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Lync Phone Edition (LPE)

Lync Phone Edition (LPE) – AudioCodes offer Teams Ready device upgrade

Summary

AudioCodes is introducing a replacement program for Microsoft LPE (Lync Phone Edition) devices that will stop working with Microsoft Office 365 services beginning on October 31, 2018 when only TLS 1.2 compliant devices will be supported. The offer can be found and claimed on the AudioCodes website at http://online.audiocodes.com/lpeupgradeprogram.

What are Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices and why won’t they work?

Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices are the IP Phones first launched alongside Lync 2010.  The phones were produced by third-party certified vendors like Polycom, HP/Snom & Mitel/Aastra.  All of them run Windows CE 6.0 and a Microsoft written Lync Phone client. Windows CE – and therefore Lync Phone Edition – doesn’t support TLS 1.2, therefore, when Microsoft enforces TLS 1.2 only on Office 365, these devices will no longer connect.

Lync Phone Ediiton (LPE)

AudioCodes offers Teams Ready device for Lync Phone Edition (LPE)

 

The models of Lync Phone Edition (LPE) devices that are affected by this change are:

  • Polycom: CX500, CX600, CX3000
  • HP: 4110 and 4120
  • Mitel/Aastra: 6721ip and 6725ip

Why is this important?

Older TLS versions (1.0 and 1.1) are known to have vulnerabilities used by hackers. Security regulated markets (for example credit card processing) force services to only utilize modern TLS implementations. While Microsoft has stated that there are no known vulnerabilities in their own implementations of TLS 1.0 they recognize the potential for future vulnerabilities and making this change to more modern TLS. These newer regulations also encourage moving toward new security mechanisms – for example, Modern Authentication that Microsoft has implemented in recent years.  These newer security mechanisms are fully supported by AudioCodes phones.

Microsoft will enforce TLS 1.2 on the Office 365 Cloud on October 31, 2018. Affected phones can utilize different services within Office 365. As mentioned above, basic calling may be facilitated by Skype for Business Online so that is affected. Likewise, affected phones can utilize Exchange Online services for calendaring, voicemail services, Outlook contacts, call logs, and more. The fact that phones cannot access Exchange Online services will also impact on-premises/hybrid deployments using Exchange Online.

Will this affect my existing non-LPE devices?

All 3PIP (Microsoft 3rd Party Interoperability Partner) phones which are certified for Skype for Business Online will continue work after this Office 365 TLS 1.2 change and work with and be supported by Microsoft Teams. There will be no change to 3PIP phones connected to Skype for Business Server on-premises. They will be able to join Microsoft Teams scheduled meetings and place calls with the same user experience and features detailed above in the Microsoft blog.  LPE Phones will still be able to connect to Skype for Business Server on-premises as long as TLS 1.0 and 1.1 are supported in that deployment. Connectivity to Office 365 features like Exchange Online will not work after October 31, 2018.

Additionally, at Enterprise Connect in March 2018, Microsoft announced a new line of ‘native Teams’ phones that run a Microsoft Teams app directly on the phone itself. LPE phones will not work with Microsoft Teams. For more details check out the Microsoft Tech Community blog. The current Microsoft Office 365 roadmap shows this support coming in 3Q 2018.

How can AudioCodes help?  Are there trade-in/trade-up incentives?

Yes! AudioCodes is introducing a replacement program for Microsoft LPE Phones that will stop working with Microsoft Office 365 Services beginning on October 31, 2018 when only TLS 1.2 compliant devices will be supported. The offer can be found on the AudioCodes website at:  http://online.audiocodes.com/lpeupgradeprogram.  For every model of AudioCodes in this offer, we have a matching (or more advanced) set of features. On top of standard expected calling features, our AudioCodes phones have modern features like advanced boss-admin, sidecar options, resiliency options, superior centralized management and more.  A few charts detailing how AudioCodes phones compare – along with frequently asked questions – can be found on our LPE Upgrade Program FAQ page.

