Category Archives: Industry News

San Diego Customer Service Meetup Hosted By Phone.com

by Jeremy Watkin

San Diego Customer Service Meetup

Phone.com and Toister Performance Solutions, Inc. are hosting a meetup event for San Diego customer service professionals on Wednesday, April 9 from 4:30-6:30 PM Pacific time.

The evening will feature a grand tour of Phone.com’s awesome customer service operation, round table discussions about customer service and, of course, networking.

There are still spots available but they are going fast so sign up today. Click to sign up and learn more about the event!

Kindling New Ideas: NJ Spark Summit 2014

by Peter Hogan-De Paul

CEO Ari Rabban speaking at the NJ Spark Summit

CEO Ari Rabban speaking at the NJ Spark Summit

The brainchild of Aaron Price of the NJ Tech Meetup, Amit Baria of the new-tech school Fuel.am, and Bret Morgan of the Jersey Shore Tech Meetup, NJ Spark Summit hosted prominent speakers discussing strategies for building successful startups.

The conference covered many topics, including a discussion on the future of data security by Dr. Ed Amoroso of AT&T, entrepreneurial advice from attorney David Sorin, and information on entrepreneurial opportunities in the city of Hoboken by Mayor Dawn Zimmer.

Sessions addressed effective crowd funding, offered fundraising strategies from major seed investors and venture capital groups, and discussed upcoming trends for marketing, promotion, public relations and media. Panel members included legal and funding specialists, as well as technologists from Indiegogo, TechCrunch, StartupValley, Techstars NYC and VentureBeat.

Personally, I enjoyed hearing Brett Martin’s experiences working through his failed startup Sonar Media, as well as discussions on how to effectively crowdfund, by Stantt co-founder Matt Hornbuckle, and on the gamification of products by Gabe Zichermann.

Building Engagement Though LiveCube

A truly galvanizing element of Spark Summit was the LiveCube app, co-created by event host Aaron Price, speaker Gabe Zichermann and Justin Schier. Used as the social media aggregator for the event, the big benefit of LiveCube was that it allowed attendees to post and then return later to monitor and engage with content created that day.

Gamifying engagement and offering prizes from sponsors and speakers strongly encouraged NJ Spark Summit attendees to use LiveCube and delivered a memorable meta-experience on top of the conference talk. An added bonus for attendees is LiveCube’s persistence after the event, letting them engage with speakers they did not have time to speak to during the conference.

Plugging Into Phone.com

As a sponsor, Phone.com provided a much-needed service at Spark Summit—a device charging station! Manned by Aaron Rosenthal and myself of Phone.com’s upcoming API, the stylized idea box held USB, Apple and AC charging units to let attendees recharge the devices they were using at the event.

Phone.com CEO Ari Rabban also spoke briefly about the boost that Phone.com provides to startups with our professional, low-cost business phone service. Phone.com also offered a free year of service for attendees of the conference!

Overall, I think NJ Spark Summit was well executed and gave startups, investors and developers the chance to engage with the New Jersey business community. As a young business, we at Phone.com love it when startups reach out and promote each others’ services, thereby encouraging those partners to return the favor down the road. Paying it forward was never so much fun!

The Voice Telephony Migration – From Copper To The Cloud

by Joel Maloff

Migrate to cloud button on keyboardIn a recent Washington Post article, the author discussed plans from AT&T for their transition from a traditional Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) physical facilities-based telephony environment to one that is entirely based on using the Internet, as Phone.com has been doing for nearly six years now! The article is a bit misleading, as it implies that these are bold and innovative steps on the part of AT&T. There is much more to the story, and this industry-wide transition is going to be very exciting for all of us!

To put this into perspective, The US Government’s Federal Communication Commission (FCC) created a Technical Advisory Council (TAC) to assist the Commission in understanding how technology could and/or should be evolving. In June 2011, The TAC issued a report calling for the “sunset” (end of life) of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) as we know it by 2018! That is four years from today! The rationale was very clear. For example, by this year – 2014 – the number of traditional telephone access lines was expected to have dropped to 42 million in the US, declining by an average of 8%-10% each year. It was projected that, by 2014, there would be 32 million VoIP access lines accounting for nearly 45% of all access lines (Source). The PSTN is withering away and AT&T knows it. Will a complete and total transition happen by 2018? Probably not, but much work is underway from many different parts of our industry to help move this along.

