WANtelligence – Software Defined Networks!


Recently while working an RFQ project to re-mediate the WAN for a major health care practice management company,  we had the opportunity to listen to the major carriers describe their network solutions.   The client company was seeking a new partner to provide network connectivity options for their several major corporate locations, three data centers and over 600 remote office locations.   The company is growing expotentially and expected to double its WAN requirements and end points with in 12 months.  The network was to provide Internet, data, voice and video communications and as such,  the Service Level Agreements were to be consistent with those required to provide toll quality voice and full motion video.   Historically the company had used ipsec VPN tunnels over Direct Internet Access (DIA) facilities that ranged from bonded T1 to shared media broad band cable and occasionally free space transmission when terrestrial connections were impossible.  Each remote site also used Cradlepoint 4G for fail over and redundancy.

MPLS connectivity to rural America?

Not withstanding San Diego’s recent loss of the Chargers there are some 32 NFL cities in the United States.   Contracting for a high quality, high speed WAN solution in any of these cities is really not a challenge, most any carrier can help you.   The real challenge is getting the same connectivity  to Margaretville, New York or East College Station, Texas.   If you are searching for an MPLS connection to a branch office in a rural American area and you will find that it is rubric cube of challenges!  No one carrier has a foot print that will cover all your requirements and if you are looking for “one neck to choke” when things go black,  you may be giving up network visibility to  facilitate easy order entry and administration.   Work with an aggregator and you will most definitely lose your visibility to the underlying carriers who together knitted your WAN solution.

(Using our super secret online carrier database, www.buildinglit.com , we attempted to check out broadband connectivity to Margretville New York,  just for kicks to prove a point.  Click here for results.)

We listened attentively as Metel,  AT&T, L3, Century Link and Earthlink stepped up to the podium and delivered their very best solutions.   In all but one case, each carrier presented an MPLS solution.   All carriers mentioned SDN, but only one carrier led with that solution and recommended it as the solution for this client opportunity.   Most of the presentations began to sound the same, each carrier was the absolute  best in the marketplace,  each had the widest foot print, with outstanding customer service and the best proven technology!

What is SDN anyway?

Most folks can remember way back in 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the device that would not only change Apple, but redefine mobile communications forever.  Jobs had given AT&T the exclusive right to provide network connectivity for the new device.  It was something of a “bet your company” play for both Apple and AT&T.   When the iPhone App Store came online, after Jobs opened the iPhone to developers,  the demand for bandwidth exploded and the AT&T network all but collapsed under the weight of all the new devices.  AT&T had to act quickly, faster than building new network capacity would allow.   The solution was to apply software in a way that network capacity would be effectively increased while physical plant was being deployed.   AT&T pioneered software-enabled networking!

For those not familiar with the concept of Software Defined Networks, or what we call WANtelligence, think of two roads connecting a location across a river to a main highway on the other side.   One road might be a more direct path, but not well paved.   The other road might be well paved but not very direct, with more of a circuitous route that added miles to the  distance of the direct path (i.e. Latency).   From time to time, the roads might be backed up with traffic, slowing or stopping your efforts to get to the main highway (i.e. Jitter).  A software defined solution works something like the popular mobile app Waze or Google Maps.   As  you are traveling, the map sends updates and suggest alternative routes.   An SDN solution would not only inform you of conditions, but automatically just take the action of routing you over the best route!

At the Branch Office end point, SDN components require multiple connections to the main broadband highway.  Generally, this might be a broadband connection like MPLS in addition to a DIA link.    The onsite device, under control of a cloud based optimizer, does a packet by packet analysis of the best path solution.   Again, much the way your traffic app knows your originating location and destination,  the SDN knows source and destination and the status of the entire network options between and through central control, optimizes path selection.

