Businesses face enough challenges – customer communication doesn’t need to be one of them. We’re here to help by making it easier than ever to upgrade with Vox Tandem and the latest Snom devices with our Back-to-Business Incentives.

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We cleared the first operational hurdle for companies ranging from the startup to enterprise-level: Upfront Costs. Keep reading to learn how you might reduce your monthly operating costs through our three programs designed to alleviate some of the critical barriers preventing businesses like yours from upgrading your devices. 

First, you might be wondering: “Why should we upgrade our phones when our budgets are tighter than ever before?” Well, upgrading your devices to VoIP can save on monthly bills, in a few ways. First, by cutting the requirement for traditional landlines. Second, they are scalable in real-time so you’re only paying for the services and capacity that you need. Thirdly, cloud-based VoIP systems can be overseen by existing IT staff, reducing the need for expensive, specialized technical support. And perhaps most importantly, VoIP enables the latest features like international calling, voicemail, auto-attendants, and more, without pricey a la cart service fees.

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You can read many other reasons this works from experts who’ve detailed how VoIP services save businesses money at length (E.G., Ring CentralVoIP Review). But just a hint: You can save up to 60 percent on your monthly phone bills with VoIP. 

TMCNet recently explored the various reasons why upgrading technology now can help businesses more effectively adjust to meet their future needs. “Snom’s solutions provide companies – from those with only a few employees to enterprises with thousands –with the flexibility, mobility, voice quality, and security they need to adapt to these constantly evolving needs.” You can read the full article here to learn more about how the solutions deploying today will become permanently ingrained in our future work environments – whether remote, hybrid, or in-office.

Alright, so, about those three Back-to-Business Programs: 

1. New Lower Prices on all SNOM products

We recognize that budgets are tight, and businesses might be struggling. So, effective April 1, 2021, we’ve lowered the prices on our current product line. For example, this means you can save between 15 to 40 percent on the Snom D7xx SIP Desk Phone Series. Why the range? Because as the manufacturer, we’ve lowered the price of the device itself. In doing so, we can pass those savings on to you from the distributors and service providers, too. 

2.  Trade-In Rebates (UPDATED)

Our popular trade-in rebate program offers cashback directly to businesses (end-customers) who replace five or more of their old phones with eligible new Snom phones. If you’re not familiar with the program, you can check out its full details on our previous blog or visit info.snomrewards.com. Ultimately, you can earn up to $35 back per phone and save up to $4,000 or more when you upgrade up to 200 of your old phones. New devices and extra cash to spend? That’s a WIN-WIN in our book! UPDATED: Program Term – This trade-in rebate program (“Program”) is valid from July 15, 2021 – March 31, 2022.

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3. Devices-as-a-Service, a.k.a. Device Rental

Not sure if device ownership makes sense for your business or short of the upfront cash (or CapEx) to make it happen? Devices-as-a-Service, or Daas, is a low-cost rental program that can help remove these barriers. Businesses can access the latest Snom SIP telephony solutions with low monthly payments, all delivered by a simple, monthly service cost from Vox Tandem. DaaS enables more frequent device upgrades thanks to the removal of the upfront CapEx and the lack of commitment necessary for direct product ownership so that businesses can scale up or down in real-time to best match their needs.

So, there you have it. Three Back-to-Business Incentives from Vox Tandem and Snom developed to provide the greatest access possible and ensure businesses can connect with every customer through feature-rich technology that meets their needs now

Questions? Contact the Vox Tandem team at sales@voxtandem.com or click HERE to learn more!

best voip video conferencing software

3CX has been ranked as #1 provider of VoIP Phone Services and Web Conferencing Software in the most recent round of awards announced by Digital.com.

LONDON, UK, 11TH MARCH 2021 – 3CX has been recognized in Digital.com’s 2021 Awards as the leading provider of VoIP Phone Services and the Best Web Conferencing Software. Digital.com considered more than 90 top-notch software companies in their pursuit to provide independent reviews openly available to small businesses looking for reliable solutions.

Both awards applauded 3CX’s intuitive and user-friendly interface, high quality product and easy integration. Features such as contact managementClick-to-Call and SIP trunking were particularly well  received by the assessment team and 3CX users alike. The review emphasized that the unified communications solution appealed even to the most budget-conscious business owners. The software was able to accommodate the growing business demands and communication challenges at the time of the pandemic, while offering excellent value for money.

For more information and the full list of software companies evaluated by Digital.com, please visit https://digital.com/voip-phone-services/ and https://digital.com/web-conferencing-software/

About 3CX (www.3cx.com)

3CX is the developer of an open standards communications solution which innovates business connectivity and collaboration, replacing proprietary PBXs. The award-winning software enables companies of all sizes to cut telco costs, boost employee productivity, and enhance the customer experience.

