Recently in Enterprise Category

Looks like Alec is at it again, braking all the laws of physics going against mother nature and generally just messing with people's heads. Just kidding. But he is doing some cool stuff with IAX.

For the more than 250,000 Asterisk IP-PBX installations around-the-world, getting the right phone call, at the right time, and on the right device just got easier thanks to iotum. Today, at VON Canada in Toronto, iotum announced the beta availability of the iotum Asterisk integration module; two relevance-enabled call management applications for Asterisk and a rich new set of developer API’s.


Russell (pictured above) brings up some good points regarding the recent Comp USA SMB VoIP announcement. Shaw is confident that SMBs of the size targeted by CompUSA will go to VARs and alike for their solutions and not retailers. Time will tell, maybe CompUSA will prove him wrong but today I for one agree with Russell.

I know Shift Networks uses VARs and Integrators to drive our hosted VoIP solution into the SMB market. We have been having huge success with this and we are quickly ramping new Canadian dealers, VARs and Integrators daily, if you are one of these - let me know. There is clearly a place for hosted SMB, 5-60 subs looks to be the sweet spot. I attribute much of our success to our high level of service and commitment to our customers. I have a hard time believing that SMBs would receive that level of service from any retailer. Some believe that SLAs are crucial to delivering good service over IP, I don't believe that. Many of the enterprise mobile workforces use cellular phones and depend on them for doing business daily. No one expects an SLA from a cellular provider. What they DO expect is service. If they don't get the service they expect, they are onto the next provider. I can see much the same will happening in hosted SMB VoIP.

It would seem to me that the winners will be the providers/vendors who deliver the best services, features and benefits at reasonable prices.

Shift Networks Has a New CTO

March 10, 2006 9:50 AM | 0 Comments

I have officially joined Shift Networks as their new CTO. I can't tell you how excited I am to be working with Trent and his team, a great group with awesome talent. Shift is the fastest growing SMB IP Communications company in Canada, now I know why.

Here is the Press Release:

I will be continuing my committment to blogging, writing, & citizen journalism. My new focus for the next few months will be on the SMB vendors with more Podcasts and Interviews to come.

The adventure continues, yeeehaaa!

To kick off the new podcast series "The Future of Enterprise Communications" I have selected a company focused on delivering IP PBXs to the SMB market.

I spoke with Todd Landry - SVP at Sphere Communications about their 5th and latest release of their Sphericall IP PBX and the niche that he sees for this product. We also talked about the differences between Hosted SMB VoIP and IP PBX + SIP Trunking in the Enterprise.

We touched on Quality of Service and some of the features that the SMB market is looking for and expecting in a Voice and Data offering.


Subscribe to the Podcast
The Podcast in iTunes

Todd joined Sphere in 2003 to lead product management, marketing and business development. Prior to Sphere, Mr. Landry launched carrier-class IP Telephony SoftSwitch and Media Gateway solutions as Vice President of Product Management at CommWorks Corporation (a subsidiary of 3Com Corporation). At CommWorks, Mr. Landry also established several OEMs and conducted strategic acquisitions. Prior to 3Com, he led the development and launch of the Total Control line of Internet access and wireless CDMA mobile data products as Vice President of Product Management at U.S. Robotics. Mr. Landry holds two U.S. patents related to IP telephony and mobile wireless data systems. Mr. Landry graduated from DeVry Institute of Technology and Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and has participated in several executive education initiatives including Northwestern University 's Kellogg Graduate School and University of Michigan 's School of Business Administration.


February 17, 2006 4:20 PM | 0 Comments

A few days ago a I wrote about an experience I had while trying to source a SMB VoIP offering for a friend of mine starting up a new company. Well it would seem as though I am not the only one who is having troubles sourcing a solution of small and medium business.

Have the cable companies overlooked a $100 Billion a year market? According to Heavy Reading the MSOs are too slow to take advantage of this grand opportunity and are focused on delivering residential VoIP instead. According to a report published by Yankee Group last year only 5% of SMBs in the US use VoIP as their primary means of communication and in a January report they said the market for business VoIP is expected to grow to more than $3.3 Billion in service revenue by 2010.