There are many vendors of the equipment that might be located at your Branch Office, but they might not provide the total solution.    A complete SDN requires that a centralized intelligence, typically a cloud based portal, be aware of the network and all other end points on that network.   Some devices can also include functions that might otherwise require separate devices.  For example, Firewall, Intrusion Detection, Network Optimization, Compression and Encryption in addition to the flow control and VRF functions that make up the elements of Software Defined Networks.   We found a Gartner Summary that is worth a review and includes a summary of many of the vendors in this exploding market segment.  We note that VeloCloud, a CISCO investment, seems to have it all and is establishing a defensible market share and leadership position.    VersaNetworks seems to be a component play and both companies have been included in proof of concept offerings by major carriers.   You can also download the white paper “Delivering Managed Services” from the DrVoIP site along with other free white papers on related subjects!

WANtelligence Summary

Software defined networks are in fact a reality and are rapidly becoming a cost effective solution that can assure high quality voice and video communications across the WAN.   We continue to work with this technology and have hands on experience with both products and services.   WANtelligence is our agnostic approach to developing Software Defined Networks!  Our Certified Network Architects add expertise and expereince to your enterprise when considering how to include SDN in your network plan!   Give us a call, or write DrVoIP@DrVoIP.com and we will share what we know!

Update note –

Cisco closes on $610M Viptela purchase

|About: Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO)|

Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) has wrapped its acquisition of privately held Viptela.

Cisco had come to a $610M (and assumed equity) deal to acquire the software-defined wide area networking company in May.

Viptela will join the Enterprise Routing team inside Cisco’s Networking and Security business under senior VP DAvid Goeckeler.

Shares are up 0.8% premarket.


ShoreTel Board takes company private?

“ShoreTel  (SHOR) is in final stages of rolling out ShoreTel Connect”. Who cares? Technology issues aside, ShoreTel remains dog meat in the financial markets. Since the company’s public offering in 2007, the stock has never sustained a price above the first day closing of $12.50, itself a modest premium over the offering price of $9.50 a share. Currently SHOR is trading below the rejected MItel acquisition price proposal. Market capitalization continues to hang around the $430M valuation.

Ring Central (RNG) with a market cap of $1.5B and 8X8 (EGHT) with a market cap of $1.3B are pacesetters and models for what ShoreTel should be! Why are these companies valued so highly yet ShoreTel remains the living dead? Maybe Considering divesting the customer premise business? One of the key difference between these three companies, is that only one company is dealing with the challenges of manufacturing hardware. The CPE product line has greater value to a company that wants to focus on that segment. Can you walk both sides of the street, CPE and Cloud? If ShoreTel management wants to keep its head in the cloud, go for it.

Clearly public shareholders are never going to see a return on investment, so why not put them out of their misery and take the company private? Hell the only folks that made any money on this deal are insiders anyway. So take the company private, remove the quarterly pressure and public disclosures, retrench and maybe get it right for a future offering. Divest the CPE product line to a company that wants to develop that segment and commit to making the product a real player in the enterprise market.

Clearly the parts are more valuable than the whole! Customers, employees and Shareholders would all benefit and the Board would finally look like they know what they are doing. IMHO – DrVoIP
From the desk of DrVoIP

Recording ShoreTel phone calls!

Call Center not Required!

Long the standard in boiler room call center applications, recording calls is often a requirement outside the call center.    There are any number of reasons to record calls for including compliance, clarity and certainty and just management of customer quality service.   There are a variety of recording solutions in the market and they all have very different feature sets.  Do you need the ability to annotate calls?   To search on more complex parameters that time and date?     If an employee is being recorded and transfers that call to the HR Director of the company, should that segment of the call be recorded?   Do we want to record inbound calls only?  Both inbound and outbound?  Do you have multiple locations in your deployment?   Do employees have the right to start and stop recordings?  Add notes?  You will also have to consider how recording are to be stored and for how long?  This can have a huge impact on hardware requirements.   Just some of the characteristics you might want to consider as you look for for a recording solution.  The list of features is long and there are many options to chose from.   It is best to get a solid requirements document together and to make sure that you fully understand that recording alone is not all there is!

Recording Server Applications

ShoreTel has an optional recording function that can be very effective!   It can be installed as a single server solution or as a multiple server, multiple site solution.   It can record all calls, or just in one direction only.   You can select who is recorded and you can also select the archive location and time frame.   The solution is deployed on a ShoreTel server, either HQ or DVS depending on the deployment model.    There are actually four modules that can be installed: the recording server; the client side, the web player and the administrative module.   The solution uses the integrated recording functionality of the ShoreTel phone system and most of the usual user group and class of service settings apply.

