Running into fellow VoIP bloggers and some VoIP news

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Tom Keating
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Running into fellow VoIP bloggers and some VoIP news

I just arrived in sunny San Diego after a very turbulent JetBlue flight from JFK airport. Although it was a bumpy ride, the 37 channels of DirecTV certainly helped pass the 5hrs and 40 minutes away. After arriving at my hotel, I learned my room wasn't ready, so decided to head on over to the convention center to check out what was happening on the first day of Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Since I couldn't check in and change into business attire (a suit), I headed over wearing a casual short-sleeve polo shirt, jeans, and sneakers. There should be a rule that VoIP bloggers don't have to wear suits anyway. Not to mention, I'm supposed to be a techie geek that heads up TMC Labs and tests this VoIP stuff!  Maybe I'll ask my boss about that. ;) Then again, he may suggest I wear a white lab coat like he once suggested many moons ago. Not sure which is worse - wearing a suit & tie or wearing a bright white lab coat.

In any event, I arrived at the convention center, headed over to registration, opened my laptop to check email and not 30 seconds later someone recognizes me. Someone behind me says "Tom Keating?". I turn around and not recognizing him say "Yes?" I quickly scan his name badge and see it's Dan York, whose blog I often check out, but whom I have never met. "I take it you recognize me from my blog photo eh?" I ask Dan. Sure enough, that's how he recognized me and which I must admit I was humbly flattered. This isn't the first time either. I've had many people recognize me simply from my blog photo or my photo gallery photos, which always makes it an awkward moment for me as I scan my brain to figure out if I know them or not or if they're regular readers of my blog and have commited my picture to memory.

Dan and I talked some VoIP shop, including Asterisk, trixbox, Fonality, open source, Digium, Pingtel, and a few other items. I meant to ask him if he's going to the bloggers/analysts/press dinner tonight at the Flemings Steak House, being organized by Andy Abramson. Should be fun to finally meet many of the other VoIP bloggers that I often read on a daily basis.

On a related Asterisk note, I wanted to share some news that Switchvox, a provider of IP-PBX phone systems for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), today launched Switchvox v2.6 at Internet Telephony Conference & Expo. Based on the open source Asterisk IP-PBX software, Switchvox has added a lot of feature/functionality to the popular Asterisk solution.

With this release, Switchvox SMB has extended its call monitoring feature and now has even more options, including the ability to jump in on calls or allow colleagues to listen in on conversations. This is a useful feature for call center environments where agents may need coaching, or where a receptionist might need to notify users of a call holding.

The latest version of Switchvox SMB also includes updates to the Switchboard. Switchboard now has more granular control over user and supervisor permissions. Companies can now see who each person is on the phone with and monitor, record or pick up calls with the click of a button. Real-time call queue visibility allows users to see the status of other agents in the queue and statistics, such as how long someone has been on hold.

Other advanced features in Switchvox SMB v2.6 include:
  •  Call Recording Backups - Administrators can backup recorded calls and XML details with the same easy FTP procedure that's used to back up Switchvox
  •  More Reports - New 3D graphs show even more reports and statistics, allowing managers to better visualize how calls are affecting business
  •  Dial by First Name Directory - In addition to Switchvox's dial by last name directory, Switchvox SMB now has the option to dial by first name
  •  One Touch Agent Login - Now call queue agents can log in and out with a single key press to start receiving calls
  •  Improved Updater - The new updater allows for one-click updates that use significantly smaller update files, so its even faster and easier to get the latest features
  •  Complex Network Support - Working with businesses that have remote users connecting over multiple VPNs can pose challenges for IP PBXs. Switchvox SMB's complex network support allows the system to smoothly traverse even the most unusual network scenarios
  •  VoIP Provider Compatibility - Switchvox SMB is now even more configurable to work seamlessly with virtually any VoIP provider

Switchvox products are sold as turnkey solutions that include the server hardware and pre-installed Switchvox software. Switchvox SMB is available immediately, starting at $2,495.

The big day is tomorrow and Thursday, but just wanted to get this bit of interesting news to ya. Stay tuned for more...

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