Can I bring my iPhone to work today

Hey boss! Can I bring my iPhone to work today?

As smartphone usage is getting more intense and our device becomes essentially a body part, it’s no wonder why ‘Bring Your Own Device’ has become a living nightmare for the enterprise.

Remember that time when your workplace was the first to deploy innovative technology? Computers, monitors, office phones, voicemails, car phones, you name it – all of these were initially adopted by enterprises wishing to make their employee’s work more productive. New technology was taken as a professional perk, and employees were happily adopting it to their own benefit as well as that of the company.

C-level managers loved it… Why? Well, not only because they could easily hand-out new technology to employees who adored them in return, but mainly since they had full control over their employees’ communication. Your boss could make sure you weren’t saving confidential material where you really shouldn’t; Your IT manager could keep track of how many calls you were having with your wife. But then came the iPhone.

Can I bring my iPhone to work today

When work gets tough, the tough get to work

We live in a world where sending a WhatsApp message to a potential customer or investor can be better than an email. We have our colleagues’ numbers and emails stored on our smartphones. And gods forbid, some of us even have Dropbox access to our office files and folders. New technology now arrives at the consumer’s front door way before a workplace even thinks about taking it seriously. People want to use their devices to their full extent, even more so while working. The result? Absolute chaos.

The secret war between you and your boss

Striving to keep up with the extraordinary pace of new devices and services, companies are becoming quite desperate. In some cases, a workplace is intelligent enough to respect the need for mobile access and provide mobile VPN access, or transfer corporate emails to the cloud. But at the same time, IT departments are forced to obsessively block websites and online services throughout the organization, just to keep everyone focused at work. There is a battle going on between you and your workplace, and we already know the winner…

Deloitte tmt predictions

Source: Deloitte TMT Predictions 2015 @ Deloitte Canada, SlideShare

Enterprise mobile apps make peace

What if I told you about a mobile app that allows you to call your co-workers without even having their numbers stored on your phone? And what if I told your C-level management they could still have analytics of corporate phone calls, even when their employees are making phone calls from their smartphone, like they want to?

VocaNOM powered by AudioCodes is a brand new speech driven mobile app for the enterprise. It allows employees to call coworkers by simply saying their name. Corporate contacts are securely stored on the cloud for easy access, and call analytics are automatically generated. Your employee’s Siri just got a whole lot better. Bring your own device? Our pleasure! 

 

AudioCodes will be showcasing the VocaNOM mobile app at the Mobile World Congress, 2015 in Barcelona.

To schedule a short meeting, visit our website or feel free to drop me a line!

MobilityPLUS MVNO Service Architecture

Google Project Fi Challenges Incumbent MVNOs

Mobile communication is a competitive space where operators are striving to introduce new services to better compete with OTT and increase ARPU.

On the other end, mobile operators are looking to reduce their operating costs. One way to do so while also increasing user satisfaction is by enabling WiFi calling in their networks.

Earlier this year, competition in the US got even stronger with Google’s announcement of Project Fi. In essence, Google became an MVNO. Will they go global with Project Fi? If the pilot in the US succeeds, why shouldn’t they?

Project Fi

For Project Fi, Google partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile, using their LTE data networks. Users of Project Fi can make voice calls and send text messages over WiFi or the cellular data network with a seamless switchover between the networks. A call that started on a user’s home WiFi network will automatically switch over to Sprint or T-Mobile’s cellular network f when the user steps out of the house.

Putting the address book in Google’s cloud allow users access to the service also from their PCs and tablets.

Google also changed the standard cost model, offering a low-cost, monthly fee of $20 for unlimited domestic voice and text, unlimited international text and coverage in over 120 countries. Data runs at $10 per 1 GB. If not all the data is used, Google refunds the user for the unused portion of the package.

If Google is now an MVNO, where does this leave incumbent MVNOs?

MVNOs should innovate their services

MVNOs work differently than Google did in building Project Fi.

The typical MVNO buys voice, text and data in bulks from operators, puts their own service management on top and resells it to users at a lower cost than that offered by the operators.

Project Fi on the other hand, offers a device that uses only the data network (cellular or WiFi). Thus the service is part of the device dialer and operational costs for Google are lower.

The challenge for MVNOs in offering a service similar to Project Fi include:

  • The need to replace the device dialer to optimize user experience
  • The network should be able to receive calls on behalf of the user and direct them to his device as a VoIP call
  • Switching between cellular data and WiFi should be automatic and seamless. This needs to be supported both on the device and in the network.