 

Direct Routing the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams

Direct Routing the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams

On May 15th, 2018 Microsoft announced Public Preview of Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams via this blog. You might ask, what is Direct Routing? Direct Routing is the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams, allowing organizations to leverage on-premises voice infrastructure through Teams certified SBC’s (enter AudioCodes). You can find more information by viewing the Microsoft blog Here.

What does this all mean and what benefit do I get?

What exactly does this all mean for you? It depends on where you are in your UC/IC journey. For some, the journey might be moving from an existing PBX to Microsoft Teams calling directly. Others might already be using Skype for Business / Skype for Business Online and ready to make the move to Teams calling. Still, others might have sites around the globe that are not yet able to migrate phone numbers from the local Telco providers into Microsoft Calling Plans.

Organizations looking to migrate to Microsoft Teams calling can now utilize direct SBC connectivity into the Microsoft Teams environment. This allows customers to bring their own PSTN trunk into the Microsoft environment via a Teams Certified SBC. With the combination of Teams and an AudioCodes SBC, organizations will now be able to take full advantage of Microsoft’s Intelligent Communications vision by providing a complete Teams experience for their users.

Direct Routing the future of hybrid voice with Microsoft Teams

What about my environment today and tomorrow?

Customers that currently utilize AudioCodes infrastructure to connect to their existing PBX, Skype for Business on-premises, or Skype for Business Online with Phone System (previously Cloud PBX) are in a great position. In this scenario, you have the ability to leverage your existing infrastructure and repurpose/reconfigure/update it to connect to the Microsoft Teams environment. If that current infrastructure is not already in place or maybe it needs an upgrade, AudioCodes has a large portfolio of certified SBCs that supports from a few sessions all the way up to tens of thousands of current sessions.

The benefit of a complete, unified portfolio is that AudioCodes has a solution to fit your needs today and tomorrow, from physical devices to a full complement of highly scalable virtual instances. Furthermore, depending on the level of functionality required, the SBC portfolio can also provide advanced high availability (HA).

Things to consider with Direct Routing SBCs from AudioCodes

Now that we know of the wide range of options available in Direct Routing scenarios, what about diving into some specific use cases that make the AudioCodes SBC stand out?

  1. Ever wonder what you are going to do with those existing analog devices? How in the world do I plug that analog wire into the cloud? That will likely never happen, but AudioCodes has you covered. Time and time again, the conversation comes up on how to integrate these existing analog devices (think elevator, common area, warehouse and laboratory phones) in organizations both large and small. For these scenarios you can easily place an AudioCodes MediaPack (analog adapter) behind the SBC, providing the necessary connectivity to allow Teams users to communicate with the analog device (and vice versa). Analog in Teams – no problem.
  2. What about sites that cannot have an SBC connect to the open internet and thus directly into Teams? Perhaps these sites only have MPLS back to a centralized site to funnel all outbound traffic. This is most common in larger organizations where local internet is not the best fit for the organization. The SBC can serve dual purposes to handle this situation – a centralized hub that hosts the main infrastructure (aka SBC) along with a spoke at a branch site with a local PSTN breakout. That local PSTN break out could be required due to local regulations or because of a cost-effective contract with a provider. Either way, the AudioCodes solution stack can make this type of scenario possible.
  3. Do you have a local regulation that requires routing of calls based on the location of a user? Specifically, when dialing emergency numbers (911, etc.) do you need to present to call to the PSAP in a specific fashion (aka ELIN)? That is a driving factor to leverage the SBCs ability to utilize the IP address subnets within a network and where the user generated the call to make logical and dynamic routing decisions. With SBCs in the environment, especially connecting to on-premises trunks, AudioCodes has the ability to utilize the SBC routing logic to make intelligent decisions based on the IP address of a particular user. This functionality is critical in emergency (aka 911) environments, especially when it pertains to larger campuses. A person making an emergency request may be pinpointed to a specific floor and room, allowing first responders to granularly identify their location.

