Evolution of Cloud Based Phones

Evolution of Cloud Based Phones

Evolution of Cloud Based Phones

Over the years VoIP or Voice over Internet protocol has only become more efficient and user-friendly. VoIP or IP telephony is the real time transmission of voice data over the internet using the internet protocol or IP.

The Settings Behind This Technology

Three inventions primarily spurred the evolution of VoIP. First telephone, next internet and the third and most crucial invention is the internet protocol. Something that was started by Graham Bell in 1870, gained popularity over the years and turned into an indispensible part of modern communication.

During mid-1960s, internet was first time used by U.S defense, not what we use today. It was originally started by advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). During 1980s this technology gained widespread usage.

In 1972 Dr. Vint Cerf invented internet protocol or how data transfers between two computers. Thus, the foundation for VoIP was laid until further progress took place.

Beginning of Cloud Based Phones

In 1973, again ARPANET contributed to the beginning of VoIP. It was during that period that ARPANET conducted experimental transmission. However, it was during 1995 VocalTec, an Israeli company that patented the internet phone. VocalTec developed software for transmitting the voice over internet compressed the voice signals, converted them into digital packets and distributed over internet.

As long as both the receiver and caller have same software and hardware the technology worked well. The sound quality then was nothing near the conventional phone sound, but this effort was the first step towards IP telephony that you enjoy today.

Adoption Of The Technology

The early adopters of this technology were comprised of the hobbyist who had understood the potential of this technology. They preferred transferring voice data packets over the web instead on depending upon the traditional phone system.

The software that VocalTec developed used a PC that was integrated with a sound cards and speakers and microphones. Then the system was leveraged on H.323 protocol instead of SIP protocol used today. It allowed PC users to make long distance calls. However, during 1995 the broadband internet connection was not as good as it is today. Thus, IP telephony evolved with time as there was advancement in broadband.

Development Of IP Telephony

During 1996 Intel also introduced software for internet telephone. Gradually the use of IP cloud based phones started evolving and by 1998 almost 1% of the total users of voice traffic used VoIP. Entrepreneurs started creating new hardware to support the system and software to make the system run. All this enabled phone to phone and computer to phone connections.

Even networking managers like Cisco, Lucent, 3Com started introducing hardware that will route the VoIP traffic efficiently. By 2000 the total usage increased to 3% of the voice traffic all over USA.

During the 90s for marketing VoIP costs were subsidized. However, as the broadband technology advanced, the quality of VoIP services also enhanced, there was more call clarity and reduction in latency. Cisco and other networking giants started making hardware that made this technology easier to use. It was during 1999 that session Internet protocol or SIP was released. The first open source private branch exchange software asterisk was developed by Mark Spencer.

Until 2004, mass marketing of IP telephony was not in progress. It was in 2004 when calling plans were introduced that made subscribers make calls in the same way they make call with their traditional PSTN system. Different offers were made that allowed national as well as international calling through IP telephony and with development in broadband the call quality has also developed.

Author

Michelle Paterson

What’s Next For Digital Finance?

 

The last few years have seen unprecedented changes in the way we handle our money. While on the face of it little has changed in the banking system, advances in digital technology are slowly but surely spearheading a revolution not only in the way we use our money, but the way in which we think about it. The most recent innovation to hit the market – contactless payment – may herald a new dawn in money interfacing. What could be next for digital finance?

Why Does It Matter?

Does it really matter how, precisely, we transfer our money from customer to vendor? So long as it gets from one to the other effectively, what’s the big deal? Actually, the format of your transaction – particularly the format in which you pay – does in fact have quite a large psychological impact. We’re far more likely to make big purchases using cards than we are with cash – and that’s not just because people don’t tend to carry large wads of cash around! Cash is our physical money. When we pay with cash, we can physically see our money decreasing. This is not the case with cards. It feels less like ‘real money’ when we pay for things with cards. For the same reason, payday loans and the like which can be approved over the internet frequently feel like less of a responsibility than those which you have to meet a lender face to face for – leading to a surge in irresponsible borrowing (and lending!) not so very long ago. Unsurprisingly, this psychological spending quirk is used to advantage by retailers and bankers, who want to keep us spending. However, now that we’re getting wise to the fact that card payments involve just as much ‘actual’ money as cash payments, banks and other authorities are sniffing around for new ways to make parting with money seem less painful. Contactless payment is just one way in which they’re doing this. The digital world is likely to see more and more financial innovations in the very near future.

