Robocalls Got You Down? Your Business Internet Phones Need Nomorobo

BY JASON HARRISREVIEWS EDITOR

Robocalls are a huge problem for anyone in the US with a phone. It doesn’t matter if it’s your home phone, mobile or work line — there’s nothing more annoying than picking up the phone in the middle of a busy workday and have it be a computer on the other end trying to sell you a vacation or some anti-virus software.

The problem goes back decades — when the FTC started the “Do Not Call Registry”. Remember back when we were promised that the National Do Not Call list was supposed to solve our spam-call problem? With modern-day calling infrastructure, the robocall problem has become even worse. Much worse. Spammers, fraudsters and marketers use them to annoy owners of landlines and mobile phones….driving pretty much all Americans crazy.

Now There’s a Viable Robocall-Busting Solution

Let’s introduce you, dear reader, to Nomorobo. This service is aimed at ending robocalls for your business or residential phone number. Nomorobo offers a fee-based service for mobile users via their application and subscription service for resellers’ customers available in the SkySwitch dashboard.

Nomorobo’s AI-based platform monitors millions of calls and rates the incoming phone numbers based on a few factors, like: how many calls is a specific number making in a short amount of time? The service gets this data from phone companies, mobile app users and most importantly, a telephone honeypot – basically a bank of “dirty” phone numbers that’s been set up to act as a “target” for robocallers. Then, using their AI-based data analysis, Nomorobo makes an assessment to decide if the caller is a robocall or not.

According to Nomorobo, 36% of calls are illegal/unwanted — which equates to billions of calls per day. The company has more than 3 million subscribers and claims to block robocalls with 97% accuracy.

Nomorobo Is Free for Landline, Charges for Mobile

For mobile users on Android and iOS, Nomorobo charges a mere $1.99 per month for the service. However, the good news is, for customers using wired phones at work — the service is completely free for landlines. 

By registering to use Nomorobo, you’re also contributing to the greater community because you’re helping defeat robocalls and stop them from calling other business owners by increasing the call data Nomorobo analyzes each day.

Nomorobo also offers a separate service, “Nomorobo for Business”. The mobile and landline services mentioned above kicks in with spam prevention after the consumer’s phone rings, so users may hear a ring or two before the call is blocked. But, “Nomorobo for Business” has an additional feature that many business owners will enjoy: it intercepts spam calls before the user’s phone even rings. “Nomorobo for Business” is a premium service made available for SkySwitch resellers to purchase and deploy.

Get Nomorobo on Your SkySwitch-Powered Phone Numbers Today

Luckily, for those of us with SkySwitch-powered phone lines, you can enable Nomorobo by following a few easy steps. In our Knowledge Center/Docs, you’ll see all the instructions for how to get started.

Once you get Nomorobo configured on SkySwitch all that robocall-blocking magic happens on Nomorobo’s side — ending robocalls using the service is as easy as registering your number on the Nomorobo website and like magic, the robocalls end.

When I think of businesses and robocalls, I consider the vast amount of lost productivity organizations lose to distractions and frustration caused by the interruptions. With Nomorobo, we are happy to have a tool to help fight back!

You can learn more about Nomorobo and how SkySwitch is working with them in our webinar and the accompanying slide show. Resellers can sign up by contacting their sales rep, and deploy for Nomorobo by visiting the SkySwitch reseller dashboard and easily activating the service for their customers.

Meet SkySwitch at ITEXPO 2020 and Learn How to Level Up With White Label Cloud Voice

Join us at ITEXPO to learn from our industry-leading experts and discover how you can skyrocket your profits with Cloud Voice.


This year, the SkySwitch team will be participating at ITEXPO 2020 not only exhibitors but also as speakers, moderating several panel discussions and presenting at the conference. As an industry-leading white label UCaaS platform provider, we have thoughtfully curated these session topics to provide valuable insights that telecom resellers and MSPs can use to boost their business and skyrocket sales.

Mark Your Calendars for These Upcoming Sessions

Founder and President of SkySwitch, Eric Hernaez, is scheduled to participate in the panel of experts for Cloud Voice Alliance (CVA). His panel will feature other successful industry leaders, including Dave Gilbert from Cloud Communications Alliance, Tom Millitzer from Millitzer Capital, and will be moderated by none other than Doug Green from Telecom Reseller.

VP of Business Development Harlan Hamlin, will be leading the session “Implementing Kari’s Laws and Other New E911 Requirements”. If you missed his eye-opening panel at Vectors 2019, this is an incredible opportunity to see how simple updates can help save lives in your community.

