IP - Hive
By Chris Meehan

Sennheiser, the German company whose name is synonymous with premium sound quality, is fast establishing a reputation for super design.

The latest case in point is its new Speakerphone Series, which Novus is now carrying. Its small, round sleek design easily fits into any briefcase and is meant for personal or small group conference calls using a PC, smartphone or tablet.

Two models, the SP 10 ML and SP 20 ML are optimized for Microsoft Lync, and connect to Lync via USB. The SP 20 ML model connects via USB to a PC and to mobile devices via 3.5 mm jack plug. Both are designed for “plug and play” simplicity.

One review concluded that the “Speakerphone Series elevates the one anonymous meeting room phone to the level of ‘must have’ workplace innovation; it shows Sennheiser’s sound heritage and iconic design at its best while making a clear style statement for any office or desk.”

Indeed, the speakerphones represent a leap forward in portable conferencing solutions. They feature call and volume controls, microphone, mute and dual talk function that enables for natural conversation interruption. Where there’s downtime, the speakerphone even has a music function.

Naturally, the speakerphones deliver high definition sound quality to enhance collaboration in and between organizations. In announcing the product, Sennheiser’s CEO noted that, “Microsoft Lync continues to drive innovation across the board to make it easier for people to communicate wherever they are. As a premium headset and UC solutions provider and a Microsoft partners, Sennheiser helps Microsoft Lync users to meet today’s expectations of workplace communications and collaboration.”
Posted: 7/17/2014 7:33:39 AM by Chris Meehan


By Chris Meehan 

Two weeks ago I posted here about Microsoft World Partner Conference, taking place July 13-17 in Washington D.C. Novus will not be exhibiting in an official capacity but several of our partners are displaying their Lync hardware portfolios, which we’d like to highlight here.
 
Polycom (Booth 228) features a full portfolio of Lync qualified and Lync optimized phones: the SoundPoint and VVX lines, as well as the CX8000 Lync room-based collaboration system.
 
Sennheiser (Booth 320) is known for premium audio quality and sleek design. The company has a variety of audio products that work with the Lync platform: wired and wireless headsets and wireless speakerphones. 
 
snom (Booth 220) has a portfolio of IP phones that are Lync qualified, with unique features like Boss/Admin. snom also sells HP Lync optimized phones which have Lync software integrated with the phone.
 
Novus executives will be at WPC July 13 and 14, educating integrators and value added resellers about our Lync expertise. We are one of the only North American distributors to earn Microsoft Partner Network Gold Communications competency. We are fluent in Lync with voice and are ready to help channel partners make Lync with voice as pervasive in the enterprise as possible.
 
Contact us if you’d like to learn more about our Lync with voice expertise, and how we can help you deliver world-class Unified Communications capability to your business customers. 
Posted: 7/9/2014 10:45:06 AM by Chris Meehan


By Chris Meehan
 
2014-WPC.pngWe’ll be in Washington D.C. in mid July for Microsoft’s World Partner Conference, where we’ll be supporting our partners who are exhibiting at the sold-out show, and meeting with resellers.
 
As one of the select few distributors in the world to achieve Microsoft Partner Network Gold Communications competency, Novus has met Microsoft’s rigorous technical, sales and marketing standards for Lync. Our expertise has been validated by Microsoft, and we enjoy benefits with which to better serve our current and future reseller customers.
 
The Gold competency indicates that we have demonstrated greater value to our customers by delivering best-in-class capabilities that have been subjected to Microsoft’s rigorous and auditable approval process.
 
In particular, our expertise lies in Lync with voice, a relatively new discipline, which is part of Microsoft’s overall Lync Unified Communications portfolio. In short, there simply aren’t that many distributors with the broad expertise with Lync with voice to help value added resellers drive Lync further into the enterprise.
 
We are one of the few.
 
Lync is a fast growing (now $1 billion) business at Microsoft, and our goal is to expand the base of Lync users by extending our knowledge through the entire channel ecosystem.
 
The annual WPC event is a global convergence of Microsoft partners and represents Microsoft’s full portfolio of technology and services. This year the company has reduced the number of umbrella “tracks” to five: cloud, big data, mobility and devices, enterprise social and leadership sales and marketing.
 
We are particularly interested Lync sessions including “The Benefits of Adding Microsoft Lync Voice To Your Portfolio” and “How to Compete and Win with Lync.”

A full list of sessions touching on various aspects of Lync can be found here.
 
Several of our Lync partners will be exhibiting at WPC. Stop by their booths and check out their innovative communications offerings:
  • Polycom – Booth 228
  • Sennheiser – Booth 320
  • snom – Both 220 
Posted: 6/26/2014 1:10:58 PM by Chris Meehan


By Chris Meehan

In the late 1980s a major technology research firm devised a methodology for determining the true total cost of owning a personal computer. A PC could be had for $1,500, the firm noted, but over a period of years, the true cost could be four or five times as much, as maintenance, downtime, training, testing, management and deployment are factored in.
 
