How Real-time Device Management Works

Device Management

By Joe Roche on June 22, 2018 in Blueface, Communications & VoIP

According to the Blueface BCT Report 2018, the average professional uses 3 – 4 devices in work per day including laptops, tablets, phones, fax machines, desk phones, smart-watches — which can make device management taxing.

In our modern business ecosystem, high growth (or turnover) businesses need agility when it comes to adding new sites and employees. Without this, site visits become a requirement for routine phone system changes.

Premises-based, third-party reliant equipment is no longer fit for global business, by 2025’s PSTN Shut Down — it won’t be fit for any purpose.

Modern communications infrastructure combined with software — such as Blueface’s Unified Communications Portal (UC) — allows users to unite all of their devices under one design-driven umbrella.

While the UC Portal provides more visibility and control, gaining a true understanding of the platform’s relationship to your hardware will make device management a refreshingly simple experience.

Starting with pre-configuration, this post explores new methods of clever device management and the technologies that are making business mobility easier and more secure than ever.

Global Redirect Server

plug and play
IP phones arrive at your business ready-to-call, in fact, this is one of the most attractive features of internet-based communications systems.

When Blueface phones arrive at a business, all that’s needed is an internet connection (and an ethernet cable) to start making IP-based internet calls.

When hardware such as a desk phone is first booted, it operates with the manufacturer’s factory settings until instructed otherwise. After connecting to the internet, the manufacturer will contact Blueface’s via a “redirect server” to automatically configure with the settings preconfigured on the Blueface Platform.

Simply Put
Blueface UC and the hardware manufacturer’s system have an automated configuration chat once your phone connects to the internet.

This feature is particularly beneficial when new staff members start or when your business is opening a new site. You can focus on setting up your new location and we’ll link it up to your other offices.

There is no physical equipment – such as a PBX – to install, phones are delivered and then they work.

In addition to this, changes made via accompanying software — for example the Blueface UC Portal — they are pushed to your device in real time.

Real-Time Device-Push

Device Push

In the past, device configuration was packaged by your provider. Handsets, minutes, lines — fixed, inflexible communications that would require time, contracts and numerous phone calls to amend.

Real-time device-push is a powerful tool that puts control in the user’s hands. With Unified Communications, Users can make changes via the UC Portal or the Blueface API like adding a new line, changing the displayed name — changing any kind of setting.

How do real-time updates work?
When changes are made, the Blueface Server generates a new device configuration using Session Internet Protocol (SIP) — the same signal used for VoIP (internet calling). SIP instructs your device that it needs to fetch new information, then it contacts Blueface’s servers and pulls the configuration.

This process takes at most 5-seconds from Portal changes to device update. Want to test how quickly the device updates? Change the display of your device from “Line 1” to “Sales Team” and users will see immediate change.

The speed at which changes are pushed allows Blueface to offer a wide range of call routing, extension mobility and hot desking features.

Your device settings are also mobile as you can instantly inherit the device settings linked to your user account on a new device, anywhere in the world.

It’s not just devices. Blueface UC users never have to install or download new firmware, Blueface will let you know when the platform automatically upgrades.

Extension Mobility

Extension Mobility

Extension mobility allows users to quickly set up a new workspace with their familiar phone settings on any device.

This topic is relatively broad, so only a sliver of the mobility features on our UC Portal will be covered, starting with the device inheritance.

The fluid relationship between devices and communications governing software is the major advancement in workplace collaboration and continuity.

As well as user-device inheritance mentioned above, modern communications systems enable you to inherit all device settings for a site. This feature is part of the Blueface Disaster Recovery Protocol.

Should the worst happen, users can roll out their new site hardware in seconds with en masse user provisioning and continue normal operations.

On a day-to-day basis, mobility can come in terms of real-time device customisation, extension altering, call routing, and extra mobility with the Blueface Softphone.

With extension mobility, your devices can automatically tune to your settings and customers will always know who is calling.

Device Edit History

Device History

Unlike previous on-premises iterations, controlling your Blueface phone system is a straightforward process that allows full customisation from the user’s end.

Downtime-inducing mistakes can be costly. Advanced permission levels on the Unified Communications Portal can mitigate human error but this can scarcely be eliminated.

In the unlikely event that a call flow is misaligned or hardware is not responsive, modern phone system providers – like Blueface UC – give you the tools review your changes.

Device auditing via the Blueface Unified Communications Portal can tell you every device alteration with the accompanying username.

The UC Portal doesn’t just log device alterations – automatic logs are created when a user views a page, another user profile or makes any change to an account.

Identify irregular periods in your phone system’s timeline and revise the changes to quickly restore your phone system. If you’re having trouble, your Blueface Support agent will help you restore normalcy to your account using these logs.

Through Audit History, admins can route out irregular changes but the Blueface team have automatic anti-fraud set up to let us and your business know when a problem occurs.

Encryption

It has never been more important to take device security seriously. According to the 2018 Blueface BCT Report, 37% of businesses have endured a malicious hack or phishing attack.

According to IBM Security research, the global average cost of digital malfeasance was north of $3.5 million, punctuating the need for secure data transfer.

