Call recording

Skype for Business Recording Made Easy

Call recording

SmartTAP is AudioCodes’ Skype for Business recording platform that offers users a wide range of recording and deployment options, no matter how their Skype for Business network is deployed.  From a simple cloud-based deployment to a more complex hybrid deployment utilizing both cloud and customer premise deployment options, SmartTAP can record customer conversations in an economical, integrated AudioCodes environment.

SmartTAP supports Microsoft Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) for cloud-based environments and can be deployed with any AudioCodes CCE instance.  The key is in the integration between AudioCodes’ SmartTAP and the Mediant platforms where key information and voice paths are exchanged to provide a seamless recording solution.  In a more advanced deployment like a Skype for Business hybrid solution, SmartTAP integrates with CloudBond 365 to provide a completely seamless recording solution and supports all levels of recording including remote users, telephone users, client users and mobility users, all from a single platform.  SmartTAP securely stores Skype for Business recordings in a safe, encrypted format and through digital signature, tracks and prevents any original recording from being tampered with.

 

Skype for Business Deployment Recording Solution
Customer Premise SmartTAP

Supports all call types

Cloud Solution SmartTAP + CCE Appliance

Supports inbound/outbound calls

Hybrid SmartTAP + CloudBond365

Supports all call types

 

SmartTAP also makes it easy to deploy recording for any Skype for Business customer.  Through SmartTAP’s integrated Skype for Business Toolbar, any user can record on demand or save on demand, as well as tag any recording for specific information, directly from their Skype for Business client.  This makes it easy and economical to record conversations and keep them secure and centrally located.  SmartTAP is another quality solution from AudioCodes that expands the power of your Skype for Business deployment and offers an integrated solution at a fraction of the cost of competitors.

To learn more about SmartTAP, click here:

To learn more about AudioCodes Skype for Business Solutions, click here:

 

Come visit us at Microsoft Ignite 2016, September 26-30 in Atlanta, Georgia, at Booth #409.

Want to learn more about our Skype for Business solutions? Click here to request a meeting with our experts at the show.

Unable to attend Ignite but interested in speaking with us? Click here or visit our website or contact your local AudioCodes representative.

UC Innovation Unleashed

Moving your users to the cloud

You have made the decision to migrate to the cloud, now what?

AudioCodes User Pack Management Pack 365 helps move your users to the cloud

Moving your users to the cloud

In today’s age of cloud communications – driven in large part by the attractiveness of Microsoft’s Cloud PBX – the pull to move to the cloud is strong. Organizations large and small are spending significant time, energy, and money to determine if and how cloud fits into their communications strategy. Though not quite to the level of agony, it certainly isn’t a straightforward decision process with many things to consider, pro’s here and con’s there. I will save that discussion for another day and assume you have already made the decision to start your migration to the cloud. So, what’s next?

This is a question I get asked on a surprisingly frequent basis. Many companies see the decision to move to the cloud as the most difficult in the overall process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case – taking that first step, moving that first group of users, often creates a challenge – unknown complexities, hidden challenges, user pushback, lack of required skills, and just being overwhelmed at the whole idea.  I will focus the remainder of the discussion around the ‘lack of skills required’ challenge as it tends to be one of the key roadblocks to success during the actual migration process.

I have seen many organizations struggle to manage users by leveraging a combination of PowerShell scripts, admin portals and other point tools to set policies and migrate users. It’s not that these methods don’t work – they can, it is more related to depth of skillset required, disparity of interface, and lack of automation. PowerShell itself is an amazingly powerful utility – but one that requires a fair amount of effort to master. Imagine turning over the migration and day to day user management via PowerShell to your helpdesk. Not often a recipe for success.

If only there was a solution in the market that would provide ‘one click’ simplicity to take current users and get them into the cloud, enable the right policies, and automate much of the day to day? Spoiler alert, AudioCodes new User Management Pack 365 – born from the CloudBond 365 solution – is that solution.

By consolidating your various ‘forests’ across prem and cloud into a consolidated web UI, UMP365 provides a single interface to complete the migration and subsequent full user lifecycle and identify management. Hybrid Cloud Simplicity.