Goodbye To Cheques, Hello To Cyber-Transfers

It’s not just the capitalist machine which requires novel ways of paying. Digital finance has made life a lot easier for many independent entrepreneurs to reach faraway customers and be paid by them very quickly indeed. Platforms like PayPal became ubiquitous extremely quickly  once their potential was realized – and as the world becomes increasingly digitized, they’re likely to go from strength to strength. If the banks don’t take them over, that is. Banks are well aware of the missed financial opportunities inherent in all of these cyber-transfers. While the money may ultimately end up in a bank account, PayPal are taking a substantial cut along the way. Banks currently remain invested in the outmoded cheque-clearing system (which gains them plentiful interest) – but this won’t be the case for long. Cheques  are being phased out in the UK in 2018 and other nations are likely to follow suit. It’s likely that the intervening years will see banks making big, PayPal-esque changes to their digital money transfer systems. Not everyone can use BACs systems to digitally transfer money, but everyone can use PayPal. Expect to see banks muscling in on PayPal’s territory by making their digital money transfer systems simpler and easier – potentially through apps and the like.

Wearable Technology

Everyone’s talking about wearable technology right now. It’s supposed to be the innovation of the future, keeping track of everything from our state of health to our social lives. We all know that a lot of confidently made future predictions get kyboshed by something completely innovative sweeping in from the left field. However, at the moment, wearable technology looks to be a reasonably safe bet so far as future digital development is concerned. The advance of contactless payment means that one need no longer be confined to a card in order to pay. Indeed, one can attach a ‘digital wallet’ interface to almost anything. Barclays are already using a ‘bPay’ system in the UK, whereby one can have one’s ‘digital wallet’ in a wristband, a fob, or a sticker which can be attached to whatever the owner pleases. Some ultimately see such interfaces being integrated into our bodies via chips etc which could be scanned. Whatever the ultimate destination of this technology, it seems pretty clear that the way in which we pay for things is about to change rather drastically!

Author

Helen Young

 

Amazon Files Third Lawsuit to Avoid Fraudulent Reviews

One of the best marketing techniques any business can have, is to receive and publish glowing reviews from purchasers. Amazon, selling everything from books, technology and even fashion and health related items, clearly has plenty to win or lose if doubts are cast with respect to the veracity of its customer reviews. In an effort to crack down on allegedly fake reviews the online company recently filed its third lawsuit against the owners of five new sites promising positive customer reviews.

One of the sites was Paid Book Reviews offering customers 100 reviews for $2,200. This site states that it comprises “a team of writers who understand the effect of positive customer reviews on your book’s sales.” Two types of book reviews are covered: unverified (the writers read the sample pages of a book on Amazon.com and post positive comments) and verified (the company buys the client’s book, reads it on Kindle and posts positive comments on Amazon). Purchasers can opt for as few as five book reviews, for only $125. Thanks to Kindle, tablets and other mobile technology the reviews can clearly be lucrative for the company offering them, since there is no need to purchase a physical copy of the books. Kindle books, which can be read on mobile devices regardless of the reader’s location in the world, cost less than physical books and can be reviewed by writers and critics form anywhere in the world.

Amazon began filing lawsuits in April 2015; so far, over 1,000 reviewers have been targeted. Some of these sites have already closed, and the information obtained has enabled Amazon to also ban specific sellers and reviewers from using their site. In its official statement,   Amazon claims that legal action has been taken to stop sellers and manufacturers who create the demand for fake reviews, but also to put an end to the larger ecosystem of individuals and businesses that support inauthentic reviews in return for money.

Savvy Amazon users take note; it is possible to spot fake reviews thanks to free website, Fakespot. Just copy and paste the link to the product page, and click Analyze. If you use Chrome,   add the Fakespot extension and simply click the Fakespot icon in your toolbar –   you will instantly be told if the reviews you are reading are considered low quality .  If Fakespot deems a review ‘low quality’, the likelihood is that those reviewing the product are likely to have reviewed other items by the same company, that they have written only extremely positive reviews, or that they have reviews products they have not purchased. These are pretty good indicators that reviews given are not based on one’s real experience or opinion.

