Response Point VPNs and Remote Workers
I wrote an article over at the SMB Phone blog on Response Point VPNs and remote workers. If you are having some issues with VPNs and Response Point this might help.
Skype for SIP, it's about time!
Back in 2004 I wrote a post relating to the VON Canada Panel I sat on with Niklas Zennstrom. It was an interesting debate on open standards (SIP in this case) and closed networks, specifically Skype. I was quite vocal about how silly I thought Skype was not to include SIP, a few of you picked up on that 😉
It looks like something good came of the eBay purchase as we now see a Skype pushing towards open standards, good stuff!
On a similar note, I heard a rumour that it’s likely Jason Fischl the current CTO at Counterpath (Xten) will be going over to work with Jonathan Christensen (General Manager – Media Platform) at Skype. Jason was an early advocate of SIP in the IETF and works with some of the best minds on the subject: Cullen Jennings, Robert Sparks, Alan Duric come to mind.
This could get interesting.
I will do some testing with SkypeforSIP & Response Point and post the results along with my comments on what this new offer from Skype might mean for Response Point.
Google Voice vs. Response Point with ITSP
I will admit, this is a bit of a silly comparison but the truth is that I have had a few customers (and some analysts) asking for some clarification on the new Google Voice offer and how it may compete with Response Point when coupled with an ITSP. The fact is they really do not compete in any measurable way and they could easily compliment each other.
The obvious major difference is that Response Point is a small business phone system, Google Voice is really a service offering targeted at individuals.
When we combine Response Point with an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) we start seeing some similarities in the services between the two offers but they are really meant for 2 distinctly different purposes.
Response Point offers an actual premise-based system with a base unit, handsets and features like; auto-receptionist, DID integration, hunt groups, voice mail to email integration etc. All of the things one would expect when purchasing a small business phone system.
Google Voice service is an overlay service on whatever you have today, so if your existing phone system is simply not cutting it, it’s unlikely that Google Voice is going to be able to transform it into the system of your dreams. It’s true that Google Voice will allow you to take advantage of certain features but don’t expect to find a Park, Hold or Transfer or anything fancy like speech recognition.
Google Voice is an inbound-centric service. Most features can only be used with an inbound call, that includes call recording and call joining.
How they play nice together
One could use the Google Voice – simulring feature to call your Response Point phone number and at the same time it could call your mobile.
Google Voice – call recording is a handy feature that is currently not a feature offered in the Response Point system.
Google Voice – voice mail transcriptions is a handy way to receive visual voice mails via email and SMS.
Google Voice – call widgets allow users to put callback widgets on a website. This will allow the visitor to put in their phone number and the system will call them and then it will call your Google Voice number.
Google Voice – SMS is a cool way to compose, accept and manage text messages while maintaining control over the devices associated with that service.
The Google Voice service is only available in the US. Even US subscribers can only forward/simring their Google Voice numbers to other US numbers but that is likely to change to include international countries in the near future.
In theory, the Google Voice call should go wherever the media is sent. Call Routing results may vary depending on the Response Point ITSP you choose.
When calling out, your existing phone number (Caller ID) will be presented to the callee unless you use the dial-out feature, which is (IMHO) a bit of a hassle. This causes some problems as most of us are used to calling people back on the number we last saw from them. Fortunately, many ITSPs (unlike the conventional phone companies) will allow you to change your Caller ID number to match your Google Voice number.
Google Voice does not address LNP (Local Number Portability) at all right now. Which means you can not bring your existing numbers to Google Voice, you have to choose a new number.
Response Point Rapid Turn Around
First off let me just say that this team continues to blow me away. They listen and respond, go figure!
Yesterday the RP team addressed some concerns over loosing “barge-in” in the latest Service Pack and added that feature back in for a new build, now available. Yep, you heard right. This is not a patch, it’s a new build. If you know anything about the development of commercial software you would certainly agree that a 2 week turnaround (from SP 2 launch in Miami) on a new build is pretty damn impressive.
In addition, they have seemed to fix a few issues that I missed in my first pass/review of SP2. Since I am a Mac guy, I run all of my Windows software in a VM. Until SP2 there were a few quirky issues (Netbios ?) that made it impossible to do a few things easily or at all. The use of Assistant was simply not there on a VM and Administrator needed the base unit IP to connect. Sending recording prompts to phones (record name, greetings, etc) would belch as well. The RP team seemed to have remedied all of those issues with this release. Administrator and Assistant now work seamlessly, which means they work on a Mac, which makes me happy.
Vancouver Small Business Server User Group – Response Point
Join Erik Lagerway and Trent Johnsen, co-founder/executives of SMB Phone to see how Microsoft Response Point is changing small business communications and what it means for you and your customers.
SMB Phone is a national Response Point distributor and Canada’s newest Microsoft certified Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP) and the only provider to be integrated with Response Point in Canada. Along with a working demo/overview of Response Point, SMB Phone will provide an insider’s industry perspective on Microsoft Response Point and the latest software release, Service Pack 2, and how you can improve your customer’s business communications and enjoy significant new business opportunities working with Microsoft Response Point and SMB Phone.
3/12/2009 | 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
3/12/2009 6:00 PM Pacific Time
The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (BC LDB)
3200 East Broadway (Okanagan room)
Vancouver, BC V5M 3T5
Response Point Service Pack 2 – Technical Resources
Rex has posted a great list of technical resources for Service Pack 2, this is a must-read if you plan on running SP2 (recommended).
SMB Digital Voice integrated with Microsoft Response Point
Every Microsoft Response Point system sold today is now bundled with the SMB Digital Voice service. Through the Response Point Administrator one can add SMB Phone service to their Response Point system in under 5 minutes.
What a Girl Needs
According to Marta (a kick-butt MS Response Point engineer) these designer half gloves are now part of the dress code for any self-respecting lady at Microsoft. I thought she was just a bit chilled from the cooler weather in Miami that evening but according to her colleagues, she wears them every day.
Now that’s style!
SMB Phone Goes to Market with Response Point
For those at IT Expo, this free session is about to begin in Room 109.
4. An Integrated Solution: SMB Phone Goes to Market
with Response Point
3:00 – 4:00 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.
Trent Johnsen, Vice President, Business Development, SMB Phone