With integrated video conferencing, apps for Android and iOS, website live chat, SMS and Facebook Messaging integration, 3CX offers companies a complete communications package out of the box.

250,000 customers worldwide use 3CX including McDonalds, Hugo Boss, Ramada Plaza Antwerp, Harley Davidson, Wilson Sporting Goods and Pepsi. Maintaining its global presence, 3CX has offices in the U.S., U.K., Germany, South Africa, Russia and Australia. Visit 3CX on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About Digital.com (digital.com)

Digital.com reviews and compares the best products, services, and software for running or growing a small business website or online shop. The platform collects twitter comments and uses sentiment analysis to score companies and their products. Digital.com was founded in 2015 and formerly known as Review Squirrel. To learn more, visit https://digital.com/. By Amy Elliott | April 21st, 2021

Introduction

Digital Receptionist in 3CX Management Console

The 3CX “Digital Receptionist” function can answer phone calls automatically and present callers with an Auto Attendant or IVR (Interactive Voice Response) options menu, e.g. “For sales, press 1. For support, press 2 or wait to be transferred to the operator”

You can configure digital receptionists with their own extension number and set these to answer calls based on the number called and the time the call is received, i.e. inside or outside office hours. For example, you can have a different prompt for out of office hours to not include the option(s) to transfer the call to unavailable groups/queues.

Recording a Menu Prompt

To create your digital receptionist, you must first write down and then record the menu options presented to the caller, e.g. “Welcome to Company XYZ. For sales, press 1. For support, press 2 or wait for an operator.”

📝 Note: It is recommended to announce the number the user needs to press after the option, i.e. “For sales, press 1”.

Creating a Digital Receptionist

Select Digital Receptionist” in the 3CX Management Console and click “Add”:

Digital Receptionist / IVR Options in 3CX Management Console
  1. Specify a name and extension for the digital receptionist.
  2. Click on the Record” button, enter your extension number, the “Audio File Name” and click “OK” to get a call to record the prompt. Do not use reserved characters (< > : ” / \ | ? * &) in the prompt filename.
  3. Alternatively, click on the Upload” button and specify a file that you previously recorded as WAV in PCM, 8 kHz, 16 bit, Mono.

📝 Note: In Windows Sound Recorder you must use the “Save As” option to save to this format. Do not use MP3 format. 

  1. Select a custom prompt language in “Digital Receptionist Language” if required. You can download additional prompt languages in “Settings” > “System Prompts” > “Updates”.
  2. Select the “Type” for this Digital Receptionist:
  1. “Standard” – specify actions for up to ten (0 – 9) menu options, i.e. connect to the extension or virtual extension number for a ring group, call queue, another digital receptionist or voicemail.
  2. “DTMF Input” – set user menu options based on custom DTMF codes with up to nine (9) digits each, e.g. “010”. For each option, select the action and destination, i.e. the extension or virtual extension number for a ring group, call queue, another digital receptionist or voicemail.

📄 Note: The initial prompt is repeated until a correct DTMF code is entered.

  1. “Launch Script” – for advanced users, to optionally collect the caller’s input, launch an external script and execute the defined action based on the script’s exit code. See more info in this guide.
  2. “Wake up” – creates a single Wake Up / Reminder service used by hotel guests to call and set automated wake-up and reminder calls.
  3. “MS Exchange” – use to delegate 3CX PBX voicemail functionality to Exchange server as described in the MS Exchange Server Unified Messaging guide.
  1. Optionally link a DID number to this Digital Receptionist.
  2. In “Destination for invalid or no DTMF input/script timeout” set the timeout in seconds and the actions to perform on timeout and on invalid input.
  3. Click OK” to save the Digital Receptionist.

Callers Can Dial an Extension Directly

Whilst a digital receptionist prompt is playing, a caller can enter the extension number to call directly and connect to the extension without going through a receptionist. Simply instruct your callers in the voice prompt on how to use this feature, e.g. “Welcome to Company XYZ. If you know the extension number to call, you can enter it now. Otherwise, for sales press 1. For support press 2.”

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Cogent said some customers delayed service purchases and closed satellite offices amid the pandemic.

Cogent Communications posted modest increases in off-net and on-net services revenue during the fourth quarter of 2020, though company executives acknowledged Cogent’s revenue growth is still being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its quarterly report issued this morning, Cogent announced service revenue of $143.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of 1.1% from the previous quarter and about 2.6% year over year. The company also reported service revenue of $568.1 million for the full year of 2020, up 4% from the previous year. Results were positively impacted by changing foreign exchange values, according to Cogent.