Generally you will create a route point with a call stack as deep as the number of calls you want to simultaneously record, and put it on the server that will host the recording application.   You will also need a route point for the player and you will need to create a user who will proxy the recording functionality.   The server install is very simple and conforms to the usual point and click install expectations of a Windows server application.  The configuration is very simple, just provide the route point extension number, note the port for recording and click install!

The Administration Application

The Administrative application enables you to configure the specifics of the recording server and  to create profiles.  This application can be installed on the server or on a PC that can reach the server.   The configuration options are very easy to understand and simple to enter.  Basically they deal with where files should be stored and for how long.  You also have the option of either saving the recordings to a file system, or saving them as a voice message.


You then create profiles that are used to customize different groups of extensions.   For example, you might want persistent recording for some extensions and not others.   This means that the recording continues even if the call is transferred.  Do you want inbound and outbound recordings?   And exactly who should be recorded!  The profile also dictates if recordings are to be made all the time, or sampled as a percentage or by a defined schedule.

Client Side Options

The client side application is installed on a pc and is optional tray icon.   You would use this only if your profile enables users to start and stop recordings and to tag recordings.   If this is not a privileged that you want to extend to those be recorded there is no need to install this optional application at each desk.  The use of the client is profile dependent.


The Player Application

The last application defines the player and is very useful for visually managing recordings.  You can use a phone to play recordings , but most folks find this web application to be more useful.   The application must be installed on a server as it uses IIS, but the recordings are played locally on a windows machine that has a sound card!   Each extension is listed and there is a time and date stamp on the recording file.  You have the option of storing other file information, like ShoreTel call properties to enrich the identification of a recording.

ShoreTel Recording Player


All in all, the ShoreTel Recording Application is a sweet suite!  It gets the job done and at a price point that compares more than favorably with the third party Recording applications found in the market place.   We recommend it for both call center and general recording applications when you are on a ShoreTel iPBX!   Give us a call and we can help point you in the right direction or get this installed and configured for you!





TEXT-2-AGENT Sending text and pictures to your call center?

Can you send a picture to your ShoreTel or CISCO Call Center

We have been integrating SMS to CISCO UCCX and ShoreTel Call Center deployments for customer service scenarios for some time.  The interface is very simple:  Login, pick a number from anywhere on the planet; assign a “keyword” and match it to an email address or list!   When someone text your “keyword” to your number, the text is converted to email and sent on to that address.   The email recipient can then hit reply and we convert the email back to SMS and forward it back to the original Cell phone.  Optionally, you can build a membership list with and auto response and the ability to send a bulk text to the list!


What is new in Version 3.1

We have released Version 3.1 and it now makes it possible to send not only text (SMS), but pictures (MMS)to the “next available agent” in your Call Center.    The application now supports:

  • Inbound SMS to email Address based on “keyword” match with REPLY ability; – this enables you to use one number and many different keywords that point to different email addresses.  The recipient can hit reply like any other email and send a response back to the sender of the SMS, usually a client who has a cell phone!
  • Inbound MMS to default email address – enables a cell phone to send a photo or picture into the customer service organization which will route to the default email address.
  • Inbound SMS to outbound SMS; – Stealth mode, you can forward an incoming SMS to another SMS.
  • SMS to List based on “keyword” match – This enables you to build an SMS marketing list.   Each list is built by “keyword” match and you are able to send auto responds and “bulk” SMS
  • Outbound email to SMS;
  • Email to SMS – enables a customer service representative to send a text from an email client.   The address can be a keyword group list or an individual cell phone number.

Each transaction has a unique “ticket” number, all transactions are searchable, logged and archived for HIPPA and PIC compliance.

We are finding that Insurance, medical, auto and tech support applications in particular are receptive to the concept of enabling clients to send a picture by text to a customer service representative.


Want A demo?