In May 2013, the FCC issued a call for comments and trials regarding various elements of the transition to an all-IP network environment (Source). The Commission indicated their views as to why this transition must go forward. “… (A)s we move from TDM to all-IP networks, providers are migrating to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) interconnection. VoIP interconnection should be more efficient and has the potential to unleash new, innovative services and features.” Also, “as we transition away from TDM, the nation’s emergency calling (911) system must also migrate to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911). Although there is broad consensus regarding the benefits and potential of NG911, when these new capabilities will be introduced is less certain.” The ability to replace wired with wireless information transport will also be considered, especially for rural or high-density areas. Lastly, consideration is being given to telephone numbers and related database issues. “The technology transition offers an opportunity to take a fresh look at the assignment of numbers and the features, capabilities, and security of numbering-related databases.” For example, there have been industry proposals for a unified, IP-accessible database that provides secure access to number-related information. A technology trial could test new technical proposals for assigning telephone numbers individually instead of in blocks of 1,000. We may then be able to determine what protocols and procedures are most effective to assign and port numbers in an all-IP environment. This would improve services for customers of companies such as Phone.com!

As you can clearly see, the article regarding AT&T’s planning for the migration fails to mention the fact that the entire telecommunications world is undergoing change. We at Phone.com believe that this is for the better, and are delighted to be playing an active and continuing role in making these dreams reality!

Which Cloud Storage Solution is Right For Your Business?

by Jeb Brilliant

in_the_cloudBusiness owners hear about the benefits of cloud storage all the time. The cloud can save you money, offers mobile access, helps your team work more cohesively, reduces infrastructure costs, and so on.

The two most popular business solutions currently are Box and Dropbox. Both have good offerings but take a high-level look at some of the more important features.

In the comparison table below, you can see that Box seems a superior service. But when it comes to media and syncing features, Dropbox is the clear winner. It’s important to keep in mind that Box was created with enterprise as its main focus.

Available Features:

Service Strength:

Security wise, Box is stronger, and probably the right choice if you are dealing with private records or payment information. Dropbox seems to have dropped the ball in this category.

But upload size matters and Dropbox blows away the competition in this category. Box only allows maximum file size upload of 5 GB with any of their plans and much less on their free offering. Dropbox lets users upload files of any size as long as it doesn’t exceed their storage quota.

The make-or-break statistic for many companies is price, and both Box and Dropbox offer a free, basic service that I highly suggest signing up for and using before making a final decision. Dropbox starts at $99 per user per year for 100 GB for each user. Box is significantly less expensive at $60 per user per month, though users share 100 GB of online storage.

In conclusion, both solutions offer great features at a reasonable price. Your needs will dictate which service will work better for you. What are your considerations when choosing storage? Let us know in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter!

Note: Phone.com does not endorse either of the services in this article.

This Is What Else Your iPhone Will Do

by Jeb Brilliant

iBeaconThe iPhone 5s may transform the way we spend our money, access our phones and so much more.  If you didn’t already know, Apple recently released a new smartphone with a fingerprint scanner along with a service called iBeacon.  Two key features the iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner possesses out of the box are the ability to unlock your phone and authorize app and music purchases.  Is this a big deal?  Absolutely and here’s why.  iBeacon is a highly accurate indoor GPS that is built on the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard.  Combined with the fingerprint reader, these make a useful combination.  

Imagine walking past your favorite store where you purchase your dress shirts and at that moment you receive a coupon on your phone for ties.  This may entice you to spend more money at that store.  Let’s go a little farther with this scenario.  BLE’s location awareness can even guide you to a hi tech mirror where you can stand, have your photograph taken and then have the tie you chose superimposed onto an image of yourself.  It could even offer custom options like colors and styles as well.  In a retail environment, an employee roaming the store with their own iPhone can then see your information on their phone including your name and the items you have purchased in the past.

While this new technology is amazing, there are a few security concerns that exist.  First of all, hackers have compromised the fingerprint reader, giving them illegal access to the profiles of others.  Secondly, if you’ve ever been fingerprinted, they may be on record somewhere.  If those records fell into the wrong hands that could be a problem.

While it’s natural to have some apprehension with this new technology, I, along with many of my colleagues believe that we are heading in a positive direction.  My hope is that we can be wallet-free soon and this will save us valuable time that can instead be invested in our businesses and personal lives.