IP-PBX vs THE CLOUD

In any discussion about phone systems, there are always those points that seem to crop up again and again, aren’t there? If your office is anything like mine, odds are that one of those points is the old  cloud based versus on-premise system debate.

That’s one that won’t ever go away, will it? Not until everything is finally hosted in the cloud — or behind our ears, whichever comes first.

Theoretically speaking, the choice should be pretty easy. Look at the size of your enterprise, examine your usage requirements, scrutinize your security concerns, and once you distill all that information, you should have a relatively easy answer.

But what do you do if both of the options deliver nearly identical features? What if the answers you get are practically functionally identical, for all intents and purposes?

If both columns of the balance sheet are nearly equal, but you still feel it’s time to upgrade your phone system, then maybe you should consider a staged, or hybrid approach.

For instance, consider the hospitality vertical market. A hotel — or chain — wanting to upgrade their aging PSTN networks can install VoIP trunks to one or more of the sites in their network. They could keep the older systems active at the other sites, while enjoying the incredible savings that VoIP offers on regular recurring charges and operating costs on the upgraded sites. Then when they have the capital to upgrade the other sites, it’s easy to do.

A different option, again with the hospitality vertical, might be to replace only the voice mail system with one that also can handle automated attendant duties as well as wake-up call functions. The existing in-house PBX could still be used to process phone calls as usual. What this would do would be to place these crucial functions on an IP network so that they can be better monitored and administered. Not only that, when it comes time for the old PBX to be replaced with a VoIP switch, it’ll be an easier migration for everyone.

Hosted IP systems also work well when there are multiple sites being served by the same pool of SIP trunks or VoIP services. Any company that has more than one location would be able to pool their trunks and resources, since VoIP allows for shared minutes and data usage. This has the benefit of reducing recurring monthly charges, potentially by up to 60%.

One more option would be to leverage all the bandwidth that an enterprise needs and supply telephony using the same circuits that currently carry such data as corporate email accounts and PMS. This would also yield some standardization among the disparate sites, making it easier for employees to move from one to another. This consistency would take the form of dialing patterns, phone feature sets, and other such things.

Just keep in mind that if you are going to make a switch from one PBX manufacturer to another, or from an on-premises solution to a cloud-based one, it’s likely that you’ll have to replace all of your digital or proprietary phones. And it’s also likely that you’ll have to eat this cost. There is a hidden advantage, though, in that the new systems should work with any SIP-compliant phones. This gives a hotel, or any other vertical market, many options they can choose from. They won’t have to choose from simply the existing proprietary PBX phones.

Another thing to be well aware of, especially if you are in the hospitality vertical, is to ensure that the hosted PBX application is capable of lighting the message waiting lamps in your guestrooms. Surprisingly enough, some of them are incapable, and I’ve found out the hard way.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Who is our audience?

This started with a forum I belong to. Someone introduced a fictitious proof of PI=4, on a forum NOT devoted to math. I responded with this video entitled Rhapsody on the proof of pi = 4:

Let’s call this person Babu Bhatt from “Seinfeld”. And we will call this forum the Nasrudin forum. Both the name and forum name are fictitious. Anyway, this person and others introduced both bogus and real proofs. And I responded with videos from this person, as well as scholarly links and discussion. Babu criticized these videos as wrong, from the deeper aspects of mathematics. Since my last sharing teaches some important points, I’ll share it hear:

“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” — Chinese Proverb

There are three things I have learned in life and try to practice.

  • From philosophy it’s to define your terms first
  • From computer science, it’s the KISS philosophy – Keep it simple and stupid
  • From direct response copywriting (i.e. writing for business or advertising), is to know your audience.

What’s the key question here? Who is your audience?  In direct response copywriting, you learn these things:

  • Keep the conversation to a level of eight grade and below
  • People respond more to buying on emotion then on reason. Then they try to use reason, to justify their emotional based purchase
  • Talk to them like you’re conversing with a friend at the bar

Actually, if you can do these things well, you could become a millionaire on royalties – like Clayton Makepeace, Bob Bly or Ben Hart did. Can you use that info here? Sure! Ever see the Three Stooges short, where they are talking about Pig Latin? Moe says to Curly:

“I’ll explain it so even you can understand it.”

When you do that, you lose or pass over the “deeper” and correct aspects.

It comes back to who is our audience, which is something I brought up in another thread. Without being insulting to anyone, suppose Curly of the three stooges were part of our audience. We have to speak at his level “and above”. Unless you have statistical data and demographics on your target audience, you can’t assume anything.

You are right, Babu . The video does contain errors, just as the picture proof that Pi=4 contains errors. But if you are so concerned about what is “right and proper”, then why introduce something that “is not right and proper”, in the first place?