We can easily set you up with a demo account. A basic single number solution with 500 SMS credits is about $25 a month!  Send the word “DEMO”   (all ONE word, watch that auto correct) to 424-348-4000 and include your email address for an example of how this could work on a ShoreTel ECC or CISCO UCCX; or just create an account!

Note – Your do NOT need a formal call center to implement this technology.   An email distribution list to customerservice@yourcompany.com works just as well!

Customer Service by the Numbers – brightmetrics!

In business what is measured gets done!

We subscribe to the business adage that what is measured gets done! For this reason key performance indexes are absolutely essential to the success of any customer service environment. How many contacts did we manage today? How long did a contact have to wait on hold before we were able to engage them? How much time does an average customer engagement actually take? What is the rate of abandonment and how long did a caller tolerate waiting before they gave up and hung up the phone? Sometimes we have to refer back in time and search “historical” records to locate a specific caller and verify the fact that they actually called! Other times, we have to be aware of “real time” data and be alert to what is happening right now! How many callers are waiting to engage us? So where do you obtain this type of information no how easy is it to obtain?

ShoreTel Call Accounting

In a ShoreTel solution there are at least three separate databases that keep this kind of information. The ShoreTel iPBX can generate historical reports out of the internal Call Detail Records log using the integrated report generator that you access through the ShorewareDirector administrative interface.   A great solution if you want to generate total trunk activity reports showing the aggregate number of inbound and outbound calls. It has detail reports that can even list every phone call made by every extension user in the system.  Ask it a simple question like how many phone calls did we receive this month from 202-555-1234 and you will quickly learn the limitations of this system solution.

The ShoreTel ECC has an internal historical data repository and a primitive report generator that has mystical templates that you can modify to create performance reports. You can not however, directly access the data in that database! The internal historical report generator has some serious limitations however. For example, do you want to generate a Group Activity report, showing all the desired metrics for all Groups in your deployment?  You would have do to this one Group at a time using the ShoreTel provide tools.

The ShoreTel C2G is a veritable cesspool of disjointed data elements or “events” like, extension 123 went off hook;  IRN 155 received an incoming request for service and Agent 789 logged in. Not very useful unless you are an accomplished SQL programming genius and want to spend your career figuring out the ShoreTel data dictionary while writing custom reports that assemble all of these events into meaningful record.

Though ShoreTel has some “standard reports” the fact is, you will want to generate custom reports unique to your environment. No matter how many templates are provided, we have yet to encounter a call center that did not have unique one off requirement when it came to reporting performance metrics.   Where is the data?  Is it in the PBX? or the call center?    How do you track a call that came into the PBX, connected with the call center and transferred to an offsite backup answering service?  Do I have to retain a SQL programmer to figure this all out? (Fortunately brightmetrics has already done that for you).

BrightMetric Illumination!

brightmetrics has created a powerful, yet very simple to navigate report generator available as a hosted solution. Connecting with the various databases internal to your ShoreTel deployment,  brightmetrics can sort and integrate data from the PBX side, the Contact Center side and that cesspool of events that contain information from both sides of the data equation.  Are you running ShoreTel Workgroups?  BrightMetric puts wheels on the information that would otherwise require professional application software add-ons from ShoreTel.

The brightmetrics user interface is easy to understand and navigate. The portal has video based help files and report templates for almost every type of data assembly.  You can generate reports on demand.  Save reports and schedule reports for future delivery.  The administrator can setup user accounts that provide access to specific report profiles and easy to understand “dashboards”.

Call Flow Diagrams can save an Admin’s life!

One of the most useful none numerical feature of brightmetrics is the ability to diagram your call flow.   Have you every wondered about your automated attendant options, Hunt Groups, Route Points and IRN’s?  Where do all the options lead?   If you press 1 for customer service, where does the caller go and what are the possible outcomes for that caller?    Do you have a complex SQL data dip over an OBDC connector from you ShoreTel ECC?  Want to see where all the routing options might point to?  This feature will map and diagram call flow from an Automated Attendant, IRN, Workgroup, ECC service and even an ECC Script!



How about Real-time Reports?

