How to Start & Grow an ITSP

itspHave you seen the newest release of our most popular download? How to Start & Grow an ITSP is a tried-and-true tool that was overdue for a second edition.

Essentially the instruction manual for all Internet Telephony Service Providers, this FREE whitepaper has already helped hundreds of ITSPs grow from the ground up.

Based on years of real-life experience, How to Start & Grow an ITSP covers three steps to starting and growing an ITSP:

  1. The approach – how to find customers
  2. The delivery – how to create a core system
  3. The stay in & get ahead – how to overcome challenges

Download the free whitepaper and get to work on your ITSP today!

Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 1 : Limitations

thirdlaneIt is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with Thirdlane, given how respectfully Alex Epshteyn at Thirdlane has always spoken of PBXware.

I am often asked why to choose PBXware over Thirdlane and it seems only right to write.

Curious about this question is the clear circumstances in which it is asked. These can be described in three categories:

  1. Existing users of Thirdlane’s Multi-Tenant PBX who have had reason to look further.

  2. New Providers looking to start a business line with very little resource

  3. Well established businesses – either ITSPs, VARs or Long Established Sellers of Phone Systems

For the first group, Thirdlane customers have dial tone. However, their ITSP is now so busied with the running of the business that the cost of maintaining the system takes on greater importance.

It is very noticeable how few subscribers the pain threshold seems to bite. So often, fewer than 100 subscribers – a handful of customers. These, still quite new, Service Providers are also considering how to automate the monthly invoice run and, ideally, the provisioning of services.

thirdlaneA customer wants a Queue, a Conference, an IVR… Surely this should take no more effort than checking boxes to solve everything from the feature’s creation to the monthly invoice going out, right?

There also are issues of support. Again the sheer stress that happens once ‘real customers’ come on board and previously naive dreams are exposed. Answers need to be found immediately both to ‘how do I do x, y, z?’ questions and, less often, bugs or critical failings.

Increasingly the need for integration to the desktop is a make or break to getting End User businesses.  Whether in the form of onsite systems from the Traditional Vendors or the large Internet Telephony Service Providers often using Broadsoft platforms, the market at large expects standard offerings to have presence, chat and more at the finger tips. Mobility is next.

What has also been learned by bitter experience is problems that may be caused by trying to piece-on a third-party software just because you don’t have it yourself. This could be an Operator Panel, for example, that can be strung through the Asterisk Manager. There’s no choice, you have to do it. The customer is screaming at you. So you spend an hour to download it, install it, try it yourself, and thirdlaneanother hour to read the manual. You repeat that with the customer. Next day, the customer wants something that is missing … it is crashing … whatever happened to your sales plan that week?

For some though, there is the matter of scalability. To simply ‘add another server’ and ‘stick on another few hundred customers’ is not enough. All the customers need to be brought together in a single interface to be found easily and redundancy needs to be in clusters often with the options of dual location.

Stay tuned for Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 2: Cost of Entry and check out these other posts in the meantime:

If you found this useful or can add, please feel free to post and of course visit our whitepaper on How to Start an ITSP or watch the video below.

Fonality Down For Several Hours

fonalityWe’ve been hearing that Fonality was down for several hours this week and offered no support to customers. Were you affected by this? We’d like to help.

Bicom Systems products piece together natively to form and grow turnkey telephony entities including Service Providers, CLECs, governments, ITSPs, and more. Bicom Systems takes unified communications to the next level by providing not only software and hardware, but also support and advice based on years of experience, ensuring a complete telephony solution from start to finish.

We will also provide a transition roadmap to assist with the process of upgrading from another provider.

Sign up today and ask for a call from a dedicated and experienced Account Manager. Or email us at sales ‘a1′  bicomsystems d01 com

If you don’t want to feel alone in this process, please feel free to ask for references and not least how much money was saved!

How do ‘all your pieces’ fit together to become a Phone Company ITSP ?

Probably the question that is not asked but always answered when making an introduction of Bicom Systems’ Products is the one in this title.

With so many pieces it is rather understandable why confusion may arise and yet having explained this many times now, recipients reply unanimously with confirmation that it all makes sense. For this reason it seemed only appropriate to write it down and make some other supporting diagrams and videos that really demonstrate the turnkey nature of all these pieces.

Quite simply, Bicom Systems can deliver the most turnkey telephony company with the most features and functions on the market.

