(c) SIP, Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum

August 29-2014 - Issue #259


Selling SIP, Unified Communications Apps & Cloud Communications Forum provides thought leadership on SIP, Unified Communications Apps, Lync CEBP Apps, Cloud Communications, OTT-Over The Top Apps from SIP Trunk Providers, Network Providers, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and other Communications, Mobile, Contextual-Intelligence and other communications companies.

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Welcome to the SIP, UC Apps & Cloud Communications Forum  


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2862.jpgABC News released its Top-10 apps for surviving college (click on graphic for list).  Guess which UC app made on the list and it wasn't Lync.  It was Skype.  Now if you have any sense of belief that what you will learn in college will "stick with you" latter, guess who wins at least in the simple mind of college students.  This is yet one more reason why Microsoft sees Skype as their leading UC app.

Speaking of apps, any kinds of apps, email me your 1-5 top fav apps of anything and will keep it anonymous and compile a list of them.  You can also include your kids and others you think are cool apps. 
Click here to email.


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2773.jpgAre you on Twitter?   Follow us @techtionary and we will follow you back and if you need help Twittering click on the image for the Twitter Team. 




This is a special edition from AudioCodes to help you gain insights for their solutions and thought leadership.   

Click on the image for the AudioCodes Company Blog. 


Using the SBC Configuration Wizard:

An Interview with Michael Williams  Click here


Voice is Coming to LTE Click here  


Are IP Phones Doomed? Click here  




If you have any comments, please send them to cross@gocross.com 



Gartner: Cisco v. Lync


I attended a great webinar by Gartner - click on image for all the slides.  While I don't think their "quadrants" have any real value as they are just too vague.  However, here are a few slides that are of great value in your UC evaluation.   Dan O'Connell was the presenter and please note that the presentation was really about cloud UC, however, from all my own research I agree with him that Lync is still a DIY project but users love its features and Cisco is a solid PBX platform but users hate Jabber. 






Don't be shy if you have any comments or want to do your own OPED, please send them to cross@gocross.com 



Office 365 Gets Compliance


As a long-term fan of Actiance, this new app keeps them on the leading edge of social media compliance. Actiance released its governance solution for Microsoft Office 365, including Exchange Online and Lync Online.    


Actiance now allows organizations to capture, monitor, archive and review Exchange Online emails and Lync Online instant messaging This means for regulated companies, FINRA, SEC, FERC, and other agency regulations require supervisory and recordkeeping capabilities for real-time communication channels.  "But this is also becoming a growing concern for non-regulated companies," said Kris Vann, Information Governance Counsel at Actiance.  "Cases are going beyond email now.  IM and social forum communications are increasingly showing up in lawsuits around employee harassment, discrimination, product liability, defamation, breach of contract and other types of civil litigation.  Companies have eDiscovery obligations to capture, collect and preserve IM and forum content when litigation is imminent.   In certain circumstances the duty to supervise arises even earlier."

https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2860.jpgBasic archiving capabilities are available on native Office 365 Lync Online, but there are major gaps that make it insufficient for meeting governance requirements for most organizations.  Greg Buckles, founder and research consultant for the eDJ Group, explains that "Lync Online IMs are stored in individual user mailboxes rather than to the Lync archiving database.  Users can disable IM conversation history.  There is no centralized management functionality to monitor or ensure tamper-proof protections for IMs or file transfers." 

The Actiance Governance Platform helps organizations meet supervisory, recordkeeping and eDiscovery obligations for Office 365 for both Exchange Online and Lync Online. To improve their governance of Office 365, organizations can useVantage to monitor communications to identify business critical content needing to be retained, and scan for compliance events needing review by a supervisor.  They can then archive email and IM in Alcatraz, the first context-awareTM cloud archive, a repository for all their critical communications, which reduces the cost of eDiscovery by uniquely displaying dynamic social content in context.  Actiance ensures chain of custody through tamper-proof capture and archiving to a WORM-compliant repository.






Regulatory compliance is on the rise as a must-have for more and more companies.  Even if you are not required you should have this kind of solution because it can literally save you a fortune in legal fees when that unexpected law suit emerges.  If you look through Actiance's solutions you will find they have a full suite of tools to CYA now and in the future.  



