ReachUC Chrome Extension Now Supports SkySwitch SMS and Fax

The ReachUC Chrome extension has been updated and now contains several useful new features.

Until today, the ReachUC Chrome extension provided a convenient way to make Click-to-Dial calls and schedule Meeting Manager meetings from within the Google Chrome browser.  With today’s update however, the extension now has a dialpad that can be used to make calls to any number (not just Click-to-Dial), send a fax, or send an SMS using your SMS-enabled DID.  The extension also now supports Click-to-Message for any phone number on a web page.

Accessing the dialpad is easy.  Just select it from the menu that’s shown when you click the ReachUC icon in the Chrome browser bar.

 

Once selected, you will be presented with a dialpad that allows you to enter a destination and then choose any of the three available actions:  Call, Send Fax , or Send SMS.

 

 

To use the Click-to-Message feature, simply choose the Message option that is available when hovering the mouse over any phone number in a web page.

 

To take advantage of these features, the relevant option must be enabled in the ReachUC Settings for a domain or user (see image below).   Also, in order to send SMS messages, an SMS-enabled DID must be assigned to the account user.

 

 

To download the ReachUC Chrome browser extension or for more information, visit the ReachUC website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SkySwitch Sponsors a GDG DevFest in Bacolod

At SkySwitch, we value innovation and camaraderieand at Bacolod’s DevFest this past weekend, over 100 participants experienced both.

DevFest 2018 Attendees in Bacolod, Phillipines

DevFest is an initiative created by the global Google Developer’s Group (GDG). This year, the GDG community has hosted over 500 DevFests around the world in over 80 countries in an effort to learn, share and build new things together. Each DevFest brings together tech-savvy students and professional developers all within a local community to engage in coding sessions and other informative talks about Google and its products. 

 

The GDG’s Bacolod City Chapter hosted their DevFest on November 24th, 2018, and SkySwitch was proud to be a gold sponsor of the event in continued support of students, local developers and the IT community. The city of Bacolod, also known as the Philippines’ City of Smiles, is home to our Service Delivery Center that includes Technical Support, LNP and Software Development teams.

 

The SkySwitch team supporting DevFest.

In addition to sponsoring the event, some of our SkySwitch developers were there to showcase our unique technologies. A couple demonstrations included overviews that explained the capabilities of Sallie the SMS bot and the benefits of using our ReachUC integration.

Developer explaining how Sallie the SMS bot works.

We had a great time supporting this group of forward-thinking individuals and look forward to seeing what next year’s DevFest will have in store!

This is What Telecom Resellers Need to Know About HIPAA Laws

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard of HIPAA at least once. Most people first encounter the term while signing mandatory healthcare forms at a doctor’s visit. What you might have not known, is that telephone providers for healthcare clients actually share a level of responsibility to remain HIPAA compliant and that a breach in protected data could cost thousands of dollars in federal fines.

What Does HIPAA Have to Do With My UCaaS Business?

Healthcare providers are heavily regulated to ensure they remain HIPAA compliant. Protected confidential information includes data like phone numbers, residential addresses and medical diagnoses. Healthcare professionals need to follow strategic steps to prevent a potential data breach. And since most, if not all, of this protected information is transmitted and stored electronically nowadays, it only adds another layer of complexity to protecting patients’ privacy.

Electronic private healthcare information (ePHI) is what you should be concerned about as a telephone provider in the UCaaS space. Voicemails, recorded phone calls and faxes are a few examples of ePHI that need to be safeguarded because they are not only transmitted but are also stored electronically.

Confidential voicemails and recorded phone calls that are stored on a cloud have the potential to be compromised. Since you are hosting the healthcare provider’s cloud server and have regular, routine access to this, you now become a business associate involved in ensuring HIPAA compliance.

 

Am I Responsible for All of My Healthcare Client’s Phone Calls?

To an extent. Healthcare professionals have their own set of responsibilities when it comes to ePHI, such as the minimum necessary rule or limiting the length of voicemails. As a phone provider, you are not responsible for factors like that.