Over the past several years, the ‘brains’ for UMP365 has been finely tuned by powering the user management capabilities built into CloudBond 365 – the industry leading all-in-one hybrid solution for Skype for Business. Realizing the need to help companies take that next step no matter their current Microsoft Lync or Microsoft Skype for Business deployment, the solution was extracted and packaged as standalone software solution.

There is little doubt the cloud is here to stay and the need to migrate is only a matter of time. Instead of leaving it to chance and introducing risk into the project, take advantage of the solution designed to make this effort simple.

You can now confidently answer the question “What’s Next” with AudioCodes User Management Pack 365.

To learn more about AudioCodes User Management Pack 365, http://www.audiocodes.com/products/user-management-pack-365:

Come visit us at Microsoft Ignite 2016, September 26-30 in Atlanta, Georgia, at Booth #409.

Want to learn more about our Skype for Business solutions? Click here to request a meeting with our experts at the show.

Unable to attend Ignite but interested in speaking with us? Click here or visit our website or contact your local AudioCodes representative.

UC Innovation Unleashed

Yaniv and his rump steak

How Can Your IP Phone Choice Reduce Infrastructure & Bandwidth Cost

Last month we had a roadshow in South Africa. My vegetarian friends will have to forgive me… but what a wonderful place! Over dinner while enjoying a really good rump steak and a glass of Pinotage, we met with an IT manager from a large enterprise that was interested in our IP Phone solution.

Yaniv and his rump steak

During the meeting, the IT manager explained his challenges and concerns.

His company recently selected an IP phone vendor for Skype for Business. Unfortunately, it didn’t provide the solution they were expecting and now they need to find a proper solution to their issues. Their call quality was poor, the phones weren’t user-friendly and the architecture design didn’t allow them to use media bypass.

But his first and major concern was cost savings:

Today, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on their infrastructure and bandwidth for communication between and in branches.

In between bites I introduced the AudioCodes solution and vision which is to not only to provide IP Phones but to offer a full solution. I explained how he can take advantage of our solution to solve his concerns.

Firstly, we are the only vendor in the market today that supports SILK and OPUS in our IP Phones.

SILK, the Skype for business native codec, is a dynamic breathing codec that adjusts to the bandwidth dynamically during the call according to the network capabilities and restrictions. If there is a good network, SILK will use wide band crystal clear high definition quality (even better than G.722). But if someone downloads a large file or a home user’s infrastructure is poor, SILK dynamically will decrease the required bandwidth, to even lower than what G.729 uses, allowing users to have a conversation without any chopped voice or interruptions. (SILK can overcome Packet loss, jitter and delay).

But SILK doesn’t only solve the bandwidth and quality issue; it also saves a lot of expenses on infrastructure as it consumes only 30% to 50% of the required bandwidth.

I mentioned to him that the improved voice quality and savings in bandwidth and infrastructure costs apply even to a greater extent in cases where communications is provided from the cloud by a hosted UC provider.

I noticed the gentleman’s eyes getting wider and a big smile emerging on his face.  I heard him saying that if he could save 40% of the required bandwidth, he could save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the first year and additional 10% on the call traffic every year! And all this, simply due to using AudioCodes phones with SILK!

But that’s not all.  Just imagine, I told him, that call quality complaints will decrease dramatically as well and user satisfaction and productivity will rise. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. We still haven’t discussed the savings that can be had by using AudioCodes IP Phone manager.

The IT manager paused for a second and asked what he should do with the phones that are currently using G.729 and G.711 and the PSTN calls? I need to divert all these calls to the core and transcode them in the mediation server, he continued, since our current SBC doesn’t support SILK. (He meant that all these calls must now go through the HQ Datacenter core, overloading the core network and introducing VoIP challenges such as long delays, packet loss and jitter).

I was happy to respond that since AudioCodes not only offers SILK IP phones but SBCs that support SILK as well, they can be used in the core while the calls will use media bypass. This will save a lot of money, and prevent having frustrated users and a complex and clumsy design.

