VTech Desktop Cordless SIP Phones Now Available in SkySwitch Store

VTech, well known for their outstanding cordless DECT phones for the consumer market, is expanding  into the world of business SIP phones.

A unique feature of VTech Eris SIP phone line is the use of DECT cordless technology in desktop and conference room phones.  These phones can be deployed without the need for ethernet cabling by pairing them with an ErisTerminal base-station or repeater using DECT 6 technology.

Until now, there were two choices when deploying SIP phones in areas with no network cabling:  use a portable DECT SIP phone (like the Yealink W56P); or, use a Wifi dongle on a standard SIP handset .  Neither approach worked well for stationary users.  Wifi is notoriously bad when it comes to VoIP QoS, and most cordless handsets have small form factors that do not work well on a desk.  The VTech approach is unique because it pairs the desktop form factor with DECT cordless technology.

While these phones are missing some of the bells and whistles that are becoming de rigueur from other manufacturers (features such as color LCD and touchscreen display are not currently available) they look and feel solid and have all the basic features required for a hosted PBX user.   In deployments where ethernet cabling is a limitation, these phones definitely meet a need that is unfilled by other manufacturers.

The VTech ErisTerminal line of phones is now available for purchase in the SkySwitch Store.  In the coming weeks, single-screen provisioning will be available so that both the phone and the PBX can be auto-provisioned at the time of purchase.  Look for upcoming promotions that will make it easy for SkySwitch resellers to test-drive these phones.

See the Tenfold Connector for Salesforce in Action

Tenfold has produced a video showing how the Salesforce Connector works with SkySwitch.

Jon Arnold Talks about Voice Assistants in the Workplace

Our friend Jon Arnold of J Arnold & Associates held an interesting webinar discussing the key drivers of digital assistants –  a term that he uses to include voice assistants (like Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa) and chatbots – used for business.  He was kind enough to mention the SkySwitch Amazon Alexa skill as an example of how voice assistants are  migrating from the home to the office.  Check it out here @ 36:44.

SkySwitch is Now Integrated with ReachUC Mobile and Desktop Apps

We are pleased to announce that SkySwitch is now integrated with ReachUC, a suite of advanced UC applications and tools.  This integration is the our latest attempt to develop a viable soft-client replacement for the traditional SIP deskphone, and represents what we believe to be the cutting edge of what is possible with available technology.  

With ReachUC and the SkySwitch UCaaS platform, end users can now access common functionality  from their SIP deskphone, mobile app, or desktop environment.  Supported features include secure VoIP, Video, and GSM calling, SMS and text chat with business line, PBX presence and contact management, web conferencing, fax sending, and push notifications. Future enhancements include support for XMPP and group messaging with Slack. The application is  available on  Apple iOS and Android mobile devices as well as Mac and Windows desktops.   

Apple iPhone users benefit from ReachUC support for Apple CallKit, a newly released API construct by Apple that gives the ReachUC iOS app a native look and feel and allows it to responds appropriately to system-level behaviors such as Do Not Disturb and Answer from Lock Screen.   CallKit brings the user experience for iPhone users up to par with Android, which has allowed VoIP apps to access the native dialer for nearly two years.

ReachUC also includes tools that extend PBX features to several popular desktop applications,  including a click-to-call extension for Google Chrome, and a plug-in to place calls, synchronize contacts and send faxes from Microsoft Outlook.

To commemorate this milestone, I created a short video that highlights the major features of the integration.

New Developments at SkySwitch

At SkySwitch, we are always improving the Reseller experience.  Here are some of the things that we have been working on recently:

New UC Endpoints – Our efforts to integrate the ReachUC endpoint solution into the SkySwitch platform is proceeding as planned, and is available to all SkySwitch resellers as a beta trial.  Current features of the ReachUC solution when used with SkySwitch include:  Support for iOS and Android mobile and Windows and MacOS desktop systems; messaging with SMS integration; PBX Presence and Contact Management, Faxing, Video Calling; Web Callback, and integrations for Microsoft Outlook, Google Chrome and WordPress.    For more information on features, visit the ReachUC website at http://www.reachuc.com.  We expect the ReachUC integration to be ready for general availability before the end of July.

Email-to-fax –  The ability to initiate a fax from an email has been a recurring feature request among users of our virtual fax solution.  This capability is finally available and can be used in conjunction with existing fax portal and ATA accounts.   A support announcement will be sent within the coming days with instructions for use.

Spanish and French System Prompts – We recently simplified the way that Spanish and French system prompts are managed in the system.  Now it is possible to provide multi-language Spanish, French and English IVR and voicemail to your customer base with just a few simple configuration changes.

International DIDs – SkySwitch can now provide international DIDs from more than 59 countries worldwide.  Currently, orders for international DIDs can be made via a form in the DID Portal section of the reseller dashboard.  In the very near future, you will be able to order and provision international DIDs in real-time, as is currently the case for US DIDs.

VSaaS Improvements – Our VSaaS platform is getting better every month.  It now supports multi-view, which means that multiple cameras can be monitored and managed from a single page in the web app. We have also introduced a new version of the mobile app in the Android and iOS stores. This was a major release on mobile and included:  brand new mobile player using real time protocols;  faster start time to view live video; and reduced lag.