 

AudioCodes’ MobilityPlus, provides MVNOs a way to realize this transition.

MobilityPLUS MVNO Service Architecture

Client side

The solution comprises of mobile clients that MVNOs can adopt and configure to be the default dialer of the Android device they offer to their customers.

The SIM card offered to the users will have cellular data services only, while the phone number is managed by the network. The device switches between cellular data and WiFi as required.

The dialer application includes AudioCodes advanced voice quality enhancement algorithms together with with modern voice codecs with error resiliency.

Network side

The network side includes AudioCodes SBC and an application that manages the user’s identity.  It places and receives calls on the user’s behalf and bridges between the VoIP network and other networks of termination partners, ensuring users can call destinations globally regardless of the operator they are using.

Switching between cellular data and WiFi is also supported by the network, allowing for in-call switch over.

Conclusion

Switching to pure IP based services allows MVNOs to reduce operation costs.  They won’t need to pay for the use the operator’s voice network by minutes but rather will use the cellular data only when the user is not connected to WiFi.

As competition in mobile market intensifies due to new offerings such as that of Google, cost reduction translates into the ability to reduce churn.

Are you stuck in the fog on your way to the cloud

Are You Stuck in the Fog on Your Way to the Cloud?

Are you stuck in the fog on your way to the cloud

A practical approach to migrating (the right) users to Cloud PBX

Many organizations are stuck in the fog of complexity as they move towards the promise of communications in the cloud. Recent Microsoft announcements surrounding enterprise voice for Skype for Business in the cloud have caused significant waves – and no small amount of confusion – in the market.  Cloud PBX and PSTN calling will undoubtedly have a dramatic impact on the way organizations communicate.  Since the online offering doesn’t yet have all the features of Skype for Business server, it is important that enterprises evaluate needs carefully and plan their users’ migration to the cloud accordingly.  (For those looking to dig even deeper, please see AudioCodes’ White Paper: To Cloud or not to Cloud? A Practical Guide for Embracing the Communications Future.)

If you’ve already deployed Lync, Skype for Business, or are seriously considering doing so, you may be compelled to start migrating some users – likely those who may not need the full feature set of the server – to the cloud. The good news is the migration can be done gradually and smoothly.  The AudioCodes solution set provides a practical approach, addressing the reality of today with the cloud’s promise of tomorrow. 

What is Cloud PBX?

Cloud PBX is the set of Call Management features of Skype for Business Online, which is the new version of Lync Online and is the Microsoft hosted version of Skype for Business Server. It is part of Office 365 and is included in selected E-Suite Plans. Cloud PBX includes a subset of the PBX features available in the server edition, enabling such things as outbound and inbound calling through on-premises PSTN Connectivity (using local service providers or local telephony systems) or through a Microsoft  PSTN Calling Plan (available only in select regions).

Challenges and practical considerations in the transition to Cloud PBX

As of December 2015, the lack of feature parity between the online and on-premises offerings remains significant.  Among the main features not included online are branch survivability, response groups, location based routing, call admission control, analog devices, common area phone, and integration with on-premises PBX (can be achieved when using on-prem software such as Cloud Connector or Skype for Business server).  Given that reality, the first step in the migration process is to profile your users and understand which ones should be included in the first migration batch.

In planning a migration strategy to Cloud PBX, several practical considerations need to be taken into account:

1) Which users do you want to migrate to the cloud? How many people really need all the PBX features? How many people outside the office (on the road) can be satisfied by the cloud features?

2) Do you have an existing on-premises telephony infrastructure that you want to co-exist with or gradually migrate away from? (Call center, PBX, IPPBX, etc.)

3) Do you have devices (faxes, video rooms, analog devices) that you need to continue to use?

4) Do you need to maintain local connectivity to the PSTN (existing contracts, or availability, regulatory and Quality of Service reasons for branch offices)? 

Getting the Cloud Right: A Practical Approach

Taking into account the considerations noted above, perhaps the most important thing to do is develop a clear voice migration strategy. Such a strategy would comprise of several stages including assessing corporate requirements (firstly in the headquarters), building an infrastructure that meets those requirements, migrating relevant users to the cloud and finally, expanding that migration by assessing the needs of branch offices, building a corresponding infrastructure and migrating branch users to the cloud as required.  We here at AudioCodes leverage the following model when helping our customers build their strategy: 

Assess – Inventory Your Profiles

In this initial state, it is important that the organization understands its requirements. This is the opportunity to pause and analyze what users are doing, what their needs are and which users can stay local and which can be moved to the cloud. Once the requirements are understood, a hybrid strategy can be developed to build the appropriate infrastructure, adopted to the organization’s needs today and its plans for the future.