Instead, you should be focused on taking the right steps to prevent a data breach, and preparing for the best response plan if a breach unexpectedly occurs. We suggest speaking with our valued partner, Compliancy Group, for a thorough risk assessment and a customized HIPAA compliance plan for your UCaaS company. When you complete training with Compliancy Group, you can even earn a HIPAA Seal of Compliance verification that will let potential healthcare clients know that you (above other telephone providers) have a thorough understanding of their industry needs.

 

What Can I Do to be HIPAA Compliant—And Are Healthcare Clients Worth the Hassle?

UCaaS technology has significant benefits for healthcare organizations. From the enhanced communication capabilities between hospitals, doctors offices and pharmacies to the major cost in savings, it’s a no-brainer that healthcare professionals are eager to take advantage of all that UCaaS has to offer.  

HIPAA compliancy might sound like a new, complicated set of rules, but a conversation with the Compliancy Group can easily prepare you for ramping up your business. The healthcare industry is huge, and there’s limitless opportunity for any reseller in the UCaaS space if they take time to learn about HIPAA compliance. By understanding the ins and outs of HIPAA and with your willingness to sign an official BAA (Business Associate Agreement) with a healthcare client, you can easily and quickly navigate through the healthcare market.

To learn more about how your business can be HIPAA compliant and secure new opportunities in the healthcare sphere, SkySwitch resellers can register for our upcoming webinar with Compliancy Group on December 18th, 2018.

3 Big Trends You Need to Know if You’re in the Telecom Industry

Anyone that works in the telecommunications industry can attest to how fast-paced it is. The technology is constantly evolving, which means that you need to be prepared to respond to those industry trends that are hot on the radar. If you stay ahead of the curve, you’ll be ready to make the right decisions to stay competitive and achieve your company’s goals.

1. The Rise of Remote Working

With the technology we have available, remote working is becoming much more common, and that means more meetings are taking place virtually instead of face-to-face. In fact, studies have reported that nearly 3 out of every 4 employees work for a company that offers flexible working. 32% of respondents in the same study said that they regularly work remotely, and 79% said they work with at least one person who isn’t based in the same office as them. The ability to work remotely has been shown to increase productivity and is becoming a perk many companies offer to remain competitive.

 global-remote-employees

The modern employee is mobile. While it has its benefits to business operations, employers are looking for a solution to the collaborative challenges that often arise with remote work. Telecom resellers will stay relevant in the industry by offering collaborative solutions, like huddle rooms and
web conferencing, that empower employees and help their bottom line.

2. Workplace Mobilization

As we mentioned, modern employees are mobile—which means they are using their mobile devices to perform business duties. BYOD (bring your own device) is a popular trend that companies are embracing. Employees don’t want to lug around a personal cell phone and a work cell phone. Not to mention, it’s a cost-effective solution for the employer. So, what’s the problem, and how do you swoop in with a solution you can provide? businessman-cell-phone Well, while it’s more convenient for an employee to conduct business on their personal phones, communication can end up being very difficult to manage. (Is that a call from their child’s teacher, or is it from an important sales lead?) Not to mention, calls, texts and outgoing voicemail messages from a personal phone can lack professionalism, putting a damper on a company’s brand image. As a telecom reseller, you can offer business SMS and integrated mobile applications, like ReachUC, to alleviate these common pain points that businesses experience.

3. SMS Automation for SMB Businesses

Soon enough, not having a textable business phone number will be akin to not having a company website or email. Consumers are expecting the convenience of text messaging as a mode of easy communication, and businesses are quickly adapting. As a reseller, you want to be offering the most innovative solutions out there, which is why you should be offering SMS automation services.

With our business SMS application suite, you can offer an SMS keyword responder bot to your customers. Having the ability to send automatic responses to frequently asked questions is a huge plus for businesses—think of it as a digital receptionist. Businesses can assign automatic replies that are triggered by a group of keywords. For example, a professional, on-brand response about hours of operation can be immediately sent out based on the chosen keywords “hours” and “when are you open”.
 