CMO, Andy Abramson, will be demonstrating his years of experience by moderating several sessions throughout the conference. He’ll be covering a series of can’t-miss lectures that will help elevate your marketing techniques for years to come, with topics from “The Millennial Influence on Enterprise Communications” to “Modern Marketing for MSPs”.

Review Our Full Session & Panel Schedule

Take a look at all of the sessions and panels that the SkySwitch team will be participating in. (And save the picture on your phone to keep in handy while at you’re at the conference!)

Visit Our Booth & Get Entered to Win Prizes

Of course, make sure to stop by the SkySwitch booth in Hall A to meet with other members of our team and see how you can take (or launch) your business to the next level by reselling cloud voice. And while you’re there, don’t forget to drop your business card off at the booth to enter our giveaways with Poly, Grandstream, Snom and 3CX.

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Poly Trio 8800

Snom C520 Conference Phone (Read Product Review Here!)

 

GXV3380 (Grandstream’s Android Video Phone)

 

Schedule a Meeting at ITEXPO #TechSuperShow

We all get caught up with the excitement of keynotes, sessions and expo halls, but while you’re at ITEXPO, make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to talk one-on-one with SkySwitch!

 

Schedule a meeting with Ben Macalindong, Director of 3CX Channel, at ITEXPO to learn more about our unique SIP Trunking offerings for 3CX Users. (Or, to simply learn more about our white label UCaaS offerings!)

Just click the link below to set up a date and time. See you there!

Review: Snom C520 Cloud Conference Calling Phone

BY JASON HARRISREVIEWS EDITOR

I’m a distributed team member that works for a SF-based company from Oregon. Being able to hear my colleagues when they’re in the conference room is always difficult because we use our laptops during conference calls, and inevitably there’s always a team member or two I can’t hear well while on calls.

We meet quite often – and not being able to hear parts of my team clearly is super annoying! Well, not anymore. 

Our team has been trialing the Snom C520 Conference phone, and I’ve enjoyed having this stellar piece of equipment in our arsenal of tech tools. 

The Snom C520’s Unique Hardware Offering

Snom is a brand known for outstanding audio engineering and quality – and the C520 lines up with Snom’s reputation. Built into the C520, there are clear, audible speakers and a one-of-a-kind surprise. Two of the three mics detach from the normal conference phone, allowing them to be used wirelessly to spread around your conference room. So now, Sally at the end of the table can be understood by everyone on the call! Joe from IT can be heard clearly, too! 

The two detachable mics charge right on the C520 and feature 12 hours of talk-time and 70 hours of standby time, meaning they’re perfect for a full business-day of meetings.

Setup and Onboarding

The Snom C520 comes with everything you need to get started in the box, including the C520 unit itself, power brick and ethernet cables. They’ve color-coded the cables to make set up easy. The C520 is 11” wide and 11” long – it weighs 3.4 points – so it’s large enough to enable a group to talk but not so big, or heavy, that it’s a cumbersome device to move from room to room if you need to do that.

To activate the Snom C520, I logged into the device’s web user interface. I was able to find the IP address the C520 received by using the on-screen menu and then went to the setup page. 

By simply entering my SIP server, username and password, the C520 was instantly provisioned and ready for action. Just in the case set up goes awry, I suggest having IT support handy – however, I believe non-technical folks can activate the Snom C520 just fine.

Performance, Features and Usage

I’ve used the C520 to call internationally and domestically – including landlines, office extensions and mobile phones. Each time, the C520 made the call with ease with zero drop-outs. The people I spoke with were always clearly audible and the voice quality was superb. I really like that the Snom C520 can be powered over BPOE (power over ethernet) if your network supports it. For offices without BPOE set up, you can use the included power adapter as well. 

In my testing, I found that the mics that were detached never cut out and were extremely reliable. I had to go into another room to finally make the mics cut out – I was surprised at the distance they can go reliably.

One facet of the C520 I enjoy is that it’s a full-duplex phone – meaning callers can speak and hear the other person at the same time. Also – the unit supports up to 3 phone lines, which is nice if you have multiple teams using the device in a medium-sized business.

Need to make a more private call using the Snom C520? The unit has built-in Bluetooth so you can pair it with your mobile phone or Bluetooth headset for a more confidential calling situation.

Lastly – if you have a large conference room, you can use Snom’s C52-SP expansion speakerphone – which essentially doubles the amount of speakerphones you have in the room! Consider this if you have more than 10-15 people on a conference call that all need to connect.

Conclusion

The Snom C520 can be bought in the SkySwitch Store, accessible through the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard. I highly recommend this very solid conference calling performer for each room in your office, where you have multiple people taking part in virtual meetings.