I think about this every time I see a business customer try to save a few dollars on a VoIP phone by buying from a brick-and-mortar or online retailer. Why? Because the true cost of owning those phones, over time, is sure to be much more than the original price tag. Today’s SIP-based VoIP phones are sophisticated devices, with complex firmware tied into back end systems and applications that drive not only voice but also a range of communications capabilities.
 
VoIP has been around for years but large-scale enterprise IP voice deployments are a new discipline and require a certain degree of expertise and support that retailers don’t and can’t offer. Let’s face it, there are lots of things that can and do go wrong. Microsoft Lync with voice deployments are even newer and require an even deeper understanding of IP-based voice communications and Lync Server.
 
I’m always surprised by the number of businesses willing to put at risk such a critical piece of their communications infrastructure.
 
I’ve seen business customers time and again make the mistake of buying the cheapest VoIP endpoints they can find, from sellers with no voice expertise, only to regret it when something inevitably goes wrong. In those cases, the desperate customer often ends up overpaying for support. 
 
The bottom line is that enterprise customers and resellers are better served to work with a partner with a deep understanding of IP-based voice communication (including Lync) for mass deployment, provisioning, management and customization of endpoints.
 
We are here to provide our reseller channel partners with the in-depth support required for today’s increasingly complex VoIP engagements. 
 
Anyone can sell a phone. We sell expertise, capability, and peace of mind. 
Posted: 6/23/2014 7:49:54 AM by Chris Meehan


By Chris Meehan
 
We are consistently expanding our portfolio of Lync products in an effort to offer our VAR customers the widest selection of advanced communications capabilities, whatever the needs of their enterprise customers may be.
 
To that end, we are now selling AudioCodes’ Mediant 9000 Session Border Controller, which was recently certified for Microsoft Lync Server 2013.
 
With support for up to 16,000 concurrent sessions, the Mediant 9000 is a high scalable SBC for deployment in larger enterprises and contact center locations, and well as an access SBC for service provider environments. It supports extensive SIP connectivity with broad interoperability, enhanced perimeter defense against hacking and advanced voice quality monitoring.
 
Other features:
 
  • Support for remote workers and mobile SIP clients
  • Branch survivability during WAN failure
  • VoIP quality monitoring and enforcement
 
We carry the entire AudioCodes Mediant line, which now serves everything from the SMB market to the largest enterprises and service providers. The Mediant 9000 is also available as a software-only version for common off-the-shelf platforms and for virtualized environments.
 
Indeed, the growth of hosted services and datacenter centralization is driving demand for high-capacity SBCs like the Mediant 9000.
 
AudioCodes is one of only a handful of providers with SBCs certified for Lync Server 2013, and one of only two providers with more than five SBC models to serve the needs of a wide range of business needs.
 
According to some market researchers, the company has “become the go-to player for Microsoft Lync, enabling Microsoft to have a competing market strategy against” competitors in the massive UC market.”
Posted: 6/13/2014 2:28:13 PM by Chris Meehan


By Chris Meehan

We’re happy to publish this case study in which a Midwest company, ECM Publishers, saved tens of thousands and improved productivity (among other major benefits) by switching to VoIP and our partner snom technology’s 720 IP phones.

The company, with $40 million in sales and 17 locations, was driven to examine VoIP because its antiquated phone system was expensive, lacked standardization, had poor voice quality and a very limited feature set. ECM’s Director of IT, Jay Gustafson explains, “We needed to cut costs dramatically, and we needed a dramatic increase in functionality.”

ECM selected the snom 720 for its competitive price but also for its unmatched features, saying that its Gigabit Ethernet capability was one of the deciding factors.

Novus was closely involved in the deployment process and provided support to ECM when needed. The company has already deployed nearly 300 phones, on its way to 450 by year’s end. In addition to the substantial savings on its phone bill (70 percent), ECM discovered that the snom 720 could deliver additional features that weren’t apparent at the outset.

Shared Call Appearance lets workers share SIP lines and provides status of the shared line to all people subscribed, and Busy Lamp Field lets users monitor phones lines of co-workers and opt to pick up on transfer calls to contacts in a directory.

The cost savings has enabled ECM to invest thousands into a long-desired plan to upgrades its network from 100MB to 1 Gigabit switches, providing a huge increase in performance and opening up a world of possibilities (application, services, etc.) for ECM to serve its customers and partners.

