The Lack of Video Call Etiquette

What happened to reading the newspaper on the toilet? These days it seems people just cannot even pause electronic communications while they are in the bathroom. It’s sad we even need to talk about this, but unfortunately….we do. According to a 2012 survey about video call etiquette, holding a work-related video call from the bathroom was considered OK by 13 percent of American adults. What? From the bathroom? I wouldn’t even make a phone call, let alone a video call. Apparently I am not alone in my frustration. According to a recent global etiquette survey sponsored by Intel, over 90
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Circuit Monitoring at Your Fingertips

Now You, The End User Can Conduct Your Own Circuit Monitoring Do you wish you had the ability to understand everything going on within your unified communication ecosystem? Do you imagine a world where you could look at a simple dashboard and get a clear understanding of the status of each circuit in your network? Now with Telarus circuit monitoring you can do just that. What Are the Requirements for Circuit Monitoring? Your circuit needs to be sourced through Telarus. Only static IP addresses can be tested. An email address needs to be provided to receive circuit monitoring alert notifications.
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VXSuite Top Three Blogs of 2015

I’d like to say I thought to myself, “Self, you know what would be a killer idea? Dig into Google Analytics to see what the most popular blog posts on VXSuite were for 2015, and then write a post on it for the end of the year,” but it wasn’t my idea at all. I stole this killer idea from Laura Petrolino of Arment Dietrich. She did it for the awesome blog, Spin Sucks. So I copied her idea. But unlike Laura, who didn’t find any of her posts in the top three Spin Sucks blogs of 2015, I fared
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Partner Spotlight on Jack Knocke

At six feet, two inches, Jack Knocke is easy to spot in a crowd. I first met him last March in Las Vegas at the Channel Partners show. I knew he’d be attending the event, but at such a large show, I didn’t think I’d see him. Walking the show Sunday night I spotted a well-dressed, tall man across the aisle. With a friendly smile we greeted each other and, when I saw his name tag, I broke out laughing—he was right….find each other, we did! Jack makes a living helping VARs and MSPs fine-tune their businesses. Many leave 30
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Don’t be Scared of Migrating to Skype for Business

Three steps to prepare for a Skype for Business migration There are plenty of things to be scared of this Halloween, such as an army of polyester “Elsa” clones, oddly themed food (spaghetti and eyeballs, anyone?!), or the dreaded “gummy tummy.” But one thing that shouldn’t be sending chills up your spine is the idea of ditching your organization’s current unified communications (UC) solution and migrating to Skype for Business. While there are some key points to keep in mind when executing the transition, migrating to Skype for Business comes down to one word: Preparation. When you think of it
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Partner Spotlight on Adam Edwards

I first met Adam Edwards, co-founder of Telarus, when we shared the same hallways in the Centennial Plaza. Our VXSuite offices were located on the same floor as Telarus and he always gave a smile and friendly greeting when we passed. Since we were all in the same building it was easy to mention, in passing, our VXMadness event and introduce him to the idea of attending and sponsoring. We would update him on new registrations and other sponsors. He loved the idea and has attended VXMadness both years. He is such a fan, in fact, that he and co-founder
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Network Readiness in 2015

Dimension Data, VXSuite partner and one of the largest networking companies in the world, recently released their 2015 Network Barometer Report, gauging the network readiness of today’s businesses. They concluded that investing in maturing your organization’s network performance monitoring, support, and management systems is the most effective way to improve the network’s ability to support the business. They found processes, rather than refreshing technology simply for the sake of avoiding obsolescence, would prove network readiness and net winners in the end. Keep it Until it Breaks It makes sense to “sweat” assets longer, as long as the risks are known
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Why Transparency is Important in a Cloud Broker Relationship

Today’s cloud broker is different from the cloud broker of yesterday. The term “broker” has a negative connotation because people associate it with someone only concerned with price. The new role is expanded because the cloud broker becomes a cloud aggregator. While they may provide a cost analysis of services, they also save the buyer time by conducting research on their behalf. Some also act as intermediaries for contract negotiations. They act as a consultant who understands the needs of the business in relation to their business goals. Tech Target defines a cloud broker as, “A third-party individual or business
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Partner Spotlight with Mike Hanks

I first met Mike Hanks when I worked for one of our VXSuite partners, CONNECTIONS. Owner Jon Giberson knew Mike from his days at another call accounting competitor. When I began work for VXSuite I became the channel manager for Continuant and had the pleasure of working with Mike. Our first meeting was over eight years ago. Fast forward to now and we were able to reconnect last March at VXMadness 2.0. Mike is quiet and thoughtful. He participated at our board of directors meeting in place of another board member who couldn’t attend. He has great insight into his
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Why Network Readiness Can Save a VoIP Implementation

Performing a network readiness assessment before implementing a Voice over IP (VoIP) system is an important first step to ensuring a positive quality of experience. There are three steps to VoIP success, the first of which is to test for network readiness. Planning for a VoIP implementation relies on the IT manager taking extra steps to make sure the network can handle the increased traffic. Typically, partners, and hosted providers ask questions such as: How many simultaneous calls do you make? How utilized are your trunks? Will you be running voice and video or just one? Are there other network
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When Technology Fails