Being able to speak to customers with such personal immediacy is a huge advantage for your end user—and offering that valuable solution is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on.

SkySwitch Resellers Gather for Vectors 2018

Unite and conquer—that was the motto for Vectors 2018. This year’s annual conference was highly anticipated with the attendee and sponsor count totaling three times the amount in previous years, and the conference venue being bigger and better than ever. However, a good event is more than just the numbers—it’s all about how valuable the content is behind it. Based on attendee response, Vectors 2018 fully delivered on that front.

Mike Reynolds of Level 1 Telecom said, “Vectors 2018 was an amazing experience for me. The networking was great, and I learned a lot from the educational sessions. Undoubtedly the most valuable industry event that I have attended in a long while.”

Since 2014, we’ve held the Vectors conference annually with the goal of empowering telecom resellers with the information and resources they need to become innovative industry leaders.

This year’s conference was packed with over 30 informative, exciting events for attendees to experience—all of which covered hot-button topics and technology trends that all resellers need to know. Some notable topics included the potential of business SMS, the power of human collaboration, making the most of auto attendants, successful quoting and how to execute a structured digital marketing program.

Along with the technical breakout sessions, sales training and marketing discussions was a keynote speech that addressed a concern shared by every white label reseller: How to sell more effectively. Dr. Wessels of LiquidSMARTS brought to the table practical and actionable techniques that all resellers could use to sell more and to ignite their current sales process.

In addition to the educational sessions, our team made some big announcements, laying out a roadmap of where the UCaaS industry is going, and what we’re doing at SkySwitch to keep white label resellers competitive in the world of cloud technology. Industry statistics have projected the UCaaS and collaboration markets to reach 4.45 billion dollars in new growth by 2021, making it clear that now is the time to leverage cloud technology and capture the market share. To that end, we announced a new affiliation with Cloud Voice Alliance, an industry-peer association that assists resellers by providing one central hub where members can share best practices, resources, marketing collateral and more.

And of course, when you work hard, you should play hard too. The welcome reception was an evening filled with socializing over complimentary drinks, appetizers and carving stations. The camaraderie carried on as attendees participated in interactive games for prizes and made valuable, new connections. 

SkySwitch has shown a strong growth trajectory year over year, beginning with eight resellers during its inception in 2014 to now over 300. We’re looking forward to another year of tremendous growth, upholding our commitment to our resellers by providing the best in industry-leading innovation and support.

SkySwitch Now Supports RTCP Extended Reports for Troubleshooting UCaaS

 

When troubleshooting UCaaS quality of service, getting access to a packet capture (or PCAP) for a problem call is always the first step.   Examining a packet capture with an analyzer such as Wireshark, is generally the only way to see what’s on the wire and verify that things are behaving as designed.

With voice quality issues, where you get the capture from is critical.  Just like traffic on a highway, congestion in a VoIP network can happen at any point along a route, and your vantage point when looking at it is critical to understanding what is going on.

A key benefit that SkySwitch offers to white label resellers is access to RTP-Sight, a network monitoring tool that provides packet captures and analytics for every call, and dramatically improves the troubleshooting process.   A limitation of RTP-Sight has been that packet captures are taken from the switch perspective, and can only tell half the story.   Packets sent from the switch to a SIP endpoint may be delayed en route, and this would not be visible in the switch-side packet capture.  In order to see what is truly going on, it is often necessary to get a packet capture from the end-customer site and then compare the two.  Often, this is the only way to see trouble introduced downstream from the switch (such in the last mile or on the customer’s local network).

However, getting a packet capture from the end-customer’s site is sometimes not a viable option because the UCaaS provider lacks access to the end-customer’s network, or does not have equipment with packet capturing capability.  And even if packet captures are available, encrypted RTP streams will preclude analysis.

