giovedì 13 agosto 2009

Asterisk Blade interesting first

Positron Telecommunication System, Canadian company founded in 2008 as a spin-off of Positron Holdipositron-boardng Inc. (founded in 1970) specializes in the design and manufacture of communications cards, has launched a completely new Asterisk concept in the world market with the Positron Asterisk board.

We are all used to PCI cards, but here we have real media gateway with integrated PBX functionality, embedded on a PCI board. The new cards for Asterisk Positron constitute an absolute novelty in the established panorama of hardware to / from the PSTN in the world of Open Source Telephony.

The main points in these cards that we tested:

- Support FXS and ISDN BRI
- Support PRI
- Fast Ethernet interface card on board to use as a real Media Gateway
blade-asterisk-Asterisk pre-installed on board on a Chip! blade-asterisk
- Graphical configuration simple and intuitive to use
- Powered via PCI bus
- Can be installed on any PC with Linux on board and / or Windows
- Reset button to return to factory configuration
- Supported on any server with PCI cards
- Supported on Virtual Machine VM-Ware!
- Support for Flash compac available to install more apps
- Hardware Echo Cancel on (more…)
VoIP Unified Communicationasterisk positron BRI ISDN, Asterisk Positron cards distributors, ISDN Positron, positron asterisk cards, Positron buy, Positron distributors, Positron resellers, positron tarjetas
Automatic OutBound IVR
Posted in July 5, 2009 ¬ 10:58 pmh.adminNo Comments »


- To make an automatic survey in order to collect and store information from users


- It must be possible to have different campaigns with different IVRs
- Each campaign must have own call times
- For each campaign it must be possible to recycle calls, according to specific status (eg. Busy, Not Answered, …)

- The system must be able to recognize equipment answers (fax and voice mail detection)
- It aims to be able to collect DTMF codes from users and store them to RDBMS database
- The system must be able to transfer (according to specific rules) the call to a human operator

- The system must be able to record (following the laws) the user – agent conversation
- It needs to be integrated with (more…)

venerdì 29 maggio 2009

OCS Appliance the first?

I came across the Product family from Startready last month. Essentially it is OCS and it's components installed in an appliance that is already configured for the user based on information taken from his existing network and information collected in an Excel spreadsheet.

I recommend you take a moment to look at this article from Network World . Having been involved with OCS deployments since 2007, one of the key benefits this solution looks to offer is that the amount of site installation work is just 2 hours! Also as StartReady have done the configuration and installation remotely the need for Microsoft UC certified engineers on site is not a requirement.

What this means is that the reseller community can go after OCS customers without the high costs of UC certification.

venerdì 15 maggio 2009

Appcrash Outlook.exe

This is not a Unified Communications post but describes a nasty problem I solved with the help of a colleague. I could find no resolution on the Internet so hope fully it may help you. Quite suddenly last Sunday my Microsoft Outlook would crash every time it tried to send or receive mail

My OS is Microsoft Vista Home Edition
I'm using Microsoft Office 2007 standard edition

Here's the error message:

Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: APPCRASH
Application Name: OUTLOOK.EXE
Application Version:12.0.6423.1000
Application timestamp:49b08185
Fault Module Name: outlmime.dll
Fault Module version: 12.0.6423.1000
Fault module timestamp: 49b08071
Exception code: c0000005
Exception offset: 00019a59
OS Version: 6.0.6001.
Locale ID: 1040

Additional information about the problem:
LCID: 1040
Brand: Office12Crash
skulid: 1040

So with the help of a colleague I did the following

Opened the email options in the control panel, you can do this by searching for Outlook when you have opened the control panel.

Click on profiles

Add a new profie eg. user2

Now add the connections to your email accounts from ISP or the company including your email name and passwords as required

When you have done, it's very important to click on the option for outlook to ask you which profile you want to use when you start Outlook.

Now launch Outlook and select your new profile.

Once loaded click on Tools and then Options. go to Mail configuration and then to data files.

Insert all the data files you were using with the original profile.

Check that in Outlook you can now see all the files as in your original version. You can at this time do a send and receive to check that all is working OK.

I kept both profiles for about 2 days, once I was completely satisfied I had everything set up correctly I removed the defective profile.

I was in touch with Microsoft support and they confirmed that this is an effective work around to the problem.

giovedì 14 maggio 2009

Cisco v Microsoft

Any Post starting with this disclaimer means that this post was not written by me however I have liked it and added to my blog. I would like to thank Mino the UC Guy for bringing it to my attention I will also include the link to the original or Similar post to provide credit to the original author.

There’s a showdown brewing between Microsoft and Cisco in the UC space. Both companies offer a lot of different products, some overlap and some don’t. I made a chart below to show where the products that do overlap stack up.

If you believe that the future is based on a software-powered universe, you’d have to put your money on Microsoft

Feature Cisco Product Microsoft Product
Telephony / Call Control Unified Communications Mgr. OCS 2007 R2
A/V Conferencing MeetingPlace / MeetingPlace Express
Web Conferencing WebEx / MeetingPlace
Presence / IM Cisco Unified Presences (CUPS)
IVR / Speech Applications Cisco IPIVR / IPCCX
Softphone IP Communicator
Video Calling Unified Voice (formerly VT Advantage)
Voice Mail Unity / Unity Connections Exchange 2007

One of the other major things MS has going for them is price. It’s not fair to Cisco to tally up all the licenses in the table above and compare it to an OCS ECAL per user, although that’s how you had to buy those products until recently. They’ve taken another cue from MS and unified the licensing.

Cisco have changed the licensing structure so customers can buy the above products in a unified bundle (CUWL) per user, so the pricing is much easier to swallow. Here’s how this breaks down:

Features Cisco CUWL Pricing Microsoft ECAL Pricing
Voice, Presence, AV, Etc






Required Maintenance*



Total (MSRP)



*CUWL requires 3 years of maintenance @ $125 a year

This is all list price and subject to great variance

mercoledì 13 maggio 2009

Opportunities and Risks (Market Trends, Competition, etc)

* Opportunities: The UC market is growing despite the global market recession, infact this recession increases the value that qualified resellers (Ideally Microsoft recognised Voice Enabled) and Microsoft can bring with UC deployments in particular the following customer revenue generating demands can be addressed:
o Drive down the cost of audio traffic taking traffic from PSTN to VoIP
o Reduce the amount of time staff spend travelling and the cost of travel by implementing video conferencing and audio conferencing facilities
o Increase the efficient use of existing network resources providing more productivity with a reduced hardware spend.
o By staged deployment and integration our UC deployments offer investment protection of legacy equipment and allowing the customer to stage their UC roll out in a scaleble manner.
* Market trends: Frost & Sullivan anticipates a growth explosion (30% plus growth rates for the next two years) in the medium term beyond which the market growth rates will stabilize at 22% until 2015 in the Middle East region. The widespread availability of broadband networks at cheaper rates will also fuel growth. A recent report also anticipates that usage in the corporate segment will grow at a CAGR of 18.6% as against the CAGR of 21.7% in the education vertical and 21.6% in healthcare. This is particularly reflected in increased government spending in the region in these areas.
* Key competitors to Microsoft such as Avaya, Cisco and even IBM will fight defensively to protect their customer base and market percentage ownership, however companies who have a high dependency on hardware sales become constricted to demand higher software license prices from their customers. Through Microsoft solutions and skillful partner availability the Microsoft UC proposition should be considered compelling.
* AS we operate in the UC sector a risk is also an opportunity. The real risk is an unplanned deployment leading to a very negative customer experience and damage to the vendors UC brand
* Organizations going in for UC must plan their networking infrastructure with care or it would slowly lead to network disruption. Hence, while it enhances business processes, it can also overwhelm networks when application performance is not closely monitored.
* UC requires a significantly higher quality of service and real-time performance requirements from the underlying network, particularly when it comes to audio and video transport, than data or even voice.
* This technology presents new opportunities for organizations, making it easier to stay in touch with coworkers, customers, vendors, and others. Unfortunately, this convenience and integration also present new opportunities for attackers, providing them with additional points of attack and the ability to spread those attackers further. Being a technology that spans the entire stack—from applications to network, IT heads need to be careful while thinking out their UC security. Existing security mechanisms for data networks will not suffice.
* In their enthusiasm and eagerness to reap the benefits of UC, some companies are not stopping to consider the security ramifications of a UC deployment. Awareness of the threats and a plan for addressing them can make the difference between a successful transition to UC—and one that creates more problems than it solves.

venerdì 8 maggio 2009

ROI benchmarks

When I discuss this issue with my clients I need to do a quick check shopping list to see what their organisation looks like, here are some of the key check list items:

Are the a single site organisation, multisite or multi-national, scaling up Unified Communications provides a a more and more compelling case based on the geographic reach of the organisation.

Some clients with a single site ask me "But how can I benefit from Unified Communications as we are all here, the answer is Presence . Unless the client lives in a Trappist Monastry or is the lone sentry in a Bunker (actually even this guy needs UC) UC is going to work for you." my reply is something like this, "thinking of your staff do some of them have a need to travel for business, if on a night over do they stop in a hotel/airport with internet access? Would you like to share your Presence with your clients or your suppliers?" because with Presence you can decide when to call, when to IM and when to not disturb your co workers.

If you use Microsoft OCS Communicator or similar try something for a day or an afternoon, turn Microsoft Office Communicator off, you will be in a worse condition that a Smoker who's stopped or an addict to various substances, by the time you can't being isolated anymore.

So in summary presence allows us to decide how or when to get in touch with our co-workers and save money in wasted searching.

Conferencing is another key aspect, many larger organisations use video and audio conferencing extensively, I always ask my clients how they manage this, many use outsourced conferencing service providers, I ask if they could tell me about the costs. with Unified Communications solutions costs can nearly always be slashed. Furthermore if it's necessary to arrange an Ad-Hoc conference, Presence info and IM allow the ability to get a workgroup together and improve the response speed of the organisation to respond to business opportunities or deal with customer issues.

Secondly but also very important is the Persistent group chat facility PGC, many of my clients are familar with MSN or IM but when I explain how groups can be formed work together on an opportunity or problem they are impressed when they get the idea. An example when we using OCS in Qatar in the Middle East, we had technicians in our offices in Hong Kong working with the Systems Integrator in Doha Qatar working with our support team in New Jersey to resolve a problem with Cisco Call Manager 4.0, Microsoft OCS a Voice Gateway from Quintum and and Ericsson MD110. We resolved the inter operation problem within the first hours US Eastern Standard Time, with PGC our Hong Kong engineers were able to work with the colleagues in New Jersey and our site team in Qatar was completely supported.

These are just a few of the advantages of Unified Communications correctly deployed, But correctly explained and most importantly correctly deployed! users will become as addicted to UC as business users did to the photo copier machine in the 1980's. Those who are old enough will remember the photocopier salesmans pitch " I'll leave this machine with you for 2 weeks on loan and come back after 2 weeks to take it back" We know what happened then and with Voice Pilots and Lighthouses, Cisco and Microsoft are reinventing that wheel again, it's err... addictive.

Objective of this Blog

There is a load of good technical information about Unified Communications now appearing on the web. However one of the areas where we find less information is what are the tangible benefits? Working in this field as an interface from a consultancy in to corporations considering UC. I have to explain what we are trying to acheive with Unified Communications for the USER.

What I hope to do is share my experiences with the community, my clients come from Italy, Greece, Turkey as well as the Middle East. While on a day to day technical level we have to deal with all the issues of linking UC systems into TDM exchanges, PSTN connections and compatibility issues with Cisco Call Manager, Microsoft Unified Communications OCS, Avaya, NEC Philips and many others, the key issue is educating the prospects what all this integration is going to bring. Namely ROI!