banner-ad

snom Phones Get Social Network Enabled: Twitter, RSS, Flickr & More

snom has done an "XML App World Cup" and the snom community has responded with a couple interesting applications to add value to snom phones. Now you can access twitter, RSS feeds, flickr photos, wikipedia & weather from your snom phone! There is also an interesting alarm clock app.

Below is a screenshot of the twitter app running on a snom 360. (360 resolution is kind of low, use 370 or higher in reality)


Below is a screenshot of the weather app (running on the snom 870 touch). Just run the app and type in your zip or city name!





Click Here to read more about &  install the apps on your snom phone.

If you want the source code you can link:
http://snomtwitter.codeplex.com/

Tip: Use the Polycom CX300/ Plantronics P540 USB Handset With Your Favorite IP PBX


An alert reader brought my attention to the fact that the Polycom CX300/Plantronics P540 can be used used with Counterpath's Bria softphone as a USB/PC/Softphone combination. You get both the benefits of a softphone (tight pc integration like click to dial) with the ability to just pick-up a phone call. Very interesting.

Below are comments:
I am not using the unit in combination with OCS but with Bria from Counterpath. In Bria all buttons are functional and the device is a good alternative to a hardphone. I use it in combination with an open-source SIP server.

Also, consider replacing the Polycom CX300 by Plantronics P540 because the Plantronics does Echo Cancellation, the Polycom relies on software to do it. I understood from Counterpath that the equal Plantronics P540, running firmware 01.10.6.12 has no echo problems.
One of the problems with a hardware based-phone is that it is still a bit hard to interact with the desk phone from your PC. Too hard/complex in my opinion. For example click to dial and smoothly discovering phone features (phone system and phone handset features). I think something like the Plantronics P540 combined with Counterpath's Bria may help to improve this. But the problem of a rebooting PC making the phone inoperable still exists.

I think perhaps the best solution would be a computer based "desk phone helper" application that brings a layer that makes the desk phone & phone system easier to use. Also, with this method the deskphone keeps working if there is no PC running--it just looses a layer of ease of use.

We are currently working on a desk phone helper application for snom phones that makes finding and using a lot of the cool features in your IP phone system easier for all users. For example: with snom ONE IP PBX to transfer a call to another extension's voicemail you need to dial on the phone, then prefix the extension the call is headed to with <8>, then dial the extension # and finally hit . With our helper application this becomes: select extension call is going to and click . This is much easier, requires no manual to figure out the star code and ANY user from day one can remember how to do it. This is just one example: most IP PBX's have a lot of star codes combinations you need to remember that no normal phone user can remember. This project is currently a research project but if you have interest your welcome to email us. (click on contact above)



Below is my quick video review of the Polycom CX300/Plantronics P540 I did a while back:
 

Do you think phone handset makers need to do better at making phone system features discoverable? I'd like to hear you input!

Software Based Phone System for Mac: snom ONE



On a whim I decided to see how easy it is to install snom ONE phone system on a Macbook. The answer is: VERY! Just about 5 minutes later the snom ONE pbx was humming away on my little white MacBook with an extension registered and ready to roll! Wow!

Yeah, I know this is a Windows blog...but I don't want Mac people to miss out on this good system! ;-)

The Mac based SIP Client/ Softphone you better not miss!
http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/search/label/blink

More Mac Phone System Stuff on this Blog:
http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/search/label/mac

Checkout the Mac snom install video above:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy3dTo3S5Qo

Various Thoughts, Opinions and Findings About Newly Released snom ONE IP Phone System


snom has released a very strong software based phone system offering call snom ONE. snom ONE is based on pbxnsip which has been in developement for about 10 years. snom ONE is an extremely mature and stable software based phone system (Windows, Linux, Mac). Our experience is that it will run months on end (on Windows!) with absolutely no "fiddling". Okay, It's stable.

It is also incredibly feature rich and snom is making that a key message to customers: snom ONE is a feature rich phone system...and you get ALL the features for one simple price. The breadth of features is no joke--snom ONE is loaded: mobile phone integration, call recording, user initiated call recording, BLF, vm to email, IVR, wakup call, OCS/Lync integration, Exchange integration, remote phones, call center features like whisper, call barge and listen, agent queues and on and on. snom's slogan "one system all features" is not an idle comment. This product is loaded with features.

