Why we’re finally building something for ourselves

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At Netfuse we’ve been building telecoms solutions, integrations and platforms for other people since we started out. We’ve developed our synthesis platform specifically to make it easy for anyone with some knowledge of software development to build voice services into any application. It’s been used for mobile apps, for inbound call management by other telcos, for our SME voice product Business Voice, and even for mapping callers to the emergency services in the Ebola response in Sierra Leone.

Along the way we’ve learned a lot (probably more than was strictly necessary) about how the internet works, been allocated our own phone number ranges by Ofcom, got our own IP addresses from RIPE, constructed a geographically redundant network and, most recently, built a co-operatively run data centre in the heart of Brighton as founder members of the Brighton Digital Exchange.

But until now we’ve had a sneaking suspicion that we could (and perhaps should) be doing something more ambitious with everything we’ve learned along the way. Don’t get me wrong, we love helping other people solve their particular problems. But we’ve never really dug into how we can move things forward in our industry as a whole – specifically the IP Telephony bit of the telecoms industry in which we’ve tended to reside.

That’s about to change, and here’s why.

We use all manner of software to run our business. We use Brighton based Crunch for accountancy, Slack for instant messaging, Pandadoc for document and contract management, GoCardless for recurring payments, Cyfe for business dashboards, Google Apps for email and collaborative documents, Dropbox for file sharing and Basecamp for project management.  We go open source where it makes sense, so it’s OSTicket for support, Git for version control, Cacti for monitoring and OpenVZ (mostly) for server virtualisation.

It was when we were assessing the role that each of these played in our business that we realised that much of our (and our industry’s) approach to service design and delivery was flawed in an age of increasingly mobile, tailored and ubiquitous computing and connectivity.

The way that we do business, and build businesses, is changing.

Companies are becoming amalgamations of functions supported by (or indeed entirely delivered by) third parties. Looking at the list of services we use ourselves we recognise that we’re one of those businesses. And there’s currently nothing on the market in the telecoms sector that adequately complements the diversity of services we rely on.

That’s why we’ve decided to build a telecoms product specifically for our kind of business. One that’s not just integrated with the other services we use, but defined by the services we use every day.

The result is Brix - a business phone system on our own mobiles, configured on the basis of the members of our Google groups or slack channels, and integrated with the services we use every day. It’s early days (the version 1 design is done and we’re building the alpha now) but we feel like we’re making something that will improve how we work. And hopefully it’ll make life better for other businesses along the way.

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Technology and Learning – Making the most of IT

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We’ve recently published some musings from Netfuse Managing Director Peter Eyres on Medium.com. Take a look for some tips on making the most of investments in new technologies. Here’s a quick summary:

Find out what people are using now. Start with a list of all the tools each of your teams use every day, and map out how your new solution is going to fit in.

Make sure the tech can be tailored to the team. Or, even better, to the individual. Focus not only on the needs of your business as a whole, but also on the needs of specific teams and individuals.

Get real people involved early on. Get people to try your newly discovered productivity miracle out and ask them to suggest how it might help them, rather than imposing it on people.

Choose complementary and familiar over revolutionary. While the founders of tech companies talk about disruption, the key for anyone managing a busy team is to ensure that a new tool is introduced in a way that complements existing working patterns.

Be realistic about what you can achieve in a given timeframe. When you consider that the technology evangelists in businesses are usually the fastest learners, the potential for a disconnect between expectations of uptake and reality are obvious.

Trust your instinct. Make sure you’re happy that you feel comfortable working with your software / service suppliers — get to know the founders on social media; make sure they care about their customers as much as you do; and find out if they are as responsive as you need to be when things do go wrong.

Head over to Medium.com for the full article.

Netfuse announce Gamma partnership

Netfuse have announced a partnership with Gamma, one of the UK’s largest providers of SIP trunking and next generation voice services.

Netfuse will complement their fully featured Synthesis APIs and rapid custom development capability with Gamma’s SIP trunking and connectivity expertise, enabling resellers to sell API access and custom development under their own brand, secure in the knowledge that solutions are backed by Gamma’s experience in managing next generation voice networks.