But who is your audience here, Babu, and who is my audience? Mine is both the amateur and the professional. If they want the “comic book” version, they watch the video. If they want the “scholarly journal” version, they go to the appropriate links I’ve provided.

And she should correctly define her terms before talking in the video. It’s something many folks here often fail to do also, in discussions of scripture, theology and philosophy. We might end up with something like this, from Abbot and Costello:

But who is her audience and who is our audience? She is from Khan Academy , which is a non-profit dedicated to teaching subjects up through high school free – as far as I understand their group. Or as Wiki says:

Khan Academy is a non-profit[4] educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”

If someone posts a YouTube video and enables comments, the place to place criticisms is on the video YouTube comments section. And they should revise the video, based on feedback.

And who is our audience? Two professional mathematicians talking to each other? Or a group of forum lay people, who like to discuss theology, philosophy, scripture and other – sometimes fun – subjects?

If you want a good video presentation for the amateur, then watch her. If you want a good discussion among professional respondents, go to Quota (i.e.like I pointed to earlier at Why is 0.999… equal to 1? or some similar place.

Yes, she has some things wrong at a “deeper” level. But her audience is probably those struggling with math, who see these videos as fun and entertaining – just as many here would. What math videos have your contributed free, for the benefit of providing free education to all?

  • It’s up to her to enable comments on original YouTube postings.
  • It’s up to people like us, to provide professional feedback there.
  • And it is up to her to revise, based upon feedback.

In fact, given the scope and mission of Khan Academy, it’s probably the duty of every professional to provide video feedback. This way, they can preform their mission of free education better.

Yes, great direct response copywriters have much to teach us and command high fees. In fact, famous marketer Ed Dale just revealed today he paid legendary direct response copywriter Gary Halbert 20 K a month in High Fees  to coach  him.

And you know what? If you want to master the art of persuasion, then direct response copywriting will teach you that. Studying historical and contemporary philosophers for constructing Logical philosophical arguments are all well and good. Studying famous writers for engaging literary styles are all well and good. But in my book, direct response copywriters are masters at the art of persuasion and well worth studying how they compose their ads and selling stories.

Gaming PCs 101

The barrier of entry into PC gaming is lower now than it ever has been. Hardware prices are falling all the time and the ability to get top of the line equipment is getting easier.

One of the biggest advantages of PC gaming is the ability to buy hardware that fits your budget best. Have a limited budget? There are systems for that. Near unlimited? The PC space has that covered as well.

Man and Screen

Hardware

These are the components everyone thinks of when they want to build or buy a new PC. Gaming PCs generally exceed the hardware requirements of most other applications and therefore are not only able to run games but do pretty much anything else you could ever want your computer to do.

For gaming applications the first place to start is the CPU or processor. This is the heart of your computer and generally will not change unless you get a new system. For gaming, the Intel i-series is a very solid choice. An i7 based system is higher end but you will pay for the difference over Intel’s next lower step the i5. With clock speeds of 3.0 Ghz and above these will generally last you the life of the system.

Your graphics card or GPU is the next most important piece of equipment when building a gaming computer. One of the nice things about graphics cards is that the price is a fairly good guideline for the performance you will receive. A $200 graphics card will be a little bit better than a $150 card, but quite a bit lower in performance than a $500 card. Graphics cards in Nvidia’s 600 or 700 series will fit the needs of most beginner to semi-advanced gamers especially for their first system build.

RAM can be the oft forgotten component to a computer system but is extremely important to a smoothly running system. RAM is essentially how many things a system can do at once. That being said, with today’s prices and performance there isn’t a reason to have less than 8GB of RAM on a modern system. Having between 8GB and 16GB of RAM is a good starting point for a new gaming PC.

Software

Relatively recent developments in how games are distributed means full digital downloads of games are becoming more and more popular, eliminating the need to physically go to a store to buy your favorite games. Online platforms like Origin and Steam allow you to buy, download, install and play your games all from the comfort of your couch. Both services have a huge variety of genres available. Whether you are a casual gamer (Sims 4), sports gamer (FIFA), hardcore shooter gamer (Battlefield: Hardline), in-depth role playing gamer (Mass Effect) or racing gamer (Need for Speed), the software part of this project is perhaps the most fun.

Prices

Prices for systems like these can run between $500 and $800, which is a reasonable range for a solid system that will last far into your gaming career. The main thing to remember when building or buying a new system is keeping within your budget. Thankfully, because there is so much flexibility in the configurations of hardware, this is fairly simple. However, a major difference between consoles and PCs is the ability to upgrade hardware without buying a new system. If a new graphics card comes out or you need more RAM, adding these components is something you can do yourself. Remembering this, if your budget is tighter, it is generally better to buy the best CPU you can afford, since this is the component that is least likely to be replaced. RAM and graphics cards are the next easiest to upgrade.