At AudioCodes, I summed up, our products provide a full solution, using our entire ecosystem encompassing our IP Phones and SBCs, to provide end-to-end SILK capabilities including resiliency, should for whatever reason, Skype for Business become unavailable. But most importantly, these solutions can save your organization a lot of money on the infrastructure.

 

Satisfied, we both turned to enjoy our steaks…..

 

To learn more about AudioCodes IP Phone family, click here:

 

Microsoft WPC Toronto

Done with WPC and Getting Ready for Ignite 2016

Getting ready for Ignite at Atlanta soon, and I can tell you, we have some more innovation up our sleeve.  Stay tuned, we will be announcing some cool stuff before Ignite.

Once again, this year I had the privilege of attending Microsoft’s World Partner Conference in Toronto, Canada. Microsoft’s premier partner event generates much anticipation among its channel and technology partners who come in their droves to learn about the latest developments in Microsoft’s technology and products, as well as to network with existing and potential business partners.

Microsoft WPC Toronto

So it came as no surprise that this year was no exception.  Boy, oh boy, it was a busy event!
I had back-to-back meetings with lots of system integrators and service providers who are actively promoting on-premises implementations of Microsoft Skype for Business.  All of them are also starting to align with Microsoft on Cloud PBX as part of Office 365.

… everyone seems convinced about the technological and financial benefits of cloud communications, but there is reluctance to adopt all at once

One recurring theme that came up in conversations with the partners was that pretty much everyone seems convinced about the technological and financial benefits of cloud communications, in general, and Microsoft’s cloud offering including Office 365 and Cloud PBX. At the same time, there is an apparent reluctance by some customers to fully adopt cloud-based communications solution at once. And while many, if not most, customers are planning to take their communications infrastructure completely off premises at some point in the future, relatively few have actually made the move so far with most opting for a hybrid implementation.

So what is deterring these companies from adopting a full cloud solution? Some make the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” argument while others are worried about disrupting users’ working habits. Others simply don’t feel comfortable with handing over control of their communications systems to a third party.

I believe in taking the plunge when it comes to disruptive, innovative technologies that will bring business benefits in the longer term. Of course, these changes can’t be taken lightly, which is why companies need a robust migration strategy and the technological tools to make the migration a success.

…for standalone, on-prem solution or in hybrid (on-prem/cloud) mode we offer the CloudBond 365 all-in-one UC appliance.

…for customers who do not require some users to be kept on premises, our Cloud Connector Edition Appliance delivers voice connectivity

Here at AudioCodes, we have been putting our minds to solving these issues of migration to cloud services for quite some time now, especially when it comes to Microsoft UC environments. For companies wanting a simple and rapid deployment of Skype for Business as a standalone, on-prem solution or in hybrid (on-prem/cloud) mode we offer the CloudBond 365 all-in-one UC appliance. In addition, for customers who do not require some users to be kept on premises, our Cloud Connector Edition Appliance delivers flexible on-prem voice connectivity for the Microsoft Cloud PBX users.

What makes these solutions particularly interesting is that both CloudBond 365 and the CCE appliance run on the same hardware platform so that when a company has completed its migration to Cloud PBX, the CloudBond 365 appliance can be converted to a CCE Appliance via a simple software update. We believe that the simplicity of these solutions, along with the fact that they are based on our Microsoft-certified SBC and gateway platforms, should help putting concerned IT managers’ minds at rest. They allow companies to control the pace of their cloud migration without compromising on functionality or efficiency.

CloudBond 365 appliance can be converted to a CCE Appliance via a simple software update.

Some of the partners asked me which path I recommend:  Go with CloudBond 365 for hybrid deployment, or go with CCE along with Cloud PBX?  My answer always is that we enable our partners and customers to choose the path that’s right for them.

When a customer doesn’t feel comfortable going all-in with the Cloud PBX proposition, I think that rolling with CloudBond 365 makes a lot of sense. In certain cases, the feature set that the customer wants is still not available on Cloud PBX.  Stalling the decision gives Cisco the opportunity to revisit the customers as part of a data network refresh, and offer a bundled offering to get them to stay with CUCM.  Getting the train out of the station and starting the Microsoft UC experience rolling quickly is the right choice and is implemented with our CloudBond 365.

