Opus Codec. VoIP’s New Best Friend.

opus codec

 

Opus Codec.

No, it’s not a spell like hocus pocus. It is actually something you use everyday! To best explain it in layman’s terms, let’s start with some definitions.

Codec: a device or computer program used to encode or decode a digital data stream or signal. (digital signal / language)
Audio Codec: also known as a ‘sound codec’ is a codec that encodes or decodes audio.
Opus: an audio coding format

Now that we have the definitions, lets tie them together in an example.

When you go on YouTube and watch a video, Codec is working behind the scenes. If you do not have a strong internet connection, YouTube is going to deliver your video in the best possible quality. The graphic display resolution will depend on what your internet connection can handle. However, the quality of the audio will not be affected. Even though you have a low quality resolution video, you will still have good quality audio. The worse the internet connection, the smaller the codec needed.

YouTube engages with your internet capabilities and chooses the best resolution for you. Audio quality is a little bit different. Desk phones communicate with different codecs and Opus is an audio codec for phones. Opus Codec is capable of handling a wide range of audio applications like VoIP and video conferencing.

Another example to explain how Opus Codec works:

Say you are in a hotel. Often, the wifi in a hotel is slow, unstable or has a weak signal because so many consumers are sharing it. You are grasping for a good connection to make a phone call through your VoIP phone or UC application. Opus Codec is able to optimize the audio codec with the given bandwidth to provide the best call experience possible with the resources you have.

Sometimes audio on a mobile device is good and then bad and then the call drops. Opus is smart and does what YouTube does and adjusts the audio quality instead of dropping the call. It automatically adjusts based on the network, service range and other factors affecting the connection.

Another example would be talking on Bluetooth in a car. If you are driving at a fast speed, if it is raining or windy outside, or if there are other outside noises affecting your ability to hear, your Bluetooth will adjust the audio for you. Opus will help when you’re driving and will shift from one tower to another to ensure the best quality of your network connection. It will change minute by minute, without you knowing, and will adapt to give you the best possible quality for your current situation. Unfortunately, it can’t help with back seat drivers.

Opus Codec is very smart and adaptive to what your internet’s capabilities are. It gives you the best possible outcome for what you are capable of. This automatic adjustment is something that often goes unnoticed or taken for granted.

Although the concept is relatively new for the telecommunication industry, Opus Codec is a feature found in Bicom Systems PBXware and gloCOM version 5.2. Bicom Systems seeks to provide the best products for our customers. Poor audio quality is not considered ‘the best’.

To learn more about PBXware and gloCOM visit our website or contacts our sales team at sales@bicomsystems.com.

10 Things You Can’t Miss out on With gloCOM 5.2

My Post (1)

We’re back with another update! With constantly changing technology,our developers are always innovating. As soon as we release one version, we already have new ideas for the next.

Bicom Systems strives to give our customers the best versions of Unified Communications. Our newest version, gloCOM 5.2, will increase efficiency, productivity and support collaboration like never before. Here are 10 new things gloCOM can offer you and your customers.

1. Communicator Branding (BRM – Bicom Release Manager) 
Your company information. Your logo. Bicom Systems offers white label products to resellers who want to rebrand our products. This way your customers won’t get confused when they see another companies information plastered on their applications. This branding feature also benefits resellers so their customers won’t go directly to the manufacturer for their telecommunication needs, ensuring the customer remains with you.

2. New languages for GUI
Two new languages were added to this upgrade. gloCOM 5.2 is now offered in English, Italian and French. This update gives reseller’s a competitive edge in the market by offering their products in different languages.

3. Caller ID when Faxing
With gloCOM 5.2, users can now choose what caller IDs to send a Fax as. When you add a new contact you input their; name, phone number(s), email addresses and if applicable, their fax number. Now all the user has to do is right-click on the contact and they have the option to send them a fax straight from gloCOM.

4. Block Caller ID Notification
This new feature gives the user two options. They can either hide their Caller ID permanently or hide their Caller ID for the next call they make. An icon will appear during your call letting you know if your Caller ID is hidden.

5. Agents Pause Reason Codes
You can now see why and when an agent pauses their calls and what their current status is (ex: on a call, busy, paused, offline etc). When you hover over an agents name with your mouse, a tool-tip will appear with the agents status and why (ex: Paused: Smoke Break). Not only can supervisors see this information but other agents can too! This becomes handy in case they need to transfer a call to another agent or if they need to discuss a matter.

glocom_brands2

6. Filter Queue Call Tab
This new feature is especially useful for clients with multiple locations and queues per location. The supervisor can choose to only see the calls for a specific location. This makes it easier to navigate and organize through wait times, service levels, amount of calls answered/unanswered, etc.

7. Default Ringtones
Before gloCOM 5.2 it was hard to distinguish whether it was an internal or external call because it was the same ringtone. Now, you can set different ringtones for internal calls (within the organization) and external calls (outside of your organization).

8. Add Users to Existing Chat
This new feature on the update makes collaboration even easier. You can instantly start a group chat by dragging a new user(s) into an existing chat. It saves users time and increases productivity.

9. Module Icons can be Personalized
The icons for the modules inside gloCOM can be personalized. The telephone icon must stay there but the following three icons can be chosen by the end user. The user can arrange the icons as desired to boost accessibility by simply dragging dropping.

10. Show/Hide Numbers Next to Contact Name
Having the ability to see the contacts name and number(s) can be very convenient or take up a lot of space. It is fast and convenient that you do not have to click on the contact and go into their profile to see their information. This is helpful when you are quickly looking for a phone number to give out or access yourself. But with all this information when you have a lot of contacts, it can look messy and cluttered. This new feature gives you the option to show or hide these numbers.