CDN REST - More Intense UC Integration 


As companies seek to become 'digital enterprises,' many are faced with the challenge of omni-channel marketing and content distribution: delivering content to Web browsers, mobile and tablet browsers, and even in-car systems, for example. While dreams of 'mashups' in the past sought to deliver programmer-friendly ways of accessing cleaned, tidy data over standard Web protocols, that technology doesn't seem to have rolled out to the market beyond early prototypes popular at conferences - after all, who says 'mashup' any more? Contentful is bringing an interesting, RESTful, public cloud API approach to content management.


Contentful is solving with a RESTful API approach to the content management problem. Delivered as SaaS, they layer on runtime services like CDN and A/B testing and gaining adoption from such big names as Nike, Playboy, Axel Springer, Viacom and Hyundai.


As a REST fan, I think they are on the right track.  However, I am waiting to hear back from them with more details. 



One Last Look Serious Call Management


Infosim has issued a great and serious 32-page white paper on call QoS.  You may have hated the telephone company in managing your telephone calls but at least you could blame them when the CEO's call went south.  Now you are responsible and you may lose your job when the call goes south and you have no idea why. In my SIP class, there are more than 40 reasons why calls can fail and reasons why and you will need to know all of them and have your own tools.  Here is a good start. 
"There are a number of VoIP management solutions available in today's market place. However, when you start to drill-down into the capabilities of these tools they tend to focus on the performance elements of your network infrastructure and associated VoIP metrics (e.g. RTT, RTD/Latency, Packet Loss, Jitter, Moss, R-Factor etc.), assumptions are made on infrastructure and fault management being in place, so it is vitally important to assess the complete picture of your solution requirement before selecting the choice of tool to be deployed. VoIP monitoring lies central to this, as VoIP downtime and poor VoIP performance directly impacts such things as business performance, profitability and revenue. Achieving a consistent level of quality on VoIP calls requires multiple dependent components working properly, thus the importance of a monitoring system that correlates the infrastructure, performance, and fault management into an integrated system.
End-to-End view is vital.

In order to manage a VoIP solution End-to-End you need to monitor the hosting environment, (e.g. CUCMs, V.Rec, V.Mail, V.Gateways, SIP Trunks, etc.) the WAN (e.g. CE Access Routers, Core WAN if you're an ISP\MSP), and the end-user locations. It is then vital that you on-board the identified components to best-practice processes in order that you start to build up the End-to-End visibility of your VoIP managed service solution. Once the physical device component infrastructure has been on-boarded and tested (e.g. SNMP trap, syslog collection, Netflow, etc.), for accuracy around the fault and event management, you can then build your performance measurements and reporting requirements based on Service Level Agreements (SLAs), Key Point Indicators (KPIs), and threshold alarm management criteria for proactive management purposes.  Having End-to-End visibility of your VoIP solution is vital when troubleshooting issues and potential problem areas, as assuring a great customer experience can no longer be assessed simply by having green LEDs on a dashboard. StableNet® is a unified End-to-End Service Quality Management platform and therefore, takes a customer-centric approach to the service assurance monitoring infrastructure, performance, and fault management in a single solution."




There are QoS problems and solutions not addressed by this white paper.  However, if you are serious about taking on SIP call QoS management, then you need to know what happens when anything and I do mean anything goes wrong and this will certainly help you when it goes bump in the night. 



One Last Look Serious Lync Call Management


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2855.jpgNative Lync has never really been about serious call management.  Many Lync advocates who I am one see its potential.  However, there are many seriously features that Lync needs which is why I think you should take a look at what Bressner is doing.  One of cool features is one I designed twenty years ago because it is not always the first calls but how do you handle the next call while you are on the phone.  They seem to have a nice solution to this problem.   

Call Pickup
- Pickup calls for managers or colleagues
- Pickup longest ringing call
- Centrally configurable via Active Directory
- Users can be in multiple pickup groups
Second Call Treatment
- Avoids interruptions
- True Busy on Busy -prevents a connect charge
- Redirect 2nd call
- 2nd call is handled when 1st call is dialing/ringing
Hot Keys
- Accept, drop and pickup calls with 1 button
- Click-to-Dial for any selected phone number
- Call transfer with single button click
- Function keys can be freely defined
Quick Call Handling
- Quick consultative and blind call transfer
- Fast call handling with hot keys
- Supports multiple call handling
- Optionally automatic contact view in CRM application


Call transfer with contact search
- Blind or consultative transfer with single button
- Convenient call completion while in consultative call with just a single click  



Having designed telephone systems from ground up, like the adage "it's the economy stupid," in this case, "it's the features stupid."  Without a serious feature call handling approach, Lync will get dismissed as features are the key to user call processing effectiveness. 



