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Stack8: Achieving the Promise of UC and UCaaS

September 21, 2018



When it comes to UC, quite often, integrators leave when a system is technically up and running, not when it is optimally running. Stack8 was founded in 2010 to address this gap by bringing enterprise UC systems closer to what they could be doing from what they are doing.

The name Stack8 is interesting - it comes from the 7 layers OSI model starting at the bottom - the  physical layer carrying binary transmission all the way up to layer 7 or the application layer.

Stack8 refers to the human and business layer which runs on top.

CEO Steven Karachinsky explained in an exclusive interview, his company fights for customers to achieve the promise of UC and network - allowing users to communicate anywhere, anytime, on any device.
 

They work with companies using Cisco UC and fill in the gaps.

Sample customer list


For example - moves, adds and changes using a level 2 engineer is challenging as it's expensive, doesn't provide job satisfaction for the tech, zaps morale and is low priority, meaning a new employee could wait 48 hours for a new phone to be configured.

As a result, they built SMACS or the STACK8 Moves, Adds and Changes System so non-technical users can take over the task without errors. He explained ease-of-use is very important to them - there is no new terminology to learn, the logic is built-in and there are no templates needed like other solutions on the market.

"We try to make it as easy as smartphones," he exclaimed.

There is a Dial-Plan Manager which acts like an airplane seat selector, showing available numbers when you're assigning a new extension.



In addition, the IT administrator can:
  • Decide which fields or services should be shown to and hidden from the user.
  • Choose which fields are required.
  • Provide default values for any field.
  • Select and order the values of any drop down.
  • Customize text fields such as descriptions and labels to follow your company standards.
  • Set restrictions based on location (e.g. define a New York SMACS user and a Chicago user who can each do provisioning only for their office.)

Then you can authorize non-technical people in office administration, human resources or other departments to take over user provisioning.




























PGI Aims to Become Heart of Digital Transformation and UCaaS

September 19, 2018

60% of companies are behind on digital transformation (DX) and 34% of business owners say half their workers will be remote by 2020. Companies have to change and quickly to be able to keep up with a workforce which is increasingly working from remote locations.

Sure, (DX) is a term we use a great deal - perhaps even overuse but if the market considers itself behind and competition and a changing workforce require it, then perhaps it needs even more press coverage to ensure decision-makers are taking the competitive threat and opportunity to excel, seriously.

iPhone XS and XS Max Benchmarked: World's Fastest Phones (Again) https://t.co/2Knzy2iFrC pic.twitter.com/41ik34t4jQ

— Rich Tehrani (@rtehrani) September 18, 2018

We know not only is change happening more quickly but the pace of change is increasing as well. Apple's iPhone XS to be released tomorrow, is the fastest smartphone on the planet and increases the pressure on enterprise services to keep up with all the amazing things the latest generation of handheld devices can achieve.

A major thought leader in the DX space PGI CTO Patrick Harper recently wrote a compelling piece on a TMCnet sister-site detailing six considerations for enterprises adopting a UC&C strategy. In it, he had this to say:

Uptake of collaboration tools continues to grow as companies using this technology report higher productivity. Those with effective internal communications achieve 47% higher returns for shareholders, which makes effective communication and collaboration technology highly prized, while failure to promote effective communication and collaboration can be expensive - $37 billion is lost annually due to employee misunderstandings and poor communication. 








SnapLogic: The Universal Translator of Digital Transformation and AI

September 14, 2018

Companies have a never-ending list of cloud applications they rely on with crucial data becoming ever-more siloed. Yet, in order to make sense of all this information, they need IT to manage exporting, massaging and importing data from various platforms to effectively make data-based decisions. IT of course is spread thin and decisions often need to be made in real-time, meaning one-time imports and exports get old, quickly.



This is where SnapLogic comes in. Their simple and fast IaaS-based enterprise integration platform empowers enterprise IT organizations and lines of business to connect apps, things and data. 



Hate Calling Companies? 10 Digit Communications Has the Answer

September 13, 2018

And that answer ironically is, not to answer - by voice anyway... 



If you have kids, are a kid or know kids (I believe that covers all of you ) you realize the amount of time we spend talking on the phone has been reduced as we spend more time texting.

Yet companies are not adapting to this change with the speed they should.

Sure, a business owner of a small company may text with customers, but what happens in an organization which has a call center, or needs one?

Typical contact center solutions may have the ability to handle texting but they certainly aren't designed for texting. CTO of 10 Digit Communications, Thomas Howe explains that legacy contact center solutions were designed in the time of he landline, not the smartphone.



Now of course the world has smartphones.

And even the premium smartphone brand, Apple, has new phones starting at under $500.

On September 17th you can order a wide price range of phones from #Apple

$449 to $1,099#iPhoneXS up to 30 minutes more battery, #iPhoneXSMax more than 90 minutes#AppleEvent #appleEvent2018 pic.twitter.com/0IPHORda0t

— Rich Tehrani (@rtehrani) September 12, 2018
Getting back to Thomas - he is one of the few people who is a telecom disrupter and a doer - he has worked in large and small companies and his new launch feels like it is really onto something.

10 Digit is already working in telcos, major car companies and a school- Bryan & Stratton College, a for profit institution.



As Thomas explained, this organization had a 1/2 percent connect rate with new students but when they used text, this rate went to 33% or a 66 time improvement!

