Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
CTO
| VoIP & Gadgets blog - Latest news in VoIP & gadgets, wireless, mobile phones, reviews, & opinions

Nuance Brings Artificial Intelligence to the Omnichannel World

The robots aren’t coming, they are here is all I could think of today as I mulled over my notes from a...

Full Story »

NFV Vendor Challenges Part 2

How will the software in NFV networks interact? Via a Management and Orchestration (MANO) layer.

Full Story »

Rapport Open APIs Increase Employee Productivity

By: Richard Hatheway, Director, Enterprise Communications Product Marketing, Rapport for Large Enterprise, Alcatel-Lucent

What is one of the biggest factors affecting employee productivity today? Recent studiesby the National Business Research Institute and the Pew Research Center indicate that not having the right technology tools to do their jobs is one of the most critical. From something as simple as having a cell phone to as advanced as having a customized app, having the right tool provides employees with a productivity boost.

Unfortunately though, many large enterprises are unable to take advantage of advances in technology due to old or outdated infrastructure and ICT technology silos. In addition, being locked in to one technology vendor often stymies the enterprise from being able to update the tools necessary to increase employee productivity.

For instance, something as simple as developing and deploying a new app is often a frustrating experience, as the enterprise must submit a request to the technology vendor for a new app to be developed, then wait until the vendor adds it to their development queue before finding out when to expect it. This often takes months, if not longer.

In the meantime, instead of waiting for the new app, many employees take the “shadow IT” route. They download rogue (i.e., non-IT-supported) apps that will allow them to move forward with at least some of the functionality they seek, even without IT support. While this work-around may provide some degree of productivity enhancement for the employee, wouldn’t it be better if the enterprise was able to either plug in existing best-of-breed third-party apps or develop and deploy its own apps without having to wait for a vendor to become involved?

Alcatel-Lucent thinks so, which is one of the reasons our new solution, Rapport™ for Large Enterprise, is generating so much interest. Rapport is a private cloud-based communications and collaboration solution designed specifically for the large enterprise.

Full Story »

Versay Solutions Moves to Support the Omnichannel World

A company known for professional services in the contact center – Chicago-based Versay Solutions has more recently applied its skills in analytics...

Full Story »

Splice Software Uses the Power of Analytics to Expand its Product Line

Big data and analytics have had a huge impact on numerous spaces and certainly marketing is one of these areas. Perhaps the...

Full Story »

Jet.com The .Good the .Bad and the .Ugly

The .GoodI’ve been using Jet.com for a few weeks and so far I have found the selection to be about 20-30% of...

Full Story »

VoicePIN Voice Biometrics Brings New Tech to Phone and Apps

The biometrics market has been around for decades but never achieved widespread acceptance until after Apple rolled out TouchID. Laptop makers...

Full Story »

FreePBX World iSymphony Session 360 degree Panoramic View

August 28, 2013

Demo of New iSymphony at FreePBX World

August 28, 2013

FreePBX World Live Blogging

August 28, 2013

Just stopped in the FreePBX World session located at ITEXPO and it's pretty packed. Check out the photo: {click for larger}


Tony Lewis is now talking about the FreePBX ecosystem. He started off by explaining why the FreePBX tree frog logo. Tony said, "Tree frogs can only go forwards, never backwards." Well, there ya go, mystery solved!

Tony talked about how FreePBX documentation was scattered and is now centralized into a new wiki.





ALICE Receptionist Wins StartupCamp 8 at ITEXPO

August 28, 2013

StartupCamp 8, located at ITEXPO featured startups giving their product pitches, pitting one startup against another until there was one man standing. Or should I say woman, since the winner was ALICE, a cool receptionist designed for visitors to corporations that have trended away from paying for receptionists near the front door just to greet guests.

StartupCamp 8 begin with a keynote address by Jeff Bonforte Communications Platform SVP at Yahoo. Bonforte told a great story about when he previously worked Yahoo! the first time and as one of the lead negotiators, he missed an opportunity to buy Twitter for $25 million, Twitters drop-bottom dollar amount and Yahoo offered $20 million. $5 million separating Yahoo & Twitter and preventing Jeff from becoming a deal-making legend.