Research indicates that up to 90 per cent of customers make purchasing decisions influenced by positive online reviews, while around 86 per cent are influenced by negative reviews. Around two thirds of online buyers read reviews, since brands can sell similar products and lack of awareness of differences in quality and features of online items makes reviews an invaluable source of information.

Research has also shown that B2B companies stand most to gain from customers who have had a good experience with them and who review their products and services online. Over 60 per cent of purchasers claim to have purchased products or services from a B2B company after reading positive reviews. The key to receiving a good review does not only lie in the product itself, but also customer service, which is ranked as a primary factor in influencing the degree to which customers trust companies.

Because customer service is so important,  marketing managers should work closely alongside customer service personnel , so that customer concerns expressed on social networking sites are attended to promptly and efficiently. Equally important is the practice of answering negative comments and reviews online, for others to see. Often, the percentage of negative comments can be reduced simply by attending speedily to complaints and problems, offering solutions and bonuses to clients who chose to remain loyal despite a glitch or two. Social media platforms should also be used to announce changes made to service policy or products, based on comments by customers. Ultimately, reviews, even negative ones, should be seen as an opportunity for companies to grow and adapt to the changing demands of the market and their target client.

Author

Author is Helen Young

Digital Doctor – Are Apps The Future Of Healthcare?

Earlier this month, Google rolled out its ‘Health Card’ app in India. Google Health Card allows users to flip through over 400 ‘cards’ in order to swiftly correlate symptoms and learn more about diseases. While the concept may sound reasonably basic, the interface and efficiency of the app combined with the considerable expertise which came into the making of it renders it a very useful little tool. More to the point, the giant Google leaping into the health app fray indicates that they’re taking the medical potential of digital platforms very seriously indeed. As are many other observers, commentators, health providers, and businesses.

Doctor Google’

We all know that googling your symptoms is never a good idea. ‘Doctor Google’ will convince you in no time at all that a simple cold is Ebola, or that a stress headache is a brain aneurysm. Despite this, however, Google states that one in twenty Google searches are health related. For this reason,  it decided last year to put health-related information into its Knowledge Graph. The idea was not only to give Google an edge when it comes to amateur diagnostics – but also to prevent the dissemination of inaccurate healthcare information. Rather than relying on the hysterical hypochondriac power of user-generated health forums etc, Google’s own knowledge could commune directly with the searcher – and hopefully give more accurate and relevant information. This applies a certain amount of corporate clout to the world of digital diagnosis – but also indicates that Google is perhaps trying to reassert supremacy in the growing world of digital and app-based healthcare. The release of Google Health Card in India may be just another aspect of Google’s medical gameplan.

Health And Fitness Apps

Growing interest in our personal fitness has coincided with the kind of technology which can help us to monitor and control our health. Exercise gadgets like pedometers and exercise machine interfaces have been with us for a while now, but the introduction of linked apps has seen an explosion in health and fitness monitoring technology. From fitbits to diet plan apps, we’re able to weigh calories burned against calories consumed like never before – as well as assessing precisely what the things we’re eating and the activities are doing to our personal physiques. In the not-too-distant future, gadgets will be able to intensively monitor our vital statistics (including blood chemical content, among other things) and feed back to trained medical professionals. While there is the potential for people to get  a little obsessive about this , there is also a lot of potential for serious help where it’s needed. For example, borderline or recovering alcoholics with an app which monitored blood alcohol levels over time and fed that information back to a specialist are more likely to get the tailored help they need  to cut down their alcohol than if they were able to lie about the amount they’ve been drinking. From a business point of view, apps which fed certain health-based information to human resources could enable employees to get the help they need for any conditions from which they may be suffering (for example, gluten-free options in the canteen, ergonomic furniture, more breaks etc). If, that is, such a thing would not be too much of an infringement upon individual privacy…

Health Vs Individuality

There’s a very good reason why our medical records are kept private. For centuries, the Hippocratic Oath has bound doctors  to keep the medical information of their patients “unutterable”. And very glad many of us are about that, too! Who, after all, wants the world to know about their irritable bowels, or their persistent urinary tract infection, or even about the sneaky pint they enjoyed on a work night? Indeed, many people have let their conditions run on for years rather than having anyone – even a doctor – know about them. Clearly it is very important that the   standards of medical confidentiality remain unimpeachable. Apps which fed information – however innocuous – back to a third party would have to have their legal ramifications looked at in great detail, and the issue of consent must never be underestimated. Nor should individuals who refuse to use any app which informed their employer of physical information (however ostensibly harmless) be penalized for doing so. It’s a situation which is doubtless going to come into play and begin causing friction before very long – watch this space.