Historical reporting is extraordinarily important to both customer service and employee productivity.     Real-time information is also very necessary and important.  brightmetrics has introduce a new element to the product mix and now offers Real-time displays suitable for framing!   If you have ever tried to make a Wall Board out of ShoreTel supervisor desktop, you now how frustrating getting status information in front of the Call Center team can be!    Using a real-time event feed, brightmetrics can display comprehensive  status information formatted for legibility and clarity!



The brightmetrics team!

brightmetrics has been making incremental improvements in the product from day one and post all of there progress, both features and bugs!  Today the are generally recognized as the only viable solution for ShoreTel call accounitng accuracy and flexibility.   More importantly, the company behind the brightmetrics product family is an astonishing group of people.  Usually, pre-sale is about as good as it gets in American business!   Not the case with brightmetrics!   The real story begins after you sign on with them.   The folks in this company from Jim Lewis the founder and CEO through each and every person you meet on the team, will  treat you with a level of commitment and customer focus, that in this day of “Internet shopping carts” is very rare.   Ask a question, open a support ticket, make a suggestion even offer a criticism and these folks will overwhelm you with not only time  but focused attention.    We have worked with many clients who use the brightmetrics solution and we have always had the most positive and productive experience.   Technology is great but its people who make the difference!

Want a Free 21 day trial?   Just text the word STATS to 630-GANDALF or 630-426-3253

Call, Click or Text your Contact Center?

Mobile devices are the most ubiquitous devices on the planet! Text messages are read almost instantly, never miss their target and are high impact, high content messages. Why continue to increase the number of incoming telephone lines to your call center? All you will do is cause more people to wait on hold, lowering your customer satisfaction scores while increasing your operating costs. The call center market is moving toward “purpose built” communication solutions through smartphone aps that pinpoint customer solutions and map directly to customer satisfaction solutions. Why not allow your clients to send a TEXT message to your call center? Chances are the Caller ID will have a higher match rate to client records in your CRM system then that of a land line! You can automated the reply, or route the text to the next available agent! Your client either gets an immediate call back, or is offered a scheduled call.

Why call an 800 number, self-navigate through a maze of Automated Attendant menus only to hear the ever present “please hold for the next available agent and your call will be answered in the order it is received”. A simple text message or smart phone ap, could automated that entire process! Your client never has to wait on hold! You agent has all the contact information and can instantly reply with a return text confirming wait time or suggest a scheduled call back time. After all it is a mobile phone, we don’t have to worry about where they might be when we do call back!

Call, Click or Text! A truly unified contact center needs to offer customers a text option. If your contact center is already routing email to the next available agent, we can bring up a TEXT solution in hours, not days. Compare the cost of a text message to the cost of a phone call! Compare customer satisfaction scores with immediate text feedback when compared to and increased wait time. The benefits are astonishing!

Text the keyword DEMO to 424-348-4000 include your email and we will send you a demo account for an automated demo.  SMS numbers can be provided Internationally.  Optionally open an account at PriorityMemberServices.com and we can get your ShoreTel ECC or CISCO UCCX setup for SMS and MMS!

Build ShoreTel Connect inside your own private Cloud using AWS!

Placing your ShoreTel HQ in the “cloud”?

Moving the ShoreTel HQ server to a data center to increase system resiliency, reduce or eliminate down time and increasing overall recovery times has always been high on the check list for business continuity and disaster preparedness.    Our preferred “data center” however is Amazon Web Services, or AWS for short!   We have been deploying ShoreTel in AWS as a “private” cloud solution for some time and have several blogs on the subject.

Do you already have an Amazon Account?

If  you have a regular old Amazon book buying account, you already have all you need to log into AWS and get started building out your own virtual private cloud!    Though there is a lot to learn,  in less than 15 minutes you can spin up a Windows 2012 Server in a virtual private network and then link it back to your onsite location with an AWS provided VPN Gateway!

The simplest ShoreTel/AWS deployment model

The simplest of VoIP deployment models is the placement of the ShoreTel Connect Server in an AWS Region and availability zone of your choice.    Typically, we defined a private subnet in three different AWS availability zones and then launched a ShoreTel Connect server.    The availability zones provide additional resiliency  options.  It is even possible to setup an Elastic load balancer than can move from one ShoreTel HQ server to a standby duplicate in another availability zone in the very unlikely situation of a AWS availability zone going off line!