Getting ready for Ignite at Atlanta soon, and I can tell you, we have some more innovation up our sleeve.  Stay tuned, we will be announcing some cool stuff before Ignite. Make sure you don’t miss any of our latest news and announcements by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Come visit us at Microsoft Ignite 2016, September 26-30 in Atlanta, Georgia, at Booth #409.

Want to learn more about our Skype for Business solutions? Click here to request a meeting with our experts at the show.

Unable to attend Ignite but interested in speaking with us? Click here or visit our website or contact your local AudioCodes representative.

UC Innovation Unleashed

The path to replacing MPLS with broadband

Sustaining High Voice Quality Over Broadband

The path to replacing MPLS with broadband

 

The path to replacing MPLS with broadband

Hosted enterprise communication offers a good solution for enterprises looking to move their communication to the cloud and by doing so, reduce their CAPEX investment as well as benefit from a cloud managed solution that is regularly updated for supporting new technologies and features.

These benefits typically come with a caveat, however, a requirement to connect through MPLS to the communications service provider in order to reduce network impairments issues that impact voice quality.

MPLS cost TeleGeography

Source: TeleGeography

 

MPLS comes with a high price tag. The chart above shows typical costs of MPLS in key countries in comparison to broadband. For example, in the US, monthly costs for 10 Mbps of MPLA would be approximately $1,250 while broadband would be slightly over $100.

This represents a significant difference that calls for realizing the cost reduction opportunity. However, the risk of not being able to ensure high voice quality keeps many communications service providers away from recommending this option to their enterprise customers.

Voice QoS is a combination of codecs and other algorithms

Voice quality is determined by network characteristics such as delay, packet loss and jitter combined with the tools used to mitigate network impairments once they happen.

Many of the communications services are using technologies (phones and network servers) that are built for LAN environments or dedicated networks, are not built for the open Internet.

IP-Phones and applications are using codecs such as G.711 or G.729. These codecs are not built for the open Internet both from the resilience and voice quality perspectives.

Voice algorithms such as Jitter buffer need to be tuned for the network and additional algorithms such as Forward Error Correction (FEQ) and packet loss concealment should be implemented.

The end result is that many deployments today are not built for working over broadband and therefore the common practice is to default to MPLS, thus increasing OPEX and delaying customer acquisition (as setting up MPLS may take a few months).

Perfecting voice over unmanaged networks

Yet communications service providers can allow their enterprise customers to benefit from lower cost broadband without replacing their network elements or customer’s phones.

To realize this, however, a few things are required:

  • Real-time monitoring of the voice running over the network
  • Transcoding to codecs built for unmanaged networks such as OPUS. OPUS has resiliency built into it by design and supports a wide bitrate range going up to ultra-wideband.
  • Implementation and tuning of algorithms such as adaptive jitter buffer, FEC and packet loss concealment
  • Smart routing and balancing of traffic between several broadband links if more than one link is available

AudioCodes’ VoIPerfect offers all these capabilities and allows communications service providers a route for easy adoption of this technology by deploying SW or HW elements at their access and customer premises while not replacing the existing deployed elements.

To learn more about the VoIPerfect and experience a real demo click here (http://online.audiocodes.com/voiperfect-for-ucaas-providers).

Managing Heterogeneous VoIP Networks

The Nightmare of Managing Heterogeneous VoIP Networks in Medium to Large Enterprises

There is an Answer

Managing Heterogeneous VoIP Networks

Managing heterogeneous VoIP networks in medium to large enterprises can be a nightmare. Due to the large number of vendors participating in providing the solution, there can be problems at every stage of the implementation and maintenance issues can arise in a variety of aspects including:

  • Network design and configuration
  • Device discovery
  • Distributed routing & policy enforcement
  • Distributed PSTN breakouts
  • Multiple VoIP network elements configuration: SBC and MGW
  • Multiple dial plans: SfB, IP-PBX, SBC and MGW
  • SIP interworking between IP-PBXs A large number of end user policies

Distributed networks present numerous challenges and when it comes to heterogeneous networks where the devices and applications are provided by different vendors, the situation is even worse. Unified Communication systems (e.g. Skype for Business) and the various components in the network such as IP-PBX, SBC and MGW, each have their own static routing, manipulation and dial plan tables. In actuality, we are talking about a distributed system whose elements don’t communicate with each other.  As for troubleshooting, there is no single throat-to-choke and each vendor puts the blame on the other.