New Products in SkySwitch Store – Through our partnership with 888VoIP, we continue to add new products to the SkySwitch store.  The latest additions include the Yealink T5 series phones and Patton ATAs.  As with all VoIP endpoints in the store, resellers can purchase and configure all systems from a single page, making it easier than ever to drop-ship plug and play units directly to a customer.

As always, SkySwitch is working to make you more competitive in the UCaaS market.  Existing resellers should contact the SkySwitch Control Tower for more information about any of the enhancements mentioned here.

T-Mobile Broke SIP on my iPhone with IPv6 Update

A funny thing happened after my T-Mobile iPhone recently upgraded to iOS 10.3.1 … my SIP client stopped working!

It seems that the OS update came along with new carrier settings that assigned my device an IPv6 address.  In my case, the carrier setting version is now T Mobile 28.3.

After analyzing network captures from the switch side, we found that SIP UDP messages are no longer routed to the SkySwitch SIP proxy which has an IPv4 address.  But noticing that API calls made over HTTP from the same app were reaching the IPv4 web service, we concluded that TCP packets were being translated and routed correctly.   So we switched the SIP signaling to TCP and the IPv6 device was able to register with the IPv4 server.   Unfortunately, this allowed only basic two-way communication between the SIP client and the proxy.  SIP calling was still broken because the audio IP addresses and ports still referenced IPv6.  Specifically, the CONTACT header and RTP IP addresses in the SDP contain the IPv6 address.

A little research uncovered that T-Mobile has been rolling IPv6 to Android devices for a few years now .   According to this T-Mobile slide deck from 2014, they use an IPv6 transition mechanism called 464XLAT to allow communication between IPv6 devices and servers on the Internet that do not support IPv6.  But making the conversion work seamlessly for applications that reference IP address information in the payload (such as SIP) requires a client side translator called CLAT (this document from Juniper explains it).   To make a long story short, Android version 4.3 embedded a CLAT client into the operating system in 2013, but Apple never did.  As a result, T-Mobile has continued to serve IPv4  addresses to iPhone users … until last week.

I suppose we may never know why Apple has not employed CLAT in the operating system (thereby forcing SIP application developers to embed this functionality in the app), or why T-Mobile decided to force IPv6 on iPhone owners despite this limitation.  But the bottom line is that more than a few SIP applications have stopped working as a result (eg. here).    I hope that this blog will save other SIP users some time in  figuring out why.

In the meantime, we are working with our vendors to support IPv6 in this use case.

 

 

 

SkySwitch Launches Video Surveillance as a Service

We are happy to announce the addition of Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS)  as a new component of the SkySwitch service delivery suite.

Like almost everything else in the office, video surveillance is moving to the cloud.  Now,  SkySwitch resellers have the tools to capitalize on it.   Resellers can increase average revenue per user and highlight the unique video surveillance service as a point of differentiation.   It is an exciting new product that can be used to start a conversation, and set their service apart from other hosted PBX and UCaaS providers.

VSaaS is available now to all SkySwitch Resellers and can be fully managed from within the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.  To show how easy it is to add a new customer and camera to the service, here’s a short video.

 

 

SkySwitch Launches Video Surveillance as a Service

Toshiba Telecommunication Systems Division No More

The word on the street (and Reddit) is that the Toshiba Telecommunication Systems Division is closing shop effective immediately.   It seems that the telecom division – which was banking on momentum after launching a new product in February – could not escape the company’s ongoing financial difficulties (including the $500 Million bankruptcy of Westinghouse).  This means that customers running Toshiba’s IPEdge and Strata on-premise PBX systems  (such as the CIX40 and CIX100) will be facing uncertainty about ongoing support and service.  Toshiba dealers that have calendared upgrades and replacements will likewise be in a bind.     The news just adds to the tumult in the PBX dealer channel following the recent news of Avaya’s bankruptcy.

I bet that we will continue to hear this type of news from vendors that have traditionally sold on-premise PBX systems.  The bottom line is that premise-based telephony is going away – business owners are giving up on the CapEx model and moving to OpEx.  While the shift represents a sea-change for VARs in the channel, it also represents a great opportunity.  The core value of companies in the dealer channel is taking care of customers – Customer Service, Tier-One Support, Training and Maintaining your Business Relationships.   All of these skill can be leveraged by moving to the cloud, where the activities related to maintaining a platform, carrier services, quality of service issues, and dozens of other technical details can be outsourced to a White Label partner.

If you happened across this blog because you find yourself in this position, check out SkySwitch as a potential partner.

 

SkySwitch Partnership with 888VoIP Streamlines UCaaS Provisioning for Resellers

We are very pleased to announce that the SkySwitch Store now allows resellers to purchase fully-provisioned Yealink phones.  This new functionality, a result of our recent partnership with 888VoIP, integrates the SkySwitch Store with the Web Centrex API and the 888VoIP fulfillment and order processing back office.

Our goal for this integration is to simplify the workflow needed to bring hosted PBX and UCaaS seats online.  With it, both the PBX system and the phones can be configured for a specific user at the time of purchase, allowing the phones to be drop-shipped directly to a customer ready for use.  Not only does this greatly reduce the time and effort required for provisioning, but it also decreases the likelihood of human error by eliminating the need to key order information into multiple screens.

Here is a short video to show the integration in action.

 

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