TAPI (Telephony Application Programming Interface) is an API provided by Windows computers for the control of telephones connected to your PC. There’s a great overview of TAPI at Wikipedia if you want to learn more.
InGenius Connector, and its cousin Mitel’s Unified Communicator Express can use TAPI in two ways.
- InGenius Connector can appear as a TAPI telephony provider to CRM systems,
- InGenius Connector can make use of TAPI to control your desktop phone (Connector as a TAPI consumer).
InGenius Connector as a TAPI provider for connecting to CRM systems
This is also called the TAPI Plug-in, and is an optional component of InGenius Connector and Unified Communicator Express. This feature is enabled for an existing installation of our product by simply entering a license key. When you’ve done this, InGenius Connector will now appear in the list of TAPI devices that are available on your computer, when you use a TAPI enabled CRM.
This mode is commonly used with CRMs such as Act, Maximizer, and Outlook and many custom CRM systems. From within your CRM, select the InGenius Connector from the list of TAPI devices on your computer, and your CRM will now be able to place calls using the telephone connected to InGenius Connector. You’ll also be able to see the caller ID for incoming calls, and the CRM will be able to pop the appropriate CRM contact automatically. Note that the functionality provided varies between CRM’s. Some CRM’s may not provide the screen-pop functionality, for instance.
On the telephone side of things, the TAPI Plugin is commonly used with Mitel phone systems (using Unified Communicator Express or Unified Communicator Advanced, with the appropriate InGenius plugin), as well as users of Polycom phones, Aastra Phones, Asterisk PBX’s, and Broadsoft PBX’s – systems which are generally quite difficult to control via TAPI.
Using InGenius Connector with a TAPI-enabled phone system
The other way to use TAPI with InGenius Connector is to set up a phone profile within InGenius using the TAPI phone profile (which will be available within InGenius Connector in the first Quarter of 2012). In this case, the customer has a phone system that provides a TAPI interface, and want to use the features of InGenius Connector to control their phone system, or they want to use an InGenius Connector CRM integration with their phone system.
Users will have to install InGenius Connector, as well as the TAPI service provider which is provided by the telephone system manufacturer. In the case of Cisco, this is available for free, and can be downloaded by the Cisco Call Manager administrator.
We are currently developing TAPI support for Cisco phone systems, and will be certifying other phone systems soon.
Our customers generally use this option to connect their TAPI-enabled phone system to Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Sugar CRM.
Integrated CRM and telephony programs can be intimidating for the uninitiated. Programs are often full of acronyms and may feel overly technical. The customizable options are exciting for seasoned professionals, but potentially overwhelming to first time users. So what does someone fresh to the field really need to know about CRMs and telephony to get started and to make the programs work well for their business?
CRMs: Customer Relationship Management programs
These help document, monitor, and track a company’s interactions, primarily with its customers. The most popular CRMs right now seem to be the web-based programs. There are lots of great CRM programs out there, and we’ll get to those in a later post.
A word for a phone system or a bunch of phones networked together. If your office has a phone system with extensions, or if you need to do something like “press 9 for an outside line” then you something about telephony.
A few important terms and features:
VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol
This means speaking through the internet rather than through phone lines. The most well known VoIP provider is probably Skype, which allows users to download it’s software for free, make calls between web-based Skype users for free, and make calls from web-based Skype users to landlines for reduced prices.
SIP: Session Initiation Protocol
This is a standard internet language for calling via voice and video. I don’t really think it is important for the lay person to understand. It might be important to know whether you are connected to a SIP based service provider.
IP: Internet Protocal
Internet language – or – how information is sent and received over the internet. You may need to know something called your IP Address, which is a string of numbers separated by dots. This is the location of your machine on the internet, just like your home address is the location of your house in the world.
This is a kind of phone line.
The ability of the phone to signal that another call is trying to access your line while you are on a call.
A call involving more than two parties.
This is like caller ID for computers, except that instead of just the number showing up on your phone’s screen, the contact information for the incoming caller “pops” up onto your computer screen. InGenius Connector Plugins can help your CRM “pop” screen identify additional information such as your history of calls with that phone number and notes made about that phone number, in addition to the number itself
Ha! No really, this is a thing. Actually, it’s the same thing as above, except maybe the ‘pop’ isn’t the whole screen but rather a smaller window that appears from another application. Like toast. Coming out of a toaster. Get it?
CLID or CID: Caller ID
Why don’t we just call this ‘Caller ID,’ which everyone understands? I don’t know. Caller ID means that you can see who is ringing your phone before picking up.
