The Benefits of Regulations

A lot of the time, regulations get a very bad press. We moan about paperwork. We panic at the mention of audits. Sweat breaks out on foreheads when we are faced with our paperwork being scrutinised. Even the mention of a tax audit has been known to reduce a company accountant to tears.

But sometimes regulations can work in our favour.

A gas fitter with the appropriate certification, for instance, is far preferable to one without. Or your dentist. Would you be happy to discover that the dentist you had been going to for years was not actually qualified in dentistry?

So, despite our reservations at the start, we have to admit that regulations can occasionally be acceptable. Sometimes, they may even be desirable!

In the world of internet telephony, we have our fair share of guidelines and legislation. The arena of telecoms is just as regulated as any other industry, perhaps more so.

Ofcom is the overseeing body tasked with regulating our phone and broadband, TV and radio. They regularly issue guidelines and briefing notes.

ITSPA (The Internet Telephony Providers Association) oversees telephony over the internet. As a VoIP Provider, it is particularly relevant to how we operate. Along with Ofcom, this is our main source of industry updates, legislative changes and technology notifications.

ITSPA also serves as a database of VoIP Providers. Any reputable Provider will be listed on the ITSPA website.

In addition, it serves a number of important industry functions. ITSPA allocates awards every year for those which it feels have made an outstanding contribution in their field. This is a great guide for ascertaining the best or most innovative VoIP Providers, those with great customer service or those dedicated to technological innovation.

At SureVoIP, we have been lucky enough to be Finalists in ITSPA’s awards 13 times, in a variety of categories. We were very pleased to win the ‘Best Business ITSP for Medium Enterprises in 2016. We regularly feature in the Finalist list for our innovative VoIP developments. This year we were a Finalist for our Customer Portal in the ‘Best VoIP Infrastructure’ category.

How ITSPA contributes to the VoIP industry

More on their Awards

More on Ofcom and telecoms

More on our 2016 Award win

ITSPA – Improving VoIP for Customers and Providers

You may have heard of ITSPA – the Internet Telephony Service Providers' Association. What you may not know is the important contribution they make to the field, or the ways they help both customers and providers.

 

One of the main ways ITSPA helps customers is by providing free, impartial advice. You can read through their website to find all the latest news in the VoIP arena. You can read through their list of approved Providers, see who has been awarded their Quality Mark, and see who has won their annual Awards.

 

Their annual award is a no-expense spared affair. Hopeful entrants turn up in formal attire, waiting to hear if they have been successful. ITSPA have a history of providing lavish locations for the award ceremony. Last year the ceremony was hosted at the National Theatre in London. This year, it is being held at the Tower of London!

 

In keeping with the prestigious atmosphere which surrounds the ceremony, attendees receive an all-day pass to the Tower, and drinks and canapés are served.

The Awards are regularly attended by the main brands familiar in the VoIP field.

The Tower of LondonIt is a great resource to see the most respected, and respectable, VoIP Providers.

They run Awards covering various categories of VoIP Provider.

 

 

The Best Business ITSP for Small Enterprise will be of particular interest if you own or manage a small company. This lets you see the best Provider operating in the market place who have been given the ITSPA award.

 

Providers operating in this arena are generally good at servicing smaller requests, offering applicable products and services. Communication must be of a high standard, and the end user should be guided through the enquiry stage, and beyond. The Provider's Technical Support must also be able to assist those who's VoIP knowledge may be limited. Companies in this bracket are unlikely to have an advanced level of technical knowledge. They rely on their Provider to guide them, offering applicable products and reviewing these products to keep abreast of customer requirements.

 

SureVoIP® are Finalists in this award category for 2017.

 

The Best Business ITSP for Medium Enterprise will interest you if are involved with a larger company. Medium sized companies will have a different list of interests and requirements, and this will be reflected in their VoIP needs.

 

They are more likely to have more involved call routing, use advanced service functions, and require a different level of support. They are more likely to have more knowledge in the field, either through experience or through having performed research.

Supporting this level of customer requires a different skill set. They are more likely to have larger numbers of users, but will probably not be big enough to have specialist IT or telecoms staff on site. Therefore, providers working with this market segment need a specific set of skills and resources.