Looking deeper, Cogent CEO and Chairman Dave Schaeffer said on Cogent’s quarterly earnings call today that the company’s corporate communications business saw revenue declines of 3.9% year over year for the fourth quarter, and 2.1% compared to the third quarter of 2020. Cogent’s network-centric business experienced a stronger fourth quarter of 2020, with revenue up 7.7% year over year and more than 15% sequentially.

Cogent CFO Sean Wallace, also speaking on the call, added “We believe the growth rate of our corporate revenues was directly impacted by office occupancy changes due to Covid-19.” Wallace said some customers delayed procurement and installation of services, and other closed satellite offices and workers were sent home to work remotely, trends which affected demand.

Still, Wallace noted that the negative trends were more prominent in off-net office buildings and among customers using Cogent’s 100 Mbps services and lower-bandwidth circuits. He said demand for Cogent’s 1 Gbps service remained strong with existing customers keeping upgrades on track.

Additionally, Cogent noted that some pandemic-related trends can lead to positive revenue development in some areas. For example, growth in remote networking from home is likely to continue to increase demand for high-capacity circuits to end users. Cogent also is helped by the fact that its revenue base is not highly concentrated around a small number of large customers, Schaeffer said.

During the early months of the pandemic, Cogent provided ample evidence of how radical changes in office environments, work-from-home policies and related networking needs can quickly impact service providers. For example, last spring Cogent saw demand for corporate bandwidth and related 1 Gbps upgrades spike, but by late summer, the decline in office space was beginning to cause concerns.

by Dan O’Shea | Feb 25, 2021 10:18am | https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/cogent-covid-19-uncertainty-still-impacting-revenue

School districts across the country expect the demand for online learning options to remain above pre-pandemic levels. Some are launching new virtual schools or preparing to accommodate future enrollment. BY BRANDON PAYKAMIAN / MARCH 24, 2021

School districts across the country expect the demand for online learning options to remain above pre-pandemic levels. Some are launching new virtual schools or preparing to accommodate future enrollment. BY BRANDON PAYKAMIAN / MARCH 24, 2021

While virtual learning and teaching have come with a plethora of challenges, some K-12 educators are more confident than ever about their remote capabilities after more than a year of virtual schooling during COVID-19 school closures. According to a February survey by the RAND Corporation American School District Panel, about 20 percent of schools now plan to establish and expand online courses for the handful of families who’ve welcomed the change of pace and flexibility of virtual learning.

Education officials from coast to coast say they’re bracing for an unprecedented increase in demand for online learning options in the years to come. And plans are underway to help meet that demand via the establishment of new virtual academies and the expansion of existing programs.

Jordan Virtual Academy Established in Utah

In Utah’s Jordan School District, officials are gearing up to offer the system’s newly established Jordan Virtual Learning Academy for students next fall. The new school, announced in December, is projected to serve at least 1,200 of the district’s current 3,000 virtual students through virtual core curriculum courses found elsewhere in the district, including math, reading and the sciences.

Principal Spencer Campbell said most of the new academy’s elementary students will attend virtual classes together in the morning, while others can choose to complete coursework asynchronously, meaning they can view lectures and finish coursework according to their schedules. Students can also choose to take a handful of hands-on art courses at in-person district campuses.

“There’s a little more flexibility as you move up through the [grade] levels,” he noted.

Campbell, a former virtual learning trainer, said educators feel more prepared to teach virtual classes after nearly a year of facilitating remote learning. He noted that 40 to 50 teachers from within the district have already applied to work with the new academy, made up of Kings Peak High School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School, and Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School.

“We had a lot of interest. Some of our positions had five, six, seven applicants that were within the district,” he said. “We also hired special ed teachers as well to work with our special needs students.”

Since most of the school’s staff come from within Jordan, officials expect the academy to be a cost-effective solution funded mainly through the district. However, administrators had not determined the exact cost of the school as of Wednesday. Campbell explained that while Utah’s schools are funded according to enrollment, some students may elect to take a couple classes virtually and others in-person. Because of this, he said, administrators are still exploring funding mechanisms.

“If we’re talking any student taking an online course, it will probably be about 2,000, 2,200. A lot of those will come from the high school level just taking one or two classes,” he said. “Full-time students, I would imagine, will be about 800 or 1,000.”