Webinar Replay: The Not-So-Good and Really Bad About Robocalls – What VoIP Providers Need to Know in 2020

On January 28th, 2020, SkySwitch invited Aaron Foss, Founder of Nomorobo, to discuss what VoIP providers need to know about robocalls in 2020.

We reviewed:

  • What robocalling is and why it’s a problem
  • How robocalling is different from legitimate auto-dialing
  • Why robocalling is a problem for resellers and end-users
  • What Nomorobo is doing to combat robocalling
  • How does Nomorobo actually does it and where it intercepts the call
  • The latest with the FTC and Stir/Shaken
  • Why resellers need to act on this with customers
  • How SkySwitch resellers can implement Nomorobo for Business

Watch the full webinar recording and download the slide deck below!

ActionURLs with Zapier and Slack

As promised! An ActionURL video with Zapier where I set up integrations with Google Sheets, Email and Slack. I really appreciated the emails and feedback on the last video showing the Philips Hue integration through IFTTT. The feedback led me to include several things in this video; such as where to find documentation, auto-provisioning, and some troubleshooting basics. While the Philips Hue integration might have sparked your interest, this video may help you realize more of the potential behind using ActionURLs. The possibilities of what you can do with ActionURLs are nearly endless, it’s only limited by your imagination.

ActionURLs can be configured on just about any brand of VoIP phone, where they send an HTTP GET or POST request to a URL. The URL that you send to is called a Webhook, which is just waiting for information from the GET or POST. Without any development experience, you can use tools like IFTTT and Zapier to trigger another action, like change your Slack status! Utilizing ActionURLs can really set you apart from the competition, including the big Telco guys.

I’m adding timestamps in case you are interested in jumping to a specific topic. I cover creating a call log with Google Sheets (2:19), creating emails when a phone loses registration (13:39), and changing your status in Slack by your phones activity (19:47).

 

The Github Tool that I mention in this video can be found at here

On-Premise to Cloud Migration: Porting Made Easy

As Caitlyn Long, Product Marketing Manager at Bandwidth, wrote a few months back: Porting telephone numbers doesn’t have to be painful. 

For many resellers, porting numbers is one of those unavoidable nuisances you have to get through when moving telephony services to the cloud. SkySwitch supplier Bandwidth has made the experience a bit easier and as a DID partner of SkySwitch, that means resellers can take advantage of the process that Long recommended to make migrating from on-premise to the cloud as quick and painless as possible.

The Top 3 Problems With Porting

One of the top issues resellers can experience with porting is unpredictable downtime. In the telecom industry, disruptions are a business killer. Especially if a client customer experiences downtime during an important meeting, phone call or big presentation. 

Another pitfall many resellers experience when migrating a customer from on-prem to the cloud is the lack of control when it comes to migrating in a strategic way. Oftentimes, resellers find themselves stuck with the inability to move groups over all at once, like a certain department or building. This can be tedious and cause frustrating delays in migration.

And, the final issue that many fear: the update is (nearly) irreversible. It’s not that rolling back phone numbers is impossible, but it can be an incredibly lengthy and time-consuming process that can stress out even the most level-headed. 

Related Blog Post: Growth Predictions for Cloud Hosting in 2020

The Porting Solution for Seamless Migration to the Cloud

So, how do resellers alleviate all these issues and minimize the problems associated with migrating a customer from a traditional PBX to the cloud? Simply follow the three steps below. A little prep-work ahead of time will save you from headaches galore.

  1. Create a redundant path that ensures uninterrupted service while you’re porting numbers. This can be achieved by plugging in a SkySwitch SIP trunk side by side with your legacy trunk.
  2. Freely port your numbers without concern of service disruption. Bandwidth powers cloud applications and platforms you move to, like SkySwitch, so by taking that step above and plugging in a SkySwitch trunk, you save yourself the headaches.
  3. Now that porting’s all taken care of, you can go ahead and schedule the migration based on your own custom parameters (date, time, department, location, etc.)

With Bandwidth as one of SkySwitch’s DID partners, SkySwitch Resellers are equipped with yet another meaningful advantage when it comes to migrating customers from on-prem to the cloud, and succeeding with UCaaS.

ReachUC On iOS Is the Mobile Worker’s Dream

BY JASON HARRISREVIEWS EDITOR

The wired phone that sits on your desk is a thing of the past, right? No! Not in business! We use deskphones to call colleagues down the hall, the front desk or to ring co-workers anywhere around the globe.

