Business UC voip

Low winter sun, inbound sales leads and Unified Communications

early morning sun in December in Lincolnshire

On my way in this morning I had to stop off to take this photo. It was a misty morning and the sun was barely visible. V atmospheric.

We are coming up to the winter solstice and despite the short days I actually like this time of year, far more so than January and February. I guess because we are all so busy it takes our mind off the weather1.

Our inbound sales teams have been working their socks off. They take leads from web chats, inbound calls and emails all originating from the Timico website. These are for both existing and new customers. Businesses are trying to dot their “t”s and cross their “i”s2 and get their January communications infrastructure needs in place before Christmas.

The marketing department has also been busy and with the addition of Mitel and Avaya support we now have a pretty full portfolio of Unified Communications products that complement our own hosted service and the IPCortex.  As a council member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) I get the odd raised eyebrow from industry colleagues who are by and large purely hosted players. There is an element of snobbery amongst the purist ITSPs. However the needs of the market are diverse and with 20,000 or so business customers we now have something to suit everyone.

What do you want for Christmas little boy?”

“Oo can I have an IP Office phone system with SIP trunks please Santa?”

Ho ho ho I’ll get the elves onto it right away

I wonder how it would go down with our engineers if we asked them to wear elf outfits when visiting customers in the run up to Christmas. We could stick big red noses on all our vans. Probably better not. At this point I should shut up.

In case you’re interested I have asked Santa for a vice for Christmas. At home we have a lot of tent pegs that need straightening and I thought it would come in handy for that. I think I’ve been a good boy so should be ok.

That’s all for now. C ya.

It was sub zero in Lincoln over the weekend which was very convenient because we needed to defrost one of our freezers. The freezing cold outside meant that we could do it without worrying about the food defrosting.

I know I know 🙂

Apps Engineer voip

Strictly Come X Factor needs British Talent – bring on the Media Resource Broker

It’s a fair bet that most punters enthusiastically ringing in to cast their votes on popular game shows don’t think about the network capacity problems they are creating! Typical Joe Public eh?

When someone dials in to one of these shows they make use of Media Servers in the telecommunications network. Typically Media Servers are boxes especially designed for a single purpose. There are a number of such types of server used by Telcos (and I count Timico amongst them) for specialist applications such as the aforementioned IVR based voting system and business services such as conference bridges.

The problem is that the kit used for voting is different to the kit used for conference calls and meetings. This means that expensive bits of kit lie idle in a network for much of the time. Conference bridges are used during working hours and TV Game Shows are on in the evenings (apparently 🙂 ). The surges in network demand prompted by game shows also results in sometimes between 10 and 100 times overprovisioning of capacity compared to the average state of affairs which exacerbates the costliness!

This is all about to change – watch out for the virtual network!

On Friday I met with Chris Boulton of NS Technologies at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. Chris used to work in the Office of the CTO at Ubiquity Software, a Terry Matthews SIP company that was bought by Avaya couple of years or so ago and has a blue chip heritage in designing advanced IP communications networks infrastructure.

Chis is currently working on the Media Resource Broker. We are all used to the idea of running different applications on a PC or handheld device, or even games on a gaming box. Telecoms networks though have always been built using dedicated kit. The MRB changes this by allowing telcos to build networks that use standard platforms targetable at different applications according to demand at any given time.

So a box that is used as a conference bridge in the day can be used for voting out contestants in the evening. This will not only save huge amounts of money but also result in a flexible and scalable network architecture that can then quickly be applied to other functions, many of which will not even have been thought of yet.

We talk about doing things in the cloud but it is interesting to see that even infrastructure is moving in this direction.

The whole world is moving towards becoming virtualised. I can even see the day when the typical household will have a box under the stairs next to the gas and electricity meter that will be its network processing resource. This will bring with it huge opportunities in business.

It will also of course heighten our reliance on such resources and the Domesday scenario of when it all goes wrong becomes even more of an issue. But there again even that represents an opportunity…