You can interconnect your ShoreTel Connect VPC  with your remote sites over a VPN, ultimately moving to a “direct connect” circuit and only using the VPN for backup.   The remote sites will have ShoreGear resources to support localized carrier access and onsite user phone services.   The distributed nature of the ShoreTel architecture makes this a natural deployment model.   This is  by far the simplest of the deployment options and one that everyone who is considering moving a ShoreTel HQ server to a data center should consider.

Even Ingate in the Cloud?

With ShoreTel Version 14, virtual switch resources make it possible to create the entire deployment in your VPC.  You can even deploy your Ingate as a virtual Session Border Controller, in the AWS cloud and centralize your SIP carrier access.    This is a bit more demanding then spinning up a Windows server but now that AWS enables you to import vmware machines, it is an exciting option.

Importing vmware based ShoreTel machines

The secret to deploying ShoreTel vSwitches in the AWS cloud is to first build the machines as vmware machines in your local environment with an IP that can be duplicated in your private virtual network.   Once your machines are created, you can then import them into AWS.

The options for deploying VOIP in your own “private cloud” have never been more flexible.   Your CFO is going to be impressed when comparing AWS to the cost of building out your own data center or renting space in a collocation facility.   You have all of the benefits and none of the cost associated with a typical infrastructure build out.    Connection options are unlimited and you can access AWS facilities on a global bases!

The Video clip demonstrates a ShoreTel HQ and ECC Server in an AWS VPC, with a VPN back to the main office site.   The office site contains ShoreGear switches for SIP trunk access and 400 series phone support.  There is a synergy when integrating AWS and ShoreTel that every CIO should be seriously considering.    Give us a call and we can help make this happen for your company!


What Carrier can provide Fiber to my branch office?

What Carrier do I use for this location?

If are responsible for planning out a WAN connectivity solution for your VoIP deployment, you need to know what carrier services your target circuit location. This can lead to the most frustrating experiences an engineer can have! You actually have to rely on someone else to provide information so you can finish your work! Even a simple point to point VPN tunnel requires you to figure out what carrier options are available at your target location. How do you do that? Start calling a list of carriers and asking the first line call center sales folks if they can provide an internet circuit to your branch office in Syracuse, New York? You do a google search and you end up with a list of possible candidates and then you start your outbound calling! Maybe you have a friend who is a sales rep for a circuit aggregator, so you try that option.

The secret Carrier database!

What if you could go to a website, you don’t even need to talk with a sales person, you just plug in an address and Viol! A list of all the Carriers that can service that location magically appears! X marks the spot of every Fiber drop that carrier has in the specified distance from your target address. Not just the carrier your aggregator wants to show you, but all the carriers that can service that target location. You even get a Google map street photo of the location! What if you could just click on that magic X and get a quote! Now that is freaking awesome!

We have been working on a very large WAN deployment to a ShoreTel system that has over 500 branch offices! Now try and knit together that circuit map without a database resource that you can directly tap. We discovered a website that makes the process as simple as entering a location address. Blow out your candle Pilgrim you search has ended, just click here  enter a Street location and you you will get a list of carrier solutions.


The good folks at BuildingIT have made finding WAN solutions as simple as locating an Uber Driver!    You don’t have to talk to a sales person, but if you do, they have some of the smartest circuit folks in the industry.  Can’t find fiber for  your Laramie WO location, ask sales to quote a solution through the website and they will come back with any number of alternative solutions, priced and ready for the next phase of your deployment, installation.   They even offer  bundled project management so you don’t have to worry the deploy.  One throat to choke, one website to research and one solution that makes a lot of sense to us!


Put your ShoreTel to work automating “Interviews” and “Surveys”

Customer Survey or Order Entry

One of the most requested IVR applications we are regularly asked when working with the ShoreTel product line is can we create a “customer survey” or automated voice “order entry” solution.    In this application the caller is answered and greeted by an automated attendant.   The callers is then  asked a number of questions.   All the individual answers are collected as a single voice file and sent to a predetermined voice mail box for later bulk processing.    This application is actually simple to create and because it uses actual voice recordings rather than touch tone, there is no data processing requirement to review the results.