To read all of the new features added to gloCOM 5.2 read over the official release notes here. If you want to upgrade your gloCOM to the latest version, visit our website or contact your account manager.

‘…as a Service’ Part 2: UCaaS

What is “…as a Service” and how can it help your business?

Welcome back to Part Two of our ‘as a Service’ and how can it help your business?’ blog series. In our last post we introduced Software as a Service, also known as SaaS, and if you have not got a chance to read it, check it out here! Today we will be learning about UCaaS, better known as Unified Communications as a Service and what it can do for your business.

Unified means ‘to make or to become united’. So, UCaaS connects all the methods you or your company uses to communicate, such as chat, messaging, conferencing etc. with all the devices you use to communicate like, mobile phones, desk phones, and laptops seamlessly.

UCaaS can help your business greatly!

  • It can help employees and businesses stay connected and productive across the globe.
  • It can be accessed from any internet connection, allowing employees to work remotely.
  • It is:
    • BYOD friendly
    • More reliable
    • Easily scalable
    • And collaboration has never been easier!

Everything you need to communicate is connected through a cloud-based system and the ‘as a service’ part is that you have it all together, like a bundle. Companies who offer communication software link all their products to integrate together to ensure for a seamless transition. It is like setting up your Home Phone, Internet and Cable through a telecommunications provider and they offer you a bundle. It is not mandatory to use the same provider for your telecommunication needs, but it would be cheaper, easier and more sensible.

UCaaS is helping businesses all over the world stay connected but it also is benefiting resellers! Customers will be able to ‘bundle’ their needs and wants from one vendor, aka you, and this will ensure a bigger payoff. By adding UCaaS solutions to your offering, you will strengthen your brand awareness and customer loyalty. The UCaaS industry is growing and companies are looking for new ways their employees can stay connected. When you offer all the products they are looking for, you will see long-lasting partnerships.

As mentioned above, the UCaaS platform is easily scalable for customers. This benefits reseller’s because they have the ability to add or remove applications when needed for their customers. Customers and vendors will grow together, maximizing productivity for the customer and profit for the reseller.

Organizations today are discovering the many benefits “as a service” technologies. Companies are reaping the benefits by purchasing services through providers. The company will only have to pay for the services they need, resulting in easier flexibility, scalability and a reduction in expenses. Resellers are gaining long-term, quality, commitments from their customers and ensure earnings more frequently.

If you want to learn more about Bicom Systems UCaaS applications like gloCOM or gloCOM GO, visit our website. Thanks for reading and we will see you on Part 3 of our ‘as a Service’ series when we learn about CPaaS.

Needed Hardware for 2600 Extensions

Hardware compatability

Requirements for the project are to find a possible server configuration that should be able to cope with 2600 extensions usage. We must take into account that each extension will use gloCOM and have a deskphone as well.

Since time was a limited resource and the fastest server that we had was the HP DL360 G7, we decided to use that server as a quick testing scenario where we would try to come as close as possible to the technical setup needed for the project. Once we had the minimum needed result numbers, we could now compare to some use cases with our servers and the performance of servers that are new on the market.

G7 specs are as follows:

  • CPU: 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU L5630 @ 2.13GHz (4 core/8 threads)
  • RAM: 24GB DDR3
  • DISKS: Combined 500GB of space SAS drives
  • OS: Serverware 3.0 with 1 PBXware 5 VPS instance

This server managed to run approximately 750 extensions with a  total of 230 calls, 750 gloCOM connections, 15 SIP registrations per second, and 375 OPTION packets per second. This was all done on one VPS.

Bicom Systems has a production server with about 3700 extensions split between 24 VPSs with maximum number of extensions per VPS at 750. Keeping in mind this server is running older versions of Serverware and PBXware, with much less features than our newly available versions. The configuration of said server is:

  • CPU: 1x Xeon D-1541 with 8 cores
  • RAM: 32GB
  • DISK: 1x 1.6TB SSD
  • OS: Serverware 1.9 with 24 PBXware 4 instances

Now, taking into account the new Xeon CPUs, which perform much better than servers such as the G9 and G10, we came to a possible configuration that will satisfy project needs:

  • CPU: 2x Xeon E5 with 8 cores each
  • RAM: 32GB DDR4
  • Disks: if we consider recording considering you do not go under 1TB, the number of disks would depend on the type of Serverware. We would also recommend a solution with call recordings being stored on a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), while the system and all else that accompanies it be stored on a Solid-State Drive (SSD).

One thing that needs to be mentioned is that we can’t be sure if all of 2600 extensions would be able to coexist on a single PBXware VPS, so it is recommended to start out with one VPS and if you run into issues, split them into other VPSs. This should resolve those issues.

For more information, visit our wiki

Creator Bio:

Eldar Avdic,

UADs & Appliances Manager and Developer. Maintains Bicom Systems’ UAD support and keeping appliances up to date.

Dino Mesic,

UADs & Appliances Engineer and Developer. Develops support for UADs, maintain technical documentation and test new UADs and appliances.

Custom Work: Blink(1)

While requests for customized solutions are common around here, some of them are a little more unique than others. One such request from Fritz Welter at Netinteract was to integrate a customizable call pop-up window in gloCOM. The purpose? To enable call notifications with blink(1), a USB indicator light. (Learn more at https://blink1.thingm.com/about). Interesting.

This was easy enough to do. Blink(1) provides an API that can be reached through the localhost. Any URL can be placed in the call pop-up window in gloCOM, so in this case the user just has to insert the localhost to blink their USB device. gloCOM’s custom URL field opens up endless possibilities to integrate with other third party products like blink(1).

Thanks to Fritz Welter and Netinteract for bringing this to our attention and giving us the opportunity to deliver a solution. With so many customers asking for integration with blink(1), we are happy that Welter can now tell them “yes”.

What about you? What are your customers requesting?