It would appear to me that this monster hole could easily be filled by smaller more nimble VoIP service providers focused on an SMB offer. We know that Vonage Canada, Primus and other Broadband Telephony offers won't cut it due mostly to the lack of QOS (Quality of Service) and poor business VoIP services. Shaw, Telus, and Rogers are too busy battling it out on the mobile and residential front and Bell seems to be lost in it's own bureaucracy. So, who is left to take care of the SMBs in Canada's largest cities and rural areas?

VoIP over VPN, QOS enabled Broadband VoIP and Hosted Managed VoIP for business are some of the key components that will make an SMB VoIP offering compelling. According to Yankee Group, the most anticipated growth in revenue will come in the hosted VoIP market, a communications solution appealing to enterprises because it enables migration from legacy systems to a managed IP solution without incurring capital expenditure.

To me the opportunity is obvious, smaller service providers focused on a SMB VoIP in Canada and the US have nothing but green pastures ahead of them, the telcos and cable operators are asleep at the wheel.

The New Era Enterprise Soft Client

October 9, 2005 1:38 PM | 1 Comment

I have been thinking about the future of the enterprise soft client, what would make it more desirable and usable in that space. Here are my thoughts...

More Enterprise features sounds a bit obvious but what does this mean? Here are just a few examples. Multiple location/line call appearance, park, intuitive user interface, search function for work-group/company phone numbers + email addresses + IM  IDs, manager moderated call support and 2-touch conferences regardless of size - accessible from the web or PSTN.

Will it save me money?, one of the first questions and enterprise will ask of IT when considering VoIP. Once they have adopted VoIP and the savings are evident, features gain importance. Having a rich feature-set that is easy and fun to use is very important in a soft client. Something that has always bugged me about hardware vendors is that they always want an exact match the handset features with the softphone client. Yes, there are many reasons for this, financial and otherwise. The softphone currently outperforms the hard phone simply because developers can add features and improve functionality very quickly, hard handsets, not so much. This is one of the big advantages of using a soft client, it will also push users towards the soft client because it has more useful features. The soft client is also much cheaper to buy and to use than a hard handset. In the end I think PBX and softswitch vendors should be focused on delivering as many features as possible for the enterprise, watch the soft client kick ass there.

Ease of use and manageability get high priority, we need to overcome the irritations of performing mundane common administrative tasks, such as adding or moving users. These administrative tasks need to be dealt from the server side and some need to be automatic.

IM or Phone Primary Interface. In the soft client settings/preferences I would allow the user to choose which interface could be the default, IM or Phone. Some users are IM-centric while others are Phone-centric, I would give them both the option to choose which would be the primary interface. I would also expose a full featured enterprise dial pad that is easily accessible from the IM interface even if IM was chosen as the default interface.

Remote Control could be valuable from a User, Admin and Tech Support perspective. By adding controls that for instance, allow users to login to a website and divert calls from their softphone running on their desktop to a hotel or cell phone would be valuable. Admin access to this interface could make it easy to assist in config issues and tech support could have access for diagnostic troubleshooting.

Soft clients everywhere. If I had it my way, the hard handset and soft client would use the same core software. A touch-panel LCD or membrane switch including a dial pad that can be easily removed/swapped out for a different one depending on the application would be a good start. Picture an IP handset with no dial pad but instead a color touch-panel LCD which could be used on it's own or a selection of membrane switches we can lay on top of the LCD panel. I think these membranes would have to closely match the action of existing dialpads so users would adapt quickly.

"Something really cool" would be an integrated RSS reader/aggregator with text and voice recognition + search functionality. I would like to know what's cooking in the industry when I start my day. Having all of my business communication tools available to me in the same soft client would be great. While I am talking business on my soft client (phone or IM) it would be nice if key words were extracted from the conversation and used to search for news/blogs postings on the web that matched this criteria. The results could be posted as headers in a separate window with the full story could be downloaded behind the scenes with podcasts being sent to my iPod as well. This could potentially help me a great deal in the current conversation and allow me to stay focused without having to hammer away on my keyboard while we are talking.

What would you like to see in an Enterprise soft client? Comment below...

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