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SaaS

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. 








Pareteum Lets Carriers and Companies Quickly Integrate Global Mobile Services

September 11, 2018

Abstraction in tech adds value. Look no further than portable document format or PDF for an abstraction format for documents that revolutionized the way they were shared and printed. Before PDF, lots of energy was spent on installing printer drivers, exporting and importing documents - and quite often, retyping.

The packet network is an abstraction in the simplest sense - we send packets and they generally arrive at their destination, taking numerous possible routes.

The cloud is yet another abstraction - an amazing one... We save our files and run our applications without worrying about where the hard drives are - or the processors, memory, disaster recovery, etc.

Telecom has seen tremendous abstraction take place over the decades.





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.











With Yeastar, Becoming a Telecom MSP is a Massive Arbitrage Opportunity

May 4, 2018

Recently we wrote about how telecom resellers are becoming MSPs, providing UCaaS solutions on their own, without the need to rely on an OTT provider such as RingCentral or 8x8.

In our discussions with MSPs making the switch from reselling a hardware solution like Toshiba to providing service themselves, they tell us how happy they are. They are making great margins and have much more control over their destiny.



We just had an in-person interview with David L. Puckett, Director of Business Development at Yeastar and the opportunity just grew in our minds as we spoke.

The company has 100 engineers and recently devoted themselves to taking all their hardware smarts and converting it to software. The result is the Yeastar Cloud PBX which was launched a few months back at ITEXPO. It's a monster, based on the Yeastar Management Plane or YMP, supporting 100 PBX instances, 2,000 users, and 500 concurrent calls.







3CX Aims to be Top 3 in UC Software

May 3, 2018

MSPs and resellers in telecom are going in three directions. The first is business as usual. They continue to sell boxes and/or cloud services. Sometimes they'll just refer the business to the UCaaS provider and other times, they'll do the install themselves.

Another direction is the reseller becoming an MSP.

FracTEL Advances Conference Call Security

April 30, 2018



Citing the common theft of conference call pin codes in places like political campaigns, Michael Crown, President of FracTEL told us in an exclusive interview, his company's SKRUM solution announced at ITEXPO earlier this year, securely calls participants instead of relying on them to enter pin codes. He said, "Conference calls are expensive." He continued, "At the end, nothing happens. Calls aren't actionable."

This is why FracTEL is focusing on changing this. At the conclusion of a call, they perform recording and transcript analysis.



NewVoiceMedia Brings Salesforce AI into the Contact Center

April 7, 2018

Artificial intelligence is permeating every sector of business including customer contact and NewVoiceMedia is doing its part to help improve productivity as you embark upon digital transformation.



John Eng (pictured above), CMO explained they make Salesforce Einstein real-time... They eliminate the need for batch processing meaning more rapid insights. In addition, built-in Einstein dashboards allow businesses to more easily analyze customer conversations which are automatically made available in Salesforce to unlock valuable insights across contact center and CRM data.

Conversation Analyzer uses speech-to-text to transcribe calls and deliver intelligent content categorization for actionable insights into the business. With built-in Einstein dashboards, businesses can refine how they boost their successes and manage challenges more efficiently, helping ensure every conversation is successful.





Genesys Bought Altocloud Because AI is the Future

March 22, 2018



Genesys has completed the acquisition of privately-held Altocloud Ltd., a cloud-based customer journey analytics provider founded and led by CEO Barry O'Sullivan.

We predicted the sale some years back:

"One last comment worth making is I perhaps have never seen an acquisition candidate so perfectly positioned - assuming the company is even moderately successful. The marketing automation and  communications companies will likely look to grow their organizations into the space in the middle so Avaya, Cisco and Marketo are a few to watch. In the end, it seems to me that Oracle followed by Salesforce are the best acquisition candidates. Time will tell but you read it here first."

Barry told us when he founded this company that "Marketing is eating sales." He continued, "A nurtured lead is a far better prospect than a cold call."



From our exclusive interview in 2014:
By categorizing customers into groups, the cloud-based Altocloud solution makes suggestions on which agent would be best to talk with a specific customer at the time they place a call.








Talkdesk Really Differentiates with Enterprise Contact Center

March 19, 2018



In a short amount of time Talkdesk has amassed 1,400 global customers according to an exclusive interview we had with CEO, Tiago Paiva (above left; Yours Truly on the right).

We've followed his company's progress since inception and through sheer will and a tremendous investment in engineering and development, the company has lured away many customers from not only legacy systems but other cloud providers. They bill themselves as a next-gen cloud using microservices, an API-driven CPaaS communication layer, built-in SMS, omnichannel and many integrations like Salesforce and ServiceNOW. They also have adopted the latest cybersecurity standards and guidelines such as SOCII, BPDR, HIPAA and PCI-DDS.

Talkdesk AppConnect



Tiago explains much of the reason for the company's rapid growth is due to the fact that nobody likes their contact center solutions. By focusing on things like quick set-up (about four weeks), free online training, AppConnect app store, custom dashboards, self-service changes and  data-based routing, the company's commitment to innovation is leading to market share gains.

Talkdesk Data-Based Routing



In addition, the system has an average 4.22 MOS score, greater than 99.99% uptime and six global data centers.

Customers include IBM, MongoDB and companies whose names we can't disclose.













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