Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400 series: Midmarket unified communications and contact center solution

avaya collaboration pod 2400 series

First there was the 4200 series for enterprise, now Avaya targets the midmarket

  • Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400 provides virtualized unified communications and contact center applications, networking, compute and storage in a pre-integrated, all-in-one solution 
  • Solution significantly reduces time to service and total cost of ownership, speeds benefits to end users, IT and the bottom line

Avaya have announced the introduction of the next line of collaborative communications solutions for the midmarket with the launch of the Collaboration Pod 2400 Series, which is due for release in the UK at the end of this month (June). Following the success of the 4200 Series, which was aimed at large organisations and Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), the 2400 series aims to reduce time to service and total cost of ownership for a midsized Unified Communications (UC) and Contact Centre (CC) solution. The new all-in-one unified communications and contact center product includes pre-integrated networking, compute and storage. So essentially, it’s an all-in-one box for UC and collaboration.

Following on the their (Avaya’s) recent success and push in the communications side of networking, they are put together a convenient and accessible solution for SMEs looking to move towards a cloud-based UC solution. The Collaboration Pod takes Avaya unified access and core networking technologies, including the Avaya Pod Orchestration Suite, and combines them with the EMC VNXe 3200 storage array, HP DL360 servers, VMware vSphere 5.5 and various pieces of software from each of the partnered vendors.

Avaya claims that the Collaboration Pod 2400 series will bring about a host of benefits with this technology including a reduction in time to service via simplified updates and through specialised partner training – the solution will be serviceable by a single vendor, again saving further time and money. As with all Avaya technology releases and with the intention of creating a collaborative collection of solutions, the Collaboration Pod 2400 series will be able to combine with a whole host of Avaya’s existing, and future, UC products, networking solutions and applications.

Avaya partners will be trained on this platform in October in the UK so expect the first customers to appear shortly after this for Avaya’s new UC and CC cloud-based solution. For more information on this product you can download the following brochure:

Avaya Collaboration Pod 2400 series

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

A Quick Guide to Unified Communications

Unified Communications

Unified Communications – A Brief Overview

In light of recent conversations with a few of our customers, some have asked us “What exactly is UC (Unified Communications)?” and more often when I have explained it to them, the response has been along the lines of “Ah right, I’ve heard of all those things before but I didn’t realise that altogether that results in what is known as Unified Communications.” Of course I am paraphrasing there but my point is that they are aware of the individual components (in most cases) but were unaware that all those elements bundled together equates to a solution known as Unified Communications.

It is of course, a major buzz phrase in the industry over the last two years and when you think about it, the phrase is perfectly apt for its definition – so really its just an awareness raising exercise from the industry. The definition of Unified Communications is the integration of real-time, enterprise, communication services across one platform via multiple devices. What that ostensibly means is that all your communications devices (phone, laptop, tablet, conferencing set-up or other technology) are synchronized under the one network allowing for an intelligent, organised and efficient means of collaborating within a business context.

Unified communications is an evolving set of technologies that automates and unifies human and device communications in a common context and experience. It optimizes business processes and enhances human communications by reducing latency, managing flows, and eliminating device and media dependencies. Exploring that definition further can be a good way of seeing what that means in practice and what is yielding the best results that is making the industry push this as the great service that all businesses should be evolving to for their core communications strategy going forward.

Unified Communications features

deskphone - unified communications1. Phone Calls – Nowadays, most people do not have just one phone and given the increasing transient nature of business people are reachable in spite of their geographic location. Depending on the role – a phone can take the form of a desktop, a mobile, PC Softphone or Smartphone App (like Avaya One-X mobile or Skype for Business). Each have their own merits and will suit different business scenarios .

 

video unified communications2. Video – One of the best points of Unified Communications is that you are able to make video calls to your contacts on virtually all of your devices/equipment (provided they have a camera)

 

 

 

Presence Unified Comms3. Presence – Is the software  interface that offers real-time presence information on your colleagues, providing information on their availability and what their preferred means of communication is at that given time.

 

 

 

Unified Comms Messenger4. Chat – Chat or as its more commonly known, Instant Messenger, is typically a component of a UC solution that offers another option for communication for example when calls aren’t available/practical.

 

 

 

collaboration unified coms5. Collaboration – Probably one of the best points of a UC solution is the ability to collaborate in way that enables the utilisation of technology to best effect. Practically this means screen sharing, real-time document sharing and alterations and other brilliant and innovative features. In addition, through the development of Avaya – its all modular so it can be added to in segments and it will continue to grow through the use of apps as the technology and solutions evolve.