The Synthesis Realtime, Configuration and Backoffice APIs are designed to streamline the process of developing and integrating voice and messaging functionality with other enterprise systems, significantly reducing time to market for new and custom functionality.

The partnership offers the telecoms reseller community access to the rapid and agile development of next generation voice and messaging applications without investing heavily in infrastructure or a large development team.

To date, the Synthesis platform has powered everything from CRM and support ticketing integrations for businesses, to audio processing applications and intelligent call routing platforms for next generation telecoms companies.

Gamma’s Head of Specialised markets Mike Mills said “Gamma have always been at the forefront of innovation in the telecoms reseller market so we’re excited at the prospect of partnering with Netfuse.”

Netfuse Managing Director Peter Eyres said “we see Gamma’s expertise in voice connectivity and SIP as the perfect complement to our focus on API-driven innovation and streamlined development. We’re looking forward to  working closely with them to deliver solutions that push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Netfuse invite the channel to #challengeNetfuse at Convergence South

Netfuse telecom, who will be introducing their Synthesis Platform to the telecoms reseller channel Convergence South, will be demonstrating just how easy the Synthesis APIs make delivering new and unique propositions to market by inviting Convergence Summit visitors to challenge them to build a new voice and messaging application from scratch within one week of the show ending.

To make sure they build something that’s going to be useful to channel partners, Netfuse wants the channel to set them a hack challenge by using the #challengenetfuse hashtag alongside #summit_south in the run up to the event or by visiting them on Stand 61 at the event itself. The winning idea will be announced at the end of the show.

The Synthesis Platform allows channel partners to benefit from the feature set and reliability of a cutting-edge, feature-rich, robust and scalable telecoms API and management interface without investing heavily in infrastructure or development.

Netfuse managing director Peter Eyres said “we designed Synthesis as a solid foundation on which to build new and innovative voice and messaging applications; and context-rich data integrations in a matter of days. The #challengeNetfuse hackathon starting at Convergence South is about demonstrating the agility of the platform and hopefully delivering something that’s going to be of real value to the channel ongoing.”

Previous Netfuse Hackathons have turned out everything from a presence integration that uses face detection via a webcam to determine call routing; to a GPS / GSM module which will respond to an SMS asking for it’s location with a google map link.

Netfuse Print Advert for Convergence Summit

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Capsule CRM integration coming to Synthesis

Netfuse Telecom have announced that partners using their whitelabel integrated voice and messaging platform Synthesis will soon be able to offer their customers live CDR integration with Capsule CRM alongside the rest of the platform’s features.

The integration enables Capsule users to keep track of all their phone conversations with contacts in their CRM via notes created whenever a call is completed to or from a Capsule user. Details recorded include the customer name, the user that spoke to them, and the duration of the call. All the user then has to do is edit the note to add written details of the call, saving them the trouble of looking up the contact and creating the note.

As well as adding new notes when calls are completed, the integration runs through all historic calls on a user’s Netfuse account and inserts them into Capsule with the appropriate date and time on them, allowing account owners to get a historical overview of the contact they have been making with each customer.

The integration was built using the Synthesis and Capsule APIs. Netfuse Technical Director Leo Brown said “having taken an API-first approach to building the Synthesis platform we thought it makes sense for us to take the next step and work on integration with other cloud based services. Capsule will definitely be the first of many.”

This latest integration adds to an already impressive list of features, including everything from outbound Caller ID presentation control, http-call based routing, and Skype controlled presence to API-configurable and accessible SIP endpoints, messaging, voicemail, provisioning and account management.

The Netfuse team are already working on integration with Salesforce and Zendesk, with more to come.

 

Welcome to the all new Netfuse News

Keep up to date with all the latest Netfuse news. We’ll be using this to keep the world informed of new feature releases, product launches, and company news; as well as sharing our thoughts on the industry. You might also find occasional ramblings from founder and Technical Director Leo Brown, and Managing Director Peter Eyres.

You can also keep up to date by following us on our Netfuse Twitter account or, if you’re of a more technical bent, follow Netfuse Labs for R & D updates.