These are records of inbound and outbound calls, or, all of the calls made from your phone. InGenius Connector Plugins will help your CRM log calls and attach records or notes to those calls. This is helpful for remembering each step of the sale or interaction and making sure that tasks do not fall through the cracks.
When a program is based in the ‘cloud’ it means that there is nothing stored on your hard drive or local server. People appreciate that they do not need to download or install anything onto their computers, and that their data can be accessed from anywhere. Salesforce is known for being a cloud based CRM.
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Things are evolving fast and different stuff is appearing all the time. Are there any other terms that you think are important for beginners? Are there other important features that you use currently, or would like to see in the future?
It has been a few months since we first mentioned Mitel’s Live Content Suite application, and we are thrilled that the product has finally been released for Mitel 5360 IP phones.
Developed by the InGenius Telephony Software team, this application is truly innovative and forward thinking in the way it embraces personalization and leverages live content.
Live Content Suite has three main parts:
- Live Desktop Portal, a web-based phone programming portal
- Live Blogger, an application for using standard blog tools to deliver custom content to phones
- Live Applications, applications such as LiveTwitter Reader, Live Weather, and Live Flickr that deliver dynamic content to phones
This is just one of the many “Unified Communications 2.0″ applications to come out InGenius and users can expect to see more in the very near future!
Live Content Suite is expected to become available for other Mitel display phone models (5320, 5330, and 5340) in the coming months.
Check out www.livecontentsuite.com to learn more!
InGenius is very happy to be attending ITExpo East in Miami on January 20-23 as members of the Ontario pavilion in Booth 512. We are going to be showing InGenius Connector and all the cool things that it can do to help accelerate and simplify phone communications for those with a Polycom phone, Asterisk switch, BroadSoft Network or Mitel switch.
InGenius Connector has been in beta for the past few months and we are receiving a tremendous response from Polycom sales representatives, Asterisk solution providers, ITSPs and basic end-users about the value and benefits it supplies to them and their customers. Over and over we hear how much people love InGenius Connector and how well it integrates with their Outlook contacts, and Active Directory or LDAP directory. Users just can’t get over the cool Google search functions and how easy the application is to install and use. Once a person starts using InGenius Connector, they really wonder how the ever got along with out it. If you plan on attending ITExpo East please stop by booth 512 and we will be happy to give you a demo of InGenius Connector.
We are at BroadSoft Connections 2009 and we are very happy to introduce InGenius Connector as a fully supported application for the BroadSoft Network.
Combine the power of the Microsoft®, the power of Google®, and the power of Broadsoft to accelerate and simplify all your phone communications with InGenius Connector. InGenius Connector is a PC application that provides click-to-dial capabilities and incoming caller ID screen pop, with full BroadSoft Directory, Microsoft® Outlook® and Active Directory® or LDAP Directory integration. And, InGenius Connector provides integrated web searches with GoogleMaps® and GoogleSearch® to locate and dial new contacts with just a single click. Integrated optional softphone, same great UI!
If you are at BroadSoft Connections we would be happy to give you a demo. Stop by booth 41 and talk with our CEO Dale Gantous, or our CTO Rich Loen. Click here to see a video of InGenius Connector in action!
We’re thrilled to announce the general availability of InGenius SimplER for Mitel 3300s – a simple emergency notification application that emails the appropriate First Responders whenever someone calls 911 (or up to 5 emergency numbers).
InGenius SimplER is designed to work with Mitel’s 3300 systems.
Not only do you know that someone called 911, you also know who that person is and where they sit so that you can respond fast.
How Does SimplER Work?
1. User initiates emergency call.
2. SNMP trap picks up the emergency call at the 3300 switch. SimplER server is notified.
3. SimplER initiates look-up in Active Directory.
4. SimplER generates email to appropriate First Responders.
- Unified Communicator Express
- InGenius Broadcast Alert
- InGenius App Builder
- InGenius simplER
So, what the heck is this stuff?
Mitel Unified Communicator Express
The marketing blurb goes like this:
<blurb> Mitel Unified Communicator® (UC) Express is a lightweight, serverless unified communications client that connects your Mitel business phone with Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Active Directory, Windows Live Messenger, and Windows Desktop Search on your PC. Productivity enhancements like click-to-dial, incoming caller ID pop-up, PC-based missed calls and speed calls list, and personal (Microsoft® Outlook®) directory integration. Available at Mitel. </blurb>
UCX is cool, because it’s a PC telephony client done right. It can optionally run right in your Windows taskbar, and can even be fully utilized from the tray icon. We have spent hundreds of hours trying to make the UI simple, yet extremely functional. You won’t find a huge app popping up every time the phone rings, or when you want to make a call – simply type in a few characters of the name of the person you want to call – and the app will find the number and dial. Nothing pops up or distracts the user.