 

voicemail unified comms6. Messaging – Probably the most convenient feature of UC is the ability to get all of your messages, whether it be  emails, calls, voice mails, texts, fax, chats all in one place, on any device, anywhere in the world.

 

 

Today’s challenging economic conditions mean that the drive to improve employee productivity while reducing costs has become the executive challenge to the IT solutions providers and they have responded with Unified Communications.

For businesses this inevitably means finding new ways to do more with less, so there is an increased focus on those transformational technologies that can help deliver both process and personal productivity improvements.

For more information on this or to see practical examples in action then please feel free to contact incovo, specialised Avaya partners and Unified Communications solutions providers for businesses in Scotland.

incovo ICT solutions UK

 

 

 

About incovo

incovo is a communications technology integrator of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

Non-geographic numbers: July 1st Changes

Non-Geographic Numbers

Changes to the way that non-geographic numbers (NGNs) are charged in the UK.

What you need to know

New Ofcom regulations are affecting the use of non-geographic numbers for customer contact. The changes being introduced on 1st July 2015 will make the cost of service numbers, that’s those beginning 08, 09 and 118, more transparent and easier to understand.

Calling 080x numbers
All 080x numbers will now be free to call from all UK destinations including mobiles.

Inbound 080x numbers
If you own or operate an 0800 number, an additional charge will be generated for calls to that number to take into consideration that they are now free of charge from all platforms including mobile operators.

This may have a significant impact on your commercials, so please review the new tariffs.

Calling 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers

To make the cost to call the above numbers clearer for the consumer, Ofcom have split the cost into two parts; a service charge and an access charge.

The service charge for numbers is set by the original range holder and remains the same regardless of where the call is made from.

The access charge is applied to deliver the call. You must publish one ‘pence per minute’ access charge per tariff and it must be the same for all services.

Also, as of the 1st of July, consumer bills must display the access charge and the service charge separately; business bills can combine the rate on the bill though this may change in the future.

Inbound 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers
One major change is that charging bands are no longer associated to the prefix. For example ‘0870’ is longer associated with a national call rate.

All 084 and 087 numbers are now banded by their service change ranging from 1 – 13ppm. 084 numbers are capped at 7ppm and 087 numbers are capped at 13ppm.

The service charge for a number has been dictated by the original range holder and has no bearing on the previous charge for the number i.e. a 5ppm 0844 number may not remain a 5ppm service charge number.

Finally, advertising rules have changed for 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers. These must now be advertised in the format, “Calls will cost you x pence per minute, plus your telephony company’s access charge.”

There is a lot to understand, but we are here to help. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch with the customer service team at incovo in the first instance.

All of the changes come into effect on the 1st July 2015 and will be itemised on your August invoice.

If your customers have any questions, please direct them to www.ukcalling.info

Frequently Asked Non-Geogrpahic Numbers Questions

Q. How will it work in future?

A. From summer 2015, the cost to the consumer of calling a service number (starting 084, 087, 09 or 118) will be split into two pieces: 1. An access charge. This goes to the consumer’s telephone company. The access charge for calls to service numbers will be made clear on consumers’ bills and contracts. The access charge will be a pence per minute (ppm) rate 2. A service charge. This is the remainder; it includes any revenue going to the service provider, as well as revenue going to the ‘terminating call provider’ At the same time, all Freephone numbers beginning 0800, 0808 or 116 are being made free for consumers to call from mobile phones, just as they usually are from landlines.

Q. Which numbers are affected?

A. These rules will apply to all consumer calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers across the UK, delivering clearer call rates for everyone. Calls to other numbers – those beginning 00, 01, 02, 03, 05 or 07 – are not affected.

Q. Do the changes apply to calls from mobiles or landlines?

A. Yes, they apply to calls to service numbers from both mobiles and landlines.

Q. Do the changes apply across the whole of the UK?

A. Yes, they apply across the UK. This does not include the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man which have their own structure for these calls

Q. Who will meet the cost of Freephone calls from mobiles?

A. The recipient of the call will be responsible for paying for the call, just as they are for calls from landlines at present. The origination charge for the call will be subject to regulation that requires it to be fair and reasonable. Ofcom has set out guidance as to how this should be interpreted.

