Two ways to make video calls on a 3CX VoIP system

apollock : September 23, 2010 12:44 pm : Telecoms News

This week we’ve been evaluating 3CX’s new video calling feature for version 9 software.  It works really well and is worlds apart from the ‘hit but mostly miss’ quality offering from Skype and GMail.

It’s pretty simple to test it out as long as you’ve a 3CX phone system installed with adequate spare broadband bandwidth (at each end of the call). You can download the two simultaneous call working version of 3CX for free here.

Our favourite alternate video device is Yealink’s IP Video Phone (the VP-2009P). Again these devices work ‘straight out the box’ with 3CX, but you’ll need about 250k of spare bandwidth for a decent call. If I’m honest the Yealinks don’t have the sleek look of the Polycom VVX units, but being roughly one third of the cost our small business customers couldn’t really care. The beauty of SIP Video must surely be the scrapping of expensive dedicated ISDN lines.

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3CX and Android – An office extn on your mobile

apollock : September 22, 2010 12:04 pm : Telecoms News

My lovely new HTC Desire smartphone is nearly full with free Apps. My favourite must be the 3CX softphone which turns my smartphone into an office extension giving me all the functionality of my deskphone when I’m out and about.

Fire the 3CX Android softphone application up and my mobile can dial anyone on our 3CX phone system as a free internal call, access all the system features (paging!) and make use of our Skype and other free call routes. Combined with my mobile minutes’ package I’m unlikely to ever pay for a call again.

The only drawback may be the current high cost of Smartphones. I do like technology such as this that works properly.

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3CX and the Voice Application Designer (VAD)

apollock : September 22, 2010 11:54 am : Telecoms News

I’ve been exploring 3CX’s VAD – a way of creating some fabulous Voicemail routing options for the 3CX phone system. The software seems a bit daunting at first but is actually quite easy to pick up and I’d created the following simple rule within 10 minutes of ‘meddling’;

1. Call comes in and is answered by my greeting ‘Welcome to TelecomHelp, please dial your 4 digit account number now’
2. Caller dials a 4 digit string from their handset.
3. 3CX captures the string and references it onto our database, a match routes the call one destination, a mismatch gives further options.
4. Caller ID can be captured and complimentary routing rules kick in.

This is nothing new in call answering functionality, however 3CX is the only system I’ve come across whereby really clever and complicated routing plans can be set up in minutes using a Windows PC!

This is a real threat to the specialist companies that charge a fortune to setup and manage this functionality – we can roll this out to our small and medium sized business for a pittance.

We love innovation and 3CX is right on the money with this one.

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Google Voice – the future of mobile phones?

apollock : October 19, 2009 11:22 am : Telecoms News

Google are really stepping up their innovation onslaught in the US.  They bought GrandCentral in 2007, a small US player offering ‘number for life’ routing (similar to the 07000 service in the UK) and have now developed a new freebie – GVoice.

Only available  in the US at this time, it is a SIP based voice routing service that allows you to bind all your phones to a new Google issued number.  GVoice has an application that works with your Blackberry (or next generation Android software) mobile phone, allowing you to make calls via the Internet from your handset.  This means the Carrier does not carry the phone call but simply offers an Internet gateway to enable Google to carry the call.  No call revenues?  It’s no wonder Apple and AT&T have blocked this service to protect their revenues ie iPhones won’t support it.  It is likely the FCC (the US Telecom Regulator) will demand they allow this competition.

This is the future for mobile phones and mirrors the development and coming of age for Least Cost Routing and VoIP (Voice over the Internet).  The technology is astounding, voicemails are converted to text and added to the GoogleMail archive – hence you can search saved conversations & voicemails just like old emails.

What do Google get out of it?  They make a profit carrying the calls and interestingly have a US patent on technology that allows marketing to be ‘inserted’ within the service.  How would you feel if you put a client on hold and they were played an advert by Google for another company?  The US has become used to these marketing ploys in their various forms but this seems to be unpalatable if the forums are to be believed.

Personally I welcome this innovation and can’t wait for GVoice UK to arrive.

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All Change With 0870 Numbers

apollock : September 25, 2009 1:39 pm : Telecoms News

All Change With 0870 NumbersWow, what a mad panic to bin 0870 numbers now we’ve hit OfCom’s Aug 1st deadline. A lot of businesses will be hurt financially when they get their next Telco statement and it dawns on them;

1. No more lovely revenue share. Say goodbye to £1000′s a year….
2. They now get charged around 2p per min when their customers call them on their 0870 number.

We’ve seen remarkable interest and take-up with the new 0844 number range. So much so that the numbers are nearly exhausted and a new range of 0843 numbers has been added to support phone systems that require the change!

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