Wavelink Blog

UC Tech Chat Discusses BYOD and Wearable Tech in the Office

The concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has become a permanent part of the work culture, highlighted by a growing dependency on mobile devices, along with the increasing use of wearable technology. Ultimately, business leaders (and not just CTOs and IT staff) must understand how to successfully manage the evolving BYOD trend in order to both minimize risk to the business and to satisfy the needs of employees.

UC Tech Chat Wearable Tech BYOD episode

Given the widespread interest in this issue, it seems appropriate to spotlight BYOD in this week’s episode of UC Tech Chat. Our show’s co-hosts, Brian Ferguson and Jason Mefford, tackle the benefits and challenges businesses face when deciding to adopt a BYOD policy, and they take a look at some popular wearable devices on the market.

Even if you don’t have a formal BYOD policy in place, it’s highly probable that your employees are already using one or more personal devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, to help manage their daily workload. Not only are employees co-mingling personal and business resources (hardware and software, or web-based apps) but there’s a general preference for mobile over desktop. Gartner anticipates that more than half of all users will choose to use their smartphone or tablet to go online (with PCs reserved mainly for complex tasks). This upward trend also helps increase the integration of wearable tech, according to the analysts. If anyone doubts the infatuation with smartphones, they have only to look to Apple. The company just posted record-breaking first quarter earnings with $18 billion in profit (and nearly $75 billion in revenue), boosted by another company record of 74.5 million iPhones sold in the last quarter. The company’s next big move into wearable tech is expected to occur in April, with the release of the Apple Watch. Putting aside all-things Apple, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover the numerous applications, both fun and practical, for wearable technology – several of which are featured in this week’s episode of UC Tech Chat.

When it comes to BYOD policies that cover both wearable tech and mobile devices in general, employers aren’t the only ones struggling to figure out the best path forward. What should employees expect from a BYOD policy? Are there risks the employees need to understand? Who owns the data should an employee no longer work for the business? These questions are also tackled in UC Tech Chat, during the show’s segment of Julie’s InBox (with Julie Webb), where the hosts answer viewers’ questions.

As you can see, there is a lot to digest when it comes to BYOD in the workplace and developing a comprehensive policy. Ready to learn more?

Watch this week’s full episode of UC Tech Chat, now. If you have questions, or want to join in on the conversation, use the hashtag #UCTechChat on Twitter to discuss each episode.

All episodes are available on the UC Tech Chat playlist featured on Digium’s YouTube channel.

Visit Digium to learn more

 

SDN Apps: the next gold rush

SDN (Software Defined Networking) is stirring up excitement, but it’s the apps that are leading the charge.

by AJ Malik – Senior Vice President of Engineering & Products at Meru Networks

We are living in the era of user experience, with the universal expectation of excellent mobile experiences no matter where we are, and no matter what time of day. Driven by BYOD (bring your own device), Wearables and the cloud, user experience is becoming an even more prominent asset for IT. In turn, the bar for user experience is constantly being raised as companies compete for market share.

In order to improve IT response time to outages or issues, enhance user centered experiences such as jitterless video and audio, optimize traffic ‘load’ in the network, and keep the expenses of IT under control, organizations need to rely on automation tools that minimize IT intervention. The most exciting opportunities for SDN lie here and outweigh the hype associated with enabling SDN or OpenFlow in switches, wireless access points or other network devices. It’s the apps that harness all the potential benefits SDN can provide.

Applications enable IT to manage networks more effectively, reduce OPEx/CAPEx, improve user experience and enhance business value. While the consumerization of app development kicked into high gear with the introduction of mobile device app stores, enterprise software has lagged behind. SDN can change that.

SDN applications can have the same impact on the networking world that the Apple App Store and Google Play had on the mobile market.

When exploring the potential of SDN applications, it is helpful to consider self-optimizing networks. Demand for self-optimizing networks has been present since the dawn of networking. While organizations have been relying on techniques such as load balancing and redundancy, this has been done at the per-device level on corporate networks.

With SDN, applications now have a holistic view of the network and all flows within it and can route or prioritize traffic in the most effective way. For example, there are two concepts in the wireless world for data forwarding: tunnel mode and bridge mode. In tunnel mode, all device traffic from the wireless Access Point goes to the wireless controller before it is dropped on the wire, whereas in bridge mode, data traffic from the device is dropped on the wire by the access point itself. For many security reasons, businesses prefer tunnel mode. However, peer to peer traffic is very common these days. Take, for instance, an individual that is using Apple Bonjour and wants to mirror content of his iPad on the nearby (Apple) TV. The (SDN) application can look at the flows and decide to bridge that particular flow. Using SDN, it is now possible to achieve these types of enhancements.