Anyone who has kids could have likely predicted such a result so even though the improvement seems statistically far-fetched, our collective personal experience verifies that it makes sense.

The company was just granted a second patent on this texting PBX which is pretty exciting and a nice validation that Thomas is breaking new ground.

He said they are forklifting other solutions from companies which caused me to ask - what about the existing voice calls? He replied that when callers call in, they present them with the option to text.





























ZaiLab Powers the Contact Center via AI, ML and AWS

September 12, 2018

The breathtaking pace of technological innovation has meant that companies have been able to punch beyond their weight class. In other words, Moore's Law has allowed technology to improve at roughly by a factor of 2, every few years or so for the same price.

Couple this with numerous macro trends and the small to medium business of today is as advanced as the large company of a few years earlier.

In fact, you can argue the small business that is paying attention, can leapfrog a behemoth fairly easily.

Two technologies which make this possible are the cloud and app stores.

Because of these developments, a software developer can leverage an ecosystem of devices and solutions (iPads and iPhones for example) without having to ship products or even worry about having to deal with a server where they need to be downloaded from.

Then there is cloud. Developers can host applications of any size without worrying much about disaster recovery, generators, servers, massive IT departments, cooling systems, power, etc.

As software developers leverage today's tools, they are able to bring better products to market with new and innovative pricing models customers love.

For example ZaiLab has a fantastic cloud contact center offering which includes UC and is delivered via the Amazon cloud. They pass their flexible AWS server pricing on, meaning no per-seat license cost.













How to Prepare for The Future of Work

July 2, 2018

The future of work continues to change and the predictions of mass joblessness as a result of AI and robotic automation have been incredibly inaccurate. Then again, we have a feeling these people in the predicting business are behind the grim Y2K warnings of the late nineties. Some of them we hear, have even gone into predicting presidential elections. (Ahem.)

While robotic automation and AI hasn't obliterated the job market, it does and will continue to absolutely wreak havoc on entire industries.

Nerdio ITaaS Helps Maximize MSP Profits

June 5, 2018

As customers continue to embrace cloud, MSPs and IT providers can look at the transition as an opportunity or a competitor.

One of the biggest challenges for MSPs is dealing with the increased cost of employees without being able to pass these costs on easily to customers. When benefits are factored in, increases can be 5-10+% each year.

One option is to hire less expensive workers but you get what you pay for many MSPs don't want the cheapest workers they can find servicing their customers.

Another way to handle the challenge is to automate but there is a limit to how much automation can be applied to installing servers and desktops.

This is where Nerdio comes in. They provide easy IT automation for managed service providers and their customers. Nerdio for Azure provides IT automation technology that delivers pricing, provisioning, management, and cost-optimization of hybrid and full IT environments on the Microsoft Cloud, allowing MSPs to build and rapidly grow their IT practices in Azure.

In a telephone interview, Nerdio CEO Vadim Vladimirskiy said, "Many MSPs are looking to add advanced cloud services to their offerings and find alternatives to continued investment in their own infrastructures.










Cloudstudio with Your UCaaS, Would You Like Fries With That?

May 21, 2018



McDonald's is famous for asking customers if they want fries with their order and as a result, over the years, they have generated millions of dollars of extra profit. We can all learn a little something from this worldwide purveyor of fast food.

Far less tasty but far more profitable could be the sale of on-hold, music and messages to your customers buying a PBX, UC or UCaaS. Whether you sell Mitel, Avaya, Cisco or just about all other phone solutions, you can also sell an on-hold solution.



Recently, we had an exclusive phone interview with Mick Sakakeeny, Division President, Cloud Services at Spectrio LLC. We met the company at the recent Ideacom event in Washington, DC where Your's Truly was a keynote speaker.



Spectrio product lines include Intellitouch, Cloudstream and Cloudstudio.











Martello Offers Unique SD-WAN Solutions

May 17, 2018

Martello Technologies has become one of the more interesting players in the SD-WAN space - by purchasing Elfiq - one of the first if not the first players in the space. From there, they combined SD-WAN with service assurance... From quality management to remediation.



According to Tracy King, Director of Marketing, "The layer 2 approach makes it easier to install." She continued, "You just drop in the box and it works."

She continued by explaining the company has subsecond failovers, hybrid WAN solutions, a UC site qualification tool and more. Customers can see in advance how many calls the network can concurrently support.

In addition, they offer a STREAM VPN engine which encrypts per flow and offers zero-touch provisioning.

The LBX700 Link Balancer provides throughput of 800 Mbps, 512 VPN tunnels and support for up to 14 ISPs

Tracy explained there is no limit to how many sites which can be meshed with their new ATLAS SDWAN solution.











New VTech Devices Bring SIP and Key System Functionality to Business

May 14, 2018

Sometimes you need to go backward to go forward is what we thought when we met for an exclusive interview with VTech execs to discuss a new line of products bringing together the best of Vtech with its recent acquisition, SNOM. The ET600  has the software stability and SNOM legacy with VTech desktop technology according to the company.




The new ErisTerminal VDP650 series cordless 4-line SIP phones are perfect for the small business market. By allowing cordless capability, extended range and SIP connectivity, these solutions give cost-saving benefits every business needs.

The VDP651 paired with a VDP650 base station is loaded with features such as DECT 6.0, seven days standby, four programmable LED backlit line keys, HD voice for the receiver and speakerphone.



Most importantly, they borrow from the past - and add key system functionality to the phone so every handset can display four virtual lines.








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