Online Marketers: How-To Hold Branded Blabs

OnSip-SMBlabLong-time VUC sponsor OnSIP has been running a series of video chats they call #SMBLAB. Blab is a newer, kinda Hangout-like video chat tool built using WebRTC. This week I participated in one with Mike Oeth, CEO of OnSIP, Angela Leavitt of Mojo Marketing, and Randy Resnick, founder of the VUC.

Blab is dead simple to use. It integrates with Twitter for user authentication, allowing up to four people to join each Blab (call?)  The resulting video chats are recorded. Throw in good social media integration and you can see why it’s an online marketers dream.

As nice as blab is, it’s visual presentation is a bit generic. It doesn’t have the image overlay or lower-third capability that you find in Hangouts. That means that you can’t readily add your name or company logo.

That said, it doesn’t need to be this way! You can take matters into your own hands and deliver strong, visually branded blabs…if you want to. It takes a little effort in advance, but it’s not difficult…and it will strengthen your brand presentation.

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OnSIP: When the SPIT Hits The Phone

In a recent blog post OnSIP noted that some hosted PBX customers using Polycom SIP phones were receiving phantom calls from an internet source. Such calls are known as Spam-over-Internet-Telephony, aka “SPIT.” They have been a topic of discussion in VoIP security circles for years.

As has been mentioned many times, we have a number of Polycom VVX Series phones hereabouts. Our phones are registered with OnSIP and ZipDX. Fortunately, we have not experienced such phantom calls ourselves.

I had not even noted the first OnSIP blog post until a former colleague reached out to tell me that his VVX-500 had received over 700 such calls in the past few days. He noted that the calls were an annoyance. If answered, there was no connection. He could tell that the calls were coming to the phone directly, since they were not rolling over to his cell phone in left unanswered. That implied that the logic of the hosted PBX was not in play.

The very next day OnSIP posted an update to this issue. They had implemented a solution that would cause Polycom phones to reject calls that were coming from a source other than their SIP proxy. This is based upon something that Polycom calls Incoming Signal Validation. Customers who have phones that use the OnSIP provisioning server need only reboot their phones to uptake this new setting.

We’ve recommended OnSIP for long time. In fact, since before Junction Networks launched the OnSIP brand. This weeks events are just another indication of why they’re such a great company.

Disclosure: OnSIP is a sponsor of the VoIP Users Conference.

OnSIP Launches Into WebRTC Platform-as-a-Service Offering

onsip-logo_300pxThis week OnSIP, long known for its popular SMB hosted PBX service, launched a new initiative offering WebRTC– based platform-as-a-service. Their core business has been the hosted PBX service, which is built upon SIP standards. This new service targets web developers who want to easily incorporate WebRTC into their applications.

The companies web site has been extended to include an area described as OnSIP For Developers which details the service offering. The principle behind the service is to leverage their core SIP infrastructure to deliver the signaling solution that WebRTC alone does not provide. Thus a web developer can easily create a WebRTC based front-end that’s backed by the scalable, geographically distributed infrastructure of the OnSIP hosted PBX platform.

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OnSIP Offers Webinar On Polycom UCS Software

Our friends at OnSIP this morning sent an email invitation to attend a free webinar that they are giving about the new Polycom UCS firmware. The session is Thursday, June 21st at 1pm EDT.

The latest Polycom UCS software has a lot of new features that can improve your productivity. If you make use of the OnSIP provisioning server then you can easily upgrade your phones. The UCS firmware also includes many of the Polycom Productivity Suite features that were optionally licensed into the older v3.x firmware, but at no extra cost.

This latest release is also the shipping firmware on the outstanding new VVX-500. I’ve had a VVX-500 on my desk for about nine months, having participated in the beta program last fall. It’s my regular daily ride. I’ve been meaning to describe it in detail, and will yet do just that. Real soon now.

I certainly hope to be on this weeks webinar. In fact, I’ll be joining it using my VVX!

Junction Networks Launches New, Free VoIP Service: GetOnSIP

GetOnSIPLast Friday Mike Oeth, CEO of Junction Networks appeared on the VoIP Users Conference to make a pre-release announcement of a new, free voip service called GetOnSIP. It’s not often that the VUC gets to scoop the rest of the voip world on some kind of news, but since OnSIP is a long time sponsor…why not, eh? GetOnSIP certainly seems like a great idea.

GetOnSIP is built upon the same SIP and XMPP foundation of their existing OnSIP hosted PBX service. However, GetOnSIP is a stripped down offering that has a much sharper focus. Anyone can register an account completely for free. Each account is issued a set of sip credentials, and has a corresponding SIP URI. Once your SIP phone or soft phone is registered you can start making and receiving calls to any other SIP URIs.

The free accounts provided by GetOnSIP don’t require the use of a credit card, making them very approachable indeed. Of course, there is a limit to what can be done from a completely free account. You will not be able to make calls to the PSTN. Nor will you get a DID to receive calls from the PSTN. Even so, I’m sure that GetOnSIP will be a welcome and popular addition to the SIP user community.

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When The Wifi Blows: Experience At NAB 2011

NABshow_logoThe past week or so my attention was wholly consumed by the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters. Held in Las Vegas each April the NAB exhibition is the major event in the year of a broadcast equipment maker. This was my 18th NAB, which makes the more a test of stamina than anything else.

Happily, the show was for my employer a considerable success. Attendance has returned to reasonable levels. It seems that broadcasters are feeling better about their existence. Globally broadcasters are starting to move forward with long stalled projects. New channels will be launched and existing services enhanced. It all bodes well for the manufacturing sector of the industry, presuming that manufacturers have toughed out the recent slow period and continued to develop products that improve the operating efficiency of customers.

For our company the one major annoyance of NAB 2011 was the complete failure of wifi on the show floor. From the last day of setup to the close of the event wifi was essentially useless. This was not a huge problem, but a considerable inconvenience. In our case it meant that the many sales and executive staff present could only access email via a wired network connection.

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