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Jeff Raikes Declares the End of "Blind Calls" and calling "Devices" instead of People

Are you: Dialing Blind? (when no one is even at the thing you call?)
Are you: Calling Devices instead of people? (and there is no live person at the device?)
 
Microsoft's Jeff Raikes asks "How many identities do you have with the communication tools you currently use?" (email, cell#, work#, home#, fax, IM )
 
He also notes "Phone numbers are an artifact of technological limitations..."
 
"Calling blind wastes an average information work 37minutes a week and 30 hours a year"
 
Watch the full video at:
 

Why OCS over MSN Messenger?

I just read a good article on why OCS/Office Communicator over Windows Messenger. Read it here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/officerocker/archive/2007/08/08/why-is-ocs-and-communicator-2007-better-than-windows-live-messenger.aspx

Excellent Review of the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC (And OCS & 3CX SoftPhone Enabled!)

I've been a Plantronics fan for sometime and the below is an excellent (extremely thorough) review of the Voyager Pro UC product. It is Optimized for Office Communicator and I understand it works with the 3CX SoftPhone if the PerSono Suite software is installed. (at least it did work with 3CX softphone at one time--if this has changed, let me know). I suggest you read this if you are looking for UC headset.

http://www.geardiary.com/2010/01/22/plantronics-voyager-pro-uc-review/

Free In-Depth Integration Between OCS and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Jan Boguslawski alerted me to a tight integration between Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Office Communication Server. I just got the tip so take a look. If you have any more information your welcome to comment!

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=0d689f13-4953-40ea-995e-49469dae559e

 

snom OCS Edition First Impression Video Review: Wow!



My first impression is very good. Easy to setup. Easy to use. Very very affordable, solid workhorse phone. THE answer to CEO's that don't want a "stupid software phone" but want benefits of OCS for their company.

Some things I didn't note on the video:
-OCS presence changes to "In Call" on a call.
-You can register to OCS and several SIP IP PBX's at the same time
-If you have the phone registered to OCS and SIP and make a call on SIP PBX it will put your OCS presence to "In Call"! Wow!

A New PSTN Gateway Survey Is Awaiting Your Vote!

Please vote your favorite PSTN gateway. (Pictured is not my favorite--but don't let that affect your vote! ;-)

What Are Windows PBX Reseller's Favorite SIP Phone? Linksys/Cisco & snom

I decided to throw up a simple survey to see what SIP handsets Windows phone system resellers are using. A few days later I noticed that the 3CX Facebook group also had a similar survey going! What a coincidence! The windowspbx.blogspot survey has ended and the facebook survey seems to have collected the majority of votes coming. So here is the data!

There are some slight differences in the survey framing: windowspbx had no "other" category, 3cx had no "aastra" category and 3cx put Linksys and Cisco together (smarter I believe) but the results are still interesting. Some notes on reading the chart: Blue is WindowsPBX Blog results, Red is 3CX results and Green is the combined results.

It appears that Linksys/Cisco and snom are running head to head. But there you have it--it appears the Linksys/Cisco and snom are the most popular reseller phones.

Linksys/Cisco has huge market recognition, nice look/feel/design and at the low end some very cost effective phones. snom has good key system features and the OCS Edition firmware is a big value to OCS headed companies.

Note: It is no secret that I am a snom fan--but I didn't vote twice or any other way attempt to affect the voting! ;-)

Microsoft Dynamics ERP Gets In-Depth OCS Integration


Forward looking communication professionals have been asking why phone handsets are an “island by themselves” for quite a while. Microsoft has taken a huge step in making your communication system (formerly known as a phone system—but that terminology is getting outdated) an integral part of your business management solution. Visionary professionals in the communication industry say this merging will have transformational possibilities in organizations—and I am seeing this first hand.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 (coming May 2010?) will start the first wave of these transformational communication possibilities. Let’s give some scenarios to highlight the power of this merging of technologies:

What if you were the purchasing person at your company, you are looking at a sales order that has an item on it you need to special order. You have a quick yes or no question for the salesman that made the sales order (but he’s not in the office!)—so you right click on the salesman’s OCS button (right inside GP) and he instantly gets your Instant Message on his mobile device (Windows mobile or nearly any other device) and answers you “Yes, I need that ASAP.”