Butterfield Canyon Elementary School fifth-grade instructor Kasey Chambers said educators and administrators in the district had been discussing a new virtual academy since before the pandemic put the need at the forefront and put teachers’ virtual capabilities to the test. Though many were initially reluctant about going virtual, Chambers said she’s now looking forward to being part of something new in Jordan next semester.

“The challenge is that nobody has done this before for the majority of the time. We were all kind of thrust into it and doing the best we can with our expertise. As the year has progressed, we’ve gotten pretty good at it,” she said. “When the school opens, we’re really going to up our game.”

CAVA Hires More Teachers to Meet Demand

California Virtual Academies (CAVA) recently hired over 100 teachers to help facilitate enrollment growth, which has reached its brim with more than 15,000 students during the 2020-21 school year. Over the course of the pandemic, the K-12 charter academy system has witnessed growth not seen since its founding nearly 20 years ago.

April Warren, CAVA’s head of schools, said the school expects to retain many of these new students who enrolled for the first time during the 2020-21 school year, though projections for the fall still remain largely speculative. While many of those new students are new to full-time virtual learning, Warren thinks CAVA is up to the task of meeting the growing demand for online classes.

“We are hopeful many of those students will stay with us for the upcoming school year,” she said. “It is [still] too early to tell at this time what the enrollment for the upcoming school year will look like.”

Through the help of state funding, Warren said CAVA students can access comprehensive courses found in most brick-and-mortar schools, including world language courses. The school also offers Advanced Placement, career technical education and dual enrollment options that allow high school students to take college courses for both college and high school credits. The school also tailors instruction for some special needs students.

Similar to other online schools offering asynchronous learning options, Warren said CAVA gives students and teachers more flexibility throughout the school year compared to other traditional in-person public schools.

“While some traditional school experiences are not available in our setting — for example, competitive sports — students have more flexibility and support to develop other interests, such as afterschool jobs, community service or travel experiences,” she said. “For educators, they’re a part of a school designed to meet the individual needs of students … The model allows them to work with students individually or in small groups in ways the traditional school model struggles to provide.”

NC Virtual Expects Continued Growth

NC Virtual, a tuition-free supplemental online school in North Carolina, offers about 130 different courses and employs nearly 750 part-time and full-time instructors who now teach tens of thousands of students.

Executive Director Eliz Colbert said online learning at NC Virtual has been gaining popularity over the years since the school was established in 2007, but the pandemic boosted enrollment in the spring of 2020 and the 2020-21 school year.

“For the last several years, NC Virtual has averaged enrollment numbers of around 50,000 students in full-course credit classes. This year, we are on pace to exceed 60,000. I say ‘full-credit courses’ because some online schools count course enrollments by half credits. That is an important distinction to note,” she said in an email. “If we counted half credits, we would be exceeding 100,000.”

According to Colbert, the school is now planning to expand its course catalog, which currently includes foreign language classes and career courses, as well as K-12 core classes found in other public schools.

“We have 11 different world languages, a group of career technical education courses, and about 16 Advanced Placement courses,” she said, adding that courses sometimes vary by semester. “We are also growing our middle school course offerings.”

The school operates under a state enrollment-based funding formula similar to California, which works through a three-year rolling projection model so schools can budget ahead of each year, with reserve funds for drastic changes in enrollment.

“If a student enrolls for one class with us and the other six at their local [in-person] school, NC Virtual gets the money for the percentage of the one course through the average daily membership (ADM) formula for that particular district,” Colbert explained.

While learning loss has been a major concern for schools not used to full-time remote learning, Colbert noted that the school’s state test scores and AP scores generally match up well when compared with scores from the state’s in-person public school students, though state testing data has been limited during the pandemic.

Colbert said other schools often look to NC Virtual for help facilitating remote learning through programs like its Partnership Courses program. Colbert said programs such as this have “taken off” faster than expected during the pandemic as teachers and administrators throughout North Carolina continue navigating the challenges of virtual learning.

“Many districts in North Carolina want local virtual academies, but building a standards-aligned course catalog is most difficult,” she said.

Brandon Paykamian Staff Writer

Brandon Paykamian is a staff writer for Government Technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from East Tennessee State University and more than four years of experience as a multimedia reporter, mainly focusing on public education and higher ed.

Rugaber reported from Washington. AP Business Writer Alexandra Olson contributed to this report from New York.

DETROIT (AP) — It’s a question occupying the minds of millions of employees who have worked from home the past year: Will they still be allowed to work remotely — at least some days — once the pandemic has faded?

