly about the VoIP Gateway (SIP Trunking) capabilities with some extras like Click to Call and Call Presence.

The software based VoIP Gateway will allow the Response Point systems to connect to a SIP Trunk provider for PSTN connectivity. So now we can add capacity not just by plugging in telephones lines to the system but we can also connect virtual phone lines provided by a SIP Trunk service vendor over the Internet.

First question is, do we want to connect our phone system in our office to a virtual phone line over the Internet? Hmm, good question.

If you are like me and need to have your phone system working 100% of the time you might think that using SIP trunks for your telephone connectivity via the open Internet could be risky. If the Internet in your office drops so does your phone system. That means not only can you not work online but now you can’t receive or make phone calls either. Yikes!

It might not be as bad as it first would seem. The SIP Trunk provider or ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) can facilitate some interesting features that could help alleviate this problem. Most SIP Trunk service providers are capable of delivering services like simultaneous ring or twinning that can ring your primary line and your cell phone at the same time. If your main system goes down for whatever reason your business is not completely out of business. Although, this theory doesn’t really hold up when you have multiple lines in a hunt group with a primary line and a few over-lines.

Something else to consider is 911. 911 can be a bit of headache when dealing with SIP trunks. If you rely on SIP trunks for all of your telephone connectivity you will have to fill out some paperwork that ties the VoIP telephone service you are getting from your ITSP to your address.

LNP (Local Number Portability) is also a major headache. As an existing business you likely have had your existing telephone number for quite some time and are not really all that interested in changing it now. LNP laws in Canada say that the telephone company you are dealing with for that number must comply with your wishes when you ask to have that number ported to another provider, an ITSP in this case. Well, yes, they must comply but that doesn’t mean they will make it easy. It’s not abnormal in Canada for a number porting request to take upwards of a few months to complete. Yes, months!

In my mind I don’t think I would ask my customers to endure that kind of headache. I would likely use the SIP Trunks for additional capacity on outbound dialing which does not require any number porting and is not likely mission critical to the daily operations of the business. Since most of the traffic generated on most small office telephone systems is outbound, SIP Trunks could fill a potential requirement there.

I have been beating the Response Point Phone System drum pretty hard lately and for good reason, it’s a great SMB phone system. We have decided to start carrying the phone systems through Lypp as well. I also posted a quick summary on a Response Point installation I did for one of my customers on the Innovedia blog a few weeks back, the customer is loving that system.

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