Build a Hybrid Platform and Migrate Information Workers First

Once the requirements have been mapped out, an infrastructure need to be built that addresses the needs identified in the assessment stage. The solution is a hybrid platform that is both versatile and flexible, one that can meet not only today’s requirements but ensure that the investment made now can be leveraged for the coming years as well.

With a flexible hybrid platform in place, it’s time to take a second look at the users that were profiled in the assessment stage and choose the first batch of users to be moved to the cloud.

Expand Rollout to the Branches

With the platform deployed and the first users moved to the cloud, the organization can begin examining the needs of its remote branches. An assessment similar to the one done in the assessment stage at HQ may be warranted for the branches as there may be different requirements to consider, including resiliency needs and custom applications such as IVR and contact centers. An assessment should be done as to whether a hybrid platform is needed to meet those requirements. 

Migrating Gradually with AudioCodes CloudBond 365

To facilitate the migration to Cloud PBX, AudioCodes takes a gradual approach based on the steps noted above and proposes a unique solution that enables the transition of some users to the cloud, but also allows other users to enjoy the full feature-set of Skype for Business server.

AudioCodes CloudBond 365TM, the next generation of the One Box 365TM, is a modular, adaptable solution for the data center, customer premises or the branch. A versatile all-in-one Skype for Business appliance designed for hybrid environments, it combines the best of the Skype for Business server, the cloud-PBX and the service provider’s voice services.  It is available as a hardware appliance (Standard, Pro and Enterprise Box Editions) or as a Virtual Appliance.

The CloudBond 365TM provides a fully integrated solution.  When necessary, it has the required Skype for Business servers built in, including the front end, mediation, monitoring, edge and reverse proxy servers.  The appliance also contains an embedded Windows server 2012 R2 and an embedded SQL Server Standard 2012, as well additional virtual machines for trusted 3rd party applications. The CloudBond 365TM Box Editions have built in gateway and session border controller (SBC) capability as well as a host of specialized tools including Office 365 and Active Directory connectors, a deployment wizard, and IP Phone management software.

CloudBond 365TM connects and syncs with Office 365 and the local Active Directory, allowing for voice enablement and an easy setup of voice policies.  Skype for Business users can be registered on CloudBond 365’s Skype for Business server Front End or in Microsoft’s Cloud PBX and can be moved at any time in both directions, providing tremendous flexibility. For users that were migrated to the Cloud PBX, the appliance provides the required mediation, edge and PSTN/SIP trunking connectivity.

The Ideal Bridge

CloudBond 365TM is the ideal bridge for a gradual, smooth migration to full cloud-based connectivity, allowing companies to migrate at their own pace, moving from an on-premises PBX infrastructure to a true hybrid structure. While the Microsoft cloud offering is still evolving into a viable PBX replacement, AudioCodes’ solution exists today, creating the critical bond between today’s UC and the cloud of tomorrow.  For enterprises that want to leverage the flexibility, dynamicity and economical model of cloud services, but still need the power and control of the more traditional on-premises model, the wait is over. You can have tomorrow’s UC today!

For more information, see our Application Note: Getting the Cloud Right – A Practical Guide

BroadSoft-AudioCodes

Defining the Future at BroadSoft Connections 2015

 

AudioCodes All-IP TransformationBroadSoft Connections is one of the highlights of the telecom industry year, bringing together service providers from all over the world to learn about new developments and technologies at one of the busiest events for this community. The day before it opened, I had the chance to chat briefly with Michael Tessler, CEO and President of BroadSoft, while he was on his way to the Ballroom. Michael expressed his excitement about the great turnout and scale of BroadSoft Connections this year. As Michael mentioned in his opening session, BroadSoft powers 41% of UCaaS seats globally, so the popularity of the event is no surprise to us. AudioCodes was honored to be a Platinum Plus sponsor this year, allowing us to have a larger presence and to showcase our hot topic of “All-IP Transformation” with perfect timing.