On Wednesday, one of America’s corporate titans, Ford Motor Co., supplied its own answer: It told about 30,000 of its employees worldwide who have worked from home that they can continue to do so indefinitely, with flexible hours approved by their managers. Their schedules will become a work-office “hybrid”: They’ll commute to work mainly for group meetings and projects best-suited for face-to-face interaction.

Ford’s announcement sent one of the clearest signals to date that the pandemic has hastened a cultural shift in Americans’ work lives by erasing any stigma around remote work and encouraging the adoption of technology that enables it. Broader evidence about the post-pandemic workplace suggests that what was long called tele-commuting will remain far more common than it was a year ago.

A report this week from the employment website Indeed says postings for jobs that mention “remote work” have more than doubled since the pandemic began. Such job postings are still increasing even while vaccinations are accelerating and the pace of new confirmed COVID cases is declining.

“If job postings are a guide, employers are increasingly open to remote work, even as some employees return to the workplace,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed.

The share of Indeed’s job postings that mention “remote work” or “work from home” reached 7% last month, up from just below 3% a year ago. But in some industries, the gains were far more dramatic, including those that haven’t traditionally welcomed remote work.

In legal services, for example, remote-work postings for jobs including paralegals and legal assistants jumped from under 5% in the second half of 2019 to 16% in the second half of 2020, according to Indeed data. In banking and finance, for such jobs as actuaries and loan underwriters, remote-work postings surged from 4% to nearly 16%. For mental health therapists, they rose from 1% to nearly 7%.

Such shifts could, in turn, trigger changes in where people live and affect the varying economic health of metro areas. Some highly skilled workers could migrate from high-cost coastal cities, where they had clustered in the decade after the Great Recession, to more affordable cities or small towns. Downtown offices could shrink and exist mainly for collaborative work. The tax revenue of large cities could tumble as fewer workers patronize downtown bars, restaurants and coffee shops.

“The pandemic has broken the social and cultural norms for how we work,” said Timothy Golden, a professor of management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Remote work has become much more accepted.”

Ford is just the latest company to allow more work from home after the pandemic. Salesforce, Facebook, Google and other tech firms have said they’ll continue work-from-home policies indefinitely. Target Corp. will leave one of four downtown Minneapolis office locations because it’s moving to a hybrid model for 3,500 workers. It will keep other downtown offices.

Flexible remote work is hardly an equal opportunity perk. It is disproportionately concentrated among more educated, well-paid workers. The jobs of lesser-paid employees generally require on-site work or face-to-face contact with the public.

More than one-third of Asian employees and a quarter of whites worked from home because of the pandemic in January, according to an analysis of government data by the Conference Board, a business research group. Just 19% of Black workers and 14% of Hispanics were able to do so.

Ford has found over the past year that employees and supervisors believe that more work can be done remotely, that they can still connect with each other and that they have the means to do their jobs, said Kiersten Robinson, chief people and employee experiences officer. So when its hybrid schedule begins in July or soon thereafter, Ford will give teams a choice of when to come to the office.

Robinson said a flexible schedule will also help Ford compete for talent.

“I do think we’re seeing a real shift in expectations among candidates,” she said.

Among the employees pleased by the new policy is Kelly Keller, Ford’s chemistry and material compliance manager. Keller, who has been working a hybrid schedule since the pandemic erupted a year ago, wouldn’t want to go back to commuting to work each day. Now she generally works three days from home and then commutes for the next three workdays, an hour each way, to a lab in Dearborn, Michigan.

Sometimes when she’s home, she gets to take her daughter to elementary school and start work a little late before finishing later in the day.

“I definitely enjoy the flexibility,” Keller said. “I would be grateful for the opportunity to continue the hybrid arrangement, for sure.”

Of the workers she supervises, seven commute to the lab every day; four work from home. The at-home workers, Keller said, have been more productive than they were before the coronavirus struck because they often work during the time they would have been commuting.

“For most,” she said, “I think they put in longer days.”

A study last month by Alexander Bick, an economist at Arizona State University, and two colleagues found that nearly 13% of workers they surveyed plan to work from home full time after the pandemic — nearly double the 7.6% who did so in February 2020. An additional 25% expect to do so at least one day a week, up from 17% before the pandemic.

Company executives overwhelmingly report that remote work has succeeded during the pandemic, according to research by consulting firm PwC. About 55% said they envision allowing continued remote work, according to the survey of 133 executives of mostly large companies. Just 17% said they wanted employees back in the office as soon as possible. An additional 26% said they preferred only limited remote work but recognized that it’s become popular with employees.

Ford and other companies have been redesigning their offices, or considering doing so, to reflect fewer cubicles and personal offices and more conference rooms and other spaces for workers, who may be on-site for just part of the week, to collaborate.