As with any VoIP service, the infrastructure behind-the-scenes must be solid and robust. Both call quality and resilience rely on this fact.

The feature set must be applicable to organisations of this size. This market segment is far removed from the cheap call, low quality approach. They are likely to require Conferencing, IVR menus, Call Recording and Music on Hold at the very least. Whichever VoIP Provider is chosen must be able to deliver these requirements, and others.

Providers in this category must deliver a robust, resilient service with a focus on quality. VoIP services must include the most-used features and functions, and some development work in response to customer requests would also count highly. Customers in this category require a responsive, proactive Provider, able to develop and deliver contemporary services in-line with current customer expectations.

 

SureVoIP® won this category outright in 2016.

 

 The Best Business ITSP for Corporate Enterprise is an award which will be monitored by larger organisations using VoIP.

 

Providers in this category are required to work with contacts from a variety of departments. The Provider must have their own administrative system efficient and fit for purpose. They will be required to liaise with many different contacts, from IT and telecoms people to purchasing, invoicing and end users. Many of these will have limited knowledge as to VoIP. Providers must be capable and willing to help. A snobby, superior attitude to those with limited IT knowledge might be funny in sitcoms like 'The IT Crowd', but it won't win any new customers – in fact it will probably lose you some!

Providers will be required to work with users from all lines of work, and must be equally prepared to listen to all. Not everyone will be a member of the IT department, or have previous experience in setting up telecoms equipment.

By the same token, Providers in this category must be flexible. They will also be required to work with professionals with in-depth industry knowledge.

This can be a fast-paced environment, relying heavily on documentation, and controlled work-flows. All aspects of changes, solutions and specifications will be recorded. Transparency is required at all stages and within all processes. All service aspects must be fully and diligently recorded. It must be possible to undo anything which has been done, and for any other Technical Team member to effect any changes required.

Customers in this category require a very high level of expertise. Services and solutions need to be cutting-edge. Staff need to be trained and experience, and the Provider needs a forward looking approach to technical development and innovation.

Providers will be required to support advanced equipment, supply advanced features, and handle enquiries from staff from all departments, from IT to HR.

A full-time, experienced technical team will be required, with the appropriate infrastructure and resources behind them.

 

SureVoIP® are Finalists in this award category for 2017.

The ITSPA Awards. Who are they, what are the awards for and why you should care

ITSPA stands for the Internet Telephony Service Providers’ Association. It is the governing body which oversees the VoIP industry in the UK.

 

They give awards to UK VoIP providers, covering delivery of VoIP services to Small, Medium and Corporate sized organisations. They also give awards for Infrastructure (the network behind-the-scenes, the stuff that makes a VoIP service work that you don’t see), and providing VoIP on-site equipment.

 

ITSPA as an organisation is important for a number of reasons. It provides a voice for the industry, providing effective lobbying on any regulatory issues. It spearheads industry initiatives, and ensures the VoIP industry is working to continually benefit end users. It also helps publicise VoIP technology to the general public, and provides a forum for issues and debate.

 

The reason why ITSPA is important to you, the consumer, is that it gives a level of reassurance when researching any prospective ITSP.

 

More about ITSPA.

 

Ultimately, ITSPA gives the customer reassurance, a level of insight into VoIP companies, and an insight into VoIP in general. It is a very interesting site to read and learn from, and they are impartial and unbiased. They are a good source of information on VoIP, and a great place to check out any potential suppliers. ITSPA give out their Quality Mark to selected providers, and this gives reassurance to customers and potential customers. Not every provider is chosen for their Quality Mark, so a provider displaying it should be more reputable. The Quality Mark only goes to companies who can prove their platform and service is robust and reliable (taken as a measurement to be 99.99% availability between 8am and 8pm throughout the working week). Providers are required to adhere to the ITSPA Code of Practice and Best Practice Guidance, ensuring that the customer gains a quality-focussed ITSP working in keeping with modern business practice.

 

Compliance with Data Protection and Data Retention legislation, fraud prevention measures, complaints handling policies and other technical and legislative checks are indicated by issuing a Quality Mark. The consumer who wishes to know more now only has to check the ITSPA website to ensure compliance for any prospective ITSP. By checking if they have the ITSPA Quality Mark, anyone can check at a stroke a potential provider’s compliance with a range of requirements, commitment to the VoIP field, and commitment to customer care.