UCX is the new version of Mitel’s Integrated Office Companion. UCX is an incredible upgrade to IOC, adding many cool features such as:
- Multiple phone profiles: If you have phones at your office, home, and on the road, you can set up phone profiles. UCX will automatically sign onto the phone appropriate for your location,
- Support for Mitel 5330, 5340, and the new 5312 and 5324 phones,
- Excellent support for Vista,
- And, we’re very excited to announce that UCX will soon have a built-in softphone, which you can use when you’re away from your desk.
- UCX is also extendable through TAPI, or our plugin API which we can adapt to your CRM solution, even if web based like salesforce.com. It’s a powerful tool for all employees, not just sales or call center agents.
InGenius Broadcast Alert
Broadcast Alert is a mass notification system that can send alerts to 10′s of thousands of your employees, via alerts that pop up on their PC’s, and their Mitel phones. Features include:
- PC client that’s easy to role out in large installations,
- PC client can display an alert, including an audio alert, and text and graphical instructions, and can even completely lock out the user’s PC – so the user is compelled to leave their office.
- Alerts can be displayed on Mitel’s 5300 series phones – currently supported on the 5340 and 5330 models, and soon on all 53xx phones.
- Alerts can be sent to user specified zones,
- Each Zone can have a custom exit instructions and graphic, allowing you to specify exit instructions for each floor of a building, or each building on campus,
- The system is EXTREMELY easy to maintain – new clients show up in the right zones automatically, without any administrator involvement.
- Users automatically change zones if they are mobile – so a laptop user will automatically join the zone of whatever building they are in as they move about the campus.
InGenius Application Builder
Build HTML applications for your Mitel and Polycom phones using a wizard based online tool.
App Builder is an online tool that makes it easy to create HTML applications for the hospitality industry, with other verticals coming soon.
You simply follow through the wizard, then click on download to obtain a sophisticated HTML application customized for your property.
We’re excited to be demonstrating new support for Polycom phones at IT Expo. Polycom’s phones include colour models which are perfect for use with App Builder. Stop by and check it out!
simplER is a great product for users of Mitel’s 3300 series of switches. simplER monitors your 3300 looking for calls to 911 or any other emergency numbers you specify. When it detects an emergency call in progress, simplER looks up the caller in your Active Directory database, determines the caller’s location and name, then alerts approriate first responders for that office area, building floor, or campus building.
As the name implies, simplER is incredibly easy to configure and maintain, and is extremely flexible in it’s notification options. You can customize the notifications that are sent, and easily manage the notification groups by simply creating Active Directory groups following a simple naming convention.
simplER is an essential tool for EVERY Mitel 3300 system installation.
New and Exciting Stuff we can’t talk about here!
We’ll be highlighting some other exciting new stuff at IT Expo – including solutions for Asterisk users, advanced SIP softphone functionality and more. Please stop by at booth 501!
We’ll be posting photos and more blog entries from the show. Keep checking back for more exciting news from the show!
Application Builder is a tool used to build HTML applications which run on Mitel’s large-screen 5330 and 5340 phones.
Currently, you can build screen saver applications, and hospitality applications – and we’re planning to add many more applications over the next year.
Application Builder is innovative in that dealers or customers can sign up for free, and build trial applications for free. The tool supports online demos – you and your customers can see what your application will look like in our online phone simulator – then when you’re happy, download the application to your Mitel 3300 switch, and phones.
InGenius is happy to be in the company of many excellent finalists, including Alec Saunder’s iotum, another Ottawa firm.
Update: Well, we didn’t make the top 10, but we’re pretty happy with the exposure and recognition of our hard work. Thanks VON!
Iotum just released the first Facebook application I’ve seen that might actually be useful for business use. Their application: “FREE Conference Calls” (what a GREAT name!!!) – allows you to set up conference calls with your buddies on Facebook – AND your friends who aren’t yet on Facebook.
The application has a ton of nice features:
- Just a couple of clicks to set up a call.
- Enter a Time, Subject, and an Agenda,
- Add your Facebook friends or anyone else, by email or by phone number,
And your call is on!
Call quality is pretty good, and the app is very easy to use.
Best Feature: Your friends will receive a Facebook message, email and/or a text message with the call info just before the call! Makes it simple to just click on the phone number in your Blackberry to join the call.