Don’t be afraid to get into PC gaming. It is a vibrant community that you will be having fun in for years to come.

Duolingo Revisited

I started out many years ago, taking two years of Spanish and French

French in Action

French in Action (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • I had two years of French at Aurora University
  • I had two years of Spanish at College of Dupage

I set out as a goal to master three common romance languages: Spanish, French and Portuguese. The logic being is that they are all derivatives from Latin and have similar grammar structures. The main difference would be sounds and pronunciation. Since the cost is free, it would pay to work chiefly with Duolingo.

There are other programs to supliment my learning. There is French in Action and Destinos in Spanish. Both are good university video programs. There’s also a good Brazilian Portuguese video series called Semantica. The university programs are good and free, but they lack workbooks – unless you purchase them. The Semantica is a good course when combined with the Duoling Portuguese course.

Recently, I came across a couple interesting articles on Duolingo:

The mission article had this to say: With 50 million users around the world, the Pittsburgh-based company is now moving away from the crowdsourced translated text that it sells…the emphasis is on an adaptive platform that tailors teaching to the strength and weaknesses of individual learners.”

My problem with Duolingo used to be that they gave you three hearts. Then for each mised answer, you lose a heart – until you were out of turns. Now “The first change Duolingo users will notice is the heart reward system is gone, replaced by a strength bar that rises and falls based on how well each concept is mastered.“

Actually, I like the new strength bar much better. I have more than 3 strikes you’re out factor.

But what about errors? This was asked in the Quora article and answered this way:

The amount of mistakes encountered largely depends on the language that you’re learning. Courses that have been around for longer will have fewer mistakes, but on average you’ll encounter less than 1 mistake per 1,000 exercises you do, and the most common form of “mistake” is Duolingo not accepting a different way of saying the same thing.

I can identify with this. Say a word in a sentence has three different substitute words. If you hover your mouse over the word in Duolingo, you will see three possibilities. But even if the second entry is right, Duolingo might just accept the first word.

Yet some courses – like Spanish – have relatively few errors: “Spanish receives approximately 1.5 user reports per 10,000 exercises.”.

As one user mentioned in the article: The completely bilingual, native Spanish speakers couldn’t always pass the sessions at the end.

I’ve seen some feedback on the German Duolingo tree that says these problems also exist. I’ve also seen a number of complaints that Duolingo has a huge number of errors in Portuguese, French, Hindi, Romanian and Italian.

You know what? I finished the Spanish tree and now do the practice sections each day. I’m one third into the French tree and just started the Portuguese tree. But I work on a section in each language – each day. It’s free – I enjoy it – I’m learning. What more can I say?

How to expand your uc and collaboration mobile capabilities

Enterprises are going mobile and, the UC&C, or Unified Communication and Collaboration, market is growing fast. Mobile Unified Communication too is growing at a rapid pace and organizations are adopting the latest technology pretty quickly. Majority of the fast growing companies around the world are looking to enhance the real-time collaboration and communication among its employees. There have been numerous developments in the communication technologies and this has helped bring forth better UC&C solutions, which are offering enhanced communication experience.

Phone

BYOD

Besides all this, organizations are also trying to catch up with the BYOD or Bring Your Own Device trend and this is being fuelled by the latest mobile technology that opens up newer avenues for business communication and collaboration on a real time basis. Unified Communication and mobile technology has been integrated to give rise to enhanced and efficient communication solutions. Businesses are jostling for greater market share and in order to gain competitive advantage, the demand for optimized business processes or workflow too is growing. This giving rise to a phenomenon where the businesses are fast adopting the latest Mobile unified communication solutions.

Interoperability

The emergence of mobile workforce and the growing use of smartphones are further driving the need for integrating unified communication solutions with mobile devices. As more and more companies hire mobile workforce they will have to adopt mobile UC&C in order to facilitate communication and collaboration among its employees on a real time basis. Even a few years back interoperability among different devices was a big hurdle in the path of integration of mobile telephony and UC but with technological developments like SIP or Session Initiation Protocol, VoLTE or Voice over Long Term Evolution and WebRTC or Web Real-Time Communication, the gap has been bridged.

Wide Choice

Both SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses) as well as large organizations are getting an opportunity to choose from a wide range of Mobile clients and UC services as per their

communication needs. Cloud service providers, UC vendors, providers of Telecom network, and third-party service providers are augmenting their services to suit the mobile communication needs of enterprises across the world.