Why REST APIs Is Not Yet Another SBC Interface  


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2843.jpgThanks to Avi Grabinski from AudioCodes giving us some insights on REST and its role with Lync/SIP.  He writes, "Telecom's bigger (but younger) brother, the Internet, has developed its own set of management interfaces (APIs), mainly SOAP and REST.

Well guess what? Similar to what happened to some telecom services that were replaced by Web apps (for example SMS replaced by WhatsApp), so are legacy telecom management protocols being replaced by Web management protocols, led by REST.

https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2844.jpgBut REST is more than just another way to manage telecom devices. Being a dominant API in Web technology, REST serves, among other things, as a bridge between Web applications to telecom devices which were previously isolated in their own 'telecom' domain.

Linking these two worlds yields new services which were not previously possible.

For example, today an SBC can be connected to a CRM web application (i.e. Salesforce.com) and allow an employee to place a call to his customer by clicking the contact's name on the CRM web GUI (this may also involve WebRTC).

Some words on how REST works. REST (or RESTfull API as it is sometimes called) is used to manage and read the status of a remote device.  It uses HTTP as its transport layer and in most cases the message payload uses 'JSON' structure.

JSON is a human-readable format, which makes it possible for anyone to inspect these messages.

Besides the great synergy that REST brings by linking the Web and Telecom worlds, REST in itself has important advantages over the legacy Telecom management protocols that make the development process easier for the 3rd parties integrating with the API. Unlike SNMP and TR-69, REST is, as said, human-readable. Thanks to HTTP, REST easily traverses firewalls - a problem which SNMP and CLI may face. REST also does not require identical schemas (data structures) to run on both managing and managed devices in order to talk to each other, which simplify its maintenance. REST is also secure as it can run over HTTPS while security on the legacy protocols is complex.

Lastly, REST is a stateless API unlike CLI (which is both stateful and unstructured). REST statelessness makes it easier to implement.

AudioCodes, which has always been a firm believer in open standards, is investing heavily in REST. Our soon to arrive next major SBC release, will have an impressive set of REST APIs with which our partners are already working to create innovative new applications."  


Bottom-line - As you saw above Lync has REST at is core and now you can write REST API's that link your SBC directly to Lync.



Official Lync API for SDN - Gets REST 


REST has certainly got a lot of support this year with all the major SBC providers such as Sonus, AudioCodes and Sangoma.  This means closer integration of applications with platforms.  In addition, many of the new comms developers such as Twilio and others adding support.  Then there is the huge explosion in PAAS-platform as a service cloud providers offering multi-vendor integration for developers.  This week Lync got into the game with their API-applications programming interface for Lync.   

https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2335.jpgThis is from Jamie Stark's blog post.  "This is a big paradigm shift, and we have jumped in with both feet. Today, we're releasing the Lync SDN API for free to anyone with a Lync Server deployment. The API provides a REST-ful data stream of information about media flows as they get started.  

This data can then be fed into an SDN controller to enlighten the network about what needs to happen and where. We have outlined three primary use cases for this:

- Diagnostics. By using the data from the API, network monitoring systems can then correlate between media flows in Lync and activities in the network that may have an impact on quality.


- Automatically provisioning Quality of Service (QoS). When the controller gets information about a media flow starting up, it can instruct the network to assign the appropriate marking to those packets in real time.

- Orchestration. Just like it sounds, imagine all the different instruments of the network from layer one to layer seven all singing along in harmony.  Click on the image for the API.

SDN-Software Defined Networks 

Here is another part of this blog post on SDN-software defined networks.  


"First, separating the low-level network functions into commodity hardware controlled by a software-based platform. 


Second, having applications inform the software controller of their requirements of the network. This concept started with cloud-scale data centers and has been moving down-market as enterprise network architects realize the power of this model.  SDN's primary use case has been around ensuring that virtual machines can be managed independently of the underlying network fabric. Here in the Lync organization, we think that unified communications can be a major beneficiary as well. In any UC implementation there are dozens of network elements - from routers to reverse proxies, intrusion detection systems to application delivery controllers, firewalls to session border controllers - that all need to be provisioned and configured correctly for optimal media flow. Instead of having all of these elements configured discretely, SDN provides a model for a single policy-based method of operations, where the application tells the network what needs to happen."