I think the free edition (10 extension/no feature limits) and the licensing simplicity on the paid edition will be well received and appreciated by SMB market. snom also points out that if you have multiple locations you can use the 10 extension free edition at those locations while HQ may have a paid edition.

The Benefits
Some of the benefits I see from the move from pbxnsip to snom.
-Brand recognition
-Marketing and Mindshare
-Support Responsiveness can be improved
-Developement Dollars
-complete snom phone system packaging
-Name will be Easier on the tongue. (it probably won't become a verb like lync but...)
-Pricing matches SMB needs perfectly

What Will snom Need to Work at on the snom ONE phone system?

Features: Operator panel, PC User Client and Instant Message useability.
Ease of use: When you install snom One you can largely have a 10 extension system up and running in 15 minutes server wise. Gateway configuration will need to made more automated. Currently PSTN or T1 gateway configuration is entirely manual. Considering this is one of the trickiest things to get setup on a software based phone system I believe this will need some work.
Support: snom has stumbled a bit on support coming out of the gate but is quickly remedying the lack of a findable, dedicated forum and documentation for the snom ONE product. I also think adding accessible  and timely telephone support option (even a paid option) will be necessary to have a confident following.

Other questions you might have I've included below:

Q: will g729 be included?
A: Yes, in paid editions. Yellow=5, Blue=10. (source)

Q: Which phone handsets will be supported?
A: Only snom handset are supported (source)

Q: Will other UA's/SIP devices be locked out?
A: According to snom spokesperson: "Only a certain number of "third party" devices are tolerated on the different versions." (source) snom ONE product manager, Jonathan Greenwood, has verified that that free edition will limit non snom UA's to 5, yellow=10 and blue=40. snom is quick to note that if you need multi-vendor support there is still a pbxnsip solution that supports multi-vendor phone handsets and UA's.

Q: What will the pricing of snom ONE phone system be?
A: The pricing is extremely affordable. 10 extensions=Free! Yellow/20 extension=$895 and Blue/Unlimited extension=$1495 MSRP. I am noticing that distributors that carry snom are SKUing up numbers with ETA of November 12, 2010.

Q: Will snom ONE require yearly maintenance to stay on the latest version?
A: No definitive answer yet. One comment indicated updates will be gratis. This would match snom's current model related to snom handset firmware updates. The lack of snom ONE maintenance or renewal SKU's at distributors would seem to support this. On the flip side this is quite unusual to have no upgrade cost for a pure software PBX. (examples: Microsoft Lync, 3CX, pbxnsip)

Q: Will pbxnsip license holders be able to migrate to snom ONE?
A: They can but will loose the ability to pnp provision or connect phone handsets other than snom so it doesn't make a lot of sense to make that vertical move.

Q: What size company is snom ONE designed for?
A: According to snom the sweet spot is 4 to 150 users. It was interesting to note that over 150 users snom expects companies to be looking at something like Microsoft Lync. That is quite interesting and fits in with snom's OCS/Lync compatibility which I think is a great move.

Summary

My opinion is that pbxnsip joining snom is a great move. I am hoping that the snom will be able to find a good balance between "openess" & "closedness" in snom ONE and be able to provide responsive support in some fashion. snom ONE is an extremely sound, secure and feature rich product. I am excited about more people getting to know about this very good product.

Get your copy of snom ONE at:
http://www.snom.com/products/ip-pbx/snom-one-free/

Don't overlook our video training and other resources for snom ONE:
http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/p/snom-one-resources.html

Free 3CX SIP SoftPhone for Windows Gets New Features & Fixes in RC1


3CX has update their free SIP soft phone for Windows. The 3CX phone is a dial pad centric SIP soft phone that works with any standard SIP PBX as well as 3CX's own IP PBX. Since it is free there is no G729 but otherwise it has a nice set of features.

