VoipNow 3.5 Beta Is Here. Help Us Test It!

We have just released VoipNow 3.5 Beta. It’s been a long journey, but the first beta of the new version is finally here, better than ever.

It contains over 80 core improvements designed to help you win the SMB market such as upgraded architecture, improved UI, better PBX with support for WebRTC, call encryption, and a lot of other enhancements that simplify the operation of large deployments. It also comes with over 100 bug fixes, most of them related to the updated architecture. For a quick overview of what’s new, check out this presentation.

Even more important, this major step in VoipNow’s evolution provides support for Hubgets, the next generation communications and collaboration app for SMBs. Hubgets will be shipped with VoipNow 3.5 and our partners can start offering new services to their current customer base immediately, taking advantage of VoipNow’s provisioning features.

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Get VoipNow 3.5 Beta

We need your help to better validate VoipNow 3.5 for production. We invite you all to test the Beta and send us bug reports and suggestions. This is the first Beta, expect other pre-releases to follow on a regularly basis.

Just let your fellow technical colleagues, developers, and anyone else who likes to play know that it’s available. Installation takes a couple of minutes and requires just a command to be executed. VoipNow 3.5 Beta is also available for CentOS 7 / RHEL 7 (x86_64).

Play with it, break it, hack it, test your favorite integrations on it. Please DO NOT upgrade any of your existing production systems to this Beta. Not only will we not support it, but most likely you will no longer be able to upgrade to the GA version either!

On the other hand, if you want to upgrade a production system clone for testing purposes, our Professional Services team will happily assist you.

Free Upgrade Service for Top Reporters

We appreciate your effort in helping us make this release better. The top 5 most avid bug reporters will receive a free VoipNow upgrade performed by our Professional Services team.

More details about VoipNow 3.5 Beta, including installation instructions are available here.

Thanks a Lot

To all our customers and partners that put their trust in us, thank you for your support!

To all Clouders whose hard work and dedication made VoipNow 3.5 possible, just two words: you rock :cool:

Three Things to Look For When Selecting Your Call Center Software Provider

Picture this modern-day scenario: a longtime retail company has run its own call center since inception, but recently because of the escalating costs and the need to create a better customer experience, management is planning to upgrade the tools that agents use in their day-to-day jobs. And nothing is more critical for a call-center, whether owned or outsourced, than the software platform used to communicate with customers and keeping track of those interactions. As a result, the company decides to shop for a suitable contact center software solution.

But what should management look for in any call center software provider? Scalability, flexibility, and customer relationship management (CRM) integration should be at the top of the check list.

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Let’s take a look at these three characteristics in greater detail so that you know exactly what to seek in your next vendor:

Increased Scalability

Your contact center should have the same fluidity as your business. By migrating to a sophisticated call center software provider, your company will be well positioned to handle sudden spikes in volume if traffic increases, as it can add users at any time. In addition, you’ll be able to seamlessly scale as your business grows. You will no longer worry about outgrowing the system’s capacity. Hand in hand with scalability goes the benefit of only paying for active users. In periods of high traffic, you pay for more users, while lowering the bill accordingly if traffic is lower. And all these changes take only minutes to process by average-skilled IT staff.

Enhanced Flexibility

A significant benefit of a cutting-edge contact center solution is that businesses are able to employ a remote agent workforce, leading to lower employment costs and higher employee satisfaction. For example, 4PSA’s VoipNow cloud platform provides more flexibility by freeing up employees from their desk phones, enabling them to take calls at anytime and from anywhere. Agents could very well work from home on a part-time basis or on their own personalized schedule. By accessing tools from everywhere with the right hosted contact center solution, agents can always respond to customers, which results in improved customer service and retention.

Moreover, an advanced contact center solution allows companies to retain the best employees, regardless of geographic disparity. For instance, an employee moving from New York to London can still be kept on board in flexible environments.

CRM Integration

State-of-the-art contact center providers grant their customers access to advanced reporting and statistics, which enables companies to make better business decisions. Look for a call center software provider that has the ability to seamlessly integrate with your existing CRM platform, which will give your agents access to a 360-degree view of customers and their interactions with your company. As a result of CRM integration, your agents will be able to deliver a personalized customer experience. Seek out a provider that can leverage your existing systems to make the agents more informed and productive.

As your company begins its search for these three capabilities, check out 4PSA that was recently named one of the best call center software providers for businesses with high call volumes, according to Voxilla.com. To quote the judges, “4PSA is a desirable call center company because it offers its customers flexibility. The company offers pay-as-you-go plans so that clients will not be tied down to any service contracts. The 4PSA company offers a VoIPNow service that tens of thousands of businesses use. It provides a long line of innovative features such as video, instant messaging, PBX, conferencing, faxing and more.

Is your business ready to migrate to a call center software provider? Share your thoughts about a potential future move in the comments section below.