My daily life is filled with technology. Some days it works and other days I experience technology fails. My iPhone 6 Plus (if I had to do it again I would buy the regular 6) wakes me up in the morning and I use its Bluetooth to connect music in the car while I drive my son to school. At my desk, I am surrounded by three computers, a laser printer, a scanner, and a DVR. I use Skype for Business (Lync) for my phone system, video conferencing, and instant messaging. Typically I am happy with the technology in my
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Telecom Glossary of Terms

These days a telecom glossary is necessary to keep track of the growing number of phrases, acronyms, and idioms of the telecom world. They resemble an alphabet soup—messier than most people can handle. Keeping up with all of the new terms can be difficult, if not impossible, especially without a telecom glossary or reference of some type. One of the resources we use is Newton’s Telecom Dictionary. Harry Newton, former publisher of Teleconnect and six other monthly magazines for the telecommunications industry, has compiled an amazing reference for all things telecom. What? Buy a Telecom Reference Book? As the Amazon.com
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Keys to Successful Skype for Business Installation

The question was asked at VXMadness, “Is Skype for Business (Lync) ready for primetime?” Partners are hearing the buzz from customers and are worried about Lync issues popping up. The Lync panel assured our partners it is a product that is ready for primetime. The problems occur when clients don’t properly prepare for a successful Skype for Business installation. Skype for Business is About Outcome and Culture Shift To ensure a positive quality of experience, you need to ask questions pre-deployment. Engineers can design a perfect Skype for Business installation, but if the business hasn’t done their homework about how
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Six Lync Issues to be Aware of in Competitive Situations

At VXMadness 2.0 we had a lively Lync panel discussion with experts in Lync and Skype for Business implementations. They took questions from the audience and offered advice and suggestions. Amy Freeman, owner of Global Communications, LLC, asked a question about Lync issues. She was concerned about competing against other phone system vendors and wanted to know what limitations Lync has that they will encounter. Because Microsoft owns the desktop, they have the advantage for that user. Office applications dominate most organizations, and users are comfortable navigating these programs. Adding IM, presence, and screen share features inside Office applications they
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Skype for Business vs Lync vs Skype

Skype for Business vs Lync can make anyone’s head spin.  We have had several customers and partners ask, “What is the difference between Skype for Business, Skype, and Lync?” Skype for Business vs Lync It’s not Skype for Business vs Lync, but rather Lync becomes Skype for Business. We still hear the Lync name, though, because the Office 365 rollout is not yet complete. Once all users are upgraded to the Skype for Business platform, that will fade into history. When Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, it had many in the tech world shaking their heads and asking, “Why?” Paying
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Partner Spotlight with Pat Galvin

I first met Pat Galvin over the phone in my role of channel manager. I called on him to introduce myself and learn more about his business. I remember him as warm and easy-to-talk to from the very beginning. Fast forward five years and we were able to reconnect last March at VXMadness 2.0. Pat is warm, inviting and super insightful. He always had great input in our panel discussions and we could count on him for thought-provoking questions about industry trends. He believes his customer are his biggest advocates. They become salespeople in their own community. And this is
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Voice Quality Monitoring 101

Proactively monitoring every VoIP call allows the telecom manager to solve customer call service problems with more efficiency and improve high-end service selling capabilities. Using a proven voice quality monitoring tool, or engaging with a partner who offers one, is the best way to ensure success. Partners who monitor the network provide an added service to their customers. Using a vendor-neutral third-party voice quality monitoring tool provides insight into where issues are occurring. Voice Quality Culprits A quality issue for a given endpoint could be a PC issue, a data network issue, a voice routing issue, a Windows server oriented
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Why Value Added Resellers Should be Reselling Telecom Services

Traditional value added resellers (VARs) have historically shied away from reselling telecom services. They have resisted the headaches and bad reputation that can come with failed installations, outages, and poor performance. This is understandable, but having the bandwidth conversation can be a powerful and profitable conversation and by avoiding this critical component you are missing out on a chance to control more of the customer’s wallet share. Resellers who are asking these questions will discover more opportunities inside their customer:      Have you run a bandwidth utilization report to see how much bandwidth and how many trunks you are using and
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Partner Spotlight: How a Standing Desk Helped a VXSuite Partner Fight Fatigue

Back at the end of May VXSuite partner Jon Giberson of CONNECTIONS shared with us his experiment to try a standing desk to fight constant headaches, fatigue, and back pain. He discovered the idea of using a standing desk when he read an article detailing the medical hazards of sitting at a desk all day. He asked his personal physician if sitting all day might be affecting his health and, if so, if he had any suggestions to help his fatigue. His physician  said anytime you are sedentary, your body is not working as hard. He suggested a couple tools
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Quality of Experience Necessary for Controlling the UC Outcome

Voice is now running on a data network that, in many cases, the telecom manager has no control over that network. There is an inherent technical complexity of VoIP and allowing a mission critical application (voice) to reside on the data network can be disastrous. Ensuring excellent quality of experience is dependent on the communications ecosystem and how well it is managed. VoIP was supposed to be easier, cheaper, and deliver more features, but for many it seems harder, more expensive and these features seem impossible to control. A few years ago the technologist’s world was much easier. It was
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Hey IT folks – It’s time to Dress to Impress

During the summer months I live in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops – when I am at the beach or realizing on the weekend. Heck, living in Southern California that is pretty much the uniform. But sometimes the need to dress to impress trumps the casual So Cal style. Over the past few weeks I have attended Cisco Live in San Diego and the International Avaya User’s Group show in Denver and I was shocked at the attire and overall appearance of attendees. At both shows was the attire was overly casual. The IT world has always been one where
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Unified Communications Devices a Huge Opportunity for VARs and MSPs

Our society is obsessed with being connected. Unified communications devices are changing the way we go about our daily lives. Gone are the days of waiting to hear back in a day or two from colleagues and business partners. Today’s workers expect an instant response. Users are constantly on their phones. A recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while male students report spending nearly eight. The study also found that about 60 percent of study participants think they may be addicted
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Why a Managed Service Provider Will Beat Out the Agent in the Long Run

Recently, Doug Tolley and VXSuite partner Greg Plum of Plum UC participated in a podcast titled, “Partner Adoption of Converged Bundles and Billing.” The event was hosted by Dan Baldwin, executive director of the Telecom Association. Dan quickly jumped into a series of questions to get to the heart of the VXSuite and Plum UC stories. They talked about the shift from being simply a telecom services agent to a managed service provider. Plum UC provides partners and their customers with a comprehensive platform of unified communications and conferencing and collaboration solutions. They are also a Telarus partner and work
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Rude Passengers Take the Fun Out of Travel

People never cease to amaze me. After a successful International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) trade show in Denver I was traveling home with my father, who happens to be a business partner. We were at the ticket counter checking our bags in the Denver airport and decided to inquire about upgrading to first class. The counter attendant said she had two seats left. Because we were having to check the booth and our bags, the price to upgrade would be nominal because bags are free on first class. We were in! Incompetence? As she was working to get things completed
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Tips for Getting the Most from Your Call Accounting System

Dissatisfied with your call accounting system or procedures? You’re not alone. We hear that a lot from users looking to replace their system. We’ve analyzed a number of these cases, and we’re seeing some interesting trends. Here are some suggestions to make sure you’re getting the most from your call accounting system. Ask for Retraining Call your call accounting system vendor and ask for retraining. Upward promotion in the telecom administration track means people frequently “inherit” call accounting systems from the people they replace. Inheritors often haven’t benefited from vendor training, and end up using the system to perpetuate, rather
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How Does Checking Work Email Affect Your Business Efficiency?

During the Cisco Live Empowered Women’s Network session Sunday afternoon, we had a round table discussion about work/life balance—specifically, how often we check work email and how hard it is to unplug. It’s difficult to improve business efficiency when our focus is all over the place. Our session moderator and Cisco Executive, Kim Majerus, posed the question, “How do you unplug?” As we went around the table I was amazed at how many of the women I was seated with just don’t unplug from email. Ever. They check work email all the time. Taking a Break … to Improve Business
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Call Analytics for the Modern Era

Today I did a demo for a potential customer who is using a competitor’s product.  As we discussed their needs, it became easy to see they really knew what they were looking for in a new system; they need call analytics for the modern era. Out with the Old The folks I talked with were tired of antiquated call analytics systems. They were looking for new ways to complete tasks. The key features they wanted were: Directory They loved the idea of being able to put the company directory on the intranet so everyone could access it. Instant Access to
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Communications Monitoring, IT software, and the Question “What Do You Do?”

Communications Monitoring, IT software, and the Question “What Do You Do?” Recently I attended a rock climbing competition for my son, and as you do at these events, I met family members of the kids on his team. In these conversations, it invariably comes to the, “What do you do for a living?” question. Sometimes I answer with the easy out, “I sell IT software.” I might go out on a limb and mention “communications monitoring.” But it’s really more than that. I am the Vice President of Marketing for LVM, Inc. While I am not one for fancy job
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What is VXDash? Business Analytics Software That Works for You

VXDash was created because our operations team was fielding requests from partners who wanted to massage data in unique ways. The resulting business analytics software brings the ability to include any data we are collecting and build an operational view that works for the individual user. In our individual applications we have siloed information, and building custom reports can be time-consuming. By introducing VXDash, we have eliminated the need for our technical resources to build custom reports. We can teach an analyst level position how to use our business analytics software to create the reports they will find most useful
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Technology Upgrade – a Necessity of Life

It all started with the Domino’s 30 minutes or less or it’s free guarantee, dry shampoo, instant coffee, and virtual thank you cards. Today we even have tiny buttons we place around the house and tap when we run out of a certain product and, voila! The product is delivered to our doorsteps. We live in an instant gratification, fast-moving world. Every time Apple releases a new iPhone, we run to our wireless carrier to get an upgrade. A new fad diet is released and we all jump to try and lose 30 pounds overnight. We all want to get
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