One of the interesting feature adds is BLF. They have also added the ability to copy and paste phone number into the soft phone. It also appears that Jabra headsets will now work with the 3CX phone. There are also some bug fixes and usability enhancements. Take a look at this soft phone.

Just a plug for those who may not know that I've co-written a book on the 3CX phone system. You can take a look and order it here. Also at our company we do phone system consulting so if your looking for assistance give us a call by the contact information at the top of this blog.



Read More on 3CX's Blog:
http://www.3cx.com/blog/releases/new-3cxphone-5-rc1/

Nortel 1535: Cheapest SIP Video Phone In the World: $42USD


I keep seeing this phone popping up at ridiculously low prices. Want to play with a videophone? Here is your chance. Nerdvittles has a good article:

http://nerdvittles.com/?p=703

Part 2 - Adding an Extension to Your snom ONE Phone System (video)

snom keeps improving the wiki and forum offering for their newly released snom ONE phone system. The snom ONE phone system is cross platform (linux, mac & windows) and there is a 10 extension free edition! This is no "freebee" quality phone system--its a truly enterprise grade system.

Below is a quick video on how to add an extension.


snom Tip: View Your Snom Phone Display Remotely Via Web Interface

Did you know you can view the screen of a snom deskphone remotely via the web? Just type in http://snomdeskphone_ip_address/screen.bmp. You will get a bmp of the phone screen! If there is an administrator password on the phone (which there better be! ;-) you will need to type that in one time.

Also I'm curious if I'm the only one that thinks it would be excellent if desk phone manufacturers would make "helper software" for the desktop computer to make tasks on the deskphone easier? Things like copy&paste dialing, easier access to pbx features (like intercom, call recording, transfer to voicemail, etc), perhaps add videostream to a non-video deskphone?

Blink: Free, High Quality, Multi-Platform SIP Client to be Released for Windows

If you are looking for a free, multi-platform, multi-modal, contact-centric SIP client with a solid SIP stack and refined user interface--look no further than Blink.

Blink also does conference calls, multiple simultaneous conferences, excellent multiple call handing, HD voice and Google contacts integration. Blink has a features call "bonjour" that allows people on the same network to communicate without a SIP server involved! (simple in house survivability?) Oh, I almost forgot that is has client call recording. To top everything off Blink has a very refined UI and even the sounds are very elegant and provide excellent feedback.

Here is my quick look at the beta of Blink for Windows:



There have also been hints by a Blink insider that there may be a mobile edition on the roadmap. No promises there.

The Blink SIP client combined with snom ONE small business phone system can make an entirely free and extremely high quality phone system. AG Projects (maker of Blink) will also host the back end SIP server for you.

Watch for the soon coming release of Blink for Windows:
www.icanblink.com

Twitter Blink for Windows Announcement:
http://twitter.com/agprojects/status/26938254867

Someone Is Attempting to Hack Into Your Windows (or Linux) Phone System Right Now


NOTE: The attacks mentioned below are equally targeted at Linux, Mac and Windows. SIP attack vulnerabilities are the same for all of them.

Your Windows PBX is just waiting to be hacked! I'm not kidding. I happen to be on a security kick right now. The other day I was monitoring the incoming SIP traffic on a network. Guess how long it went until some unknown IP address was trying to login to the PBX? Less than 10 minutes! In another case a small business using a voip phonesystem got a call from their phone company asking if they really wanted to be making calls to Nigeria?!!

Windows based phone system vendors are also becoming aware that security is not just "feature" to tick off and list along with hundreds of others but a core pillar of a robust communication solution.

3CX issued a big security fix for v9 of the 3CX phone system at the beginning of September to address some urgent vulnerabilities. According to 3CX "it is very important that you install this update asap". This is veiled language to mean if someone fires up SipVicious and points it at your unpatched 3CX PBX it can bring it to a crawl and render it unusable. Get patched.

pbxnsip has been paying quite a bit of attention to security for some time. Or as they put it "Security was not an afterthought and focused on since day 1." You can read more on pbxnsip security features here. Automatically blocking malicious IP addresses attempting to hack SIP passwords has been in place since v4.0. Thorough security breach notification system is in place via email notices, snmp or syslog. Since pbxnsip is a great fit for the SMB as well as large hosted implementations it is not surprising the focus on security is high.