Business leaders and telecom researchers have revealed through various surveys and studies that the mobile communication and collaboration market is going to swell to $17.38 billion from $5.15 billion by the year 2019. All the trends point to only one direction – mobile unified communication and collaboration is going to get widespread acceptance among the forward thinking business houses. We need to understand that there are numerous communication channels available to the users but they rarely think about the channels. The concern of the users is to reach out to their contacts using the easiest and the most effective communication system. Telecom companies will have to shift their focus from just providing solutions and instead help the solutions really work for the organizations. Mobile is the requirement of modern day workforce and sooner or later the companies will have to focus on communication solutions that leverage the power of mobile telephony.

About the author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

 

Fun facts you didn’t know about voip and the internet

 

Voice communications over the internet is a revolutionary idea and it has given a paradigm shift to our idea of business communications. However there are several fun facts associated with VoIP and internet that we tend to avoid while focusing too much on the technological aspects. Average users like you and me are often oblivious of the faun facts related to the internet and IP phone. There are numerous trivia pertaining to VoIP because the technology has a very rich history and even its evolution is filled with many interesting anecdotes.

Globe

  • VoIP came into existence in the year 1974 – This year marked the first call made using VoIP technology over the ARPANET network. In the month of August 1974, a voice sample was sent between two computers over the secured network by the researchers at Information Sciences Institute and Lincoln Lab. Two way communications took a few more months as it was accomplished in December 2014.

  • The mob is in love with VoIP – There is evidence with the researchers and investigating agencies that gaming VoIP has become very popular among the mob that are using it for criminal activities like money laundering and drug deals. The gangsters are finalizing deals through the chats on VoIP games and it is getting really difficult for the police to track such deals.

  • Set the VoIP phone to make automated calls – There are several service providers in the market who are offering features like making automated calls. Users are able to set up the VoIP system and get it to send automated alerts triggered by different responses set by the users. For instance, there are service providers who offer a VoIP feature wherein anytime the caller makes an emergency call to 911 all the alternate contacts and email ids (provided by the user) are sent an alert.

  • Free Wi-Fi to the US citizens – The US government has plans of making Wi-Fi free for the US citizens. This program is still shrouded in controversy as privacy advocates and free market or consumers backers are still debating the consequences such a move might have on the lives of the citizens. However, as VoIP users we will be able to get the opportunity to make free calls to any of the contacts in the US. Thus, you

The business revenue that VoIP will be generating in the next few years will cross the $15 billion mark and there are numerous companies that are coming up with interesting ideas and making the use of VoIP interesting.

About the author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Making Good Business Ethical Decisions

How do you know you are making a good, moral decision? This question was asked on a forum and I’ll share my answers.  This answer would also apply to business ethics.

Actually, you won’t.  You have only good guidance from Christian theology and the philosophy branch of ethics. So how would you know you would make the right choice in this video (i.e. which I’ve including in our discussion on war):

Let me give you an answer in Interesting  Zeno‘s Paradoses, and underline the important part:

The dichotomy paradox leads to the following mathematical joke. A mathematician, a physicist and an engineer were asked to answer the following question. A group of boys are lined up on one wall of a dance hall, and an equal number of girls are lined up on the opposite wall. Both groups are then instructed to advance toward each other by one-quarter the distance separating them every ten seconds (i.e., if they are distance d apart at time 0, they are d/2 at t=10, d/4 at t=20, d/8 at t=30, and so on.) When do they meet at the center of the dance hall? The mathematician said they would never actually meet because the series is infinite. The physicist said they would meet when time equals infinity. The engineer said that within one minute [u]they would be close enough for all practical purposes[/u].

So while you should study ethics in philosophy and Christian theology, you  would be close enough for all practical purposes – in making ethical decisions in most situations.  And if you fall short, Christianity does offer forgiveness of sins.

Before I bring up the medical case with my mom, look at this short video

Here’s what happened with my mom:

  • To insure I was making the right scientific and bioethics decision, I made sure the  Bio Ethics right laboratory tests were preformed
  • To insure I was making the right theological  decision, I consulted with clergy from the Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions.
  • I then held a meeting with the chief doctor, a nurse, a hospital chaplain and my cousin and her husband (i.e. who lived close by).  I asked questions of the doctor from a scientific and bioethics perspective.  I asked the same questions of the hospital chaplain, which I asked of the Christian clergy.  Then I asked for any advice from family members.

Then I had them remove life support.  Now I might have made the wrong decision.  But I got the best advice for making that decision.

I’m sure in my mom’s case, I made the right decision.  And all the scientific experts (i.e. physicians) and theologians (i.e. Protestant, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) also felt the same way.  Luckily, I did attend Grief Share  meetings (which is a Christian video series), held at local churches.  The best part was discussing the grief and death with others, under the guidance of a trained facilitator.  The second year is much easier for me, as my mom passed on Oct. 4, 2013.

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