Q. Are any telephone numbers changing?

A. The new arrangements do not require any telephone numbers to change. None of the organisations offering services on service numbers will be required to change their number. 

About incovo

incovo is a value added reseller of category leading unified communications, infrastructure, integrated network solutions and document management solutions to small and mid-sized organisations throughout the UK. Our focus is creating dependable, cost effective business communications solutions for businesses that ensure a variety of methods of collaboration to meet the ever changing market
conditions.

At incovo, we provide fast and effective support to all of our customers through our multichannel support network – allowing our customers to feel the benefits of compelling solutions that will enable their businesses to grow, tailored to their needs.

IP telephony security – Best Practises

IP telephony security

IP telephony security

Today, we look at the necessity for having security measures in place to help protect your IP phone network following the IBISWorld report stating that VoIP’s industry value is expected to increase annually by 15.3% until 2017. Given the expected increase in VoIP systems, those looking to or already using VoIP phone systems need to be aware that VoIP traffic is susceptible to the same threats as data traversing the IP network; with the most common threats coming in the form of Denial-of-Service attacks, Malware or deliberate intrusion.

At incovo we have always advocated a holistic approach to IT security to include the voice system when conducting an overall security risk analysis and follows the same procedure as the data system security measures as standard.

How we implement security measures

Our standard implementation procedure for security protocol on the data system security measures practically looks like the following protocols:

  • The use of deep packet inspection techniques – IDS/IPS or firewall systems at WAN / internet ingress points to prevent multi-layered attacks breaching the core network.
  • Implementing robust wireless security mechanisms such as strong authentication,
    strong encryption and rogue access point detection.
  • Deploy endpoint security on Servers and Hosts to enforce network attached devices to
    conform to defined enterprise and desktop security policy.

In addition to these, organisations should be aware of the potential need to fortify specific telephony components to protect integrity and availability of voice services in particular.

Creating a secure network infrastructure

Principally there are a few different measures that can be implemented to ensuring the network infrastructure, that fall into two different categories: essential and desirable. The essential steps are: employing separate voice and data VLANs  and using secure network management techniques. The former, the separation of voice and data traffic through the use of 802.1Q VLANs has several advantages. The inherent isolation provided by VLANs ensures that inter-VLAN traffic is under management control and that network attached PCs cannot initiate a direct attack on voice components.  This will offer a different level of control allowing Access Control and restricting ‘Global’ access between voice and data environments.

Similarly, the use of Secure Network Management Techniques which is concerned with the encryption of all network devices and the server through the use of SSH v2. By employing this management technique across the board you are able to create secure authentication and authorisation that is restricted to administrators for changes to the network configuration.

Other desirable measures that will help secure the core network include the requirement of Authentication  Network Access and the use of ‘Voice Aware’ Firwalls. Authentication Network Access looks to add further security to the network by requiring authentication from any device or node attempting to join the network prior to access. This is particularly useful in working environments that features the use of Bring Your Own Device and ensures any attempts to gain access to the network must pass an integrity check and contain an antivirus signature check otherwise they become isolated from the main network.

Finally we always try and recommend the use of ‘Voice Aware’ firewalls to ensure a secure boundary that enables for the inspection of voice traffic for potential anomalies. Not all firewalls come with this but incovo always try to recommend these types firewalls when designing a network security protocol for clients. Similarly, it is important for the firewall to make a distinction VoIP and data traffic so as not to impede voice traffic which could cause delay or packet loss resulting in compromised call quality.

Conclusion

Given the costly and devastating effects of telephony fraud, it is essential that you secure your voice network and PBX before falling victim to such an attack. As we mentioned, a holistic approach that encapsulates both the voice and data network is the key to effective security.

Keep an eye out for the next in our Telephony Security series where we look at some of the best preventative measure that can be put in place to help minimise the risk of telephony fraud.

For further information about IP telephony security, please keep checking the incovo blog or alternatively get in touch with us to find out how we can secure your communications network.

About incovo

incovo provides a range of ICT solutions, services and technologies to clients of all sizes across the UK. We particularly specialise in small to mid-sized(SME) business solutions.

We specialise in the installation and maintenance of business telephone systems and photocopier/printer solutions tailored to suit the size and needs of your organisation. Our engineers are highly skilled and qualified in systems provided by global leaders including Avaya, Siemens, Konica Minolta and Microsoft.