This email always gives me a warm sense of security. ;-)

 I did a quick search of the Windows-based Yeastar BizPBX Administrator manual and the word security came up 3 times and never in relation to SIP attacks. A quick search of the 3CX phone system admin manual turns up 2 references to security. (I was a little surprised by that) Another Windows PBX from PCBest had no references to security in their manual. Contrast this to pbxnsip/snomONE's admin manual with no less than 25 references to security.

What can you do?

-Absolutely use secure SIP passwords
-Turn on PBX features to fend off SIP hacker attacks with (such as auto block IP address)
-Delete unused test extension accounts that aren't secured
-Have secure web users portal logins
-Limit registrations per extension to one
-Use secure SIP trunk passwords as well.
-Become familiar with a tool like sipvicious (links below)
-STAY ON MAINTENANCE for your PBX & keep it updated so you don't get taken down.

With phone system and communication solutions becoming easier and easier to implement and administrate the possbility that some business owner will install a phone system and have it in a very vulnerable state is highly possible. After a $500 SIP trunk bill for calls to Timbuktu or a phone system that is brought to crawl on your busiest day of the year because of DOS --security gets front top attention!
Is there anymore security measures you would add to this list? If so please comment below!

(aka Freindly Scanner)

Breaking News! snom Releases Mature Windows-Based Phone System!

This is huge news for the Windows PBX community!

snom is well known in the industry for their excellent SIP based handsets. The have now released snom ONE: a robust, full-featured and secure phone system. (Windows-based edition of course!)

http://www.snom.com/products/ip-pbx/snom-one/

Mature, Robust, Secure, Windows-Based and Free
Another amazing part of this announcement is that there is a 10 extension FREE edition of snom One! (extremely reasonably priced 20 and unlimited extension versions also!) This is the real deal with no limitations--AND IT IS MATURE SOFTWARE! I've seen other products given away free that are really beta level products. But we have installed this software in the field for over a year and extensively worked with it and it is a really mature phone system.

Random Thoughts About snomONE
Below is a screen shot of the system status screen in snomONE. I love this screen because you can really get insight into the system for the last 24 hours at one glance: CPU usage, Call volume and even Call Quality score!


Below is my first quick video randomly walking around some features in snomONE.


Where Do I Get Support?
Community Support Forum: http://forum.snom.com/ (I suggest putting your questions in the "general" forum)
Twitter: Join the twitter conversation using hashtag #snomONE
Commercial Paid Support for snomONE: http://www.landiscomputer.com/

snomONE is based on pbxnsip so you will also see a wealth of knowledge in the pbxnsip forum at http://forum.pbxnsip.com/.

Keep an eye on this blog for my analysis of this new developement!

Microsoft Will Add a Lync Client for Mac Along with Mac Messenger Client


Since I am now the owner of a small, feminine, Macbook as wells as a large, black, masculine, Win7 Thinkpad I need to bring you this news: There will be a Mac Lync client.

Mary Jo Foley's Comments about the Mac Lync Client:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/microsoft/microsoft-to-add-communicator-client-for-mac-to-its-lync-line-up/7478?tag=mantle_skin;content

PS-If you are looking for a good, free, SIP UC client for Mac I suggest you take a look at Blink. Read about it on this blog.

RFID, SIP Phone, XML & Windows PBX Makes Interesting Mashups Possible!

I think the integration of phone systems and business managment software is still WAY too seperated. In the quick video below cingusoft show an interesting possibilty using a $80 RFID reader, an XML enabled SIP phone and a Windows PC. (ignore the corny introduction)

Let this example get your creative side pondering.



I know a while back I talked to a 3CX VAR who was working on a hospital phone system that would locate personnel via RFID and ring the nearest extension to them! Interesting possibilities with these kind of mashups.

Where to get RFID stuff:
http://www.phidgets.com/index.php
http://intelleflex.com/Products.DevelopersKit.asp