In addition to snom, Novus partners with several other SIP-based IP phone developers to offer resellers the broadest range of choices and capabilities.
Posted: 5/28/2014 8:53:29 AM by Chris Meehan


We are now carrying the newest SIP-based IP business phones developed by our partner Aastra, which was purchased by Mitel in November 2013.

The 6800i line features four new phones designed for a diverse set of business requirements. All work with the leading IP voice platforms. The four models include:
  • Aastra 6863i, an entry-level two-line phone with three programmable keys and Aastra’s HD Hi-Q audio
  • Aastra 6865i, a nine-line phone suitable for all-sized businesses. It features eight programmable keys and XML capabilities
  • Aastra 6867i, a nine-line phone which features HD wideband audio for premium sound quality, dual microphones, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and six programmable keys
  • Aastra 6869i, an executive-level phone with 12-lines, 4.3-inch color display, 12 programmable keys and expansion modules including extra programmable keys and a magnetic detachable keyboard
The phones are designed for interoperability with a broad range of leading communications platforms, and support both on-premise and hosted services. This is increasingly important as businesses of all sized migrate their voice infrastructure to the cloud to reduce cost and increase flexibility.

In November, Aastra and Mitel announced that the companies would merge, creating a $1.1 billion (sales) company with a growing cloud business and 60 million global end users.
Posted: 4/10/2014 9:30:00 AM by Chris Meehan


One of our leading partners, snom technology, announced at the Enterprise Connect 2014 show recently that its snom UC edition Lync qualified phones can leverage Lync Server’s native administration interface for easy provisioning and management directly from the Lync server.


This is very significant, as this “in-band provisioning” overcomes standard provisioning and management challenges. Without this capability, mass provisioning of Lync qualified phones is time consuming and expensive, and may require additional infrastructure.

Administrations can assign settings like language, time zone, function keys, etc., for individual users, groups of users or specific locations. Because all of this can be done remotely via the Lync server administration interface (known as a PowerShell) the cost and complexity of additional network infrastructure, training and maintenance can be eliminated.

This is a big differentiator for snom, as no other Lync qualified phone developer has this capability. It’s also good news Novus, since we are snom’s biggest distributor in North America (we’re a Platinum Partner), are experts in Lync with voice and recently achieved Microsoft’s Partner Network Gold Communications Competency.

Taken together, these things are further proof of our commitment to driving Lync into every corner of the enterprise. Our technical expertise on Lync with voice is unsurpassed, which is a big plus to our reseller and integrator partners.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Novus is your one-stop-shop for Lync voice.

Posted: 3/28/2014 9:30:00 AM by Chris Meehan


We are expanding our portfolio of SIP trunking services by partnering with nexVortex, a VoIP service provider for businesses, multisite installations, call centers and custom applications.

nexVortex are experts at SIP trunking, having delivered the services for a decade. Its plans and features include burstable SIP trunks, inbound/outbound minutes, a bundle of DIDs, and a disaster recovery module.

The company’s services and products are interoperable with industry leading systems including 3CX, Asterisk, Epygi (a Novus partner), NEC (a Novus partner), Patton, Cisco, Microsoft Lync (a Novus partner), and more.

SIP trunking services have been growing exponentially as their benefits are made clear: reliability and quality of service, lower cost, automatic disaster recovery and real-time billing and others.

Specifically:

  • Disaster recovery routing gives businesses the ability to set failover routes for DID or toll-free numbers. This is a crucial feature for all businesses but especially call centers.
  • nexVortex’ customer portal features real time billing statements, number ordering and routing, disaster recovery routing, called ID control and CDR reporting are accessible for customers to control online.
  • SIP trunking allows phone numbers to be pointed to IP addresses rather than DID numbers, providing flexibility and failover options.
We are constantly adding IP communications providers to our list of partners, so that we may offer our value added reseller partners the broadest range of products for their enterprise customers.
Posted: 3/21/2014 9:47:03 AM by Chris Meehan


After months of planning and development, we have finally flipped the switch on the new Novusllc.com, the completely redesigned homepage for Novus!

You will immediately notice a difference. The look of the site is much cleaner and less cluttered. We have designed the site for maximum responsiveness; tabs, buttons and drop-down menus instantly bring viewers to new pages.

Navigation couldn’t be easier. We’ve added tabs to search by product category (IP phones, software, etc.), or by manufacturer, along with a completely revamped Solutions section that highlight Novus offerings including consulting, managed services, and other value added services.

Perhaps most importantly, we’ve designed the site with our reseller partners in mind, making it as easy as possible for them to do business with us. This includes online forms, electronic billing, and a secure client subsection for our partners to communicate with us, order products, etc.

We hope you’ll take a moment to check out the new Novusllc.com. It was designed with you in mind!

Posted: 3/13/2014 12:45:21 PM by Chris Meehan


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