Account Manager FAQs

After hearing the same questions repeated over and over, our Account Managers decided to put together a list of our Frequently Asked Questions and Tips. Click any question below to be taken to the answer. Send in your own questions to sales@bicomsystems.com!

GLOCOM QUESTIONS

Does gloCOM have an OEM option and if so, what is it?

Given that gloCOM is more complicated to maintain than Counterpath’s products, how does Bicom Systems maintain it for so much less commitment?

What if my business is not ready to take on the commitment of OEM?

Why is it so hard to change the gloCOM logo?

What are your branding options?

What is the objective of the gloCOM promo? Who gets it & why? It is just beta or permanent?

 

PBXWARE QUESTIONS

Does Multi-Tenant Edition Support Call Centers?

…but may I provide Call Centers in a Cloud environment?

Can PBXware be integrated with Microsoft Lync?

What big companies offer Hosted Platforms based on PBXware?

How many Call Centers can we add on our current infrastructure?

Is it possible to integrate GSM Gateway into PBXware?

 

PRODUCT QUESTIONS

Can we rebrand your Product Brochures to reflect our company?

Can we test sipMON?

Do you have a noise eliminating solution for taking calls in noisy environments?

Is SERVERware your own product?

Is your Software Stable?

Do you support VMware?

What are the efficiency differences between VMware and SERVERware?

 

SUPPORT QUESTIONS

Support Tickets – How do they work and why may they not work?

What is paid for when and why for Upgrades?

What is the Policy on Upgrades with Patches?

What can an Account Manager do for you?

Does Bicom Systems have a Wiki?

 

ASTERISK QUESTIONS

Which version of Asterisk are you using?

Why have you not used more recent versions?

And plans beyond?

 

OTHER QUESTIONS

How many of your customers are hosted implementations vs. onsite systems?

About how many individual hosted service providers exist around the world?

Why is an Asterisk Solution a good choice for End Users?

What is the difference between Hotdesking and Agent Login?

What are your Redundancy options?

 

 

 

 

GLOCOM ANSWERS

 

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Does gloCOM have an OEM option and if so, what is it?

YES! We ask for a revenue commitment of $7500 per month. That will include inventory from any of the Editions: Business, Professional, Call Center, Supervisor, and Receptionist. Expressed in terms of the numbers of users that would be 8,000 users on the Business Edition or with the Pro 1600 users.

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Given that gloCOM is more complicated to maintain than Counterpath’s products, how does Bicom Systems maintain it for so much less commitment?

Well, we may yet have to revise this. For the moment, though, we know the OEMs we bring on today will grow and we certainly encourage Service Providers to step up to this mark.

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What if my business is not ready to take on the commitment of OEM?

We are very aware of this. Through consultation with customers the solution that we have come to is a Vanilla Edition. Called Communicator, it is without brand and the cost of entry is a commitment of a tenth, just $200/month and its features will be maintained with Bicom Systems’ own brand gloCOM. It is available to download at www.bicomsystems.com/downloads/

We have found this popular among incumbent providers who recognize the cost of maintaining software branches but who have the mechanisms to rapidly expand and get percentage market share before moving onto a full blown OEM. We hope you will too grow in similar speed and fashion – with these products – you ought to!

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Why is it so hard to change the gloCOM logo?

First, it is not just a logo, and second, but then what?

As well as the logo there is the renaming of the product and not just on the interface. It is about carefully going though all gloCOM related projects and changing each and every reference. For just the Windows edition of the desktop application there are the bg references from glocom.exe to x.exe, glocomplugin.dll to x.dll etc…

There are also the setup scripts that must be named with the new name and EULAs, which given the implication of the ownership and obligations on some of the code, will require consultation. And before we forget, the browser add-ons. To be clear, the browser add-ons need to apply for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Then, after all this is done and rebuilt, all projects need testing: Outlook integration, browser integration, faxing.

Then after this we need to repeat the process for the MAC Edition of the gloCOM desktop application. To be clear, the browser add-ons again need to apply for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Then after this we need to repeat the process for the Linux Edition of the gloCOM desktop application. To be clear, the browser add-ons again need to apply for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

None of this will go very far unless we then continue by repeating this for the iOS Edition of gloCOM on mobile. To be clear, the browser add-ons again need to apply for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

In turn, this is rather useless unless we repeat this for the Android Edition of gloCOM that is sized for the Samsung Galaxy. To be clear, the browser add-ons again need to apply for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Going forward we will also have to consider for the iPAD and and Android Tablets. To be clear, the browser add-ons again need to apply for Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Safari.

Surely though you have the developers needed to do this?

Well, no, our developers are there to develop new and exciting features for users. They cannot be doing that if they are not doing that.