The process of transforming to an all-IP network is at a pivotal stage and was a key discussion point during our meetings with service providers. Service providers are looking for ways to migrate their ISDN infrastructure to pure IP in a simple but reliable way without hefty spending. This was also the main topic of conversation at the Network Transformation breakout session, where together with BroadSoft and Cavell, I had the opportunity to discuss the main message that “there is more to IP Transformation than just SIP Trunking”. In other words, service providers can leverage the process of migrating their existing ISDN network to build the necessary infrastructure and develop plans for expanding their service offering and increasing ARPU.

 

BroadSoft-AudioCodes

Some other highlights of the event included:

  • BroadSoft’s announcement that it has selected AudioCodes’ SBCs for the BroadCloud SIP Trunking service. SBCs are considered an essential element of SIP trunking services – offering interoperability, security and high quality of service as well as enabling the delivery of new, additional services in the future.
  • Our NFV demonstration at the booth was a big hit. By using NFV tools we can deploy a Virtual CPE where local functions such as router, firewall and SBC are instantiated from the cloud, up to the point where on-premises devices will auto-configure themselves with the BroadWorks platform.
  • The debut of AudioCodes’ new, high-scale analog gateway – the MP-1288. The event was the first time our customers could see this new device that addresses mid-market enterprises and verticals such as hospitality, healthcare and education. The MP-1288 enables enterprises to continue using their existing cabling and analog phones when migrating to hosted PBX solutions thus avoiding the costs of a rip-and-replace upgrade.

 

After countless discussions and meetings, we left the event truly inspired by how the BroadSoft community is defining the future of the service provider industry.

 

See you next year!

Fax and VoIP

Decommissioning your PSTN? Take Your Fax Machine Along

The Fax machine dilemma when migrating to VoIP

Fax and VoIP

WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook, Twitter, email… We have all of these, so who needs a Fax?

This might be a common first reaction to the inclusion of a Fax in the title of this post but many enterprises and small to medium business still rely on Faxes today for many operations and they are not willing to give them up when they move to VoIP.

“I need to keep my fax machine”-  makes some service providers cringe when they hear these words coming from their business customers, and as it turns out, they hear these words a lot.

As businesses transition to VoIP and unified communications, mainly around the carriers PSTN migration to All IP initiatives, they demand a reliable and efficient fax solution be part of these initiatives. The business customer may prefer to receive faxes electronically via E-mail with a fax server or a fax service, but for hardcopy documents that need to be delivered, the fax machine is the easiest and preferred method. With vertical markets such as healthcare, legal, finance, government and education relying heavily on the fax, it’s critical for businesses to implement a solution for their fax machines that will continue to render them reliable and secure as they move to VoIP.

When service providers are faced with the need to deploy fax machines in a VoIP environment, they typically turn to one of the following options, and quickly find each has their own challenges.

  • Implement an ATA that supports T.38 or G.711. These standard ATAs work great for voice calls when connected to a phone, but T.38 and G.711 have been known to have issues with transmitting faxes over the Internet. Whether the problem is packet loss, jitter or latency, any of these reasons can cause a fax to fail. Not only is the reliability compromised, but the security of the fax is as well.
  • Leave a POTS line connected to each fax machine. Sure the fax machine will continue to be reliable and secure, but the VoIP provider is no longer offering a VoIP solution with this option. In many cases, the customer now receives a separate phone bill from the incumbent phone provider. Not only does the VoIP provider lose business to their competitors, but the customer loses money by paying higher prices for POTS lines.

In addition to the above, with the latest PSTN sunset winds blowing, this option is becoming less and less relevant ….

The HTTPS Fax ATA Solution

The AudioCodes HTTPS Fax ATA gives VoIP service providers a reliable and secure solution for their customers’ fax machines as they move to VoIP.  With more than 100,000 Fax ATAs in production today, the stack of success stories is constantly growing as businesses move to VoIP and take their fax machines with them.

Here are some of the highlights of this solution:

Fax ATA

  • Reliability: Using real-time HTTPS to transmit the fax over the Internet rather than T.38 or G.711, the issues of latency, packet loss and jitter are non-existent. This reliability has allowed customers to implement the Fax ATA in even the most diverse Internet environments such as satellite, cellular and Wi-Fi.
  • Security: The patented technology behind the HTTPS(S) Fax ATA solution gives providers the ability to encrypt the fax via SSL. This is a key benefit for industries that need to meet compliancy standards such as HIPAA and SOX.
  • Compatibility: The Fax ATA Connector software integrates with any fax server or fax service via API or T.37. Customers have deployed the Fax ATA solution with fax servers from FaxBack, OpenText, Sagemcom, etc.