What Next?

Now is the time for organizations who are looking to test Direct Routing with Microsoft Teams to contact your local AudioCodes representative or get in touch with AudioCodes via our website. Working with Microsoft for over 12 years, this is just another exciting step in the evolution of Enterprise Voice. AudioCodes is keen to work with you to architect the best path to the Teams future while keeping an eye on existing capabilities. If you already have SBC licenses in your environment, AudioCodes will be able to help determine the best way to connect to the Teams backend. For organizations that are not yet leveraging AudioCodes infrastructure, reach out today to get started with AudioCodes and Direct Routing in Microsoft Teams.

AudioCodes in the Spotlight at Microsoft Ignite or was I just Dreaming?

It’s one of those movie clichés, isn’t it? Something awesome happens to the star of the movie and he or she can’t believe it. “Did that really happen or was I dreaming?” “Someone pinch me so I know this is real!”

I still go back and read the session summary by Jonathan McKinney, just about every day….   But, first things first…

Microsoft Ignite 2017

Microsoft Ignite 2017

Well, I’m pleased to tell you I had just such an experience only a few weeks ago. I was attending Ignite 2017, Microsoft’s annual conference for developers,  IT professionals and exectives. It’s an outstanding event where we get to hear the latest news from Microsoft (and there was plenty of that this year as I’m sure you heard), as well as meeting up with partners and customers from all over the globe.

During the show, Francois Doremieux, Principle Program Manager Lead at Microsoft held a breakout session called “Customer Testimonial – Learn from Large Scale Skype for Business Voice Deployments”. In this session, four large Microsoft customers – Cargill, Bosch, ZF and BNSF – presented details of their successful deployments of Skype for Business.  These four companies combined have 631,000 employees worldwide.

It was great to hear how these huge organizations had successfully navigated the turbulent waters of Skype for Business migration. What was truly mind-blowing for me was the number of times AudioCodes was named as a strategic vendor partner in these major projects. Whether it was our analog gateways, SBCs, IP phones, management tools or call recording, our entire One Voice portfolio – or individual parts of it – are playing a crucial role in ensuring companies’ transition to Microsoft UC can be achieved smoothly and reliably.

At the end of the session, I joined this elite group up on stage to introduce AudioCodes to the audience and join the panel for the Q&A. Even then, questions from the other Microsoft customers in the audience also referred to AudioCodes as their vendor of choice.

Since joining AudioCodes two years ago, I have enjoyed being at the forefront of voice technology and helping customers and partner achieve their goals. AudioCodes’ One Voice solutions cover virtually any voice need for PBX replacement, All-IP transformation and UC deployments, in particular Skype for Business and now Microsoft Teams. It has been a pleasure working with such a great team of experienced voice professionals and R&D teams churning out market-leading products and solutions.

In the course of my work here, I have met a wide range of extremely satisfied customers and yet, to hear our name being mentioned as a key player in the deployments of such a prestigious group of companies and in such a public forum was something to behold.

So was I dreaming? In some ways, it seemed too good to be true. However, I am very appreciative to Jonathan McKinney, a Skype for Business MVP from Time2Market, who summarized the session for Microsoft’s Skype for Business Ignite blog. You can read Jonathan’s blog for yourselves to get a feel for how large organizations are migrating to Skype for Business. If  you need more convincing, you can even listen to the recording of the full session.

I encourage you to read the blog and if you have a bit more free time, listen to the recording. AudioCodes is right there where it matters – a strategic vendor enabling enterprise voice in these large Skype for Business deployments.

So it seems that dreams do sometimes come true!

To learn more about AudioCodes’ solution for Microsoft 365, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, visit our website or contact your AudioCodes representative.

Keep it simple

Deploying Skype for Business: Keeping it Simple

We live in a complex technology world.  A very successful businessman, Sir Richard Branson, once said: “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to keep things simple.”

