SkySwitch Gives Resellers an Edge with New Mobility Solution

White Label Resellers Can Now Deliver A Better Mobile UC Experience To Users

Industry research shows the immediate need for the truly unified communication experience delivered by ReachUC. In a recent survey conducted by Canam Research on behalf of Avaya, it was found that 60% of employees spend more than a quarter of their time away from their desk. Plantronics research shows that most SMB employees feel more productive when working away from the office than at the office.

With ReachUC, users access the same communications features from their SIP deskphone, mobile app, or desktop environment. Supported features include VoIP, Video, and GSM calling, SMS and text chat, PBX presence and contact management, web conferencing, fax, and push notifications. 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 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. These include an extension to make calls from Google Chrome browser pages and a plug-in to place calls, synchronize contacts and send faxes from Microsoft Outlook.

All features are controlled by resellers from the SkySwitch Dashboard, such that end-users can be granted access to specific functionality in a way that enables resellers to logically control billing for bundles.

“Previous Skyswitch mobile apps did not provide the complete integrated experience that we feel is required to compete in today’s market,” said Jayson Jones, VP of Business Development at SkySwitch. “In order to meet the demands of our Resellers and their end users, we leveraged the ReachUC product to create the solution that we had envisioned. Not only does it deliver a very rich user experience, provisioning and management is simplified within the SkySwitch Reseller Dashboard.”

Louis LeBlanc president of Orgeon Phone Systems and longtime SkySwitch reseller said, “ReachUC, is a welcome upgrade to an already impressive white label hosted phone solution. Our clients are thrilled with the iOS Call Kit integration and well as the ease of use and voice quality it provides. The addition of mobility, along with the consistent feature access across deskphone, mobile, and desktop is impressive.”

To see a video demonstration of the integration of ReachUC with the SkySwitch platform, please visit http://www.skyswitch.com/skyswitch-integrates-reachuc/

About SkySwitch 
SkySwitch (http://www.skyswitch.com) 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.

View source version on prweb.com at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2017/07/prweb14513943.htm

 

How SkySwitch Improves VoIP Quality for SIP Mobility

While I was working for NetSapiens, I wrote a blog called Maximizing VoIP Quality Over Wireless Links with Codec Selection that explained how a service provider might improve VoIP QoS by using the iLBC codec.

Now, with the availability of the SkySwitch Mobile VoIP solution, I am happy to say that we are putting theory into practice.  One way we do this, is by using our Always Available geo-diverse architecture to anchor media at the switch that is geographically closest to the end user.

But the most important strategy we employ to maximize QoS for users of the PBX Fone app is to leverage iLBC, the best available codec for callers over WiFi, 3G and 4G wireless networks.

The term codec  refers to the sampling rate and compression scheme used to digitize an audio stream and, as might be expected, codecs with higher fidelity require more bandwidth. The table below (borrowed from Broadcom) shows the perceived speech quality and bit rates of ten different codecs across different languages.  In a VoIP call, the goal is to use the codec which results in the best possible user experience.  But because  packet loss and delay reduce voice quality, a trade-off must always be made  between codec fidelity and bandwidth consumption.

Most service providers consider G.711 and G.729 as the “standards”  because virtually all of their existing vendors (SIP carriers and trunk providers) and equipment providers (SIP CPE and gateways) support these codecs – and therefore compatibility issues are less likely to arise.  As reflected in the bandwidth calculation chart below (borrowed from Cisco),  including overhead, G.711 requires nearly three times more bandwidth than G.729 (87.2 Kbps vs. 31.2 Kbps).  It’s obvious then, that G.729 is a better choice than G.711 when bandwidth is an issue.

 

But, bandwidth consumption is not the whole story.  There is another factor to consider when choosing a codec as a service provider:  loss concealment.   (Software developers often argue about the merits of a codec based on license cost, computational requirements, whether it is open source or encumbered by patents, and other such things.  These issues, though interesting, are immaterial to the typical service provider and will be ignored in this discussion.)