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2509.jpgPersonally think there are too many applications and not enough people to understand how to sell them, use them or support them.  There is also a critical shortage of developers on all platforms. Moreover, Lync is not the only platform that offers an exciting solution.  WebRTC and iOS apps are gaining ground and bring many exciting user-facing multi-media solutions.  Yet, having a very strong interest in QoS-quality of service it is a great use for this API.  Click on image for my article on QoS. 


Bottom-line - Whether you call it SDN-software defined network or simply REST networking, new approaches to CAAC-communications as a concept or rather contextual communications are coming fast.  Whether there is something more than making the connection but making communications context to the user is something that seems elusive though an amazing number of app try.




 Today, Lyncosphere - "Lync Visualized" is released.

Click on image for Lyncosphere (uses Flash)


After a lot of beta testing and feedback this new microsite that is designed for indepth explanations and explorations of Lync by providers of Lync solutions and applications. 

Here are some view comments: 


"Lyncosphere is an innovative way to help sales, channel and end users "see" how Lync works. This really helps me engage with customers faster and get solutions understood by all the decision-makers."

                              - Matt Jolly - Senior Support Engineer Vology.com


"Lyncosphere visualizes how Lync works and helps you understand which 3rd party Lync solutions are available to provide additional functionality to your Lync environment." 

                              - Rui Maximo - CEO Lync-Solutions.com


"This is a very good - well done indeed, it would be of great use to both channel partners and end users evaluating Lync."

     - Douglas GreenPublisher, TelecomReseller/Usernews Publications - The World's Leading News Source for Unified Communications, Collaboration and Cloud  www.telecomreseller.com 


#NotOneMore - IM Voice - Broadcast Alerts - Personal Alarms - Group Chat




As the need to protect staff, students, customers, visitors and others increases, there is a corresponding need for mobile apps to add some level of notification and emergency communication.  iPeerSafe is a personal and peer safety and social networking alert and chatting app allowing users to add text, images and audio recordings for iPhone, iPad or iTouch.


Key features:

- Personal Panic Alarm with posting text, images, color-coding priorities and audio recordings to Facebook, Twitter, email and emergency calling


- Broadcast Alert with text, images, audio recordings and color-coded highlights to all users in same school


- Class Assignment feature for class work projects and collaboration as well as teacher-student chatting


- School/college peer, group, parent and global chatting


https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2696.png - Journal-Diary - private and shareable notepads on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and Email as well as doodlepad graphics tool


- Weather from local area


- Calendar with more than 70 icons to indicate type of meeting and reminders  


Please visit http://ipeersafe.com/ for tips, applications and ideas.





Bottom-line - I have completed a brief exploration of findings in research in more than 30 citations regarding both real and online safety dealing with other persons of potentially harmful and deadly threats including bullying and cyberbullying.   







Click here  for Top-10 Tips for Personal & Peer Safety in School, Business, Campus and Public Settings.





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https://origin.ih.constantcontact.com/fs179/1102578441475/img/2477.jpgSecurity Issue - Restricting Remote Access to Only Corporate-Issued Computers



Corporate security policies require employees to use only corporate-issued computers to connect to the corporate network. Personal devices aren't permitted to connect to internal resources. How can I enforce security policies for users connecting to Lync Server from a sanctioned computer?



By configuring the Security Edge Filter and Security Web Filter to block NTLM authentication requests as well as restricting authentication requests from only authorized Active Directory domains, the Security Filters prevent users from connecting to Lync Server from a non-corporate issued computer at the network perimeter.



Lync Server when published to the Internet are susceptible to many types of attacks. Without a solution such as the Security Edge Filter and Security Web Filter, user accounts can easily be locked out in Active Directory Domain Services, passwords can be brute-forced, internal Lync Server resources can be consumed unnecessarily by DDoS attacks, Lync meeting attendees can be hacked by cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and many more attacks (SOAP, XML, etc) as shown in the following figure.  



With the Security Edge Filter and Security Web Filters, attacks can be blocked at the network perimeter as illustrated in the following diagram.





Top-10 Tips for #Hast Tags 


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