 

ITSPA gives annual awards to VoIP providers working in the UK. They break the market down into categories. This year, the categories were Best Business ITSP (Small Enterprise), Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise), Best Business ITSP (Corporate), Best VoIP CPE (Customer Premises equipment), Best VoIP Infrastructure, and Best VoIP Innovation. They also award the Best UK VoIP Reseller, and allows the members of ITSPA to pick one further company who they feel has made a significant contribution to the VoIP industry.

 

As the industry governing body, ITSPA has a great deal resting on their reputation and credibility, and this is reflected in the awards process. All entrants are vetted carefully, and must submit their systems to two months’ of testing performed by an independent organisation prior to entering any award categories.

 

More on the 2017 ITSPA Awards.

 

SureVoIP has been nominated as a Finalist in two categories this year, Best Business ITSP (Corporate) and Best Business ITSP (Small Enterprise).

 

SureVoIP has a good track records at the Awards, being a Finalist in these two categories last year, and winning Best Business ITSP for Medium-sized business.

 

It is important to remember that the ITSPA Awards are not based on Marketing activity or market share – they are focussed on infrastructure, processes and innovation. The things which makes a real difference to customer’s lives.

 

More on the Quality Mark.

 

More about SureVoIP’s awards.

SureVoIP win Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise) 2016!

Dear all, I’m extremely happy to announce (if you haven’t already seen my bombardment of pics on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook) that SureVoIP won the ITSPA Award for Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise) 2016 (that’s in the whole of the UK!). SureVoIP – Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise) Winner 2016   It was a great afternoon in London. I knew there was a Highly Commended category, so was at least hoping for that, but when we won I couldn’t believe it. My speech went like this:

We’ve never won anything like this before, but I’d like to thank all our Customers, Resellers and Partners for trusting us as their VoIP service provider and for their business. I’d like to thank the SureVoIP Team for all their hard work and finally I’d like to place a special thank you to all Open Source software projects. Without them, no telecom company would be in business.

Cheesy, but true! Let’s not forget our news last month regarding the ITSPA Quality Mark and that we were also Finalists for Best Business ITSP (Corporate) and Best VoIP Infrastructure. So finally, thank you for trusting SureVoIP with your business communications service. Gavin. Notes: It was extremely tough competition, but the requirements were: Outline The company winning this category has provided the best all round voice service to medium size businesses. This company provides a good selection of business features, including multiple telephone numbers; call queuing as well as support for remote workers. Eligibility The Award is open to companies offering a VoIP service to medium size enterprises for more than 10 and less than 150 employees/seats. It must offer a full telephony service (including connectivity to and from the PSTN, using standard UK DID numbers and with access to the emergency services). Judging panel companies are not permitted to enter the application process. Entrance Requirements Entrants will be subject to a round of technical testing performed by Malden Electronics. Providing benchmark scores are met, the application will then proceed through the judging process based on the entrants written self-assessment. Scoring

  1. Business performance (25%) – This section should include details about how the service operates and how it has proven both popular with customers and successful for the business over the past twelve months. It should outline how it ensures the necessary business grade quality and resilience for Medium sized businesses and why it particularly provides value for companies of that size. Any details or information around how the business has grown in recent years are welcome.
  2. Innovation (25%) This section should outline how you differentiate your service to other competitors. It should also include details around new services launched and additional features integrated over the past twelve months.
  3. Customer Service (25%) This section should clearly outline the efforts the company provides to ensure excellent customer service. Details outlining the pre-sales approach to installation and in-life support and maintenance are required. An outline of your complaint handling procedures, your number portability policy and ways of communicating with the public (on your website or elsewhere) would be welcome.
  4. Case Study (25%) Provide a comprehensive example of how your service has been deployed successfully in practice over the past 12 months.

 

SureVoIP a finalist in three ITSPA Award categories

A big thank you to all our customers, resellers and partners! Without your success in business, we would not be here.

It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce that SureVoIP has made the finalists’ shortlist for three 2016 ITSPA Awards!

Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise):

The company winning this category must provide the best all round voice service to medium size businesses. This company has to provide a good selection of business features, including multiple telephone numbers; call queuing as well as support for remote workers

Best Business ITSP (Corporate):

The company winning this category must provide excellent voice services to corporate businesses or other large organisations. This company must demonstrate impressive business performance, innovation and customer service and details an exemplary case study. This company has to provide a good selection of business features, such as multiple telephone numbers, call queuing and support for remote workers.

Best VoIP Infrastructure:

This award focuses on companies providing back end services for VoIP providers and equipment that is typically hosted at the ITSP’s Data Centre. All entrants must provide specifications for the relevant service or piece of equipment. The scope of the equipment will include Hard & Soft Switches, Gateways, Session Border Controllers, Firewalls, QoS enabled switches, etc.

The SureVoIP IP Network is a finalist in this category.

The Awards ceremony will take place on 11th May 2016 at The Deck, National Theatre in London.

SureVoIP Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise) 2015 Finalist

SureVoIP is delighted to make the finalists’ shortlist for the 2015 ITSPA Best Business ITSP (Medium Enterprise) award.

The Award is open to companies offering a VoIP service to medium size enterprises for more than 10 and less than 150 employees/seats.

The company winning this category must provide the best all round voice service to medium size businesses. This company has to provide a good selection of business features, including multiple telephone numbers; call queuing as well as support for remote workers.

Entrants were also required to submit details of its operation, a case study for review and undergo two months of technical testing which examined reliability, stability and quality of its VoIP service. A panel of independent experts have chosen the winners based on their written self-assessments and providing they have passed the benchmark testing metrics.

The winners are announced on the 19th March 2015.

SureVoIP is now an independent IP network operator and 2014

Dear all,

Some of you will already know that currently SureVoIP rents servers in London and owns and co-locates some in Edinburgh. This is all about to change. Those of you that follow SureVoIP on Twitter and read the SureVoIP Blog or have chatted to me personally at GraniteExpo 2013 last month will already know all about this.

As of now we are an independent ISP, but more specifically an Internet Telephony Service Provider in our own right. We made our first test VoIP call last week across are new network. Here are the details and what you can expect this to bring to our SureVoIP Partners, your customer and our direct customers. This has been fully self-funded (and fully paid for outright) via your hard work which is now almost fully deployed:

  • Juniper and Cisco based with an on site 4 hour response support SLA
  • Full Out of Band management network
  • RIPE LIR – https://stat.ripe.net/as199659
  • IPv4 and IPv6 based using our directly assigned IP address allocations
  • Based in Telehouse East – full rack and directly contracted with Telehouse
  • Small PoP in Edinburgh which will be expanded once we join IXScotland
  • Level3 Tier 1 provider for transit – directly contracted with Level3
  • NTT Tier 1 provider for transit – directly contracted with NTT
  • Members of LINX (London Internet Exchange) –  Check the members page – https://www.linx.net/about/memberlist/letter/S
  • Fluidata interconnect for full UK coverage in order to for us to provide internet connectivity which is VoIP optimised. This includes ADSL, FTTX, EFM, Leased lines, VPLS and MPLS services (we can start doing quotations for you now)
  • Interconnect/peering with current ISP partners
  • Interconnecting with BT Wholesale (via physical fibres) and existing carriers
  • All on-net access meaning VoIP calls from our internet products do not cross the public internet
  • Those of you that wish to host VoIP equipment with us and be physically connected, now can be
  • SLA’s when using our own connectivity products
  • New SIP security platform allowing fully encrypted SIP trunks (which is currently only available on hosted handset calls)
  • IPv6 VoIP ability
  • Broadband with no general internet access for security, allowing low cost VoIP optimised connectivity directly in to our platforms
  • New dual services using SRV records and/or two IP addresses, no more Primary and Secondary
  • Much more contracted control with less hops (try pinging/traceroute to 185.8.92.61-62 versus sip.surevoip.co.uk)
  • Connected to the core of the UK internet
  • Microsoft Lync compatible SIP trunks using new security platform (including Office365 Enterprise)
  • Members of IXScotland Steering Committee
  • New public access contacts platform available via our public LDAP servers – ldap.surevoip.co.uk – sync with LinkedIn, Google etc.
  • New portal coming for billing with call packages, partner access, per customer tariffs and discount, nice invoices with call stats and graphs which is all driven by the SureVoIP API
  • Partner access monitoring platform to monitor your customers IP networks and services

as well as all of above the following things are ongoing:

That’s a lot to digest and I’m sure you have tons of questions! We’ll keep you updated on the migration plans and new IP addresses too.