SkySwitch now offers white label resellers another way to see what happened on the remote side of a call with the availability of RTCP and RTCP-XR statistics in RTP-Sight.  RTCP is a protocol that allows supported SIP phones to provide feedback on the quality of service from the perspective of the remote endpoint.  This is accomplished by configuring supported SIP endpoints to stream RTCP statistics to the RTP-Sight collector.  These statistics include information such as transmitted packet counts, packet loss, packet delay variation, round-trip delay time and MOS.  Access to such performance data for each IP phone makes it easier to diagnose problems remotely.  And because RTCP is sent in a separate stream from RTP, encrypting RTP packets does not obscure this data.

The chart below shows a sample RTCP report displaying aggregate RTCP statistics over a 24-hour period.

Per call RTCP reports are also available as part of each Call Detail Record. The table below shows the RTCP statistics received from a SIP phone with IP address xx.xx.60.19, telling us the jitter and loss experienced by that endpoint on the RTP stream received from 75.98,50.46.

 

SkySwitch currently collects RTCP and RTCP-XR reports from Yealink, Vtech and Polycom SIP endpoints.

 

 

 

 

Reseller Education for the SkySwitch Next Generation Communication Platform Leaps Forward with LiquidSMARTS

SkySwitch and LiquidSMARTS form a strategic partnership to provide product sales training with the benefit of micro-learning and electronic distribution.

TAMPA, FL, August 21, 2018  — Communication, telecom, IT service provider companies have little time to engage in product related learning, much less sales skills development. In partnership with LiquidSMARTS, SkySwitch is enabling resellers with the tools and techniques needed to increase sales and market share in this area.

Delivering effective marketing and sales training to a reseller network is difficult. Most organizations use annual conferences and webinar tools to educate the market about new products, services, features, and solutions. “There is a better way. By using the latest training platforms and a micro-learning approach, resellers can get “just the facts” and “here’s how to sell it” combined in a bite-sized lesson. That way best practices are spread around, and everyone can benefit,” said Gunter Wessels, Practice General Managers of LiquidSMARTS.

“Our platform delivers tremendous value to our resellers’ clients, and we are always adding new capabilities and with strong differentiation for our resellers. But we have to show them what’s in it for them quickly, and effectively. That’s why we are going down this pathway with our training. We are building custom lessons, and custom product training that shows our resellers how to accelerate the growth of their businesses today,” said Eric Hernaez, Founder of SkySwitch.

“We see our resellers as family. And we want to give them the very best tools and capabilities available, so that they can succeed. That’s why we are investing in the Vectors conference in Nashville, and launching this service there. October is going to be a very good month for all of us, and partnerships like this one with LiquidSMARTS have been our heritage; we invest in our resellers,” said Jayson Jones, VP of Business Development at SkySwitch.

“We bring the best of performance-based training in sales and marketing to our clients, in bite-sized pieces. If the resellers have got 3-5 minutes, we will show them the best practices in selling the SkySwitch portfolio of solutions,” said Jennifer Bravo, CEO of LiquidSMARTS.

“We are excited about the partnership with LiquidSMARTS. They’re committed and aligned with us, and share our goals. We look forward to the realizing the positive impact that this partnership will deliver,” added Hernaez.

Communication, telecom, IT service providers interested in learning more about the SkySwitch platform and solutions are encouraged to contact SkySwitch at www.skyswitch.com. Those interested in the best practices approach to data-driven training and development are encouraged to contact LiquidSMARTS at www.liquidsmarts.com/ask-us/. The company website provides an overview and a free monograph on the approach and case study examples.

 

About LiquidSMARTS

 

LiquidSMARTS, a Global Sales Training Company, has focused their practice discipline to target soft skill-oriented learning which is crucial to increasing any organizations’ sales volume. Comprehensive assessments and learning tools, including the “Forever Royalty Free Sales Process”, DealSMARTS, can be implemented within any company to increase revenue. Their innovative, micro-learning platform, OnTheGoSMARTS, is composed of diverse training materials with convenient access which compliments their full service approach to sales development and organizational success. Follow LiquidSMARTS on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.