What if you are the companywide service advisor in your company. A lead tech at another location emails you and says he has a question about service request #10500. You pull up the service request and immediately see the Part he needs to replace has some tricky things about it and you want to SHOW him how to do the repair. You grab the part and directly from Dynamics GP you can start a Hi-Resolution video call with the tech and show him how to do it…(Enterprise video cam=$99 street price)

How about initiate a call to a warehouse phone handset to check on inventory? Initiate a multi-person video conference?

This is just the start of powerful integration of communication and business management software…

Video Review of the pbxnsip Plug Phone System

Impressive little unit is a complete 20 extension phone system! This is NOT a toy and incredibly well built.

-1Ghz, 512MB RAM, 512MB Hardrive
-Full featured phone system: voicemail, email-voicemail, Exchange Integration, Key system features, Music-on-hold and on and on...
-very well built unit
-rubber feet to set on a shelf or plug to plug into a wall jack
-very low power consumption
-no fan
-2 minute startup time

If you outgrow this unit you can move up to a Windows based server unit.
Watch my first impression review.

pbxnsip Windows Phone System Also Runs On Powerful, Small Appliance

Pbxnsip now has a version of their Windows phone system that also runs on the Plug Computer. While I’m not a fan of Linux, this product does introduce some very real value to customers. Imagine a small professional office that doesn’t want to have a computer running all the time for a phone system. Or an office that wants zero noise. The unit is incredibly green. ;-)

It administrates exactly like the Windows version and because it is a quite stable platform you really don’t need to delve into linux very much at all. (lot like a Linksys router—although more powerful). When the clients grows they can easily migrate to a more powerful Windows version.

The unit will handle up to 20 users, according to pbxnsip CEO Kevin Moroz. It includes most key system and traditional phone system replacement features right now. It also integrates to Exchange and Office Communication Server.

Article about pbxnsip & plug computer:
http://ip-pbx.tmcnet.com/topics/ip-pbx/articles/72886-pbxnsip-ip-pbx-now-interoperable-with-sheeva-plug.htm

Plug Computer:
http://www.marvell.com/platforms/plug_computer/

Note: that the picture is the next gen plug computer.

VoIPon Does Interview of 3CX CEO Nick Galea

Just some of the highlights:

1:58 - In answer to "What companies benefit most from 3CX Phonesystem?" Nick says "you can save on Calling Costs, Save on Management Costs (3CX doesn't require a 3rd party consultant)...those that are a Microsoft Shop, want to save costs & want Mobility."

3:19 - "Is a Linux version possible?" Nick answers "Windows is our competetive advantage..."

In answer to "What about the hosted model?" Nick says that
"We sell software and you own it...that is cheaper..."

Finally "What is in the future?" SIP & Virtualization...



Thanks for doing the interview Nick!

My First Impression Video Review of the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD

Video is becoming a larger part of all Windows business communication solutions. OCS has led the way and has some pretty powerful multi-person video conferencing features already. pbxnsip is releasing one click video calls in their version 4.0 product coming up shortly. 3CX has also just announced that they will be adding video call functionality in their free 3CX Softphone.

So IT and resellers will need to find a quality web camera they can recommend. I've been using the Logitech 9000 for some time and have just been alerted to the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD. In this quick review I will give some of my thoughts--I'm impressed. The MS LifeCam may be the single cam you recommend for SIP video solutions...

3CX IP PBX Tutorial Book Will Be Here Soon!

Rob Lloyd and myself have been putting a lot time into a new book on 3CX that should be out soon! (in weeks) This book will take you step by step through getting your 3CX phone system up and running and give commentary and real-life tips on Windows phone systems as we go. Think of it as going with Rob and Matt to install 3CX at a client and we are telling horror & success stories, our thoughts on pbx stuff and tips that work for us as we go…

I’ve also enjoyed the give and take on the http://www.3cx.com/forums . A couple thousand posts later (;-)—this book is some of that knowledge written down in an organized way. I’ve even asked some fellow 3CX’ers over there if they would be willing to contribute some of their content and ideas –and they’ve been super gracious. (as always)

Kerry Garrison and I were chatting on the phone about book writing experiences ( His trixbox book http://www.packtpub.com/trixbox/book ) and he said “You don’t expect to get rich on it do you?” I forget my exact answer—I think I laughed out loud—but what my response to this is –Absolutely not! Forum participation, participating in community and giving back in general is not about what you get, but about-- giving back! In fact I am so convinced we must make “giving back” a part of our daily lives that we have a page on our corporate website dedicated to “giving back”! http://www.landiscomputer.com/givingback

Community and giving back is about giving--Thanks what each one of you is giving.