Keep it simple

This statement comes to mind again in the context of our S-S-D pitch for CloudBond 365: Simplification, Standardization and Demarcation, three words that I often use in presentations.

The CloudBond 365 solution provides three pillars: The User Management Pack™ 365 built-in management suite, an Active Directory Connector and an Office365 Connector. This makes CloudBond 365 the spider in the web between Office 365 and the local customer enterprise. The solution provides a fully preinstalled Skype for Business solution on an AudioCodes gateway, server, or virtualization platform in the datacenter, standardized on Microsoft’s resource forest model. CloudBond 365 enables this Skype for Business silo model to be a fully integrated with the enterprise and provide these S-S-D benefits. Of course, User Management Pack™ 365 can also run on top of a fully (self-) deployed Skype for Business environment.

Here are a couple of examples:

From a technical perspective, simplification not only brings value for the initial deployment but also for the years to follow. ‘Simple things’ tend to break less and if they break they’re easier to fix. From a business perspective, professional services can now be enabled for integrating Skype for Business with the business processes of an enterprise.

Standardization is key not only for the deployment phase, but also for the support period in the following years.

  • Support engineers ‘know’ exactly what the architecture is
  • The exact customer environment is always available in the lab to reproduce test
  • Problems and solutions for one customer are now applicable to most other customers as well

If you’re in the business of selling Skype for Business, standardization allows you to offer the solution without assuming the risk of covering potential trouble shooting or ‘unknowns’ within the customer environment. Standardization means there are no projects that are open ended.

The demarcation provided by the CloudBond 365 solution presents a very clear line between the Skype for Business deployment and the customer enterprise environment (in which Active Directories, Exchange, SharePoint, etc. are being managed). There is no need for discussions on SLA and who’s responsible for what. This same demarcation line also helps the business to stay out of competition with the new customer’s current ICT partner and doesn’t require managing two ICT partners within the same network.

Skype for Business designs usually have a complex enterprise setup which can cause projects to become more expensive than at first anticipated.  This complexity can have a major effect on the TCO in the years that follow going “live” with a Skype for Business deployment. The CloudBond 365 solution provides additional simplicity for daily maintenance via the User Management Pack™ 365, an important ongoing benefit to an organization realizing a quicker ROI by means of a lower TCO.

CloudBond 365 is all about simplifying something complex, allowing enterprises to benefit from Skype for Business as much as SMBs.

Sir Richard Branson had it right. Just keep things simple.

Read this Application Note to see how User Management Pack™ 365 really is simplicity in action.

Download-Now

 

Coexistence & Migration

Clouducation Episode #2

Coexistence & Migration

Coexistence & Migration

I know most people don’t want to hear it, but is it time to start thinking about removing legacy infrastructure and beginning the journey to rolling out a new telephony solution?  The old adage of ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ might no longer fit with the rapid pace of change.   Perhaps you have already started the process of modernizing the work place and the voice communication and collaboration aspects that tag along.  Either way change is inevitable and this is really where a decision should be made of “how” that modernization should occur – not if.

In the old days, when moving from one PBX to another, the theory was much more of a “rip and replace” mentality where the users would leave work on Friday, then come back Monday morning to a new phone on their desk with a little cheat sheet on any new buttons or features that the new PBX has to offer.  But is this really the best way to make this type of change?  Is it fair to the users to be “forced” to immediately adopt the new platform?  Well, in many opinions, it is no longer the right way to go about this process and options now existing to smooth out this process.

Instead, companies are starting the concept of “migrating” to the new platform with some level of “coexistence” with the old and the new.  Let’s dive into a couple of things to keep in mind during this process as when done right, it is great but when done wrong…ouch…

A great example is in a larger organization, where many offices may exist in different geographical locations, and doing a complete cutover in a couple of days is usually impossible.  The IT teams do not have the manpower to make all the changes without a negative impact on the users – especially while focusing efforts to ensure successful deployment and functionality along the way.  This is where coexistence is key!

