Tag Archive for: Apple

Apple Reinvents Mobile UC

The new iOS 10 will allow VoIP services, including those from the UC vendors, to use the native dialing capabilities of the iPhone, spelling a new day for Mobile UC.

Giving developers access to Siri along with APIs to access key elements of the address book and dialer app will create a great opportunity for UC to finally start working smoothly on iOS devices. Users will be able to place the call themselves by clicking on an address book entry or ask Siri to “Call Jack on Skype” or just “Skype Jack.”

With these new APIs, developers will be able to create apps that will allow users to make and receive VoIP calls directly from the enhanced address book. With the new APIs, users of any VoIP app will be able to place calls directly through the address book rather than with a separate app, putting an end to the “separate app” dilemma that has left mobile UC as little more than a demo capability. Those calls will also be tracked in the phone app’s Recent and Favorites folders.

The process of receiving calls will improve as well. Today when you receive a call in a voice app like Skype or WhatsApp, you get a notification on the lock screen. With the new APIs, calls received in those apps will be able to get an alert like you see in the image to the right with the ability to answer with a swipe. The contact card is also enhanced and will remember which service you prefer to call each contact.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of Software Engineering, did make mention of the partnership announced last August between Apple and Cisco, talking about how calls to a Cisco user’s business number could now be handled the same way as calls to that user’s personal cell number. However, as these APIs are apparently open to all developers, it is unclear whether Apple has given Cisco any special advantage over other VoIP apps or any other UC solution, other than possibly a few months head start in development.

Apple will also include voicemail transcription.

As developments in the mobile device market have slowed to a crawl, the battle is clearly shifting to software, which has long been Apple’s forte.

For UC suppliers, opening key APIs in the dial app provides the first real possibility to deliver a mobile UC experience of which users may actually take advantage. With these new APIs, Apple has opened a whole new competition in mobile UC that will at long last give UC vendors the opportunity to integrate meaningful mobile capabilities into their products and develop some real product differentiation.

“Saving Money with Video”

Saving money and building relationships.

Video Conferencing for the Small and Medium size company.

Screen ShotEvery company wants to save money and build stronger relationships between their employees and customers.   While some people are uncomfortable talking over a video call, it can be an extremely valuable tool for a small or medium sized company.   How many times have you taken a business trip somewhere or attended a conference and said afterwards “the best thing about the trip is I got to meet face to face with a bunch of people I normally deal with over the phone”.   In other words, the trip was worth the effort because you were able to build upon a relationship that was, up to that point, only based on audio or written communication.   Video may not be as good as an in person meeting but it is the next best thing and it has a WHOLE LOT of benefits (see our blog post next week!)

First off, let’s talk about saving money.   How does “free” sound?   Here are the most common free platforms available to companies today:

Google Hangouts
Web | iOS | Android
This product started as Google+, then moved to Google Talk (Gtalk) and now has morphed into Google+ Hangouts.  The video chat capabilities Google has created are simple to use and powerful.

There’s no large program to download and install on the desktop, but you will need to add a Hangouts plugin to your browser. It’s available for most browsers, even Internet Explorer. Sign into Google+, make sure Hangouts is signed in, and you’ll see your buddy list on the right. Pick a name and you’ll see a chat window. Click the video camera icon to start a video chat. Very simple

Windows | Windows 8 | Mac OS | Linux | iOS | Android | Windows Phone |

Skype is the de facto standard in video chat between two people. However, each participant must have a Skype account and it’s only free when you are talking one-on-one. Group video chatting requires a premium subscription, which starts at $4.99 a month. While video chatting you can instant message, show off your desktop screen, and share files.

Mac OS | iOS

FaceTime comes free with all Mac and iPhones and is as easy to use as making a phone call.