A more flexible attitude about workplaces could deal a blow to the largest U.S. cities. Many Americans are already capitalizing on remote work to leave New York, Los Angeles, Boston and the San Francisco Bay Area in favor of Phoenix; Tampa, Florida; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; and other less expensive areas, real estate data shows.

One telling detail: Even as the number of homes for sale has tumbled nationally in the past year, the supply of for-sale houses in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles has actually increased, according to the real estate brokerage Redfin. And the drop in available homes has been much smaller than the national average in other large coastal cities, such as Seattle, Boston and Washington.

Many cities may also absorb a financial hit even if remote workers don’t move. One academic study estimates that spending by workers at downtown businesses will shrink 5% to 10% after the pandemic.

Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, said the pandemic has accelerated a trend that predated the virus: More Americans have sought cheaper homes in lesser-known cities and suburbs.

Fairweather herself left Seattle last summer after wildfires in Oregon turned the city’s skies smoky and dark. Originally, she, her husband and two small children planned to stay for just a month in a small town in Wisconsin, near his family. Soon, though, they decided to make it permanent, and Fairweather has been able to work remotely.

“We liked the pace of life — we liked being near family,” she said. “It’s so affordable here.”

___

By TOM KRISHER and CHRISTOPHER RUGABER | https://apnews.com/article/will-work-from-home-last-after-virus-5409e050ff98749621f3d0edbe47f5dc

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins is cautiously optimistic that IT spending will increase this year, and says companies are preparing to send employees back to their office spaces by installing Wi-Fi 6. (FierceTelecom)(Mike Robuck/FierceTelecom)

The shine on working-from-home has worn off for most people, according to Cisco CEO and President Chuck Robbins.

Speaking on Tuesday’s second fiscal quarter earnings call, Robbins said based on the uptake that Cisco has seen for its Wi-Fi 6 offerings, companies are planning to send their employees back to their office spaces by using a hybrid model.

“I think we sort of moved into that phase where people actually struggle mentally,” Robbins said during the earnings call, according to a transcript.  “People are—they’re not enjoying it. One of our employees said to me the other day, ‘I don’t mind the option of working from home. I don’t like being forced to work from home.’ And so I really believe it’s going to be hybrid where people are going to work from home.

“And everybody is sort of landing here where they work from home three days a week and then work from the office two days a week or vice versa. The question is, what accommodations does that lead to for customers based on employees’ concern over space issues, concern over future pandemics or other concern? That’s what we just don’t know yet. But I do believe, based on what we’ve seen with Wi-Fi 6, that tells me customers are getting ready. And they’re upgrading the wireless infrastructure now.”

Robbins said he anticipated Cisco’s employees would return to their offices starting in the mid-to late-summer timeframe. In addition to the Wi-Fi 6 upgrades, Robbins said the return to office spaces could also require more switching infrastructure to support the Wi-Fi 6 builds. 

“We also believe that every meeting in the future is going to be a hybrid meeting, even when people are back in the office,” Robbins said. “You’ll have people in the office and you’ll have people remote.

“And in order to accommodate that, we suspect most of our customers will be putting video units in every conference room they have, which, again, will also accommodate the hybrid work model but will also drive bandwidth requirements, which could lead to switching infrastructure. So that’s the way we see it playing out over the next few months.”

Cisco by the numbers

Due, in part, to the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Cisco’s revenues decreased for the fifth consecutive quarter. In the second quarter, Cisco’s revenue was $11.96 billion, which was relatively flat from a year ago, but exceeded analysts’ projections of  $11.92 billion, according to Refinitiv. For the quarter that ended Jan. 23, Cisco’s earnings rose 2% to 79 cents per share from a year earlier versus the 76 cents per share that was expected by analysts.

Cisco’s Infrastructure Platforms business revenue, which is its leading product segment that includes its data center switches and routers, was down 3% year-over-year to $6.39 billion in the second quarter. Revenue for switches was flat while revenue from routers and servers decreased.

Cisco’s applications unit that includes its Webex video-calling products posted $1.35 billion in revenue, which was surprisingly flat year-over-year and below the FactSet consensus estimate of $1.40 billion.

On the plus side, service provider revenue was up 5% while commercial was up 1%, but the enterprise segment was down by 9%. Robbins said Cisco was starting to find traction with web-scale customers that operate large-scale data centers. Roughly a fourth of Cisco’s service provider revenue came from web-scale clients in the second quarter.