In many wireless last mile situations (including WiFi and cellular data 3G/4G), bandwidth is subject to packet loss and/or unpredictable drop-outs due to ambient conditions.  In these cases, after all the factors are taken into consideration the iLBC codec is the better choice because:

  • among the narrowband codecs, it has similar payload size and fidelity to G.729
  • it is supported by many SIP CPE/handset vendors (e.g. Linksys, Polycom, Apple iOS, Android, and many others); and
  • it performs well in lossy conditions (referred to as robustness).

While there are other codecs with smaller payload size, or greater robustness, they are generally not supported by commonly available SIP Phones, and are therefore impractical choices.

The diagram below, taken from COMPARISONS OF FEC AND CODEC ROBUSTNESS ON VOIP QUALITY AND BANDWIDTH EFFICIENCY,  illustrates that the call quality (referred to as MOS) of G.729 at 8% packet loss is equivalent to the call quality of iLBC  at 15% packet loss – a nearly 100% improvement – in a typical WISP deployment scenario (by “typical”  I mean a network segment where UDP packet loss is anticipated, but packet delay is not an overt problem).  And, in real world usage, I have found that it is possible to carry on a reasonable conversation with packet loss approaching 30%, when using iLBC.

SkySwitch utilizes iLBC transcoders to allow calls from the SkySwitch mobilty app to accommodate the often lossy conditions of WiFi, 3G and 4G networks.  Give it a try for yourself and see the difference that strategic codec selection makes.

Surprising Facts About Millennial Phone Usage

Prevailing wisdom suggests that talking on the telephone is a declining activity among today’s Millennials, the generation born between 1982 and 2004.  After all, as any parent of a teenager will tell you, it is a well accepted fact that this group loves to send SMS messages (also know as text messaging).  In my own household, the voice component of my daughter’s iPhone stopped working, yet she barely noticed … so long as Instagram and Snapchat were still available.

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 12.56.46 AMDriven largely by the Millenials usage,  text messaging has grown at a phenomenal rate.  Increasing from fewer than a billion messages per month in 2001 to nearly 80 billion per month in the U.S. for 2010.  Globally, the SMS market accounted for $114.6 billion in service provider earnings in 2010.

Anecdotal evidence about Millennial avoidance of phone calls is plentiful.  Articles, such as this one from the Wall Street Journal, are replete with examples, such as the one quote below, that paint phone avoidance in stark terms.

Kevin Castle, a 32-year-old chief technology officer at Technossus, an Irvine, Calif.-based business software company, says unplanned calls are such an annoyance that he usually unplugs his desk phone and stashes it in a cabinet. Calling someone without emailing first can make it seem as though you’re prioritizing your needs over theirs, Mr. Castle says. Technossus’s staff relies mainly on email to communicate, which helps bridge the time difference between the company’s offices in the U.S. and India, he says. He uses Microsoft Lync for instant messaging and video conferencing. Phone calls are his last resort.

 

Surprisingly, however, it seems that all the text messaging and phone avoidance has not diminished the number or length of phone calls – even among 15-19 year olds.  In fact, as of 2011, people within this age group talked more on the phone than their contemporaries did in 2003 (the year when text messaging started gaining critical mass).

As noted by a recent article in The Boston Globe, texts aren’t really substitutes for phone calls. “We don’t text instead of talking, we text in addition to talking. A Pew Research survey from 2011 found that people who send or receive more than 50 texts a day also take 30 phone calls a day.”

Minutes spent talking on the phone by 15-19 year oldsAs it turns out, [i]n defiance of that stereotype which paints millennials as text-obsessed and screen-addicted, the average 15-to-19-year-old spends about 11 minutes talking on the phone every day. That’s not just more time than they spent in 2003, it’s more than any other age group and twice as much as their 35-to-54-year-old parents.

So another bit of conventional wisdom proves to be untrue.  It turns out that talking on the phone is not a dying art form after all.  A surprise to me for sure.