More about the book:
http://www.packtpub.com/the-3cx-ip-pbx-tutorial/book

40 Days - 40 Reasons You Want pbxnsip - By Fellow Blogger Jonathan Greenwood

I suggest you head right over to http://www.blogpbxnsip.com/ and subscribe to this blog for the next 40 days if you are a Windows communication pro. I’ve worked with many software based phone systems and this one has the most impressive feature set of any I’ve seen. The product is also very stable—1 Windows service and 16MB of code! (53MB RAM running 15 extensions!) The one gotcha is ease of use, (3CX has that nailed!) but once you have it under your belt you are ready to replace all those traditional phone systems/key systems people are throwing out!

They have a lot of interesting innovation: Integrates to OCS, a mile long list of features, very good mobile phone integration, key system feature replication, it runs on Windows as well as a small 4 PSTN appliance the size of a Linksys router, they’ve just released a plugComputer version that can run an office with 15 extensions!

Feature List: (not to steal Jonathan’s thunder, but if you want it at a glance—but don’t miss his commentary)
http://www.pbxnsip.com/phone-system/pbxnsip-pro-plus-ip-pbx.php

Note: I would note that this is a reseller/pro level product. If you are installing 1 PBX I might steer you to 3CX as they have simplicity nailed. www.3cx.com.

A Complete Microsoft Office Communication Server Implementation in One Appliance?

Startready.com is advertising an appliance that is a complete Microsoft Office Communication Server implementation in one box. I haven't used one of these appliances but it appears they may have several virtual machines running on this unit.
 

The USB Phone: Desk Phone of the Future?

After reading several articles about the future of office communications and doing some thinking I am becoming more and more of the opinion that future phone system/UC end point will be PC based. Perhaps not your current PC but more of a PC than a current traditional handset. Perhaps something like a separate netbook form factor unit with a quality handset? Why do I think that?

-Naturally Moving that Way - Take some of the modern SIP handsets out there already: like the Grandstream GVX3140 video phone and maybe the Snom 870. What is common about these? They are taking on the features of a PC: The Grandstream has a built in webcam, small color screen and the ability to plug in a mouse. The snom 870 has a big color touch screen. But in each case, if you are doing heavy UC stuff the user is left feeling like: give me a full keyboard to look up things in the directory with a little speed…or give me a bigger screen so I can realistically see my video conference…

-Affordability – With the low cost of Netbooks, do $1500 handsets for UC make sense?

-Usability – The user being able to discover features. Microsoft OCS is making incredible strides in making features understandable to the masses. How many people can make a 10 person conference call at your company? Maybe the the telecom guy and the goto-geek guy. With OCS (for example) you can just drag the people you want into a conference using you mouse. It’s instantly intuitive. Basically Zero learning curve.

-Flexibility – A netbook based endpoint could do SIP, OCS, or whatever using currently available software today.

-Video Conferencing – Nice big screen (compared to desk phone) and plug in an even bigger one with the external VGA plug if you want.

In answer to “the CEO Will Want a phone handset” you can give him a CX200? (or the newer CX300)? In answer to the “what if my pc reboots?” question—hey, you have a separate netbook that won’t be rebooting!

Maybe the USB handset combined with The Phone Netbook is the wave of the future? And not just a cheap way to get things done? Maybe the Polycom CX200 isn’t so weird?

Microsoft Office Communication Server for SMB: What MS Must Do

Joe Schurman over at Evangelyze.net makes some interesting comments about what Microsoft must do to make OCS work for SMB.
Great article. Browse over and read it at:
http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/43423#comment-228980

Search for the Best Office Communicator Webcam: Microsoft LifeCam Cinema

I'm getting very hooked on video conferencing. When it is one-click to setup a call and the video is so smooth and life-like-wow. I've been checking out various webcams that work nice for Office Communicator. Currently I'm using a Logitech WebCam Pro 9000 for Business. I have zero issue with the Logitech--it's excellent. I'm just wondering-- is this Microsoft LifeCam Cinema even better? If you have any experience I'd be glad to here it as a comment here. Thanks.


