Ever Wish You Could Be Notified When Your VOIP Quality Drops? VoIPspear Does it for $1 a Month!

Just today I had a location that started getting crummy VoIP quality. Guess how I found out? Yeah, my client had to call me! I hate that! So I started looking for a MOS VoIP quality monitor web service and VoIPspear showed up. They have a free version that will show you a chart of your MOS quality for last 6 hours. Or for $1 a month they will send an email. Check them out at and let me know what you think of them. Or if you know a better service, please let a comment.

Quality VoIPing fellows!

OCS--A Product No Windows PBX Professional Should Overlook

I don’t usually get this excited about a product. But we have been reviewing OCS 2007 R2 and I am blown away. This product is just—WOW. Not only video conferencing but Hi-Def video conferencing. Super high quality screen sharing: Yes, others can control your screen if you allow them. How about MAC screen sharing client? Windows Mobile and Java OCS clients take your communications on the road. Let UC read your email to you and, oh yes, if you want it can turn your voicemails into email also. Hey, want to have a forwarding rule based on an appointment in Outlook? No problem. How about a full featured, full screen Attendent console. And I haven’t mentioned all the little touches that make things go smoother like…Windows Media player being turned down when you get a call, a little indicator for EACH conference attendee to show if they are currently speaking, IM’ing or viewing your screen cast…

If you are a Windows PBX professional you will NOT want to overlook this product. My opinion is that OCS will change the Windows-based communication landscape. If Microsoft makes an OCS edition that is simplified & catered to the small business--I predict it will be devastatingly disruptive in that market.

OCS Connectivity Test Website

Do you need to test if you have connectivity to your remote OCS server?

New Phone Form Factor OCS End Point: Polycom CX300 USB

There are a limited number of OCS (Office Communication Server) hardware endpoints at this point. Some of the ones I know about are:

-Polycom CX700 (sometimes call Tanjay)
-Polycom CX200 USB w/ no display
-Polycom Conference Phone
-Snom 3XX, 8XX, and MeetingPoint OCS Editions

The Polycom CX300 is unique in the it is a traditional phone form factor complete with LCD display that works in tandem with the software Microsoft Office Communicator. It is also a very reasonable price at $199 USD list. (The phone does not work if your PC is not running)

Read more about it at Jason Shave's Blog:

Get Free Hosted Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007 R2 for 60 Days

I've been wanting to play with Office Communication Server for a while now but I just never had the time to setup a complete test system. A colleague pointed out that there is a free hosted UC Trial available that can be setup in minutes! Wow! So I've been playing with OCS 2007 R2 and am impressed! Expect more on OCS here but in the mean time here is your link to a free hosted OCS 2007 R2!

SIP Video Camera by Z3 Technology

Looking for cameras that will integrate into you SIP based IP PBX?

Integrated 802.11g and wired Ethernet
SIP Camera (Unify internet and Telco networks); IP Camera + SIP Phone
Multiple Access Point; 3G Phone, Softphone access via PC, VoIP/Video Phone, PSTN phone
Two-way audio and one-way video; Speakerphone with echo cancellation
Remote Contols via DTMF Tones (PCM, RFC2833, SIP Info), Control PTZ
Monitoring (Intrusion Detection); PIR Body Detection, Motion Detection, A/V Streaming
Remote Notification; SMS, email with attached JPEG, emergency call button
Network Management; Web-based configuration tool, HTTP upgrade via web GUI
Call Management; A/V calls, emergency call list, speakerphone

Approximate USD cost is $250.

I'm Once Again Astonished by pbxnsip's Ease of Administration

Just this afternoon I received a call from a client that wanted 2 phones to be switched. For the sake of simplicity we’ll say they wanted extension 101 to have a fancier model phone and extension 102 to have the cheaper phone. How complicated should this be?

I logged into the remote pbxnsip phone server using the web administration console. I just copied the MAC address from one pbxnsip extension to the other, clicked “save” and then click “check-sync” to reboot the phones. One minute later the phone identities were switched! (I didn’t have to log into any of the snom phones.)

Wow! That is ease of administration!

snom To Release IP PBX Phone System?

I was reading through a new manual on pbxnsip's support website and saw this interesting screenshot with pbxnsip logo replaced with "snom ONE". Is snom planning on releasing an IP PBX phone system? snom just might have interesting news coming up.

Looking for a Windows Mobile SIP Softphone?