However, with more of the workforce going ‘mobile’, either working from home part-time, out of other offices or co-working spaces, the deskphone is rapidly being replaced by mobile phones. While this is a handy solution, and really can meet mobile worker’s basic needs – let’s face it, it’s a chore to carry around multiple mobile phones, one for personal and the other for work. Add to it that not everyone wants to divulge a personal mobile number to co-workers, clients or similar, and you have a problem in need of a solution.

In response, there is a solution. It’s the ‘softphone’ – which is an app that you install on your iPhone. The softphone enables you to dial extensions, listen to voicemail and use your work number – just as if you’re in the office talking into a regular deskphone. 

In recent weeks, I’ve been testing SkySwitch’s recommended ReachUC app on my iPhone.

ReachUC Overview

Getting started with ReachUC is quite easy – simply download the app from the App Store. Login by using your username and password obtained from your IS or IT group. Your login will be similar to the following: 4444@yourcompanyname.

After you log-in and launch ReachUC, you’ll be presented with the simple, easy-to-use user experience.

With ReachUC, it’s simple to:

  • Place calls to extensions and regular phone numbers. Your caller ID will appear to your callers as coming from your work extension, presenting the same number.
  • Receive calls – they’ll appear on your iPhone screen just like a regular phone call
  • Enable in-call actions such as adding a third person, transferring the call, putting the call on hold, etc
  • Message using text-messaging (SMS) exchanges directly in the app – which is perfect for quick notes, reminders, etc.
  • Make video calls if the person you call is on a video-capable device – and make distributed team members feel not-so-far away

If you’re in a place with spotty cellular data or crummy WiFi, such as a hotel or conference room floor, ReachUC has a fantastic option: the ‘callback’ and ‘GSM Call’ will force the outgoing call to use your mobile carrier (not using IP to route the call). 

Call and ReachUC Performance

Sure – ReachUC has features, but how does it perform as a calling app?

To put this to the test, I was using the app on an older iOS handset – an iPhone 6s and I witnessed outstanding app performance and user experience. I used the app to call SkySwitch colleagues at their desk on Grandstream handsets, traditional phones in Singapore, the UK and the US and mobile phones in the US and Canada. Each time I used ReachUC paired with SkySwitch – the calls were crystal clear. I experienced no call dropouts, muted callers or other annoyances.

The in-call controls let me mute calls, transfer to other colleagues and conduct three-way calls. The app’s performance was solid and predictable.

Are you concerned with your iPhone’s battery life? Me too. Much like the ReachUC Android app, ReachUC on iOS uses push notifications to alert you to new calls and messages, which means the app doesn’t maintain a constant connection to your company’s servers, draining your battery at the same time.

Tips for the best experience

ReachUC is built to be very user-friendly, even for those not so tech savvy. Here are some tips I’d offer to ensure an easy getting going experience:

  • Ensure you can get ahold of your IT/support team in case you can’t get signed in to ReachUC after you first install it and run it for the first time. 
    • You’ll likely just need your username and password and will be all set after this – but, just in case, have IT available via phone call or in-person.
  • Set ReachUC as an application on your phone’s home screen for easy access. There’s nothing more annoying than having to hunt for an application you’re going to be using on a routine basis during your workday.
  • Have younger folks that you work with (you know – those under 40?). Be sure to use ReachUC’s messaging capability. If you have a quick question or need to ping your colleague – send them a short note rather than calling and leaving a voicemail. 😂

So – now go download ReachUC for iOS and enjoy your deskphone on your trusty iPhone!

ReachUC Is An Ideal Business Cloud Voice Softphone

BY JASON HARRIS, REVIEWS EDITOR

Many ‘modern’ businesses have begun eliminating the desk phone. You know, the one that sits in your office/cubicle and enables you to dial extensions to reach co-workers, departments and colleagues? As the workforce has become increasingly mobile with co-working and work-from-home arrangements in the last decade or two, business phones on the desk are becoming a thing of the past. 

Instead, 21st-century workers use mobile phones, either their own, or one provided by their company.

The convenience of being mobile sounds fantastic, but there are downsides. Some employees either don’t always feel comfortable divulging a personal mobile phone number to colleagues and co-workers as their work number due to privacy or confidentiality reasons, or they simply don’t like carrying around two mobile phones.

Enter the ‘softphone’ – or, a phone line/number that works as an app on your Android mobile or iPhone that enables you to dial extensions and use your work number presented to caller ID – just as if you’re in the office ‘chained’ to your regular desk phone.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been testing SkySwitch’s recommended ReachUC application on my Samsung Galaxy S9+. 

ReachUC Overview

Installing ReachUC is easy – download the app from the Play Store and log in using your credentials which can be obtained from your IT department. Your login will be something that looks like this: 1234@yourcompany.com

Then, authorize the ReachUC app to use permissions such as call management and more. These are necessary for the app to function properly on the mobile phone.