Lastly, don’t forget our opening hours for the Christmas period.

Thanks,

Gavin.

SureVoIP and the SureVoIP VoIP API finalists for the 2013 ITSPA Awards

Just a quick one to say that we made it! We are finalists for two ITSPA awards!

We entered the SureVoIP Telecoms Cloud VoIP API in to the “Most Innovative VoIP Product/Service” category and SureVoIP for the “Best Business ITSP (Small Enterprise)”. See the 2013 ITSPA Awards for more info.

Thanks to everyone for supporting us and being our customers!

We’ve doubled our VoIP capacity again due to growth in 2012 and our 2013 plans

Hi all,

Hope you’re having a great year too? With 2012 almost coming to an end it’s time to just summarise where we are and what’s been happening in our world of VoIP.

We’ve now doubled our VoIP capacity with BT wholesale again to meet upcoming business in 2013. What else? Here’s a quick list as I know you’re very busy:

  • We have secured funding from the Scottish Business Gateway for a new business plan and sales and marketing work. This is paving the way for us to develop our own ISP related to VoIP in 2013. It is also helping with a new marketing video, website revamp, better purchase experience so your products are instantly live and a new customer and partner portal (plus other things)
  • We’ve joined RIPE – those techies of you will know this is the first step to running your own Broadband and other connectivity products
  • We’ve entered the ITSPA Awards again have high hopes we’ll win it
  • Our iPhone app is getting shown to us this month which is being developed in partnership with RGU
  • We’re closed for Christmas (I hope you are too)
  • We’re launching a brand new conferencing and web meeting product (more this month but it is a real game changer)
  • We’re moving office so we can accommodate more staff
  • We’re working hard on the most requested feature which is call packages
  • The SureVoIP API developer portal will be ready after the new year
  • SureVoIP partners are using the API in some cool ways

We’ve a couple of press releases out before the year end so keep an eye out. How has your year been?

Thanks,

Gavin.

P.S. Have you seen our SureVoIP 5 star reviews?

SureVoIP Launches Innovative API

Aberdeen-based communications company SureVoIP has just launched an innovative API (application programming interface) which will provide an even better service for customers and partners and allow 100% self-service and interaction with the SureVoIP suite of products and services.

To ensure communications with other products and services, the company has just launched what is believed to be UK VoIP’s first publicly available and documented Application Programming Interface (API) beta of this kind.

Commenting on the move, SureVoIP managing director Gavin Henry said: “It is vital for us to remain at the forefront of technology and it is anticipated that this API will further enhance our ability to provide the broadest possible spectrum to all customers and partners, existing or potential.

“The SureVoIP API can be used to send SMS messages, faxes, generate telephone calls, manage accounts and telephone numbers, subscribe to event notifications and use a feature called OAuth 2.0 which allows third parties to create Apps like those for Twitter and Facebook.

“Various partnerships have been put in place to maximise adoption and many of our existing customers are already incorporating this API into their Mobile App strategy. Because of this, SureVoIP has also started development work on its own mobile app for customers and partners as well as a long list of exciting new ways to make a telephone call.”

SureVoIP is regulated by Ofcom, is a member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and is a finalist in that organisation’s 2012 awards. The company is also the holder of an ITSPA Quality Mark accreditation. For further information visit www.surevoip.co.uk or call 01224 900123 or email sales@surevoip.co.uk

Notes to Editors

SureVoIP is a leading Internet Telephone Service Provider and is part of the Suretec Group. Based at Bridge of Don, Aberdeen the company has worked in locations as diverse as Canada, Nepal, the Netherlands and the Seychelles. The company is a member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and is regulated by Ofcom. For further information visit www.surevoip.co.uk or call 01224 900123.