Microsoft Lync Session Jam Packed at ITEXPO

August 27, 2013


I just got out of a jam-packed panel discussion on Microsoft Lync - Why You Need to Develop a Migration Strategy Now. I'd share a picture but I was moderating the session, so didn't want to whip out my phone and snap a picture. But I estimated about 36 people attended the session. I even had a surprise panelist, Skip Chilcott from Microsoft making it 5 total panelists that also included Laura Neidel from Sonus, Ramon Felder from Patton Networks, Alan Percy from AudioCodes, and Jeff Dworkin from Sangoma.

As I was leaving the session I ran into a Digium / Asterisk employee who commented that the WebRTC session he attended and this Lync session were the two most well-attended panels.


Special Technology Innovation Panel at ITEXPO [VIDEO]

August 27, 2013

Grandstream UCM6100 Asterisk PBX Makes Major Strides

August 27, 2013


Last month I was pretty harsh in my analysis of the Grandstream UCM6100 and on top of the open source issues and burning their partners, it also had some security issues. Well, Ward Mundy has a new report on the UCM6100 and he is impressed with the response Grandstream has had to the community's concerns.

He writes, "The short version of this story is Grandstream has addressed most of the open source issues and they’ve resolved well over a hundred bugs. In addition, they’ve published excellent documentation on the PBX in addition to a tutorial on how to interconnect the UCM6100 with other devices including FreePBX®-based Asterisk servers such as PBX in a Flash. So we are pleasantly surprised by Grandstream’s efforts to address many of the concerns that were raised by some of us in the open source community."

He also posted this interesting tidbit:
The silver lining may very well be the functionality boost you’ll get from the addition of a $100 OBi202 device with a Bluetooth adapter.





FreePBX - Most Powerful & Flexible Phone System Known to Man

August 25, 2013

I've been writing about VoIP and reviewing VoIP products since 1996, but even I need help once in awhile to figure out how to get a certain VoIP feature to work, how to install an IP-PBX, how to configure an advanced phone feature, etc. Well, recently I had to deploy a FreePBX system in a production environment for another company and I hit a few stumbling blocks that required a call to FreePBX's technical support and I have to say they were very responsive, extremely knowledgeable and very helpful.

One of my first stumbling blocks was getting second dialtone on a specific FXO port simply by pressing one of the line keys on a Grandstream GXP2100 phone. The reason is there is a DoorKing security gate system hooked into one of the Sangoma FXO ports that listens for certain DTMF touchtones to open and close the gate.

First, I had to create three groups in chan_dahdi_groups.conf, which is done in the FreePBX UI via this URL:
http://[ipaddress]/admin/config.php?display=dahdi
group=0 -> FXO trunks - channels 5, 6, and 7 (normal inbound/outbound lines)
group=1 -> FXO trunk  - channel  8 (special DoorKing port)
group=2 -> FXS lines  - channels 1, 2, 3, and 4 (analog devices)

I separated the DoorKing into its own trunk line group so it wouldn't be used for outbound calling. I also had to change the context to "from-analog" for the FXO ports for routing via channel number to work.









Jackery Air Rechargeable Battery

August 13, 2013


Jackery, provider of premium rechargeable battery products for mobile devices, today officially launched the Jackery Air, the company’s latest innovative battery pack product to extend your gadget's runtime. Currently offered in a bright orange color, the Jackery Air will be available in additional colors later in the year. As of today, it is now available for purchase on Amazon.com for $79.95.

They claim the Jackery Air is the world’s thinnest rechargeable battery. Similar in size to the iPhone 5, the Jackery Air provides users with up to five days of usage and up to 6 months of standby time!


GFI Max Backup Review

August 12, 2013

Here's an early sneak peek of my TMC Labs review of GFI Max Backup, which will be published in the 4th quarter issue of Cloud Computing Magazine. I've always been impressed with GFI's software tools, going back over the last 10-15 years, including anti-spam for Exchange, server monitoring tools, and more. Over the last few years they've expanded their software tools into Remote Monitoring and Management tools (RMM) with their GFI Max product which competes with Kaseya. GFI Max is pretty powerful, but offers a much simpler user experience than Kaseya, which tends to be more complex.
Featured Events