Five Steps for Implementing the Cultural Shift Required by UC Systems

Over the last decade, email has become second nature to people all around the world. For businesses too, e-mail has been one of the primary means of communications for many years.

But today, email simply is not enough. Users and businesses altogether have been looking at complementary ways to communicate. Instant messaging, social media platforms, and think of just how much are employees starting to use their personal devices for business communications. This search often results in embracing state-of-the-art Unified Communications (UC) solutions. Read more

Email Is Dead (Not Yet)! Long Live Collaboration Tools!

Imagine this: two employees located in separate offices have only an hour left to meet the deadline of a critical project. Instead of settling for the outdated approach of sending countless emails back-and-forth, they leverage the company’s communications and collaboration tools, such as audio conferencing and instant messaging, to conduct a much more effective conversation and strike a business deal in time.

This is very much today’s reality, as people are simply not as attached to email as they used to be. In fact, one could argue we are witnessing the demise of the golden age of email. Read more

Improving Customer Experience in Banking with Unified Communications

The banking sector has been through a lot for the past 6 years. Starting with the 2008 financial meltdown and continuing with a perpetual lack of customer trust, the banking industry seemed to be on a continuous downward spiral.

Yet, there are signs that banks have finally learned their lessons and have managed to turnaround consumers’ confidence. The 2014 Ernst & Young Global Consumer Banking Survey shows that consumer confidence in banks has risen 50% versus previous year. The report goes on to state that this increase is not the result of consumers turning back to “normal” but rather the result of banks taking an active stance on building trust again. And this trust resides on customer experience. Read more

Why Businesses Need to Leverage the Power of the Cloud

Businesses today are increasingly migrating their digital resources and tools into the cloud for a variety of reasons. As such, it should be no surprise if the global end-user spend on cloud services will reach $180 billion by next year. It is bound to happen.

By the end of last year, more than half of U.S. businesses were already taking advantage of cloud-based tools. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits these technologies bring. Read more

Saving Money and the Planet with Unified Communications

There is no question that Unified Communications solutions are good for business. But it’s often understated that UC solutions can have a great impact on the environment too. UC tools are all about connecting people and making their lives as easy as possible through smart deployment of technology.

Consider the following two aspects and you’ll see where I’m going with this.

Virtual Meetings Do Pay Off

With the power of UC solutions to unite business partners around the globe at a moment’s notice, in many cases in-person meetings are no longer the necessity they once were. Rather than having international business partners travel to a specific location to negotiate, consuming a lot of resources and time in the process, partners can now call from anywhere they are, with the same personalized, seamless interactions they would have in real life. Add to that the recording capabilities of the best UC software, and you will get an even more powerful means of following up on meetings. Read more

With Unified Communications, Remote Working Is Easier Than Ever

Last year, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made the headlines when she announced that her employees would no longer be able to work from home. Some industry pundits speculated as to whether that meant the end of remote jobs. A few months later however, Dell CEO Michael Dell announced his intention to enable half of his 14,000 workforce to work from home. At the time of his announcement, 20 percent of his team were already working from home.

So, while the jury is still out whether Yahoo fares better or not, Dell’s decision merely expanded what already proved to be a good decision: in 2012, thanks to its remote working policy, the company saved $14 million—and 6,735 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. It seems that offices will soon be a thing of the past, or at least will need to be re-imagined, as more and more companies are shifting to flexible working policies. Read more

Unified Communications and the Future in Education

With technology advancing so fast, it’s often a wonder that the process of delivering education is still a piece of the twentieth century. It’s true that the world of online universities and learning websites from Coursera to Kahn’s Academy and other MOOCs is taking off, but many traditional schools, high-schools and universities are still stuck with paperwork when it comes to collaboration, and to simple voice when it comes to communication. Education should be at the forefront of what tech has to offer.

Some schools are making inroads into how to leverage technology. For example, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) provides interactive video courses for K-12 schools across North Carolina. Students from across the state can collaborate in project teams and class discussions. Meanwhile, NCSSM teachers monitor the class in real-time and assess student learning. Yet, such schools are the exception, not the norm. The 2011 CDW Unified Communications Tracking Poll found that only 17% of higher education has implemented some of the features that are part of Unified Communications. Read more

Summertime Is the Perfect Time to Assess Your Contact Center

Business slows down in summer due to vacation time. That’s a fact. Be that as it may, for contact centers, considering the relatively low call center activity, the summer looks like the perfect time to see if they’re making the grade.

When business starts ramping up again, the quality of your customer service needs to be at its peak so as to bolster revenue, enhance customer satisfaction, and reduce costs. If your contact center isn’t ready for that kind of influx of traffic as business picks back up, you may be in for a surprise. For instance, according to a recent survey by Accenture, 51 percent of consumers in the U.S. will abandon a business if they are not fully satisfied with their customer service.

So what exactly can you do so that your company doesn’t become part of the statistics? Read more

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