Author

This is an article by Helen Freeman

 

 

Here’s What You Need to Know about Managing Documents on a Mobile Device

The usage of mobile devices is higher than it has ever been before. Not only are iPhones and iPads used for personal purposes such as texting with friends, listening to music, reading news and books or sharing photos on Instagram, but they are also equally used for business.

One of the biggest advantages of iPads over laptops and desktop computers is the fact that you can actually finish your daily business tasks on the go. It is especially useful when you need to manage your documents urgently and you are out of the office.

Since many aspects of business involve documents, document management apps are usually among the first to choose, when you decide to take advantage of that aspect of mobile usage – the business one.

But what do you need to know about document management on a mobile device?

No matter how good your iPad is, it can never be stronger than an average computer. The thing is, desktop tools are usually better than mobile apps and they have features that are more powerful. Mobile apps are designed in a way to be able to work on a mobile device. So, you cannot expect to finish all your business tasks on an iPad, but you can still find some purpose in using mobile apps as a quick alternative.

Having in mind that mobile apps are not as strong as desktop tools, you just need to be aware that you cannot manipulate complex documents on a mobile device. The more delicate the document is, the better tool you need. And why is that? The reason is simple – with complex documents you usually need to apply additional settings, and mobile apps are built in a way that often doesn’t allow you to alter the options.

However, using mobile apps for managing regular documents can be a true revelation. If you already have an iPad or an iPhone, getting some of the document management apps can really help you in your day-to-day business. There are tons of such apps on iTunes store, some of them are free and some of them are not. Every app usually has only one simple feature with no possibility to customize settings, but again it can do a really good job if you need only that specific feature.

For example, there are apps for PDF creation that turn your files into PDF, there are apps that are used for viewing PDF files and there are apps that convert PDF to a specific file format. Since a vast number of business documents are created in Excel, probably one of the most popular apps for document conversion is PDF to Excel. In cases when you need to edit your old budget report that was saved in PDF, or someone sent you a PDF file you want to update, such apps can come in handy.

What you also need to have in mind is that your documents might be scanned, not native PDFs. So when considering mobile apps for PDF to Excel conversion, don’t forget to check if the app in question supports conversion of scanned PDF files.

And finally, if you take into consideration the ease of use of mobile apps for document management, and a very high level of accessibility, you can always count on smooth document management on a mobile device, at least for less complex tasks.

Spammers this Week

This week, many spammers (or probably just a couple), are sending me fake emails containing zip files.  They claim it is bills for services.  They are as phony as a 3 dollar bill.  There are two things I don’t do;

  • Open emails or answer phone calls from parties I don’t know – unless I receive an official US mail letter, with a verifiable company on the letterhead.
  • Open any “official” emails from LinkedIn, AOL, etc.  Instead, I go to the site itself and see if they have a copy in my account.  Not click on any links.

Should You Invest In a VoIP Router

VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol has brought in dramatic changes in the realm of telecommunication. Hence, it is anybody’s guess that a VoIP based router is an absolute prerogative for seamless communication – in both commercial as well as personal level. Now what are the benefits of investing on VoIP router? Let us see.

Should You Invest In a VoIP Router

The first and foremost thing about a VoIP router is that that the quality and the clarity of the voice during calls are supreme in case of VoIP routers, and that is what makes these routers more favorable than the conventional telephone systems. More so when it comes to business, the superior quality of calls goes a long way in augmenting the image of the company and boosts the confidence of the customer care representatives. Performance of the employees is enhanced, which ultimately uplifts the company’s image. Needless to say, profit figures for the company also experiences a surge.

Besides, the better quality of the VoIP based routers ensures that the company’s management benefits along with the improved customer support. All this go a long way to augment the growth dynamics of the company. In other words, it is because of the extensive high quality technical support offered by the VoIP router based system, there is a seamless liaison between the clients and the management. The organization responds to the market dynamics in the very best way, thereby positively affecting the growth of the company.