Applications can optimize flows, prioritize flows or restrict flows based on the requirement(s) at-hand. Given this can be done automatically, such self-organizing networks can turn the ‘overload’ into the ‘right load’ and positively influence the quality of user experience.

SDN makes networks flexible and customizable, but it’s the applications that provide service availability, bandwidth management, content caching, quality of service, energy saving and more. Network infrastructure vendors, in particular, need to begin adding SDN applications to their portfolio/roadmap. Only by doing so can they enable optimal user experience and improved bottom lines for their customers.

NADA Brings Auto Dealers Together; Switchvox Helps Dealerships Communicate

auto-dealership-phone-system

by Cora Cloud – Digium

The biggest industry event of the year for car dealers – the NADA Convention Expo – kicked off this week in San Francisco. Hundreds of exhibitors are showcasing their equipment and technologies while multiple educational workshops take place, teaching auto dealer aficionados everything from the “Catch and Keep” customer strategy to a session on “Trust and Transparency: Data Privacy Management.” Automotive dealerships are in one of the most competitive, customer-centric markets in existence, so it’s at conventions such as NADA where dealership owners and sales managers get the opportunity to partake in crash-course workshops focused on areas in which their dealership(s) or management may need improvement. If you manage or work in an auto dealership, you understand that your business phone system is one of the tools that can make a significant difference in not only achieving personal success, but also in helping keep customers happy.

In the automobile industry, the main goals include managing inventory, making sales, and gaining revenue. These goals are achieved by two main objectives: accuracy of information and customer service. For most businesses, especially auto dealerships, customer relationships involve a range of interactions that together achieve (hopefully) positive results. The ability to capture leads and close a sale is firmly wrapped up in seamless communication through your dealership’s CRM and business phone system.

Digium’s Switchvox UC system has been used in auto dealerships for years, not only because of its flexible features that works nice across multiple locations, but because it’s also an affordable system. Implementation of Switchvox is simple and can be done with little or no IT staff. Here is a quick look at the features within Switchvox that can help some of the key players within your dealership:

General manager:The auto dealership GM ensures the profitability of the dealership by overseeing the various departments, incluiding sales and financing, the service and parts center, and the business office (accounting and administration). Switchvox provides several benefits to the auto dealer GM, including:

  • CRM Integration: Extend API lets you build integrations with customer relationship management software so when you receive calls you get “pop-up” messages with important caller information and notes.
  • Mobility: Switchvox provides several options to help you stay productive whether at your desk or on the sales lot; you can work form anywhere, and from the mobile device of your choice.
  • Reporting: You can schedule reports to be automatically emailed to you to track marketing campaigns or the productivity and efficiency of any of your dealership’s departments.
  • Call Queues: These allow you to control the call flow of the dealerships. Queues enable calls to be delivered to the correct department or employee with little or no staff interaction.
  • Reduced Cost: Switchvox combines the communications of all your dealership locations into one. This can allow all incoming call traffic to be handled by one receptionist, instead of paying unnecessary salaries to several. Also, due to increased visibility, more locations can be managed with fewer managers. 

Sales manager: Vehicle sales managers are responsible for organizing a team of sales people and devising strategies for the team to use to maximize revenue and customer loyalty. If this is your role, Switchvox provides several benefits to let you be more efficient and effective in your role:

  • Training Tools: Switchvox provides several easy-to-use, yet powerful training tools, such as listening in on calls, being able to speak to the employee over the phone without the customer being able to hear, and helping troublesome calls by “barging in.”
  • On-Hold Messages: As a sales manager, you have full control of the messages or music being played to customers while on hold. These recordings can be relaxing music or a promotional message highlighting a new car’s features. These messages can easily be changed out or rotated as often as you’d like.
  • Call Recording: Managers have the ability to record calls to ensure that employees are handling situations as they were trained to do.
  • Reporting Tools: Track incoming, outgoing, completed, and abandoned calls with scheduled or on-the-fly reports. Sales managers also get insight into the value of a dealership’s marketing programs (such as Google Adwords) thanks to detailed reports on inbound phone numbers.
  • Switchvox Mobile: This softphone app allows the sales team to use their personal devices as if they were their using their office desk phone. The customer only sees the dealership’s caller ID information, which keeps the salesperson’s personal contact information private, and also allows the brand of the dealership to be persistent in all customer communications.