Coexistence allows IT managers to have both telephony platforms up and running, while meticulously identifying users and groups to migrate at a much more reasonable pace.  Users in one office can start the migration to the new platform, adopt the new technology, and continue working without interference.  At the same time, users in other offices will see no change in their daily activities, as they will continue to use the existing telephony infrastructure until they are selected and ready to migrate.

Now that is all well and good, but what about the IT department?  Having to manage two telephony environments, especially in cases where administrators may only have knowledge of one or the other but not both, can become very challenging.  This also could pose issues with the ability to manage and enforce dial plans to provide a similar experience across both platforms.  Many things to think about while beginning the journey but things that industry experts are able to assist with and reduce the pains that could come up along the way…

No need to despair and fret over the choices – there are solutions that can help in both scenarios.

We plan to cover all of the above (and much more) on our upcoming “Cloud”ucation Episode #2 – Coexistence & Migration, so please do join us to hear it from the experts.  If you have not already signed up, please do so at the following link: http://online.audiocodes.com/clouducation

CloudUcation

CloudUcation

Clouducation Episode #1

Devices and Endpoints

CloudUcation

In today’s fast paced and ever changing world, companies are quite often looking to the latest and greatest technology to get the elusive competitive edge.  This is true from the flashy ‘front door’ of their website/mobile app to the more pedestrian – but equally critical – voice infrastructure, especially when deploying Skype for Business.  The latest in voice technology allows for users to ubiquitously connect to others using virtually any piece of technology they can get their hands on. This often includes their PC, iPad, Surface, mobile phone, or tin can and string – it should not matter (except for that last one which is a stretch!).  Well, at least that what users want to think…

Allowing users to make their own unfettered decisions about what device to use is great in theory, right up until the point where they continually have quality issues and turn their attention to blaming the back end infrastructure, rather than realizing it is the device or connection they are on that is the culprit.  At the same time, it is important to realize that users are people, and for people their device choices are personal.

So how do organizations overcome this challenge?  Well, first and foremost is to properly train their users on how to utilize SfB properly.  Secondly, and arguable more important, is to provide the appropriate devices for the users to utilize at all times to ensure they have the best possible chance for a successful experience.  This is where it is extremely important to provide users with a couple of options, including certified IP phones and headsets.

So what are the key things to consider when placing an IPP on a user’s desk?  Let’s take a quick look at some of those topics briefly below, before we dive much deeper during Episode #1 of the “Cloud”ucation series:

  1. Connectivity – When it comes to IP phones, making sure the user always has a “constant” connection readily available at all times helps to alleviate those times where your PC has conveniently decided to install updates and require a reboot.  It seems like a small inconvenience, but we have all been there!!
  2. Ease of use – IP phones can also help to bridge the gap from user’s past experiences on other voice platforms, with the new ways SfB has to offer for communicating.  Why would anyone want to “relearn” how to use a phone?  It is a silly concept for sure and great options are available to alleviant this concern.
  3. Manageability – This might not be something the users think of, but who wouldn’t want to be on the latest software load and be able to report all statistics back to the IT manager automatically?  We have all been there as well, having a bad call experience, and calling the IT folks to get the old “send me more information” response.  Users should not have to concern themselves with this type of stuff, and that’s why the endpoints need to be the eyes and ears of IT.

Pretty interesting stuff to consider, especially in the BYOD world we live in!

On top of that, there is an interesting new term that I have just learned of from Mauro Caule over at Jabra called a “Confetti day”.  Think of it this way, we all work in different places and spaces, but how do we keep ourselves “on task” with the increasing number of distractions we have around us?  Mauro is going to touch on how headsets can help mitigate a lot of those distractions and keep users on task no matter what is going on around them (except the NFL playoffs, who can work during that?!?!).

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

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

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
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