Also though, we forgot to mention the helper projects. That’s right, for the Window’s Edition and the MAC & Linux and the Mobile iOS, the Android, the tablets, not the documentation, but where to find it.

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What are your branding options?

gloCOM has two branding options:

Vanilla : 200 units/month
OEM : 2000 units/month

These come with the FREE gloCOM which includes: dial tone, presence, drag & drop, video but will not have drag & drop conferencing, video conferencing and tight integration with a users PBX account. We also offer a business option for $2.50 / month reseller price and $5.00/month list.

Unlike the branding of PBXware, the OEM of a desktop application is an entirely new branch of code and so each code update means a complete recoding of the OEM’s branch of gloCOM.

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What is the objective of the gloCOM promo? Who gets it & why? It is just beta or permanent?

Given the efforts of deploying a new system and making users aware of gloCOM and how to install it, the following tools are available for Administrators:

1. Extension is set up by Administrator.

2. Extension gets email informing the user of gloCOM and informing the user to set up gloCOM and a sound file on the email introducing the service, gloCOM and encouragement to set up gloCOM. This is for both desktop and mobile.

3. Extension either a. does set up gloCOM or b. does not set up gloCOM.

4. a. nothing more is to happen

4. b. each day, each first call will hear different reminder from a dozen possible messages. Once gloCOM is installed on either Desktop or Mobile, these messages will stop.

5. At any stage in the above, Administrator can determine that an extension will not be using gloCOM and these messages will not produce.

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PBXWARE ANSWERS

 

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Does Multi-Tenant Edition Support Call Centers?

Our Multi-Tenant edition is not able to support Call Centers for a few reasons:

1. Thrashing Databases causes stress
2. It will be complicated to know whose data is whose
3. Call Centers can cause huge resource spikes e.g. Call ALL and Call Recording, that inside an Multi-Tenant might be fatal and certainly unmovable
4. Call Centers often need to access the database for items such as setting up Click2Dial, Pop-up, Data Synching. To do that in the Multi-Tenant is not sustainable

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…but may I provide Call Centers in a Cloud environment?

Yes. Absolutely. SERVERware permits the creating of several Virtual Servers on the same machine that can provide a dedicated environment for a Call Center in the Cloud.

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Can PBXware be integrated with Microsoft Lync?

Yes! LyncWARE is an incredibly useful application that is used for presence integration between Microsoft Lync client application and PBXware extension. For more information, visit our LyncWARE wiki.

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What big companies offer Hosted Platforms based on PBXware?

NEC got sold to AAPT that is the second largest provider in Australia. It’s gone live. John Gilmour will sing for us.

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How many Call Centers can we add on our current infrastructure?

There is no easy answer. Here are four scenarios. Mix, match & guess.

  • One Server has run three dialers each pushing 300 calls at the same time
  • One Server has handled 20 small call centers of 5-20 users with mix batches of call recordings.
  • One physical server will support 70 concurrent calls, with full call recording and the data base being thrashed by supervisors.
  • One large call center can be scaled to 600 agents if the queues, call recordings and statistics are given dedicated resource.

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Is it possible to integrate GSM Gateway into PBXware?

The short answer is ‘yes’.

The long answer is that there are two different kinds of GSM Gateways:

  1. Simple: Typically 1-8 ports with incoming and outgoing calls. These are used by end users to connect with their systems.
  2. Complex: Typically 24-96 ports. These are used by service providers to provide breakout. Often this is illegal. So to avoid detection, the gateways will find all the available POPs and then randomly call between the many SIM cards and the many POPs so as not to appear like a gateway.

With respect to the first kind, we support PorTech.

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PRODUCT ANSWERS

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Can we rebrand your Product Brochures to reflect our company?

Yes! You may download our brochures and brand them to reflect your company.

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Can we test sipMON?

Yes! You can try sipMON on our SERVERware demo. It will recieve traffic only from IPs configured on the SERVERware demo.

First you must register your extension on our PBXware demo and make a few calls. Those calls will be captured and analyzed by sipMON.

Find the sipMON demo at 193.93.153.168 with login details: admin / demo

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Do you have a noise eliminating solution for taking calls in noisy environments?

This is usually a simple fix. Noise in a contact center can be eliminated by good quality headsets. Here is an example of your noise problem:

If you have 10 agents sitting side by side with monaural headsets (headsets with one ear piece) when the first agent speaks to a customer, the second agent has to speak louder to overcome the noise of the agent beside them, likewise this continues over all agents like a domino effect. Each agent speaks louder to overcome the noise of other agents speaking.

However if you look at binaural headsets where both ears hear the customer then agent do not need to speak as loud as they do not hear the other agent beside them speaking.

Take a look at these: http://www.vxicorp.com/products/contact-center-and-office-solutions/corded/passport/

This should certainly help your problem but may not eliminate it as there are other factors like space between agents and call centre environment that may contribute to overall noise.