“On the SP (service provider) space, if you look at what we saw in the quarter from an order perspective, we saw positive growth in cable, which represents about 15% of the segment,” Robbins said. “We saw triple-digit growth in web scale, which has represented 25% of the segment. And then our telco business was down, and that’s roughly 60% of the business.

“And primarily, that is because of where we are in the stages with 5G. We have roughly 35 customers around the world that we’re working on 5G solutions with mobile backhaul, with orchestration, with packet core. And so we’re just early in that transition. And I think that particular sub-segment of SP will begin to show progress for us as we see the core backbone build-out, as we’ve been saying over the last few years.”

RELATED: Cisco and Acacia move forward on merger but price tag goes up to $4.5B

Robbins also commented on the on again, off again deal to buy Acacia Communications. After claims and counter claims in court last month, Cisco and Acacia Communications announced they had settled their differences and are moving forward on their merger, but the price tag increased from $2.6 billion in 2019 to $4.5 billion last month.

Cisco and Acacia were at odds over whether Cisco garnered regulatory approval from China by the deadline last month.

“So on the Acacia thing, I think it’s quite clear what occurred,” Robbins said. “We didn’t have China approval. We thought we did. We didn’t have it in time. So we renegotiated the price because our contract with them had expired. And candidly, the performance they put up in the 18 months between our original deal and this deal was pretty astounding, so the price was not out of the question.”

With China’s regulatory stamp of approval in place, Robbins said the deal is awaiting final approval by Acacia’s stockholders, and that he expects it to close in the third quarter.

Going forward, Cisco expects 80 cents to 82 cents in adjusted earnings per share on 3.5% to 5% revenue growth in the fiscal third quarter.

“Looking ahead, we are cautiously optimistic as recent surveys of IT spending indicate year-over-year IT budget growth for calendar 2021,” Robbins said.

by Mike Robuck | Feb 10, 2021 | https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/cisco-ceo-work-from-home-a-struggle-mentally-for-people

In August 2019, the FCC adopted rules implementing two federal laws that strengthened the emergency calling systems: Kari’s Law and Section 506 of Ray Baum’s Act. These two changes have gone into compliance two years after the enactment date of the Kari’s Law. If you are not familiar with Kari’s Law, it is a tragic story named in honor of Kari Hunt. In 2013, Kari was killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Texas. Her 9-year-old daughter tried to call for help four times. Tragically, the call never went through because she did not know that she needed to dial “9” for an outbound line. We have all been in a hotel and tried to dial out, and can understand that frustration. Now take it to a whole new level and imagine being in a life or death situation and not being able to get help on the line. The Multi-line telephone system (MLTS) had a significant flaw. The silver lining to this horror is that congress reacted by enacting Kari’s Law in 2018. The law requires that an MLTS allow users to dial 911 directly without having to dial any additional digit, code, prefix, or postfix. It also requires the MLTS to provide for notification of the 911 call when the call is made.

This brings us to the second part of this; Section 506 of the RAY BAUM’S Act. This section is to ensure that “dispatchable location” information is relayed with 911 calls so those first responders can more quickly locate the caller. Dispatchable location information includes the street address of the caller and additional information, such as a room or floor number, necessary to locate the caller promptly.

Since the passing of the new laws for MLTS, Vox Tandem has been preparing our 3CX Unified Communications business phone systems to be in compliance with the changes. 3CX is a software-based phone system that works with various IP phones and SIP trunks that can be installed on-premise or in a cloud. Voice over the internet protocol (IP or VoIP) is a technology that allows you to use the internet to make phone calls, whether in the office or remotely from home.  Regardless of where you choose to work, all of our business phone systems have been updated to support a direct-dial  911 right out-of-the-box. Not only is Vox Tandem compliant, but you can also rest easy knowing that our systems help keep your company and employees safe.

Vox Tandem will continue working with the FCC as rules are added in the coming years as part of this Act. We already have new technologies and features in development to ensure we remain compliant as new regulations come into effect in the coming future.

We may not know what the future will bring, but we do know what the past has. In an industry that’s primary focus is communication, we strive to stay on top of the latest laws and trends. If you have an older system in your building or business, you very well could be out of compliance with Kari’s Law. Vox Tandem always encourages companies with an older system to check with their IT department to make sure it has been updated. Drop us a line, and we will provide your company with a no-obligation quote.

By John Chisca|February 8th, 2021| https://mynetworkmag.com/2021/01/working-remotely-is-your-phone-system-e911-compliant/

uc platform supplier 2020

Hot Off the Press! 3CX has been named UC Platform Supplier of the Year at the 2020 Comms Business Awards, which were held virtually from London this week. Fighting off fierce competition from leading vendors like 8×8, Wildix, and Telcoswitch, the judges awarded the top spot to 3CX’s communications system.