Receptionist: The receptionist is the director of first impressions and handles everything from greeting customers in person and on the phone, to collecting payments and scheduling appointments. Here are some of the benefits offers this auto dealer team member:

phone-system-for-auto-dealerships

  • Call Control Interface: The Switchboard allows the receptionist to have call control interface on their desktop. This web-based call dashboard increases worker efficiency by allowing the receptionist to click-to-dial, drag-and-drop a transfer, and instant message any employee, regardless of location.
  • Personalized Call Rules: The receptionist has the flexibility to set which of their phones ring, in what order, and what time of day. They can set up calls to automatically ring to their desk during work hours, to their mobile phones after hours, or to go straight to voicemail when needed.
  • Instant Messaging: IM allows a receptionist to quickly communicate with sales or service staff as well as managers, without the need to call.
  • Email Integration: Switchvox easily integrates with Microsoft Outlook to allow receptionists to dial customers directly from their contact list or from an email. They can change their presence, see their last calls and voicemails, and much more, all from the Outlook interface.

For an extended list of Switchvox features for every role at your dealership, download your free copy of our guide Switchvox for Auto Dealerships. And to all our friends and customers at NADA this week, we hope you enjoy the show!  

Welcome 2015!

Mobile devices have transformed how we work, how we learn, and how we play. And that freedom to work anywhere, anytime depends on access to fast, reliable wireless connectivity. Meru Networks has worked tirelessly to bring the best Wi-Fi experience to our 14,000 customers worldwide, and today we are celebrating with a new corporate website – one that is more agile, more open, and more intelligent.

Agile
The new website is more mobile-friendly, with a responsive design that moves easily across the many devices taking us beyond the traditional desktop. Put simply, our website today is more responsive.

Meru-Networks-Mobile

Open
Our customers are the lifeblood of Meru, and our new Customer section highlights the many ways our customers use our products. Our case studies and videos—categorized by industry, solution, technology, and region—are just a click away, so you can quickly find the stories that best match your market and your requirements. Learn how Meru customers are meeting today’s challenges, from uninterrupted learning to saving lives. Our website today is more explorable.

Meru-Networks-Customers

Intelligent
Meru supports the world’s most demanding Wi-Fi deployments with robust, high-performance enterprise solutions. Leveraging a long history of innovation, from “single channel” to today’s “SDN Wi-Fi and apps,” we’re building the better mousetrap: a more intelligent Wi-Fi. And our new website presents all this information now dynamically, mixing product information and customer information intelligently. Our website today is smarter.

Meru-Networks-Technology

Welcome
2015 is going to be an exciting year for wireless LANs. The market is transitioning to 802.11ac gigabit Wi-Fi to support the explosion of mobile devices and mobile business apps, as well as voice and video. Innovative technologies like SDN are enabling IT staff to simplify and automate their network operations, reducing their total cost of ownership. Join Meru in welcoming in this bright new year!

Spectralink PIVOT Review by Rugged PC Review

Rugged 4.3-inch Android enterprise Voice-over-WiFi handheld for communication and data collection

The PIVOT 87-Series from Spectralink is not your typical rugged handheld, or even typical ruggedized smartphone. It is a voice and data communication solution for enterprises that deploy large numbers of handsets that mostly communicate over internal Voice-over-WiFi networks. So this is not your typical capsule review of another rugged device. It’s a description of a specific type of enterprise handheld. With the PIVOT 87-Series described here, its maker, Spectralink, attempted to make such a device look and handle as much like a standard smartphone as possible.

Spectralink made a name for itself as a pioneer in providing in-building Voice-over-WiFi technology with superior voice quality over converged voice and data networks in a variety of form factors. The company takes pride in their Voice Quality Optimization (VQO) solution and expertise in maintaining interoperability across all sorts of WiFi networks, call control platforms and applications.

Visit Rugged PC to read full review

UC For You: The Office Manager

By Brian Ferguson – Digium

Unified Communications (UC) has a solid reputation for improving productivity within businesses, helping better manage relationships with customers and employees, and increasing general office efficiency.  The “robust features” and “simple, easy-to-use tools” that make up a good UC solution are what make productivity and efficiency boosts possible. That being said, it’s often difficult to sift through a massive feature list and understand just what a modern UC system, like Switchvox and Switchvox Cloud, can do for you – in your individual job role.  Features like mobility and collaboration are very powerful; but if they’re unable to truly make a difference in helping manage your daily workload, then those features won’t do you a lot of good when it’s all said and done.