LifeCam Cinema™ -- Meet the Inventor

ps--After reading some impressive Amazon.com reviews of this product, I've laid out a couple gift-certs I recieved for Christmas and have one of these heading my direction. Expect a video review sometime soon. ;-)

SIP Fundamentals Video

2.5 Hour Video on SIP Fundamentals that I thought was very good.

How to Collect Debug Information from a Patton Smartnode Gateway (Patton 4114)

Quick Video On How to Collect Debug Info From Patton Smartnode:

Here is the info You Want to copy into Putty telnet session:

debug gateway sip transport detail 5
debug gateway sip error detail 5
debug call-control detail 5
debug call-router detail 5
debug ccfxo
debug fxo

To output the running config type:
show running-config



3CX on Linux Rumors: "No plans for Linux ever"

If you see dubious looking ads that tout "3-c-x on Linux" you can safely be assured they are fake, says test and support engineer at 3CX. 3CX makes the 3CX Phone System for Windows as a replacement for various Asterisk renditions Windows savvy people used when they didn't have a Windows based phone system option.

Now there are multiple systems that run on Windows including 3CX, ObjectWorld/Addtran, Microsoft Office Communication Server, and pbxnsip. pbxnsip is unique in that it runs well on both Windows and Linux.

Nice Office Communicator Feature: Real Time Call Quality Monitoring

Another nice feature of Microsoft Office Communicator is that it shows you the quality of your internet connection.

pbxnsip Releases Paging and Music on Hold Application

This application allows you to stream music on hold to your PBX that accepts RTP music input. I haven’t gotten the chance to look at it yet but here are the links.

Manual
https://www.pbxnsipsupport.com/index.php?_m=downloads&_a=viewdownload&downloaditemid=106

Application download:
http://pbxnsip.com/download/pagmoh/pagmohinstaller.zip

Microsoft Office Communicator Optimized Computer? Lenovo is the First

We've been long time fans of ThinkPad laptops and it's interesting to see they are the only Microsoft Office Communicator Optimized laptop available. The Thinkpad T400 and T500 models have earned this designation.

3CX VoIP Phone To Get Video Capability

Vali over at 3CX noted that development has begun on video functionality for the 3CX VoIP Phone. If you have good ideas for the engineers over 3CX browse over to:

http://www.3cx.com/forums/3cxphone-video-support-features-12890.html

If you need video conferencing right now the X-Lite version 3 (free) does do video right now with 3CX and pbxnsip. You do need to start the video call after the call is in progress.

3CX Informally Announces Version 9 Direction, Features Roadmap

Leonidas Georgiou over at 3CX noted some features expected in 3CX version 9. If you are a 3CX client don't worry: 3CX is still moving at a dizzying pace and there will be plenty of features for your maintenance fees!

http://www.3cx.com/forums/3cx-roadmap-13078.html#p67469

Note: This information is only available to 3CX partners at this time. Talk to your partner to get these details.

2nd Note: An alert reader notified: Leonidas' post seems to have been deleted. My apologies.

Free Office Communicator Addon:5 Minute OCS Integration With Any SIP Based Based IP PBX!

Watch as I setup integration from snom SIP phone to OCS in 5 minutes.
I'm impressed!

(Note that while this version integrates to snom phones, in theory this type of integration could work with any SIP phone, according to addon maker SINC)



http://www.youtube.com/user/landiscomputer#p/a/u/0/FJM4LjuRdSA

OCS to SIP Phone Integration (OCS/PBX Integration Lite?)

Jan Boguslawski, over at http://ocsphoneguy.blogspot.com/, draws our attention to an incredible FREE OCS to SIP Phone integration. This integration allows you to connect Office Communicator to a SIP phone to make PBX calls directly from Communicator! While this integration is with snom phones something like this could be done with other standard SIP phones also.

Jan is very passionate and knowledgeable about OCS and I recommend you checkout his blog:
http://ocsphoneguy.blogspot.com/2009/10/scupa-remote-call-control-for-none.html

Here is the company website directly:
http://sinc.de/en/solutions/scupa/features.html

What Windows PBX Do You Use Survey: Surprising Results

I was a bit surprised by the "What PBX Do You Use" Survey.  I expected 3CX to come away by far the highest for several reasons: Active community, free edition and high amount of resellers and DIY'ers. pbxnsip hung in there and apparently the deadline squeaked some votes in at the last minute. Considering the 3 Asterisk and 3 Traditonal pbx votes, some people haven't been convinced to move to a Windows PBX yet! ;-)
 
Alright, fun survey and thanks to everyone that participated. Happy 2010!
Note: I should say this was a totally adhoc, amateur survey.