- With T1 service there are different bundles that a customer may subscribe to. Apparently the Quintum gateway was configured assuming the customer would have 24 channels available so channel 24 could be used for outgoing calls. As it turned out, I was able to receive incoming calls but my outgoing calls did not work! The Quintum techs realized the issue and changed the gateway configuration to only anticipate 9 channels. With this modification the system now was able to make outgoing calls.
- DID (direct inward dialing) configuration did not work when I first configured the system. The Quintum techs had me run a sniffer on the gateway and we were able to find out that Response Point was only receiving the last 4 digits of the caller ID and I had been telling Response Point to look for a 10 digit caller ID. Once we realized what was going on - I just used the last 4 digits in the Response Point configuration and now DID was working.
- On testing I found that the outgoing Caller ID that was being sent was the 3 digit extension that the call was placed from - instead of the 10 digit company telephone number. Again, the support guys showed me how to change this in the gateway.
I have been working with Packet8 using their SIP service for a month or two. We had a few issues which Packet8 has been pretty active in addressing.
The Packet8 service relies upon an adapter device. The device is a small black box that sits anywhere on your network. In the initial setup the device gets a dynamic IP address. Since the Response Point configuration for the SIP service uses the device IP address for the Proxy Server Address field - it looks to me like you are going to want to make this device a static IP device which you are able to do through its Web interface.
Initially I experienced a few instances of dropped calls. Packet8 was pretty quick to get me a firmware update for their device. Knock on wood - I have not had any more dropped calls since the last firmware update.
A feature that I have seen with several SIP service providers is what I will call a "failover" routing. If your network is down or off the internet for whatever reason - what do you want to happen to your incoming telephone calls? Without a failover routing - they will not go through - your customers will get an error message or dead air. With a failover routing - the system can be provisioned ahead of time to send your telephone calls to an alternate telephone number - hopefully you will specify a phone number that is not subject to the same outages as your network or telephone system - like the owner or a manager's cellular telephone. I think my buddy Ed Carnes experienced such an outage just after connecting with Packet8. His ISP had an outage and this was before Packet8 had implemented their failover routing.
I have requested that Packet8 make the failover routing an item that is accessible to the customer via their website interface.
Another feature of many SIP providers is what I will call Caller ID spoofing. Now, by spoofing I don't mean anything improper or illegal. In my case, I maintain my main business telephone number as a land line with my telephone company. This gets me a listing in the real telephone book. My Response Point system therefore has both analog and SIP lines connected to it. My outgoing calls go via the SIP service. HOWEVER, I do not want to confuse my customers by showing them some unfamiliar Caller ID number - I want them to be shown my published business phone number. Without doing something extra - the system will not work this way. Some SIP services accept the Caller ID field that the Response Point Administrator configuration provides. Some other services do not honor the Response Point Caller ID field, but have a field in their website customer management screens where a Caller ID record can be entered. Packet8 has advised me that they are working on a way that the Caller ID number can be specified.
The pricing picture varies significantly among the SIP providers. Packet8 sells their service, for the most part, based on pre-purchased blocks of outgoing call minutes. These minutes count for both local and long distance calls but only for outgoing - the incoming are pretty much unlimited. One SIP Trunk can, in their case, can accommodate multiple telephone calls - up to twelve (12). So for many small businesses, there should not be a situation where all 'lines' are in use and a caller gets a busy signal.
An issue that is a somewhat up in the air currently is the exact pricing plan for the blocks of minutes. A couple VAR's have been working with Packet8 trying to get some clarification and simplification on the pricing.
Meeting time is 6:30 PM Eastern. Venue: Money Concepts, 323 Townepark Cir, Suite # 100, Louisville, KY 40243
And now to my real criticismWhat Microsoft calls a lead and what they do with it. Over the years I have received 'leads' through the Microsoft partner program. One time I received a spreadsheet with a half dozen of these so called leads. I was asked to contact them immediately! In examining the information on this spreadsheet I noted that these 'leads' were already 90 days stale. It's hard to imagine anyone with some pride that wouldn't be embarrassed at this kind of follow up. Message to Microsoft: Small Business Owners - do not want a free white paper to read in one month when it arrives. They want to have an answer to their question - NOW - so they can make a decision - NOW - and then move on to the business of running their business. This is different than ENTERPRISE with multiple layers of middle management that need to make work to justify their existence. A business owner client of mine visited the Response Point free phone system web site and filled out the entry information - ON NOVEMBER 1st. It is now NOVEMBER 30th. After about TWO WEEKS Gary received a telephone message in follow-up to his contact information. This was from someone presumably w/ Microsoft and not a local VAR because the call back number was an 800 toll free number. In the last two weeks Gary has called this toll free number and used the extension he was provided and left several messages. Gary's comment to me was about the announcement message at this extension he called. He said the quality was really bad and surprising coming from a company that is trying to sell a business telephone system. He was also surprised that he hadn't had his follow up call messages returned. Gary gave me the telephone number and extension that he had for the call back to Microsoft. I've posted the audio of this voice mail announcement for your listening pleasure. After a month of no real human communication, Gary, as a small business owner is WAY beyond where he would have totally given up on any interest in this product. His only reason for not throwing out his phone notes is that I asked him to keep me posted. What Microsoft should have done with this lead - when it really was a lead - was to have given it to ANYONE that is a VAR in Gary's local area - IMMEDIATELY! And, as a side note, this campaign has been running for 2 months. According to the web site 'drawings are held twice each month'. There should have been 4 systems given away so far. It seems like it would have been some good idea, if the systems have been given away, to have publicized it. I haven't heard anything about winners yet.
|Response Point - Conference Phone|
- Packet8's service supports 7, 10 and 11 digit dialing. I think this is important. Our local market still supports 7 digit dialing so that is what our customers are used to dialing for local numbers - they don't want to have to dial area code. 11 digit dialing is what people naturally do for long distance - i.e. 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx so this is okay and 10 digit dialing is what you get in the Response Point system if you import contacts from Outlook and don't know to check the box to ADD 1 for 10 digit numbers
- An issue that I found with 4 out of 8 SIP providers that I received responses for when I did a poll of VAR's recently - some services FAIL to forward a call that comes in via SIP and Response Point forwards out via SIP. Packet8 SUCCEEDS on this.
- Packet8 is willing/able to spoof my caller ID telephone number record. This way I can send my business's published land-line phone number when I make calls out via my SIP lines. Some of the other providers gave users the ability to make this change themselves in the online management interface. Packet8 has to make this change for me.
In the online management interface this is called the North America, WA, 7 digit Sample template from the menu – changing the 425 to my area code 513.
This works well with Response Point, Outlook integration, and the humanoid factor.
The following are the reasons – (all comments below presume everything is prefixed with the Response Point 9 or 8 to dial out)
Humans tend to want to dial local numbers (in the 513 area) as XXX-XXXX. They also want to dial Long Distance as 1-XXX-XXX-XXXX.
The Response Point contact list imports telephone numbers from Outlook – and Outlook adds the local area code if no area code is supplied to outlook. So, by default all imported telephone numbers in Response Point contact list have 10 digits including local and not local. The Response Point Import function has options to 1) Add a specified area code to any 7 digit numbers and 2) add "1" to 10 digit numbers. Neither of these options are selected by default.
So both dialing the human way (7 digits and 11 digits) and using the Response Point Click-To-Dial from the contact list (10 digits for local and 10 digits for long distance) both seem to work correctly. I’ve tested this multiple times and it seems to do what I want it to do.[caption id="attachment_130" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Allen Miller Computer Consulting"][/caption]
- SIP Trunking
- Call Logging including export to Excel
- Presence Indicator in Assistant
- Park Call Status in Assistance
- Click to Dial in Assistant - extensions and external contacts
- Talk over Announcement to request extension
- Upgrade Device Firmware from Administrator
- External Music on Park
- "Transfer to EXTENSION - VOiCEMAIL" voice command possible
- DID - Direct Inward Dialing
- Voice Dial access to free directory assistance
- 64-bit compatibility
- Restrict access on phones in common areas
- Remove directory listing to external callers
- 822 extension access Automated Attendant greeting
- voicemails sent from any .local address (Jason Ray)
- Aastra support for multiple line occurrences (Don Damon)
- Dial 8 o Dial 9 trunk group access to seperate SiP trunks and analog service (Jerry Moore)
- Headset mode (at least on Syspine) (Jerry Moore)