The cost exceeds finances as reputation with stakeholders can be irreparably damaged. Infamously, The News of the World engaged in journalistic malpractice with a widespread phone-hacking scandal, resulting in the publication’s closure.

Session Internet Protocol (SIP) transports voice data across a network securely as standard and generally requires a significant amount of expertise to hack – even without advanced encryption.

Although there is a heightened security threat, many VoIP providers have yet to add extra security layers. Blueface provides Secure Real-Time Protocol (SRTP) for the voice-level and Transport Layer Security (TLS) for signalling.

Signalling sets up, controls and terminates calls, whereas RTP is the voice-level transport layer. For SRTP to be effective, TLS must be activated.

Blueface Head of Software, Guillaume Bonnet
SRTP without TLS is tantamount to creating a cipher and publicly broadcasting the solution to the code.

When TLS is activated, your call will be ultra-secure — more so than standard PSTN lines. With TLS and RTP activated, your voice security parallels Fort Knox.

Heartbeat Monitoring

Heartbeat Device
One of the early concerns with IP Voice was the consistency and quality of real-time calling. Most early issues stemmed from internet speeds and firewall difficulties but error identification and repair used to be a time-consuming process.

In a worst-case scenario, businesses would operate as normal without realising their phones were down. This kind of infrastructural failing can cost businesses $100,000 on average per hour according to the IDC.

Through a set of advanced protocols, Heartbeat Monitoring gives Blueface Network Operations a chance to detect errors and route to mobile devices or alternative sites.

Heartbeat monitoring is an automated diagnostic tool used to negotiate and monitor the availability of a resource – in this case, business voice calling.

The major benefit of this comes from fixed / mobile convergence. Should your phone system fail, thanks to automatic failover forwarding – you won’t miss a single call thanks to heartbeat monitoring.

This applies even in the case of a local broadband network outage. If your local broadband is out an extended period, another site can be rolled out.

Customers can also check the status of individual lines linked to a device from the Unified Communications Portal.

Features like Heartbeat allows Blueface to deliver a 99.999% Service Level as issues can be routed and stamped out before they become truly problematic.

Sidecar Management

Desk phone sidecars — such as the Panasonic KXHDV-20 — offer a range of productivity, continuity and planning tools so you can build hardware into your business strategy. The following is a set of features used for effectively managing call volume and productivity.

Busy Lamp Field (BLF) allows users to monitor the status of each line connected to your Unified Communications account without opening the software. Presence awareness features like BLF allow you to quickly check someone’s availability for callers.

In a customer-insight driven business landscape, missing calls can be the difference between retaining a customer and losing them. BLF can be configured for your support or sales teams to highlight team member availability and — through additional lines linked to the device — a free member of staff can pick up another user’s call. Manage call volume effectively with BLF.

Call Parking allows call recipients – particularly those in busier positions such as reception – to free up lines by sending calls to a temporary waiting room or “call parking lot”.

Callers in the parking lot or “queue” can be attended to by another user while the dialled party is busy or the call can be continued from another device.

Need to get in touch with a colleague quickly? Sidecars have an expanded Speed Dial function. The Blueface Unified Communications Portal also has a click-to-call corporate directory for quick calling from your desktop to your desk phone.

Multi-Lingual Devices

Multi-Lingual Devices

The advantages of a multi-lingual device in an increasingly global workplace cannot be understated, particularly when hiring new staff.

Multi-lingual devices make it easier for your non-English speaking staff to adapt to new technologies, while your polyglot (multi-linguistic) staff can separate their workflows.

Example
If you operate a hot desking work structure with multi-language staff, they can change the language on the handset on a daily basis.

Using the dial-pad on your Blueface desk phone, you can select from a number of languages including Spanish, French, German and Dutch. With the seismic growth in the contact centre industry and frequent office restructuring, multi-lingual desk phones are a perfect solution.

Want your hardware to dial out from another location? Visit your Unified Communications Portal to dial out from the US, UK, Germany, Spain, France and more.

Using the Blueface Unified Communications Store, users can upgrade their hardware and our network of global suppliers will deliver your multilingual devices.

As Blueface is headquartered in Ireland – now a global technology hub – we want to remove all barriers to communication for our customers, including language.

Unified Caller ID

CLIR

When discussing extension mobility, it was mentioned that customers can always know who is calling from any device with Caller ID (CLI).

Most are familiar with the basic functionality of Caller ID. When you dial a number or your number is dialled, the caller’s number will display on either respective handset.

Users can change their Caller ID by visiting their profile in the Unified Communications Portal as well as their fax ID and short-code internal number — such as dialling 2210.

Device line display names can also be changed using the same tab on the UC Portal. With that said, it’s important to create uniformity when naming device lines to prevent confusion.

With non-geographic virtual numbers, users can dial out from anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world. Dial out from Paris, France in your Paris, Texas office with the UC Portal.

Virtual numbers – independent from lines – allow businesses to localise operations without a physical site enabling remote market testing.

Want to disable Caller ID? Users can also trigger Calling Line Identification Restriction (CLIR) in two clicks from the Blueface Unified Communications Portal.

These changes will be applied to your hardware in seconds and can be inherited to any other devices linked to your account. As a reminder from earlier, your settings are linked to your user account, so you can instantly copy / paste these device settings onto a new one.

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