 

Visit LiquidSMARTS at www.liquidsmarts.com

 

About SkySwitch

 

SkySwitch is a US-based, next-generation communications platform provider. SkySwitch delivers a comprehensive white label communication service and back office support to our resellers. This enables our resellers – communication, telecom, IT service providers – to offer a branded, cloud-based, Hosted PBX Service and unified communications and collaboration services (UCCaaS) to their subscribers without the requirement to invest in or manage the platform from which the service is offered. The SkySwitch platform includes not only the infrastructure to deliver feature rich voice, video, text and fax communications, but also all operational and business support systems necessary for a reseller to experience rapid growth and profitability. This includes billing, carrier services, DID porting services, and regulatory compliance.

Get Great Results with ReachUC for International Travel

My wife and were invited by our close friends to join them on a ten day holiday to Phuket, Thailand. Understanding they were Marriott time share owners and the hotel was 100% free to us, we immediately jumped all over the offer and here we are enjoying the sites, food and culture of some the kindest people I have ever met on our planet. Gracious and always smiling, the people of Thailand have cornered the market on the term “customer service”. Nothing short of outstanding in every regard.

Before we embarked on the long trip to Southeast Asia, I considered contacting AT&T to activate their international voice/data plan for $10 per day but said to myself, “hey, this is a vacation and what can I not do with WIFI, text and email so I opted out of activating the plan. Now into day eight of the trip, I realized how much I really needed voice communication with family and business associates. That is where ReachUC comes into the story. WIFI is amazing here in Asia and therefore, using ReachUC on my iPhone8 was nothing short of brilliant. From the stability of my ten minute conversations, the call quality and SMS to my staff mates, it performed remarkably well.

I guess the moral of the story is this. If you are lucky enough to have a service provider offering ReachUC, you can skirt paying AT&T or other mobile carriers their premium international voice/data access and get along just fine while traveling abroad. Enjoy your holidays this summer wherever they may take you and remember to get ReachUC on your smartphones, you’ll be glad you did!

SkySwitch Enhances Business SMS with New SMS Keyword Responder

It’s no secret that I think Business SMS presents a fantastic opportunity for UCaaS providers to increase ARPU and make services stickier. Business owners know that  SMS is a valuable part of their lead acquisition and customer engagement process.  But today most SMS communication is done with a personal mobile device that is not integrated with their businesses phone system.   This is changing.

Business SMS brings the ability to integrate SMS communications with your PBX and other business communications systems.  In the future, not having the ability to communicate with your customers and prospects using Business SMS will be the equivalent of not having company email or a company website today.   We believe that Business SMS will soon equal the importance of the telephone and email as a critical communications channel between businesses and customers.

To that end, we have been working hard to launch our SMS Keyword Responder bot, the latest addition to our suite of Business SMS applications The video below is of a recent webinar that discusses how to sell the SMS Keyword Responder as part of an unbeatable UCaaS solution.

 

 

If you would like to learn how SkySwitch can help you sell Business SMS services to your user base, contact us today.

Learn How to Sell UCaaS at Vectors 2018 Nashville

As part of our ongoing quest to make our white-label partners more successful, SkySwitch is teaming up with LiquidSMARTS to bring sales training to its resellers.  The topic for this year’s keynote speech, “Upselling, Cross Selling and Service Failure Recovery”,  was chosen to address a concern shared by every SkySwitch partner – how to sell more effectively.    Dr. Wessels and the team at LiquidSMARTS create timely, digestible and effective sales training programs.  This keynote speech will leave you with practical and actionable  techniques that you can use to sell more to your existing customers.  It will also inspire and chart a course to ignite the sales process in your organization.

 

 

Learning how to sell UCaaS more effectively is just one of the many reasons why you should not miss Vectors 2018 Nashville. For more information visit the Vectors 2018 website here.

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