We start with our platform, SERVERware. SERVERware comes in two editions, SERVER Edition and NETWORK Edition. See links for supporting diagrams.

SERVERware provides virtualisation and redundancy. In the SERVER Edition the virtualisation means that many application services can be set on the same server, The Primary Controller. These may include : PBXware MultiTenant or Call Center PBX Editions, TELCOware or other items such as Email Server, Web Site a vanilla Asterisk or Trixbox or FreePBX even. Each is contained within its own Virtual Private Server (VPS) and as such

The Server Edition can then in turn be set to mirrored redundancy, using a Secondary Server, so that should the Primary Controller Server fail the Secondary takes over.
Although similar options exist with VMware, Serverware uses Virtual Servers and so the voice quality is best served by keeping the voice traffic on the CPU rather than in a virtualised manner. Serverware also has added security features such as being set in the CHROOT and ………………..

In the Network Edition, the roles of the original two servers change. Firstly all application services are now present on dedicated hosts. The Controller is then freed to perform two functions: duplicating data from the hosts to its own hard disks and monitoring the hosts that in the event of failure of a host that the services on the lost host will be reallocated to the next available host. As the cluster expands the duplication of data may be performed to a SAN.

The Primary Controller is mirrored to a Secondary Controller so that should the Primary fail the above two functions will continue.

Typically in an ITSP scenario one of the application services in its own VPS will be the Multi Tenant Edition of PBXware. It is here that the core telephony takes place from registrations to enhanced services and telephony billing that rates CDRs.

Then on another VPS may be a Call Centre PBX Edition of PBXware if a customer has a dedicate requirement. Often with Call Centers there is a need to access the MySQL database, run detailed reports and thrash CPU with Call Recordings, as such resource needs to be identifiably dedicated. This way a heavy usage call center can latter be moved to its own resource or indeed even for its component part be split to dedicated servers.

If a provisioning platform such as TELCOware be used then it too will have its own VPS on either the server or network edition of SERVERware. The provisioning starts with the CMS (Content Management Systems) creating a web site where visitor can peruse hard and subscirptions products created in the Shopping Cart Products & Services with a view to ordering. To place orders visitors must sign up and create an Account.

TELCOware does not have any real telephony, everything is virtual. After receiving an order it uses API to send instructions to PBXware to provision the service, registrations, DIDs, IVRs or similar. There are wizards in place to assist with this.

According to the subscription bought it will then generate an invoice at the end of the period which will reflect the subscription and any extra call spend made, drawing CDRs from the switch it is associated with. This could be one or many PBXware or even another system, Asterisk based or not.

Upon the invoice being settled by manual payment or automated with a supported gateway such as worldpay, authorize.net, linkpoint, paypal, skrill … funds will be attributed first to the subscription and then if available to the call spend fund on the telephony account on the associated softswitch.

In addition to these products, Bicom Systems also has a wide variety of supporting Desktop Applications which continue the turnkey theme through to the End User and allowing your ITSP effort to simply have what others do not and stand out from the competition.

Please feel free to look through the supporting material, however nothing quite compares to an online demo and please do ask for Account Manager, the linking piece, to contact you in your language of preference (English, Spanish, French or Portuguese). As well as the architecture there is a whole lot of other advice to be provided and Marketing Materials and Support.

Invitation to a Multi-National

Here was a recent pitch to a Multi-National : you may wish to adopt to your own purposes:

I was passed your details by Fierce Voip. Possibly you were looking at our how to become an ITSP whitepaper.

If you can elaborate your interest I should more than happy to provide as service.

For our part, we were the first company to take Open Source Telephony Engines and deliver turnkey products. Increasingly the work is for running large hosted service provider models. The largest so far is 50,000 subscribers for ******. Yes ! Even the phone manufacturers use us !

By the nature of the technology it would be a lot simpler and controlled, never mind cost effective for an organization such as ******* to put in place ‘one large softswitch system’ but with multiple location redundancy to deal with natural disaster & acts of terror.

This of course beckons the question if ‘one’ system can cater for all possible needs of such a diverse organsisation. Any simple declaration of a perfect system is naive. What we have been able to do at Bicom Systems however is provide ‘best-fit’ custom development for the cost of ‘off-the-shelf’. A simple example for NASA was to design a conference facility that permitted the administrator to listen to twenty conference simultaneously while accessing 600 contributors around the world to pull in.

Let me know your interest and doubtless I can contribute further.

Regards

Steve