More information about the AudioCodes HTTPS Fax ATA solution can be found at: www.faxata.com

Cards

We Lay Our Cards On The Table

Cards

AudioCodes SBC under the Miercom microscope

Quite often companies prefer to keep their cards close to their chest, no need to open up the product for others to find its soft points. We decided to take a different approach and let an independent 3rd party company put our products under attack, pushing their performance, resiliency and security to their boundaries. We are now putting our cards on the table giving everyone access to the results of these tests. The full Miercom report can be found here.

For this purpose we asked Miercom to run our SBCs through their brutal tests and report their results.

Miercom is a US-based network consultancy company, specializing in networking and communications-related product testing and analysis.

The products to be tested were the Mediant 4000B, Mediant 9000 and Mediant VE (Virtual Edition) Session Border Controllers. End result is a certification we received from Miercom for our SBCs’ performance, scalability and resiliency while under attack and overload conditions. The tests also verified the SBCs’ WebRTC Gateway functionality and monitoring capabilities with AudioCodes Session Experience Manager (SEM).

The AudioCodes Mediant SBCs

AudioCodes’ Mediant family of Session Border Controllers (SBC) is a line of versatile IP communications platforms that connect VoIP and TDM networks. SBCs are deployed at the border between the enterprise and the service provider. In the enterprise environment, they form an effective demarcation point between the business’s VoIP network and the service provider’s SIP Trunk, performing SIP protocol mediation and media handling (interoperability) and securing the enterprise VoIP network. In the service provider core, SBCs provide security and protocol normalization. Given this role, the performance, reliability and security of the SBC is imperative for successful operation of enterprise and service provider voice networks.

Miercom findings

“AudioCodes’ SBCs exhibit rich interoperability along with impressive performance and resiliency.”

AudioCodes Mediant SBCs offer advanced security capabilities that enable security detection, protection and analysis. They have a built-in application level IDS (Intrusion Detection System) feature that detects and suppresses malicious attacks directed at the SBC. Reactions can include blacklisting the assaulting IP addresses for a user-defined period of time and/or sending alerts (SNMP traps) with full details of the suspected malicious activity.

“The Mediant SBCs have proved fully resilient against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on both signaling and RTP/media ports, maintaining excellent MOS ratings and with no dropped calls or system degradation.”

AudioCodes SBC VNF

Ideally, all of the functionalities that are available within an appliance-based SBC should also be available within an NFV (Network Function Virtualization) version. While this may seem straightforward, some vendors struggle to deliver due to legacy product architectures which rely on hardware-specific feature implementations. This leads to challenges in assuring adequate performance and quality of service without purpose-built hardware.

AudioCodes Mediant VE can run as a Virtualized Network Function (VNF) in an NFV environment. It is one of the first SBC VNFs proven by Miercom to deliver effective protection against DDoS attacks, sustaining high performance while under heavy attack without sacrificing call quality.

AudioCodes NFV-based SBC provides full parity with traditional appliance-based SBC products, in large part because it has been available on leading industry x86 platforms since 2012. The virtual SBC design and software implementation allow it to protect against attacks without the need for purpose-built hardware.

To read the entire report, or for more details on how the tests were carried out, please refer to the full Miercom reports available on our website.

Skype for Business-To Cloud or Not to Cloud

Skype for Business: To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

Assessing the state-of-the-market following Microsoft’s announcements on enterprise voice in the cloud for Skype for Business

Skype for Business-To Cloud or Not to Cloud

Recent Microsoft announcements surrounding enterprise voice for Skype for Business in the cloud caused significant waves in the market.  Cloud PBX and PSTN calling will have a dramatic impact on the ecosystem. Yet, real parity between the on-premises Skype for Business Server and the online offering will still take a few years and many companies have concerns about making an immediate full transition to the cloud. These include:

  • Availability and regulatory issues requiring local PSTN connectivity
  • The current Online enterprise voice feature set is limited
  • Quality of Service over the open Internet can be problematic
  • Customers may not be in a rush to forgo existing contracts and working network devices
  • Customers may prefer a gradual migration of users to the cloud