Tabletmedia claims to be the "first" pda phone. They have some interesting features such as SIP video phone, SIP and GSM/CDMA, text message and talkie-walkie. Looks like a very interesting soft phone. Not a glitzy user interface but it appears like solid software. (if anyone has used it and has feedback, I'd love to hear from you)

Will SIP Automate Our Homes Someday?

I was thinking about how to automate our office and did a little research. I’ve been noticing more SIP devices: Security camera, door controllers, door video camera, SIP speaker and more. Will SIP eventually control our homes? These guys say SIP will make a great home automation protocol:

Looking for a Standard SIP Operator Panel Software?

Take a look here:

I'm waiting to get a live demo and the cost. (not free) The website says tested with pbxnsip, Communigate, Asterisk and SipXecs.

This just in: I just recieved an update from and the price is $99 for the Lite edition and $399 for full edition. Not bad in my opinion. You can also get a trial version which the company sent VERY quick!

Microsoft PC Cordless Phone System --Circa 1999?

An Advertisement for the MS PC Cordless Phone System. It has a lot of great features. (like DND) Old advertisements intrigue me.

Tom Keating in this article (last paragraph) noted the product flopped.

SNOM Adds SIP PA Announcement Unit to Lineup

Snom is certainly not sitting around! The new snom m9 DECT phone just showed up on their website and now they are offering a SIP PA Announcement system unit too. POE or traditional power, Web management interface, 4Watt amplifier, pass through ethernet, multi-cast, and 4 free progammable output pins. I haven't seen pricing or availability date yet. Also I'm hoping it features the Snom SIP stack. Take a look for yourself:

Syspine Makes FREE Softphone for Response Point

Response Point is going through it's struggles but apparently OEM's are still moving things forward as Syspine has just released a softphone for Response Point. Call pop, Skins, and remote phone are all features it has. Take a look at it over at:

Microsoft Office Communication Server: Friend or Mortal Enemy to the Windows PBX?

Is Microsoft Office Communication Server a friend or mortal enemy to Windows phone system vendors?

3CX CEO, Nick Galea, noted that his company will not support integrations to OCS because it is essentially a competing product. "3CX sees OCS as a competitor and there are no plans to integrate with OCS. We are already going head to head with OCS and I believe we have a more appealing solution in many ways..." noted Nick Galea in a 3CX forum post on Oct 14, 2009.
Read More 3CX has added the 3CX Call Assistant to the 3CX Phone System which adds basic instant messaging capabilities along with PC call control, eliminating the need for another instant message server in a small organization.

ObjectWorld Communications makes a unified communication system that integrates tightly with Active Directory, features ODBC connected IVR and has a very mature software operator panel "while still costing less than providing employees with coffee service" says marketing director Vincent Guihan in a Channel Insider article. On OCS Guihan says, "Microsoft OCS is targeted for a desktop productivity play and is very useful for large organizations whose employees need to work more effectively with each other. Objectworld’s channel partners are focused more on customers who need end-to-end services that are more basic and allow them to work with external customers, like voice mail and fax capabilities." Read More

pbxnsip, an IP PBX vendor who makes a software based phone system that runs on Windows as well as Linux and Mac, notes that "pbxnsip & OCS have been tested and are interoperable". Read More. pbxnsip also provides a WIKI article that gives detailed instructions on integrating the two products and has an official forum dedicated to OCS/pbxnsip integration. Microsoft GOLD Partner ItACS says "pbxnsip and OCS is a great combination, especially for the small to medium sized business..." Kevin Moroz, CEO of pbxnsip noted "pbxnsip acknowledges that OCS is heading towards becoming a PBX but they are in different markets. OCS is geared more towards the enterprise market at this time. " He went on to say "Communication solutions is a big market and there is room for both of us. We see it as essential to make sure we interoperate with Microsoft products such as OCS and Exchange Server UM."

Christian Stredicke, CEO of SNOM says "OCS is the future..." .SNOM, maker of SIP based phone handsets, now has OCS enabled their entire line of SIP phones. Snom phones can connect to a SIP pbx at the same time as OCS providing traditional phone features as well as OCS's advanced instant messaging, presence, directory and Windows Mobile reach.

What is my opinion? I really think at the moment OCS is aimed at much bigger organizations than most of the listed ip pbx vendors so probably not a mortal enemy right now. Also all of the listed pbx vendors provide more traditional telephone system features many small to medium companies still want right now. What if OCS Small Business Edition was released? (my blog post on OCS "SBE") Ahem. I still think they would need to add quite a few telephone system features to make it compelling for the SMB market.
You can read more of my thots on my entire blog post on "Is OCS becoming a PBX?".

