Test Your VoIP Connection with OnSIP

OnSIP, the virtual PBX service that we use, has a web page that allows you to test your VoIP connection.

It simulates a voice conservation to OnSIP’s remotes, measuring packet loss and jitter or variation in transit times.

My performance over my information cable provided by Comcast here in NJ was pretty good: no packet loss and .9 ms in jitter. Continue reading

Our Favorite Biz Apps, Summer Edition

Summer is here and the time is right for another Technoverse list of our favorite business apps.

Our files are stuffed with notes from the last few months of attending trade shows and meetups, quizzing CEOs, and testing software in our state-of-the-art lab. The focus of this list, as in our past enumerations, is on small-to-medium businesses.

The distribution of employers in the US is skewed towards small: most businesses—something like 98% — are considered small, with roughly under 25 employees. Even more astonishing: they hire 50% of the US workforce.

But unlike in the past, the cost of starting and running a small business doesn’t necessarily require emptying a bank account.

We have computing to thank for this, everything from cheap biz apps in the cloud, low-cost communications and collaboration, inexpensive social media marketing, the ability to crowdsource certain tasks, and on and on.

Herewith are a few apps that should help you kickstart and manage your business:Continue reading

Good VoIP Choices from Ars Technica

Ars Technica, a favorite read of mine, answered a question yesterday from a reader seeking a VoIP solution for a remote office situation.  In the “Ask Ars” column, Jon Stokes provides a few cloud-based telephony providers that should be familiar to readers of this blog.

Stokes approves of Junction Networks’ OnSip, which by the way is the service used by Ars as well as by Technoverse’s editorial offices, and 8×8’s Virtual Office.

He even talks about using SIP softphones with these services,  and there’s a mention of Asterisk, the PBX software project (but nothing on SipXecs)

It’s a good run down and worth a read.Continue reading

Google's SIP Tease

As has been reported everywhere, last week Gizmo5 users learned that Google will soon be hanging up on this open-source softphone.  Acquired by Google in 2009, the SIP-based Gizmo5 service will do its last “INVITE” in early April.

Now some fleeting good news: Over at OnSIP, the cloud-based PBX company, there’s an interesting post about a SIP door that  opened over the weekend and then just as mysteriously closed.

For a shining moment, Google Voice numbers had associated with it a SIP address of the form: +1GVnumber@sip.voice.google.com.

In other words, it was possible for a few days to make free calls on any device that supported a SIP stack!

Continue reading

ITExpo East 2011

Babak Gholizadeh/Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

No, I’m not attending.

But I am soaking up this VoIP trade show’s ambiance remotely by dipping into tweets, blog posts, and video snippets.

At past VoIP conferences—it’s frankly been a few years since I walked those aisles—there was a divide between vendors selling their enterprises wares and service providers with their service offerings.

ITExpo is instead a mashup of companies from both sides of the wire.

Of course, the cloud has much to do with this blurring of the lines. Continue reading

OnSIP’s Free Click-to-Call Plugin

I was about ready to launch into a new assignment for a client when some news concerning OnSIP, the cloud-based PBX service, attracted my wandering attention. The folks at Junction Networks have just introduced an OnSIP browser plugin for Firefox and Chrome that lets you perform a click-to-call. While this new feature is not technically very sexy, it is a big deal for the small businesses that are the likely customers of OnSIP’s virtual PBX.

Once upon a time, SMBs were practically indentured to their hardware vendors, who made them pay (and still do) for every little feature. This free click-to-call function from OnSIP is typically classified by enterprise PBX makers under a marketing-speak category called Unified Communications or Desktop Telephony. Having tried a few of these types of apps, I can attest that they were difficult to configure and even more painful  to use.

I was able to install the OnSIP plugin on my MacBook Pro in under a minute, and then launched an X-Lite softphone to act as my virtual endpoint.

I achieved Unified Communications with little effort and no expense.Continue reading

Five of Our Favorite Small Business Apps

It is hard to keep track of all the startups that are emerging daily from apartments, hackathons, and incubators. And from within the ranks of unemployed workers, many are cranking out business plans and working out sales projections at their neighborhood Starbucks.

We are definitely in a new era of entrepreneurship. One factor that makes starting your own less of a dream and more of a practical reality is that the costs of IT infrastructure have dropped significantly in recent years. It’s just cheaper than ever to buy a phone system, establish a web presence, and build out administrative functions for sales and marketing.

I’ve come up with five web-based apps that bring IT for little or no cost to IT-less companies.Continue reading

OnSIP and PhoneTag

I decided to take a break from watching Google-zilla’s next move. Yes, the search monster has some interesting news today with Voice Actions for Android.  Terrific.  But there are also capable speech rec apps outside their orbit, in the competitive world of  what the FCC calls information services.

Last month I tried the  OnSIP cloud-based PBX. This startup has since partnered with PhoneTag to provide transcriptions of voicemail. I’ve known about the PhoneTag service when it had the eponymous designation of the corporate owner, Simulscribe. Good move on their part with this name change.

PhoneTag has taken the approach of supplementing its algorithms with crowdsourced workers who copy edit the harder-to-transcribe sessions.

It takes a few clicks to set this up, and before you could say “net neutrality” I was able to email  .WAV files from my OnSIP virtual PBX voicemail to the PhoneTag service.   The results are quite good.Continue reading

OnSIP: Real PBX Flavor in the Cloud

Junction Networks is a hosted PBX app provider that lets startups and small businesses pull a VoIP phone systems out of thin air or, more accurately, out of the cloud.  The company was founded in 2004, and open standards were practically written into their constitution.  In other words, they support SIP.

Their OnSIP hosted PBX service has a maturity level that will appeal to businesses—tech and otherwise—that want a phone system and not a collection of APIs with some sample apps.

I spent a  morning setting up and testing auto-attendants, hunts groups, conference bridges, and voice mailboxes on my OnSIP demo system.  It worked without a hitch.   And it was rewarding, in a telecom kind of way, to  finally use my collection of free SIP softphones (X-Lite and SIP Communicator) as true office phones and bask in the glow of emulated message waiting indicator lights.Continue reading