Today, we kick-off a blog series, UC for You. We want to take a closer look at some of the major job roles in businesses and see how UC can really make a difference for workers in those roles.

Let’s start with someone who is the key to a successfully run office: the office manager.  We all know that office managers are often responsible for more than just managing their staff and the day-to-day operations of the office.  They usually set the tone and develop the culture of the office through their personality and management style.

Just for fun, let’s take a look at a few iconic, “celebrity” examples of office managers.  These over-the-top characters may not be the ideal office manager for your business, but they definitely set a memorable tone and culture in their fictional organizations!

First we have Michael Scott of “The Office.”  Lovable, loyal to a fault to his employees (except for HR), and always good for an innovative, yet horribly misguided idea or comment.


Office Managere

“Would I rather be feared or loved?  Easy. Both.  I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” –Michael Scott, The Office

Next, there’s Bill Lumbergh from Office Space.  He’s all about sticking to processes, regardless of whether they actually make sense or are effective in any way.  He thinks he’s great at communicating with his employees, but we all know his employees actually fantasize about physically harming him.  And, he’s not exactly comfortable with confrontation.  

Office manager 2

“Ummm, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9 that would be great, mmmk… oh oh! and I almost forgot ahh, I’m also gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday too, kay.”  - Bill Lumbergh, Office Space

Lastly, we have Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation.  Mr. Swanson is a bit distant, believes in a hands-off management style and just wants people to leave him alone.  In fact, his very belief system about government leaves him to believe that his own job is a complete waste of money.  

office manager 3

“Sting like a bee.  Do not float like a butterfly.  That’s ridiculous.”  - Ron Swanson

While Ron, Bill and Michael provide us with lots of laughs, it’s the real-life office manager that keeps our organizations on track.  To do their jobs well, they need to understand all the different job roles in a company and be aware of how those roles work together; they must be an expert in the products and services the company offers; and they must be proficient at managing the systems and processes that keep the business running smoothly.  Office managers need to ensure a quality customer experience for clients, as well as be in tune to the needs of other employees within the company.  It’s a BIG job.  And let’s face it, the key to a happy office is a happy office manager.

So what role does UC really play in the office manager’s work life?

Here are a few of the major ways UC, specifically Switchvox, can provide the tools to make an office manager’s job easier:

- Visibility- Switchvox provides office managers with greater visibility using these features:

  • Presence- Switchvox gives each user the ability to update his or her status, like “on vacation,”  “in a meeting,” or “out to lunch.”  This gives the office manager the ability to see what’s going on with employees and make adjustments to staffing levels and coverage, as necessary.
  • Reporting- UC offers both real-time and on-demand reports to ensure that office goals (like average hold time, total number of calls, and abandoned calls) are being met.
  • Switchboard- The Switchboard gives Switchvox users visibility into the communications of the entire office.  View who’s on the phone with whom, status information, real-time statistics and more on a single screen.

- Training- Office managers need a way to ensure that the level of customer service they expect from their staff is actually happening in day-to-day calls.

  • Monitor/Whisper/Barge- A great tool that Switchvox gives managers is the ability to monitor, whisper or barge for training.  Monitor allows managers to silently listen to the call; whisper gives them the ability to not only listen, but gives them real-time feedback and training by talking to their employee without the customer hearing.  If a call is getting out of hand, or the employee needs supervisory help, the manager can barge and become part of that call with a click of a button.
  • Call Recording- Managers are busy and oftentimes can’t spend the time listening to live calls.  Switchvox provides another way to ensure high-quality performance from employees, call recording.  Calls can be recorded on the fly from the Switchboard or from Digium IP Phones, or scheduled and automatically recorded.  Recorded calls are saved and can be retrieved as needed or sent to their email.

- Customer Experience- One of the major functions of the office manager is ensuring high-quality customer experience.  Switchvox gives several tools to help deliver superior customer service.

  • Mobility- Switchvox Softphone for iPhone and Switchvox Mobile for Android provide powerful mobility features that allow your staff to stay in contact with customers from anywhere.  Make, receive, transfer and record right from your smartphone.  No longer does the office shut down when the employees walk out the door.
  • Messaging- Office managers can control the messaging and the call flow through a very simple interface.  Now, if the office delays opening because of weather, or starts running an exciting new promotion, you can make your customers aware with a few easy clicks.
  • Call Routing- In the past, calls came to specific people, and if those people weren’t available, the customer was out of luck, or at best, got to leave a message.   Today, Switchvox delivers easy-to-configure call routing to ensure that your customers reach the correct people, even if the first choice is on the phone.