The solution makes use of features available in the basic ShoreTel iPBX and as many “survey applications” are part of a Call Center, like the ShoreTel ECC, this application does not require any special equipment or additional servers.     In addition to to asking customized, recorded questions that support the survey or order entry application,  an automated attendant like menu can be attached to the voice questioner that offer additional options to the caller when the questioner is complete.  The caller can start-over, transfer to the Operator, transfer to another application or append to the existing question stream.   For example, the caller might want to place an order for additional products or services.

The application also captures the normal accounting information to support the recording including date, time and callerID.    As the answers are assembled as a single voice message, they can be emailed when the caller hangs up and a message waiting light or other notification alert set!



Call Our Demo  Line!

The Applications enables XML tags that define actions, for example: Play a file; Record, GoTo and Menu.   These simple actions can be organized to enable robust applications.  The Menu file can be used to send the caller to yet another script or forward to an operator.

We created a live demo, if you would like to give it a try give us a call and we will transfer you to the demo!!




The Browser Wars taking control of “hosted” applications!

“”As more and more applications become cloud based hosted solutions, the more urgent your choice of Internet Browser will become!  The desktop warfare, in our opinion, is really getting out of control!  You would think that you can use any browser for any website you want to surf, but such is not the case.  We recently made the mistake of trying to pay our Microsoft Office Online invoice while using a Firefox browser.   Only when we switched over to a Microsoft IE browser could we complete the transaction!

In yet another painful situation while working with CISCO Prime Communications Deployment tools, we were experiencing a database access error.  This error stalled development for several hours as we tried to find the root cause of the connectivity error.   Only by accidentally switching to IE from Firefox, did we uncover that the connectivity error was a fraud perpetrated by our choice of browser.  (Granted we think the only useful thing you can do with IE is download Firefox).

WTF is Control C?

Those of you who have been working with fat client based solutions, like Microsoft Outlook might actually be somewhat discouraged from using Microsoft Office 365.   All of the usual operations like right clicking on an object to copy and paste are suddenly replaced with pre-historic multi key chord strokes like Control C or Control X.   Personally, I find both Google and Microsoft cloud solutions to be frustrating! The simple act of  high-lighting a range of text might cause you to go completely over the edge!  The application will “bark” at you with an error recommendation as  you try to replicate the desktop experience with your browser based application.


We have many clients who require us to use a variety of different tools when we work on those projects.  For example, some folks like Google mail rather than Outlook OWA as implemented in Microsoft Office 365.   Web conferencing tools like Webex from CISCO and Lync or Skype for Business by Microsoft have very different results depending on your choice of browsers.

Desktop Warfare winners?

Who is winning the war?   Well is seems that Google Chrome is the hands down winner with a 44% market share largely resulting from losses by Firefox and Microsoft IE.   Apple’s Safari seems to remain relatively constant and newcomer Opera does not seem to be making an impact.  These numbers hold true regardless of the platform, with Apple and Android showing the same browser preferences as their desktop competitors.


So how do you survive with this level of warfare?   We find that both Chrome and Firefox have outside developers who support the browser by creating add-ons.   Our particular favorite is Firefox as they seem to have a wider community of developers.   (We also figure anything you type into a Chrome browser is immediately searchable by the entire Internet population).   Though feature comparisons are useless, and most folks just pick a browser based on personal preferences or device (Safari is an Apple product), we think Chrome and Firefox are the most open solutions.   We are Mac freaks, but at the end of the day, WebRTC will most likely be developed by Chrome and Firefox who are not defending hardware market share or erecting proprietary application.   The kool kids typically pick one of these two browsers if they are going to change from the browner that shipped on their Windows or Apple platform.

As you use more and more cloud based applications you will become increasingly more aware of the browser warfare taking place on your desktop!  At the end of the day, you are going to end up using more than one browser to get your work done!

Hey watch how easy it is to get the password you left in your browser!