Microsoft understood this and implemented a strategy to offer a solution for this market reality. At the July 2015 WPC event, Microsoft provided more details regarding deployment options. By offering a hybrid solution, where cloud-based PBX services are complemented by an enterprise’s on-premises based PSTN connectivity, Microsoft took their customers’ concerns into account. Their approach includes four deployment options, the middle two being hybrid versions:

  • Skype for Business Server On-premises: Users are registered to the local Skype for Business server; call management and PSTN connectivity are based on-premises. The Exchange Server is on- premises and there is no Office 365 connection.
  • Skype for Business Hybrid: Some users are registered to the Skype for Business Server (this could be in an appliance or in a private cloud) and some users are registered to Skype for Business Online. User identity is synchronized with Office 365 and voice mail is in Exchange Online.
  • Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN: Users are registered to Skype for Business Online where the call management is handled by the Cloud PBX, but PSTN connectivity (also known as “bring your own carrier”) is handled on-premises through a local gateway or appliance.
  • Cloud PBX with PSTN Calling: Users are registered to Skype for Business Online and are on a Microsoft provided PSTN calling service, all managed by the Microsoft cloud.

Given that reality, a wise deployment of Skype for Business will mix on-premises functionality for corporate and call center users, allowing integration with legacy systems with initial deployment of cloud services. This will lay the foundation for a smooth transition to the full cloud solution down the line. The best way to protect the enterprise’s current investments, ensure a full enterprise voice feature set, guarantee that all company branches around the world are serviced and comply with regulations, is with a hybrid solution which offers the best of both worlds and allows the benefits of Unified Communications today with a secure and smooth migration to voice in the cloud when fully available.

Want to learn more about these 4 options and which one best fits your needs download this white paper – A practical guide for embracing the communications future.

Privacy Security

What Do You Know about OTT Voice Usage in Your Enterprise?

Encryption doesn’t always equal privacy

IT departments have all the means necessary to manage voice communication over the enterprise network and know the ins and outs of those communications. Some enterprises have compliance requirements to which they must adhere, some have security considerations and others have reasons to “know what’s happening in their network”.

With traditional VoIP systems, achieving the above is relatively a simple task.

However, OTT VoIP traffic is a different story. And in the case of OTT, most enterprises settle with one of the following options:

  • Block it
  • Live with the reality

The question is, are these the only two options available and what do enterprises really want to do about OTT VoIP?

Border TURN server

Some enterprises are adding a new entity to the border of their network, a border TURN server that forces all VoIP media traffic to go through it. This includes enterprise managed VoIP as well as OTT. VoIP media that doesn’t go through the border TURN server is blocked.

Adding this entity and blocking all VoIP media that doesn’t go through the border TURN server creates a problem for WebRTC communication because only one TURN server address can be provided for the peer connection establishment procedure. Since many services require media to go through an application TURN server, the border TURN server is left out of the flow and media that doesn’t go through, is blocked.

In a post I published last week together with Dan Burnett (co-editor of WebRTC standards) on WebRTCStandards.info (where we publish updates about what takes place at IETF and W3C with regards to WebRTC), we talked about RETURN. In a nutshell, RETURN encapsulates two TURN servers into one by adding the border TURN server as a configuration option to browsers. Details and illustrations can be found in the original post.

Since WebRTC media is always encrypted, what is the point in requiring it to pass through the border TURN server?

What can be extracted from encrypted communication?

Privacy SecuritySince all media flows through the border TURN server, there are some basic things it can “know” – such as the source, destination and length of a call.

With this knowledge, the server can block calls from black listed addresses, limit/monitor call duration and collect this information.

These capabilities are pretty basic and I wanted to know if there was more a border TURN server can detect in an encrypted media stream. To better understand, I turned to Yossi Zadah (who is already well known on this blog) and to Ilan Shallom. Ilan is a Professor at Ben-Gurion University and founder of a speech recognition company that today is part of AudioCodes. His technology is the brain behind our VocaNOM solution.

Some might be surprised to learn that there is a significant amount of information that can be extracted from an encrypted media stream. There are studies that show it is possible to identify the language of the conversation. Other studies show it is possible to unveil the identity of the speakers on such a call and even create approximate transcripts of encrypted VoIP calls by identifying words in the stream.

There is also a thesis specifically relating to Skype using Silk (from back in 2011) that details information that can be learned from such conversations.