Another very important feature of VoIP router that will help businesses is the data compression feature. Users often are apprehensive that the overload on internet bandwidth will slow down other communication channels. However, tremendous development in the realm of data compression facilitates the use as well as integration of a large number of voice channels into just one telephone line. This implies that multiple real voice data channels can be integrated into an internet DSL line. It becomes equivalent to having more than 10 personnel carrying out conversation with each other, using just a solitary ordinary telephone connection.

It is possible for business to compress the voice data in real time with the use of a common internet connection. The rest of the connection can be used for other purposes, like taking care of the web applications, searching for answers to customer enquiries, or even doing follow up on the customers, and calling them back, and many other similar activities.

Long distance communication can be maintained by using VoIP based routers with very little infrastructure and very little investment. Irrespective of the distance, calls made and received will never be costly. Cost advantage offered by VoIP based routers makes it extremely popular among medium and large businesses.

Another major advantage of using the VoIP based router is that is a very large number of data channels, which can be used over the ordinary telephone lines. Besides, this benefit is further supported by the fact that the VoIP based routers are also unified to the traditional or conventional telecommunication system. What this means is that it is also possible to call any one staying in any part of the world, in real time.

Loaded with such benefits, it is highly advantageous for businesses of every size– big, small and medium to invest on VoIP based routers. Companies can reap huge benefits with minimal investment. Such has been the popularity of these routers that even people are using these in their homes for personal use.

Author – Michelle Patterson

 

 

How Important Is the VOIP Quality of Service

You might have often heard the terms like ‘Quality of Service’ (QoS) during discussions about ‘VoIP’. Quality has been the key driving force behind the development of modern telephony systems like VoIP. Let us try to understand why QoS is so important for VOIP.

QOS

VoIP and QoS

Let’s start with VOIP. Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP allows you to take voice calls and data over your IP network. Thanks to the increase of bandwidth of the internet over the last few years, it is now possible to take calls over the internet.

QoS is an indicator that shows how the telephony system is living up to the expectation of the user. Is it performing as expected without affecting communication? In VoIP, it is important that QoS is maintained as for replacing PSTN or public switched telephone network the quality of voice transmission should be same as PSTN. That means there should be a constant transmission of high-quality voice over the IP network.

An example will make these things easier to understand. Do you feel any difference in driving a freeway at 2 AM and at 9 AM in the morning? You must have. At 2 AM, the freeway will have fewer cars and that will let you speed up your car and get to your destination without any delay. However, the story would not be same at 9 AM when the traffic is much more as it is peak hour of the commute. You will be sharing the freeway with many other cars and thus, the movement will be slow.

In the case of VoIP network too, when there are fewer users the bandwidth is shared among few and they can get maximum speed. That gives them high-quality voice transmission without a drop in calls. However, when the number of users increases the same bandwidth is shared between all of them and congestion arises. Here comes the need for Quality of service that ensures that you can complete your calls without any fail. To get out of this, a QoS enable router is of great help.

How QoS helps in VoIP?

For getting maximum utility from VoIP network, it is essential that it guarantees high-quality voice transmissions. This is possible when the voice packets are given priority over other any other kind of traffic. VoIP requires certain bandwidth, jitter requirements, and latency so that the user receives a high voice quality. This standard of voice quality is maintained by QoS. It ensures that the quality of voice is maintained by giving preferential treatment as required.

Another example will further clarify the above. Consider the situation how you board an airplane. It is the first class passengers boarding the plane first, followed by business class and, at last, economy class passengers get the opportunity. A first class passenger can board the plane even when an economy class passenger is boarding. They are given special treatment. Now, if there was no prioritization then all the passengers would have tried to rush to the gate bypassing the queue. Commotion and confusion will be the result of such a scenario. Thus, prioritization is important in airlines. In a similar manner prioritization holds true for IP networks as well.

Yes, without special treatment no one can complete their work through the network as it will be congested during rush hours. Here comes importance of Quality of Service that ensures that there is sufficient bandwidth for managing the Voice calls.

If there is fluctuation in the voice quality then QoS capable routers and switches fix the problem. The managed switches will send information to the network that highly important voice data has to be transferred first. If this is supported by the network then it will give priority to the voice traffic over the data traffic and you can get high-quality voice calls without any problem.

About The Author

Guest author Michelle Patterson

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