Entrants were judged on their commitment to the channel, innovation pipeline, and commercial strategy. As one of the few remaining vendors to sell exclusively through the channel, we couldn’t be more excited to have our hard work and incredible partner relationships recognized.

Comms Business is the UK’s largest publication for the ICT Channel. Their monthly magazine, weekly e-newsletter, and daily updated website all bring in thousands of voices from across the industry. As far as awards go, theirs are the ones to aim for! The decision was made by a group of cross-industry judges, who evaluated 3CX’s performance, impact, and testimonials from
partners before awarding us the top spot.

Stefan Walther, CEO, 3CX said:

“In a year that’s been unlike any other we’ve experienced as an organization, we’re thrilled to have been recognized by a renowned publication like Comms Business. Our team has been working round the clock to enhance 3CX for partners and customers transitioning to remote working in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s great that their incredible efforts have been rewarded.”

When the pandemic threw much of the world into turmoil in March 2020, 3CX stepped in to provide businesses with easy, free communications tools that could get them back on their feet. No doubt it’s this level of responsiveness and rapid innovation that contributed to our success at the 2020 comms business awards.

Now, we’re turning our attention to making 2021 even more successful. With version 18 on the horizon, which will introduce a free, integrated helpdesk solution to 3CX plus improvements to our Live Chat and Webmeeting capabilities, we can’t wait to see what’s in store at next year’s awards.

By Ellen Wilkinson|January 21st, 2021|https://www.3cx.com/blog/news/uc-platform-year/

Work remotely from your home, by the pool or at your friendly neighborhood cafe; the 3CX app for iOS let’s you take your office extension along for the ride no matter the destination! Access your company phonebook, make and receive calls, chat with colleagues, attend to customers with website live chat and hold a video conference from the palm of your hand. 

How to set up your extension in the 3CX app for iOS

If you haven’t already, install the iOS app; it’s free and available from the App store.

Note: Your company PBX must be running 3CX V16 Update 5 or above to use the 3CX iOS app, which uses the latest Apple technology for a more reliable experience. Check with your administrator if you are not sure of the version you are using. 

  1. Open the app, read and accept the license agreement and authorize the various permissions the app needs (camera, microphone).
  2. Scan the QR code from your Welcome Email or the Web Client to automatically configure your extension. You’re now “Ready for calls”.
3cx ios app

How to locate your 3CX QR code

There are two ways to find your unique QR code:

  1. In your Welcome Email as an attachment. If you can’t locate yours, with the subject “Welcome to 3CX!”, ask your administrator to resend it.
  2. In your Web Client go to Settings > Scan QR Code”

And that’s it! Let’s get started.

Making a call on your iOS device

Using the iOS app to make a call is as straightforward as making a call from your smartphone’s native call function. Simply enter a number via the dialpad and press call, or view contacts and search by name, extension number or email address. Press on the contact to enter the contact menu and select “Call”. Congrats! You just made your first call with the 3CX iOS app. 

You can easily perform a number of actions on an active call including:

  1. “Transfer” will allow you to perform two types of transfers. 
  1. “Blind Transfer” – transfer the call directly without addressing the receiver.
  2. “Att. Transfer” – transfer the call after first speaking to the receiver.
  1. “Conference” allows you to add more participants to the call.
  2. “Rec” enables you to record the conversation.
  3. “Video” let’s you take your call up a notch by adding video to the mix. 
  4. “New call” places the current call on hold to make a new one.

Schedule a conference call in moments

Press the menu icon and select the Conference option. Here you can view scheduled conferences or create a new one and invite participants from your contacts or by email. 

Create video meetings on the go

With integrated video calling, you can join meetings from wherever you are with your smartphone device. Simply press the video button to add it to a call or, for a scheduled video conference, go to “Settings > Conference”, select the meeting and press join. 

ios video call

Share your availability with Status

The status feature is a great way to inform your colleagues whether or not it’s OK to call you. Not only does this enable you to create a distraction free zone, it also helps your colleagues to handle calls more efficiently. 

Choose from Available, Away, Do Not Disturb, Business Trip and Set Status Temporarily

3cx ios app status

You can customize your status and configure forwarding rules by pressing on the arrow next to the status. 

3CX iOS app settings

From the Settings menu you can easily switch between accounts and view their details as well as add a new extension. 

Access Settings by pressing the menu icon at the top. From here you can also:

  • Create a conference.
  • View and manage voicemails.
  • View audio and troubleshooting settings.
  • Scan a QR code.
ios app settings