AudioCodes’ new White Paper entitled, “Call Routing and Policy Management in Heterogeneous VoIP Networks” presents the challenges of heterogeneous VoIP networks and related applications currently existing in the market. The paper describes a new solution – the “Centralized Dynamic Routing and Policy Manager” – a holistic dynamic routing manager whose design is based on Software-defined Networking principles.

The Centralized Dynamic Routing and Policy Manager decouples the device layer from the network routing and policy layer, automatically creates complex VoIP networks, and simplifies routing rules, monitoring and management configuration. The Centralized Dynamic Routing and Policy Manager does not enforce modifying the network to a star formation and rather manages the network as is.

For more information, click here to download the “Call Routing and Policy Management in Heterogeneous VoIP Networks” White Paper.

Management System

Amazing Savings with a Managed IP Phone System

Management System

In a recent No Jitter blog entitled Managing IP Phones Goes Way Beyond Provisioning, I pointed out how much more powerful a managed IP Phone system is than simple provisioning and that this power and flexibility can bring considerable cost savings to an IT department. This wasn’t just marketing talk. In this blog, I want to tangibly demonstrate how this savings is achieved and what kind of numbers we are talking about.

To do this, I want to take a real-world example of a large enterprise that has deployed 20,000 IP phones amongst its employees. There are several levels to the cost savings, but it starts with the basic element of a managed IP phone solution saving countless help desk hours by providing IT the ability to remotely detect, correct and configure IP phones rather than the need to speak with the user and figure out the problem. If the average time per help desk call to figure out the problem without the managed system is conservatively 15 minutes, with the managed system, that time is cut down to just several minutes – we’ll go with 3. If the cost of a help desk worker is $50 an hour, then the savings would be reflected in the amount of help desk calls multiplied by the savings in time between 3 and 15 minutes.

Below, we look at a three-year model in which the amount of help desk calls will no doubt decrease over time as the system is used. Again, with a conservative estimate, if in the first year we can expect at least 20% of the 20,000 IP Phone users to have a single help desk call, going down to 10% in year two and 5% in year three, the savings can reach $70,000 over the three-year period. In reality, the amount of help desk calls could be as much as double ($140,000), the savings increasing accordingly.

IP Phone TCO

But that’s only part of the savings story. The IP Phone Manager allows for zero-touch customized configuration for multisite deployments. Such customization without a central management tool would require a pre-staging service from an integrator, estimated to be around $5-$10 per phone. Thus in the case of a 20,000 phone rollout, that could mean an additional $100-200K in savings.

And finally, AudioCodes IP Phones support SILK, the native Skype for Business vocoder. This vocoder delivers the best end-to-end voice quality experience available, further reducing the load on the help desk by eliminating call quality complaints which are possible in VoIP networks. But beyond the user experience and business productivity enhancement, the SILK vocoder consumes as much as 50% less bandwidth as compared to other IP Phones vocoders. This directly translates into the ability to save on remote branch MPLS access capacity and costs. In some cases, where dedicated bandwidth is allocated for voice traffic, this can lead to 50% less bandwidth consumption and MPLS costs.

In sum, the ability to manage IP phones with a system such as the AudioCodes IP Phone Manager, can lead to significant savings for a company.

AudioCodes IP Phone Manager Express is a freely downloadable Windows application that enables you to manage up to 500 AudioCodes IP phones efficiently from a single location.

The AudioCodes One Voice Operation Center IP Phone Manager, can support higher capacities.

Migrating to Skype for Business Cloud PBX Microsoft Ovum AudioCodes

Migrating to Skype for Business Cloud PBX: Play by Play Analysis

A Microsoft, Ovum and AudioCodes Joint Webinar

Microsoft Ovum AudioCodes Webinar

I have been accused of being a crazy sports fan. And I’m guilty. We may be in the midst of the Major League Baseball season, but American football is just around the corner. So when we discussed with our friends at Microsoft and Ovum doing a webinar on the adoption of Skype for Business Cloud PBX in an ESPN Sports Center-like setting, I was really excited!

Skype for Business adoption has been amazing, and we at AudioCodes, have been right in the thick of it with our One Voice for Skype for Business solution which includes among other things, CloudBond 365, Skype for Business Cloud Connector Edition appliance and our 400 series IP Phones. We understand that it is going to take a sustained drive approach to ensure success, to borrow one football term, as there are migration issues at work here, particularly to the cloud. There will also be a need to change plans when the unexpected happens, as with a Quarterback’s audible play calling at the line of scrimmage to borrow another.

Likened to football plays, we aim to analyze Skype for Business adoption together with experts from Microsoft, AudioCodes and Ovum Research in what promises to be a unique-style webinar on the subject on June 14, 2016 at 11:00 am EDT.

Register Here

Here is a quick summary of what to expect:

  • The Pre-game Analysis: Skype for Business Cloud PBX industry adoption trends
  • The Sustained Drive: Living with BYOSIP, interoperability, migration and co-existence issues
  • The Audible – Adapting to Requirements: The case for a hybrid deployment and maintaining local PSTN connectivity
  • The End Around: Getting past resistance when introducing a new UC experience
  • The Two Minute Drill: Getting the deployment right calmly and quickly while under pressure
  • The Post Game Analysis: Final thoughts

Guest Commentators: 

Jamie Stark

 

 

 

Jamie Stark, Senior Product Marketing Manager
Microsoft

Brian Riggs

 

 

 

Brian Riggs, Principal Analyst
Ovum

Mor Hezi

 

 

 

Mor Hezi, VP, Business Development
AudioCodes

Register Here

 

VoIP Quality Jitter Delay and Packet Loss

Is VoIP Jitter, Delay and Packet Loss the Best Measure of Voice Quality?

VoIP Quality Jitter Delay and Packet Loss

“One of the values that I think men in particular have to pass on is the value of empathy. Not sympathy, empathy. And what that means is standing in somebody else’s shoes, being able to look through their eyes.” Barack Obama

Empathy – being able to feel sorry for someone else’s troubles – is a basic ingredient for good mental health. However, sometimes, when irony is involved, empathy might turn to ambivalence.  For example, you will naturally feel empathy when you see or hear about a house going up in flames, but you might even crack a smile if the house in question is the fire department. (Of course that would happen only if no one was injured, right?)

We recently had voice quality issues in our corporate telephony system. Now that might happen in any organization, but when it happens in AudioCodes, the company which has become the hallmark of HD VoIP, that’s ironic.

Our IT guys brought their usual armour to battle and started taking on the packet loss with Wireshark (network protocol analyser), upgrading this and downgrading that.  Then they started looking at the AudioCodes products on the VoIP network; scrutinizing the latest IP phone firmware, restarting the SBCs, disconnecting the MGW.  And still, they couldn’t find anything to help pinpoint the problem.

After a week or so, one of my colleagues placed a call and couldn’t stand the noise on the line.  Naturally, he cut short the call as cellular SP has “trained” us to do over the past two decades. And since he is the Product Manager for AudioCodes Management Solutions, he decided to try troubleshooting the problem on his own (15 years in R&D can come handy sometimes), using the AudioCodes Session Experience Manager.

Now I have to apologize up front since at this stage the story gets a little corny.  He found that a substantial amount of the off-net calls originated by the UC system were faulty with a poor quality score.  After conducting a short analysis with our IT department, he found a misconfiguration of the VMware machine running one of the IPPBX servers.  He wondered why our own IT guys weren’t using the AudioCodes Session Experience Manager. Could it be as a famous man once said, “familiarity breeds contempt”?

I am not relating this story to point shortcomings on the part of our IT department (God forbid!) or alternatively to glorify an AudioCodes product.  A vendor who speaks about his own products is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.  My point, rather, is to elaborate on the concept of VoIP quality monitoring.

It is human nature to reach a conclusion by reviewing the consequences of actions. The human brain is constantly on an endless quest to solve riddles and reach conclusions (Gestalt psychology or Gestaltism).  Therefore, it’s perfectly normal for an IT engineer to analyse the VoIP network, search for the causes of poor quality such as packet loss, jitter and delay and based on the analysis, evaluate the call quality.

From my perspective, this analysis method is problematic.  It’s like commenting on the taste of a casserole by evaluating its ingredients – before even cooking the dish. Voice quality can’t be accurately evaluated by reviewing only the relevant network impairments (jitter, delay and packet loss). An accurate measure of voice quality needs to be taken at the VoIP edges (MGWs, SBCs, IP phones, soft clients) while taking into account the vocoder, jitter buffer type and depth (static, adaptive), packet loss metric (Network Packet Loss Rate, Jitter Buffer Discard Rate) and more. This information can’t be obtained by only analysing the traffic.

Epilogue

There is a mistaken belief in the industry that VoIP Quality Monitoring applications are like insurance policies -you buy them hoping not to use them. This belief is due to decades of trusted legacy telephony and basic trust in the organizational network, devices and solutions. In Reality, VoIP Quality Monitoring should be considered for ongoing use for the following:

  • Day-to-day, end-to-end quality monitoring and assurance operations with the ability to perform proactive actions to prevent quality issues
  • Root cause analysis for diagnostics when VQ issues arise

So if you are having VoIP quality issues, I empathize, even though after reading this, you might smile at the irony.

Yaniv Christmas tree Germany

How IT Managers Can Better Manage Skype for Business IP Phones

It was a freezing, snowy night, just a few days before Christmas.

I was on one of my road trips in Germany looking at the biggest Christmas tree in the world, while trying to warm my soul with a good, local Gluh Wein. Then my mobile phone disturbed the tranquility of the moment. One of my IT manager customers was calling. I had to answer.

Yaniv Christmas tree Germany

The customer started to describe his day to day challenges and concerns. His enterprise was beginning to migrate from an IPPBX to Skype for Business and Unified communications and his end user satisfaction was poor.  His multi-site roll-out plan took him much more time and consumed more effort than expected. And he was yet to go beyond deploying at Headquarters

where he couldn’t understand what was causing some of the IP Phones to reboot several times a day. He was unable to control the end users’ IP Phones in an efficient way and solve their issues and concerns.

I reminded him about AudioCodes’ IP Phone Manager that he had been considering and I updated him about our free of charge Express Edition. I explained how in our vision, we empower IT with a full life-cycle IP Phone operation management platform and that we view the IP Phone as an IT managed device, essentially turning the IP Phone into an IT Phone.

Feeling warmer by the minute (the Gluh Wein was no doubt having its effect…) I pointed out our multi-tenant IP Phone Manager’s day to day management and maintenance capabilities with a monitoring dashboard showing the phone operation status, active registered IP Phones, non-registered IP Phones and the disconnected devices, allowing IT to proactively detect issues before they are noticed by the end user.  I also described the smart device and user search. He just needed to search on the user name and the IP Phone provided all the necessary information (IP address, subnet, VLAN, software version and more) with just one click.

In that call I convinced my customer to give our IP Phone Manager a try and let the system become the eyes into his network in order to figure out the problems he was facing. And so he did. In just a few hours after he installed the IP Phone manager, he was already able to put his finger on the problem and track the root cause. He immediately saw that when a bulk of users were disconnected it was always in the same network switch and it seemed his POE unit was not functioning well either. He replaced the switch and the issue was resolved.

Several months after installing the IP Phone Manger he wanted to migrate additional branches to Skype for Business. I reminded him that his IP Phone Manager has zero touch installation and provisioning and that he can pre-define his configuration for an automatic zero touch rollout. Once the IP phone is plugged in, it gets the proper configuration automatically.

Together, we invested a half hour in defining his open space area, lobby area and the different company branches with the proper time offset and IP Phone menu language.

A week later he called me and expressed his amazement from the simplicity of the roll out. His ability to proactively detect and solve his end users concerns easily and efficiently was well appreciated in his organization.

And it all started with a phone call while sipping some Gluh Wein……..

Download the AudioCodes IP Phone Manager Express for Windows today and enjoy it free of charge