One quibble – it would be nice if the app sent the call organizer an email and SMS message as well. It’s really nice to be able to call in via a simple click.
Step 1: Call Time and Title
Step 3: Invite your Facebook friends, or ANYONE else!
Step 4: Manage and monitor your call
Nicely done Iotum!!
We’re looking around at new applications we can build here at InGenius, and of course, we’re looking at Facebook. One of the neatest things I’m finding about Facebook is the Applications you can load. I tend to keep an eye on my Facebook friends – and checking out what apps they are loading and deleting. The apps tend to be all over the map, from little graphical widgets, to complete, complex applications. It’s a nice thing that Facebook has done better than Flickr, MySpace, et al.
But, how long is Facebook going to be around, and be king? I’ve talked to a few people lately who say they are moving AWAY from Facebook! It was taking up too much of their time, and they weren’t getting much out of it aside from browsing photos. A year ago, we would have been considering doing an app for MySpace – but that isn’t even on our radar now. I’m wondering, is Facebook peaking now? If we’re going to spend the money developing an app, is Facebook the way to go? What will be next?
And, let me know if you find any cool Facebook apps – especially telephony ones!
I mentioned a few days ago that my patent application had been picked up by ZDNet and Alec Saunders. I’m excited to report that today, it was on Engadget! It’s interesting to be mentioned on a blog I read daily!
And HERE on this blog.
Our latest application, Intelligent Directory, is in customer trials now – and should be released to the public in June!
To quote the marketing material:
The Mitel 5300 Intelligent Directory application provides a simple, intuitive on-screen searchable directory of both corporate and personal contacts right on your phone display. The 5300 Intelligent Directory application is available on Mitel 5330/5340 sets.
The 5300 Intelligent Directory Application and Presence Upgrade automatically pull information from three different sources:
- Microsoft Active Directory Server for corporate phone numbers
- Microsoft Exchange Server Contacts for personal contact phone numbers
- Microsoft Live Communication Server for presence information in the case of Presence Upgrade.
The 5300 Intelligent Directory application lists names and phone numbers, and allows users to search on the phone for names and numbers, using the very familiar keypad search that users are accustomed to on their cellphones and handheld devices.
- Extremely intuitive and easy to use – phone numbers are where you need them, on your phone.
- Instant phone number updates. When a new person is added to the centralized Microsoft Active, their phone numbers are automatically available to all 5300 Intelligent Directory users.
- Less administration, less expense, more accuracy. No more need to separately maintain corporate phone books for internal use.
- Up to 5 phone numbers can be displayed per person (corporate, cell, home, etc.).
- One-touch dialing – numbers selected are instantly dialed.
- Automatically displays a dynamic list of recent calls on default home screen.
- Add your favorite numbers to your home screen.
- Uses Microsoft dialing rules to automatically insert dialing prefixes when numbers are dialed.
- Supports Hot-Desking. 5300 Intelligent Directory requires users to enter their password to access personal contacts in Microsoft Exchange.
With Presence Upgrade, LCS Presence status is displayed beside the contact name, indicating whether he or she is available. With just a glance at the phone, users can determine whether and when to make that important call.
The application is structured as a .Net application that runs on Microsoft’s IIS Web Server, and uses a web service to connect to Active Directory, Exchange, and LCS. The architecture is shown below:
The application will be available soon – check HERE for updates.
And, if you just can’t wait, try it out on our HTML application demo page HERE!
I was surprised this week to discover that a patent application we had submitted a year ago was “in the news” on a few blogs.
We first got wind of it through Alec Saunder’s excellent VoIP blog – HE was surprised to see a reference to the Ottawa Senators in a patent application – just our little nod to the team!
And Alec found the patent app through Russel Shaw’s IP Telephony blog over at ZD Net. Russel apparently scans all new patent applications, looking for interesting VoIP applications, and ours made the grade.
Our patent application covers some of the applications that InGenius’ TelML technology makes possible on IP Phone sets with larger screens. Stuff like News, Weather, Sports, and advertizing on you kitchen phone. Very cool stuff – that we’re implementing now for a number of customers.
In fact, we’re releasing our first TelML-based product in the next couple of weeks – it’s called Intelligent Directory, and it allows access to your corporate Active Directory, including presence, from the screen of your phone! Think of it as a super intelligent and useful phonebook, that ties into your Active Directory,your personal Outlook contacts, and LCS/OCS for presence info – with easy searching based on name or company. It’s a great application, only possible due to Mitel’s adoption of our TelML technology on their desktop screen phones.