Once you install the app, you’ll see the straight-forward, easy-to-use user interface.

With ReachUC, you can:

  • Make calls as if you’re in the office at your desk phone. They’ll appear to your callers as coming from your work extension, presenting the same number.
  • Receive calls – they’ll appear on your Android’s screen just like a regular call
  • Message using text-messaging like exchanges directly in the app
  • Make video calls if the person you call is on a video-capable device
  • Conduct in-call actions such as adding a third person, transferring the call, putting the call on hold, etc

One stand-out feature of ReachUC for me is the ‘callback’ or ‘GSM call’ option. If you’re on spotty Wi-Fi or in an area with a bad data connection, you can use these options to place the call through your mobile carrier, (not an IP or VoIP) when you’re trying to reach a colleague’s extension or dial out. For those who have used Google Voice to make calls, you’ll see the similarity.

Call and ReachUC App Performance

I used ReachUC over the past few weeks to call SkySwitch colleagues via their desk phones and also called them while they’ve used the ReachUC app on their mobile phones. I’ve made international calls to landlines and mobile numbers in the UK, Singapore and all over the United States. Every time I used ReachUC, the calls were crystal clear with no dropouts, no muted callers or anything of the sort.

I put the in-call controls to use by muting calls, placing the call on hold and transferring calls – the app performed flawlessly each time.

My favorite aspect of ReachUC, however, is the amazing fact that this app uses minimal battery life. Because it is built to use push notifications and not maintain an always-on data connection to your company’s PBX (the server that handles call management), ReachUC doesn’t drain your battery like most Internet calling applications. This feature alone makes ReachUC stand out in the competitive landscape and adds so much convenience for ReachUC users worldwide.

Tips to Pass On

Using ReachUC is super easy, even for non-tech savvy office phone users. 

However, here are a few tips to make your ReachUC experience top-notch.

  • Approve all the permissions ReachUC requests upon your first app launch. These include mic access and the ability to make calls. Don’t worry – the app isn’t nefarious – it needs mic access to enable you to talk and be heard during a phone call. 😀
  • Have IT as a resource in case you can’t get signed in to ReachUC after you first install it and run it for the first time. You’ll likely just need your username and password and will be all set after this – but, just in case, have IT available via phone call or in-person.
  • Set ReachUC as an application on your phone’s home screen for easy access. There’s nothing more annoying than having to hunt for an application you’re going to be using on a routine basis during your workday.
  • In ReachUC you can take advantage of much needed mobile compatible SMS, and one more great addition in ReachUC. Faxing. While you don’t fax as much today as in the past, and fax machines are becoming a dying breed like the desk phone, the addition of it in ReachUC is a big, added plus.

Now – go install ReachUC for your Android or iPhone and enjoy your desk phone on your mobile!

Webhooks, Actions URLs and Smart Lights

I’ve had ‘Create ActionURL explainer video’ on my personal todo list for years, mostly because I don’t think enough people are really using ActionURLs in our industry. ActionURLs have been around for a long time, and it might be something that you overlook when you’re in the WebUI of your phone, but you really shouldn’t. ActionURLs give you a big leg up against other phone companies by expanding your ability to customize for your customers.

I find myself somewhat obsessed with smart home technology almost as much as VoIP. I spend too much time thinking about what I can do next and how I can bring the different pieces together to make life just a little easier. So it was a natural choice to use IFTTT and Philips Hue Smart Lights as a BLF-like mechanism for the purpose of education.

Outside of changing colors on lightbulbs, the possibilities are almost endless with ActionURLs. Some examples of things I’ve done in the past include: Logging missed calls to a google sheet, generating notifications for registration drops to help troubleshoot a Local Network issue, or to log when certain end customers put their phone in DND (when they swear they weren’t doing it). If you can think of it, you can probably do it, I hope this video makes life a little easier for you!

 

3 Lucky SkySwitch Resellers Won Admission to Vectors 2020 — Was It You?

Today, Eric Hernaez, President and Founder of SkySwitch, announced the three lucky winners of free Vectors 2020 admission. 

 

About a month ago, we sent out a survey to all Vectors 2019 attendees to collect their impressions about this year’s event. Every reseller who completed the survey was automatically entered into a special drawing to be one of three lucky winners of Vectors 2020 registration, courtesy of SkySwitch.

 

Watch the video below to see just who the lucky winners are.

Congratulations to our lucky resellers!

And a big thanks to everyone who completed our Vectors’ survey. We’ve read every single response and will be taking your comments, suggestions and ideas to make Vectors 2020 even bigger and better.

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