Key Takeaways

  • Border TURN servers are being deployed at enterprises. Though they impose problems on WebRTC communication, RETURN is planned by the IETF as a solution.
  • Given the limitations border TURN servers impose on OTT traffic, my personal view is that they would be counterproductive in most cases as they limit Bring Your Own OTT (BYOO) in the enterprise
  • If you thought that your WebRTC call is private…think again.
The Service Provider Opportunity

The Era of Hosted Services

AudioCodes-White-Paper-Hosted-Voice-UC-Services

GET THE WHITE PAPER

A casual observer looking at recent research regarding market trends may reach the conclusion that the era of hosted services is already here. Whether or not this new age is upon us or we still have some way to go before we get there, the trends clearly show that this is where the market is headed.  It is safe to assume that many (perhaps most?) Telcos and Service Providers are currently evaluating deploying hosted services. Many are already offering them.

While the shift to hosted services brings clearly recognized advantages there are challenges as well. Deploying hosted services for business customers is not an easy task. The move from legacy connectivity services to fully hosted options requires a change in sales, provisioning and support models. A recent AudioCodes white paper entitled Maximize Your Hosted Voice and UC Servicestook a close look at this issue, covering a set of best practices that are based on experiences of Service Providers who have already successfully deployed hosted services and were able to adapt to take advantage of the growing opportunity. 

What are business customers looking for?

The key to a successful deployment is to understand the needs of the business customers. In many cases business customers do not understand technology and products. But they do recognize the need for advanced solutions and services that provide value added far beyond just basic connectivity. Business customers want to reduce costs, especially small to medium businesses whose limited resources force them to outsource maintenance and upgrades to third party experts.  They have concerns about security issues such as the security of the data being stored in the Service Provider cloud and the internal security of the business network. They have concerns about productivity and are always looking to provide the right tools and communications environment to their employees in order to get the job done. And finally, businesses must communicate effectively with their customers and suppliers. When a customer calls a business, they expect an instant response. An unreachable business, even for just a few minutes, will reduce customer satisfaction and eventually cost the business money.

The Service Provider Opportunity

The Service Provider Opportunity

All of these concerns can be handled well by the Service Provider hosted services model.  Hosted Voice and Unified Communications services provide an excellent opportunity for the Service Provider to address their business customers that are shifting away from legacy telephony and offer them a new and attractive value proposition. Not only can Service Providers retain their business customers, they can also benefit from new revenue opportunities as the market shifts from on-premises PBX to a hosted model which is far more attractive in terms of pricing and features. New value added services that are offered as part of the hosted model can include much more than standard PBX features, providing the Service Provider increased services revenues through licensing models. Service Providers can also optimize network costs. A simple and easy to manage hosted services solution will result in lower complexity and reduction of CAPEX. This can be achieved by using high interoperability devices, auto management and quality assurance systems.

Learning Best Practices from Successful Deployments – Read More

The business communication market has been shifting for some time from legacy telephony services to hosted services models and by 2018 it is expected that 75% of new business lines deployment will be hosted lines.  So the opportunity is there. To learn more about Service Provider’s best practices when deploying hosted service, see the AudioCodes White Paper: Maximize Your Hosted Voice and UC Services”.

TheVia Group

Enterprise Connect – Partner Day

Day 2 of Enterprise Connect was a day for partner meetings – getting to know the various systems integrators and reseller partners that are supporting Microsoft and AudioCodes.

First stop was a visit with Chris Riggenbach, UC Team Lead at NACR.   Chris is responsible for the strategy and technical lead for UC solutions that include Microsoft and a number of other software vendors.   As a large national partner, NACR has a unique capability to support large geographically diverse businesses and offer complex solutions to improve collaboration and communications efficiencies with services and solutions.

Bob IT hero visiting NACR

Another stop along my day was visiting with The Via Group, a full-service partner based in Houston.   As an early adopter of AudioCodes One Box 365, they’ve crafted a complete bundled solution for business that includes services, devices and connectivity, bought using a OPEX model that makes buying easy.   The Via Group is also working with One Source Networks solution, a cloud based data and voice communications solution that can deliver services globally.

Bob IT hero visiting The Via Group

My final stop for the day was looking into contact center solutions for my Lync deployment with a visit to Acqueon, who have AiQ a Lync-integrated multi-channel contact center offering that supports quality management along with both inbound and outbound traffic.

Bob IT hero visiting Acqueon

Looking forward to Wednesday and the keynotes from Microsoft and Google. Be sure to check back again tomorrow!