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Is SERVERware your own product?

It is our product.

As with all we do, we took an Open Source project and turned it into a warranted commercial product.

It is virtual servers and not virtual machines, real CPU, which is why in next version we’ll have all sorts of warnings and histotics between CPU, RAM and above all IO vs Call Usage.

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Is your software stable?

“Big Customers Don’t Have Problems”

Our largest customers NASA, NEC, EADS, etc., simply don’t have problems.
The why is quite simple. They deploy slowly & without panic. They test everything. They assume the software works. If it does not do what they expect they repeat, they report, they wait.

Unfortunately we are not all with such fortune. Still – there is something to be learned from this.

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Do you support VMware?

Running PBXware on VMware Server is not supported and we strongly advise you not to use it for anything else other than testing purposes, as Bicom Systems will not be able to help you with numerous issues that could occur. It is almost certain that you will experience issues with call quality, sound breakup etc. In addition, users also experienced problems with HDD access and access to other hardware resources on the systems running PBXware in VMware. Read more on the Bicom Systems Wiki.

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What are the efficiency differences between VMware and SERVERware?

SERVERware is more efficient than VMware because it is a Virtual Server rather than a Virtual Machine.

If we compare the two in IDLE mode, SERVERware uses less CPU (34 Hz) than VMware (58 Hz) and significantly less RAM (133 Mb) than VMware (3333 Mb).

CPU use               RAM use

SERVERware             34 Hz                    133 Mb

VMware                      58 Hz                    1,333 Mb

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SUPPORT ANSWERS

 

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Support Tickets – How do they work and why may they not work?

Firstly – please read www.bicomsystems.com/support Access to tickets and support is set by your Account Manager according to agreement. Upon this emails sent to support@bicomsystems.com will set up a ticket. This does though depend on your email being registered in your account. If you change the email you use, we will not know.

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What is paid for when and why for Upgrades?

There are two kinds of Upgrades : Minor and Major.
Minor are labeled in versions numbers x.1, x.2 … and Major are labeled.
Minor upgrades are applied by an Administrator and take effect with minimal risk to the system. Still – make sure you have back up before applying.
Major upgrades invariably involve changes to the database fields and cannot be applied so. As such they involve a four hour downtime and as such the four hours work must be covered. Major upgrades typically come every 18 months.

The annual support contract covers the minor upgrades. The labour time needed to perform the major upgrade must be covered.

In so much that context is everything, these charges are a world apart from the days of ‘end of life’ and forklift the investment just made.
The contribution from the support also helps to maintain a constant development track that keeps the software and partners businesses ahead of the curve. We continue to invest.

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What is the Policy on Upgrades with Patches?

Minor upgrades are free. You apply them and they will work.

However, if patches are involved, the upgrade will not work unless the patch is included into the next release or reinserted into the current and that takes some labour time.

For example, if you want to upgrade to PBXware 3.8.5 but you have patches that are not included in that release, we would need to:

  1. Remove the patches
  2. Do the install
  3. Reapply the patches

This would result in a support fee typically of half-day. You may prefer to wait until the patch is included in a following release.

However if the patches no longer work with the new Edition, this may require a complete re-work of the patch. This would be quoted for before work commenced.

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What can an Account Manager do for you?

VERY LITTLE … What? Obviously he’s the one who made that first great introduction from which many wonderful things have followed. Your Account Manger loves you and you love him.

Truth be, though, he can only do two things:

  1. Advise on products for you or your prospects and assist with the preparation of these
  2. Enforce company policy should any other aspect of your interaction with the company not be followed

What he cannot do are the following:

a. Work out what is wrong with your systems > see SUPPORT@bicomsystems.com

b. Advise on very intricate product options that may not exist and need to be quoted for > see SUPPORT@bicomsystems.com

c. Work out who paid what to whom & when > see ACCOUNTS@bicomsystems.com

And if I am not satisfied with their responses? See Support Tickets – How do they work and why may they not work? and please follow the procedure at www.bicomsystems.com/support/ on how to raise that. Here though, yes, with a TICKET, your Account Manager can make things happen.

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Does Bicom Systems Have a Wiki?

Yes! Our Bicom Systems Wiki is full of useful information on our products.

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ASTERISK ANSWERS

 

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Which version of Asterisk are you using?

We are using Asterisk 1.8 which will continue receiving support until the end of October 2014 for features and into 2015 for security.

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Why have you not used more recent versions?

Asterisk 10 was never a long term release. Asterisk 11… had very few differences. Sure there was wide band audio for conferences and some others but we back port these. It also is worth noticing is has the same bugs as 1.8.

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And plans beyond?