This is just the beginning of UC benefits for the office manager.  As you can see, Switchvox provides the tools to help keep your office running smoothly and, just as important, keep a happy and smiling office manager.

Digium UC Tech Chat | Mobility in the Workplace

Mobility in the workplace has exploded in the past few years with several new technologies emerging, including smart phones and Unified Communications being added to business phone systems. These technologies have empowered road warriors, teleworkers, telecommuters, and more to break away from the office and be productive from anywhere. Companies that offer this work option are growing at a massive rate. By 2016, over 80 percent of companies will have some sort of mobile workforce.

Top Benefits of Mobility in the Workplace:
· Cost savings of mobility
· Facility cost savings
· Employee satisfaction and recruitment
· Disaster recovery
· Higher level of customer service

UC Tech Chat is a biweekly web series featuring unbranded topical information helpful to small to medium-size businesses and technology enthusiasts. The show is hosted by Digium’s Product Marketing Manager, Brian Ferguson, Inside Sales Manager, Jason Mefford and Marketing Communications (MARCOM) Director, Julie Webb. It takes a light humorous look at trends in business communications and offers unique insight from the hosts, all seasoned UC experts.

Read about upcoming UC Tech Chat episodes on the Digium Blog: http://blogs.digium.com

Purple Wifi raises $5m for rapid international expansion

image of globe

by Kerry Wright – Purple Wifi

Investment funds will be used to accelerate product development and for staff recruitment to aid global expansion, targeting EMEAR, APAC and the Americas

January 14, 2015: Purple WiFi, the UK-based WiFi social login and location analytics platform, today announced new funding to accelerate its rapid international expansion. The $5m funding was led by Sir Terry Leahy, Bill Currie, Iain MacDonald and Bob Willett from the William Currie Group with participation from Juno Capital, a leading Angel Syndicate.

Purple WiFi has also appointed new board members as part of the process, including: Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco CEO who took the retailer from the third largest in the UK to the third largest retailer in the world, launching the Clubcard during his tenure; and Ian Kelly, Serial Entrepreneur in Telecoms, Energy and other markets.

The large scale investment interest from both the retail and telecoms sectors demonstrates a recognition of the value and potential for WiFi in these verticals; incorporating the future of shopping, showrooming and enhancing customer experiences in-store for retail, and telecoms recognising the need for valid data offload solutions.

Visit Purple Wifi to read full Press Release

Meru Networks appoints Blue Connections as new channel partner in Australia and New Zealand

Blue Connections strengthens Meru’s reach in several key verticals

Meru Networks a leader in intelligent Wi-Fi networking, announced today that Blue Connections has been appointed as a Meru Authorised Partner. Established in 1989 and based in Melbourne, Blue Connections is a provider of best-in-class IT solutions to Australian enterprises, local and state government departments and the Education sector.

“We are very excited about our partnership with Meru Networks,” said Wayne Morris, general manager for Blue Connections. “Meru Networks has a distinct and technological advantage in the wireless space that helps us ensure that we are exceeding the expectations of our clients.”

One of Blue Connections first Meru deployments was the replacement of an ageing Motorola wireless LAN in Meyer Cookware Australia’s national distribution centre in Melbourne. “We were experiencing problems with co-channel interference and roaming issues between access points,” said David Casey, warehouse manager for Meyer Cookware. “Our Meru Wireless Network has saved our warehouse staff an average of 1.5 hrs per day in lost productivity due to drop outs.”

“It is exciting to see how enthusiastically Blue Connections has embraced Meru’s intelligent 802.11ac Wi-Fi solutions,” said Gary Abad, vice president, APAC, for Meru.
“Their long history in serving enterprise, education and other key verticals provides Meru with a strong partner to deliver our industry-leading 802.11ac Wi-Fi solutions to a wider range of customers.”

Download Press Release

Digium Live! Business Communications Trends in 2015

Digium CEO, Danny Windham discusses the upcoming trends for Business Communications for 2015. 2015 will see the intersection of technologies and concepts that are fundamentally changing the workplace and Unified Communications (UC). Through trends such as cloud platforms, mobility, and integration, businesses will focus on the User Experience. Any solution that is flexible, cost effective, and easy to set up will be the most beneficial. Products and services influence User Experience, and User Experience

For more information visit Digium

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