Once you register your phone number and/or email addresses with the service, you can then find others. If you know another user’s contact info and they’re also using an Apple device, making a video call is as simple as pie. That’s the major strength, along with very high video quality. The only drawback with FaceTime is that it’s not on any other platform

Windows | Mac OS | Linux (Server only) | iOS | Android | Windows Phone
CamFrog lets you set up Web-based video chatrooms where you or others with a webcam can join a conversation. One-on-one conversations are also an option. Plus it’ll do voice and text if you don’t want others to see you.

Cisco WebEx Meetings

Webex is a standard way to share a desktop and do an online whiteboard, but it also offers VoIP features, even on the free level that includes standard-quality video chat. However you’ll have to pay extra for high-definition video.

Windows | Mac OS | Linux
If you like free software to be more open-source and unlimited try Jitsi.  Jitsi (formerly the SIP Communicator) has almost nightly new builds of the multi-protocol software.  It is ICQ for video and does SIP or XMPP-based video and audio, and works with Yahoo Messenger and AIM for text chat.


ooVoo takes on Skype directly by providing features like IMs, free voice calls to any phone, screen sharing, and file sharing—and on the video side it offers group video chat with up to 12 people, along with video call recording directly to YouTube. There’s a Facebook app that lets you join a video chat right from the Web.

There are others but you get the idea.   These tools are out there and can be leveraged in your business for practically nothing.  Once you have the platform to use then you can unlock all the other value – see our next blog post called “Why Video”.

Will the Office Desk Phone Die?

Traditional PBX vendors hope not.   How about a “Hard MAC”?   Not the Apple product but the move, add or change.   Need one of those?

There was a time not long ago where most all of us drove into the office every day, sat at a desk and did our work.   And we spent a whole lot of time on the phone!   Fast forward to today and the trends are pretty easy to see that are impacting the use, and outright need, of a desk phone.   For example:

Usage:   15 years ago my office was my “command center”.  I held meetings there and … you got it… talked on the phone.   Phone calls, voice mail, and more phone calls.   Today we simply do not talk on the phone near as much.   Mainly because we have other ways to communicate that we didn’t have before:  IM/Chat; e-Mail; Video; soft phone and of course the cell phone.  All of these other types of communication are driving down the minutes of the Office Desk Phone.   Ask yourself – if my Office Desk Phone went away today could I still conduct business at least for a while?    The answer of is almost sure to be “yes”.

Mobility:  Most of us don’t like to sit in one spot all day.   You know the Herman Miller $600 chair?  You needed one of those because you didn’t move all day and you had to be right next to your Desk Phone – in case it rang.   Now you can be in the backyard, at a park or anywhere and make and receive business calls.   This is better for you and better for the customer trying to reach you.

Millennials:   The 15 – 30ish year olds have really only known an environment with wireless phones.   They may have grown up with a land-line but it had a base station and wireless handsets.   If you are one of the younger Millennials you have always had a cell phone.   And guess what … when they buy a house or get an apartment they don’t get a land line so when they move into the office environment they won’t need one there either.   As the older workers exit the workforce (the ones who like landlines) they will be replaced by new workers who don’t want or need one.
The youngest households are abandoning landlines in droves. About two-thirds of households led by people ages 15 to 29 relied only on cellphones in 2011, compared with 28% for the broader population.

Softphones:   Most all phone vendors now have a soft client… it can be on your laptop or it can ride on your iPhone or iPad.   You can use your company phone directory and network resources on devices other than the traditional Desk Phone.

For smartphone users making and receiving calls via hosted PBX apps, voice quality and service availability are improving dramatically as 4G data networks spread. Even business software suites such as Open Office, traditionally the realm of desktop or laptop computers, are now available in mobile versions.


So the trend is clear…   like the landline at home, the Office Desk Phone is trending down quickly.   So who will end up keeping a standard Office Desk Phone… the people who like to talk on a standard Desk Phone.  It will be a personal preference.  They say they can hear better and it is more comfortable.   Other than personal preference there are too many other options to free up some space on your desk.