Asterisk 12… is not a long term release and still heavy in the bugs.
Also to be clear this version is about taking features out, not adding them in.
Asterisk 13… is the next long term release

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OTHER ANSWERS

 

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How many of your customers are hosted implementations vs. onsite systems?

It’s about an 85:15 ratio.

The reason is that when we first started, hosted was around. Simply there was less competition in that market, we got in earlier, and it has been easier.

When we’ve excelled with onsite systems it has been ‘providing bespoke solutions for the off-the-shelf price’.

What we have not tried is to be ‘another of many PBX vendors’. This will change as gloCOM comes to fruition and helps us to stand out. We remain committed to onsite for two reasons. Onsite systems invariable have more specific demands, they stretch our product and development that feeds into the richest hosted PBX offering on the market. However, we wish to offer the full portfolio. We live by the motto ‘you do not know what your next customer will want’. Rather than having to increase the training burden of learning two different sets of products, you know you will have an answer if needed by ‘the next customer’.

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About how many individual hosted service providers exist around the world?

200

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Why is an Asterisk Solution a good choice for End Users?

  • Almost ALL Telephony Systems are Open Source BASED, the only Major Brand that is not using Linux as the base is Microsoft – and would you really want to reboot your phone system as often as your PC?
  • Bicom Systems’ PBXware was the world’s first Professional Open Standard Turnkey Telephony System. That is to say it takes the best of both worlds. The flexibility of Open Source and to some extent the cost advantage with the simple guarantee to work. Turnkey has been taken in two directions. One is to the desktop and so gloCOM offers a very feature rich Unified Comms experience. The other is through its API that provisioning may be delivered.
  • Bicom Systems has continued to seek out Open Source Telephony Projects and support them with view to creating Professional Turnkey Products. Since PBXware using Asterisk we have continued to invest in Freeswitch and Kamailio.
  • The three basic components of Scalability, Reliability & Flexibility are arguably mutually opposing. You can have either two at the expense of the other.
  • Asterisk’s strength is flexibility and reliability. The flexibility is in the great feature/function offer. The reliability is in the expectation that within its limits it will perform over time
    To our own benchmarks : 400 concurrent calls per install is sustainable, about 2000 extensions
    To our own and customers use : servers are not rebooted unless:
    i) Poor Hardware is used (e.g. SATA not SAS drives)
    ii) Incorrect usage performed
    iii) Very exceptional events
    We do notice a great difference in the success rate between customers. Large corporate users do not have problems. One-man Enterprises using a P4 PC, do.
    Asterisk does not have scalability.
  • Kamailio (OpenSER) : is a SIP PROXY used in our SWITCHware product with very little in the way of features (no flexibility). On our Z-SWITCH infrastructure performs as attached but in brief, tests provide for:
    3000 set ups per second or 180,000 records per minute. There is scalability to cluster beyond this and reliability.
    These figures are greatly surpassed in ideal conditions:
    http://www.kamailio.org/docs/openser-performance-tests/
  • SERVERware : is our visualization software that uses virtual server so voice runs over real CPU and allows clusters to be built that can hold many PBXware. SERVERware monitors the hardware to usage with warnings and with the SWITCHware in front calls are directed to be served to the different PBXware.
  • COMBINED : you are able to achieve a maximum of these three.
  • Technically Bicom Systems Products have been judged by some of the most Technologically Advanced companies from NEC to EADS. NEC deployment was built for 50000 business subscribers across Australia, 200 Service Providers are running their core business with tens of thousands of subscribers. Each winning their next deal based on the flexibility of being able to provide the next customer with what they need – which is always as different as the next customer’s business.

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What is the difference between Hotdesking and Agent Login?

* Hotdesking : is to allow an ordinary user to sit down anywhere and ‘assume’ the handset as though it were their own. That means their own DDI and their own voicemail come in. It means when they call out they emit their own Caller ID. This is developed but not released, if you need to promise this, do so.

* Agent Login : in a Call Center you inevitably have a few seats and many agents who turn up over shifts & weekends and not to the same seat. They do not make or receive calls in the above senses. There is one queue or dialer with one DDI that distributes to who is available. Once logged in, they are sitting on top of the extension, an extension that can not have voicemail or else all calls would fall to voicemail. Once logged in their efforts are recorded to be reported on with supporting graphs.

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What are your Redundancy Options?

  1. Local Mirror Redundancy: This is two servers next to each other. One fails, calls drop, the other Hot Standby takes over within about five minutes.
  2. Daily Rsync to another location. Each evening a back up made to a Cold Standby. Should the primary location fail, the domain will switch to a secondary IP and the secondary location must be started manually.
  3. Dual Location Redundancy. This is a considerable setup to provide a live copy of data and live failover should the primary location fail. For more details, see our Dual Location Redundancy article

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