Second Cup of Coffee for 23 February, 2006

David Sims : First Coffee
David Sims
| CRM, ERP, Contact Center, Turkish Coffee and Astroichthiology:

Second Cup of Coffee for 23 February, 2006

By David Sims

david@firstcoffee.biz

The news as of the second cup of coffee this morning, and the music is still the Louis Jordan collection Let The Good Times Roll, this might last in the changer a while, it’s always fun to make new musical discoveries like this:

Junction Networks today announced the release of enhanced hosted PBX services including Voicemail and Failover Routing. These features can be added to existing inbound SIP and IAX2 business trunking services already available and in use by – Junction claims – over 1,000 business customers.

CEO Michael Oeth said that as part of the company’s VoIP offerings, “we have expanded our offering to include hosted services such as Voicemail and Failover Routing.”

Customers can now add voicemail accounts to their existing inbound service from Junction Networks. Additionally, customers can shelter their VoIP communications from internal network failures by forwarding calls to alternate IP PBXs, traditional landlines or cell phones should there be a local network problem.

“Rather than implement their own systems, many SMBs would rather put the management of voicemail in the hands of a company that obsesses about VOIP services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” thinks Robert Wolpov, president of the company. “That’s where we come in.”

Junction Networks voicemail is also available as a standalone service and is available on a wholesale basis to service providers.

...

Patton Electronics is announcing new software for SmartNode VoIP products with new features, including encrypted voice with Voice-over-VPN and automatic IPSec keying with Internet Key Exchange.

The products are aimed at enterprises, banks, and other institutions using Internet telephony.

Voice-over-VPN, a virtual private network that uses the Internet, maintains privacy through the use of IPSec and DES/AES encryption. IPsec is the standard for securing communications over the Internet, while DES and AES offer strong 256-bit encryption.

SmartNode IPSec creates private VPN tunnels for secure VoIP, voice, and data traffic. The tunnels allow users, located in separate offices, to communicate as if they were connected by a single private network, company execs claim: “Now all data, voice and VoIP will be kept from prying eyes and ears while ensuring that all communications came from the trusted source.”

The IKE feature, an automatic security exchange function, is supposed to further enhance the security and ease-of-use for Voice-over-VPNs and data VPNs. By changing the encryption key at user-configurable intervals, say once per hour, IKE greatly reduces the chances of traffic interception.

In addition, IKE simplifies SmartNode deployment by eliminating manual keys, thereby making the encryption software easier to configure and administer. It’s designed so a network administrator won’t have to manually reconfigure SmartNode devices in order to maintain security.

The new SmartWare features are already deployed throughout a large VoIP network at IBM.

Sage Group, plc has announced the addition of a Dublin-based localization and application hosting center to its global CRM infrastructure, which company officials say will enable the company to “accelerate the development of localized CRM products to meet country-specific needs,” as well as “provide hosted CRM services to small and medium-sized businesses throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

This latest development is considered a major step by Sage, as far as its global CRM strategy introduced in October 2005 goes. Sage’s global CRM organization oversees the company’s Sage CRM Products portfolio, which includes the popular product ACT! by Sage for individuals, small businesses and enterprise workgroups.

“This new global CRM facility is an important step for accelerating the pace of delivering localized CRM products to diverse markets, especially those in Europe,” said Dave Batt, general manager of global CRM for Sage. “The co-operation and support of IDA Ireland in making this possible is a strong endorsement for Sage and our CRM strategy of global reach with local touch.”

Sage is also announcing the creation of its second application hosting center in Dublin which will be responsible for hosting of its expanding number of customer on-line applications. The center will provide additional levels of back-up and disaster recovery operations for both customer and operating divisions worldwide.

The new localization and application hosting center is being developed through expansion of existing Sage facilities in Dublin and is supported by Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency, which has grant aided both initiatives.

IDA Ireland is an Irish Government agency with responsibility for securing new investment from overseas in manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors. It also encourages existing investors to expand and develop their businesses.

In 2006, in addition to continued product upgrades for its Sage CRM Products family, Sage is planning localization of ACT! by Sage into German, French, Spanish and Dutch, and of Sage CRM SalesLogix to German and French.

Noted British retailer Marks & Spencer is extending its trial of radio frequency identification technology on individual products, according to industry observer Miya Knights.

The retailer already uses RFID to track fresh foods in its supply chain, Knights says: “The extension moves further into the next phase of using the technology to improve the availability of multiple-sized items, including women’s underwear and men’s suits.” The company’s especially noted for its women’s underwear.

The firm will this week extend the initial item-level tests, launched last year in nine stores, to another six shops, while a further 36 UK stores are earmarked for pilots before the end of April.

Knights says that Marks and Sparks, as it’s sometimes called, scanned its 10-millionth RFID food tray last week:

“M&S became an early adopter of RFID in autumn 2002, using tags embedded into standard trays used to transport fresh food from suppliers to depots.”

This is the sort of thing privacy advocates are afraid of, where companies implant tracking devices into consumer items, and keep track of personal habits unbeknownst to the consumer.

ITAP International, Inc., which describes itself as “a cross-cultural consulting company,” is now offering its proprietary Culture in the Workplace Questionnaire to “perform cultural audits on an organization’s global customer service footprint,” company officials explain.

The product is to help companies with the challenge of integrating outsourced technical, back office and customer service operations in countries such as China, India, Costa Rica, Canada, South Africa and the Philippines.

Catherine Mercer Bing, President of ITAP Americas, said auditing customer service performance “has proven really powerful. The tool reveals issues that we are then able to resolve through training, feedback and coaching, and modification of training, learning and teaching approaches.”

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