Is OCS the evil, malevolent giant that is out to crush traditional & Windows based phone systems? Can Windows PBX vendors survive? What do you think?

Kerry Garrison: How to Speed Up PBX Deployments

The 3CX Call Assistant Quick Video Review

3CX delivers a nice tool to watch and control call status on the Windows 3CX Phone System. Has an easy to use and pleasing to look at graphical user interface and even includes a basic instant message client!

Check out this 3 minute review of the 3CX Call Assistant

Snom 820 & 870 Wireless Functionality Tested With Windows 7

Snom is once again keeping up with the latest technology by ensuring their Snom 8xx USB Wireless stick works with Windows 7. The snom 8xx is quite a phone: Wifi capability, 1GB pass through ports (870) and nice big color screen for a reason price.

It's The Holiday Season & pbxnsip Will Help You Blast Your Co-Workers With VM Seasons Greetings Messages!

First, setup a hunt group (such as 399) which has all the extensions you want to distribute the message to in "Stage 1" (such as 301 302 303)

Now pickup your own phone, press the Voicemail retrieve button, dial 5 then record the message you want to distribute and press # when done.

Next press 2 to copy this message, dial the extension (399) and ## and your done!

(You could also have dialed the specific extensions you wanted to send the message to. Wow!)

Wow, that it efficient and slick! Now you can blast you co-workers with Season’s Greetings each morning with efficiency!

My Quick Review of the 3CX Soft Phone Version 4

3CX came out with a new revision of their widely used softphone in August and I did a quick review of it. I'm impressed with the user interface. It can handle 3 call appearances, hold, mute and most other softphone features. Well, just watch the review. (sorry about the low volume...)

A New Tool to Test Your ISP VoIP Capabilities:

It's still in BETA but this tool is a quick way to see if your ISP will do VoIP. Check it out at:

Looking for Free Music On Hold for Your Windows Phone System?

I was just at a prospect that wanted to replace an Avaya Partner system and was appalled that there was a box (that was bigger than the entire pbxnsip CS410 phone appliance!) to facilitate music on hold! One great feature of a PC based phone system is that you can just plop an .mp3 or .wav file in a folder a have music on hold! 3CX and pbxnsip Windows phone systems both allow this.

When I was attending the SMBNation session on ResponsePoint I'll admit I was surprised that you needed to plug a mp3 player into the RP phone system to get music on hold other than the default music.

Take a look at this royalty free music for your PC phone system:
(and gloat a little that you don't need a big music on hold player to use it! ;-)

Aastra Won't Abandon Response Point VARs & Users: Announces RP to SIP Firmware Upgrade

If you been watching Response Point at all you know that the future is uncertain. One of the great benefits of SIP standards based ip pbx's is that you are never left high and dry. Your pbx vendor goes belly up? No problem, just switch the pbx server and use your existing investment in phones and other hardware. The problem with RP is that is wasn't standards based--but thankfully Aastra is providing a firmware to make their phones be standard SIP. This is a refreshing vendor move to say the least!

To read more about Aastra's SIP firmward upgrade click here.

A Rugged WIFI SIP Phone for Warehouse

I just had a discussion about what a good rugged, warehouse suitable SIP phone would be and the MC50 & MC75 Windows Mobile handheld computers came up. A while ago I did a quick video review about the Symbol MC50 and SJLabs SIP Softphone for Windows Mobile and thought I would post it here if it is a benefit to anyone.

pbxnsip Attendant Console to Get New Features?

By the looks of this screen shot of pbxnsip's PAC (pbxnsip attendant console) there are new features in store for this software based call control application for the pbxnsip phone system!

pbxnsip has taken a different approach than vendors such as Asterisk and 3CX by writting the call control application as a web application instead of a Windows forms application. This means that it could be made to run on PC, MAC and Linux. One of the challenges of this method could be getting a smooth & visually pleasing user experience.

From my testing of the PAC doing tasks such as forwarding a call to a mobile phone is very straightforward. Another interesting feature is the built in Intant Message client.

To see the pbxnsip PAC definition page click here.

Microsoft OCS as a Phone System?

Microsoft keeps on working at making OCS a complete phone/communication system for businesses. They are making strides but for many companies they likely have a ways to go. Below is a very interesting article on companies that OCS may fit as a PBX right now: