Since our last new features webinar in April, we’ve added more features to PortaSwitch; went from v1.0 to v1.5 for PortaBI, and created a WebRTC module that will help your customers stay connected using just their PC/tablet even when working remotely. Recently, we held a new webinar covering all of these updates. Here’s a quick summary, a list of top Q&As, and a full recording of the event so you can stay informed even if you’ve missed the live webinar.
We started off with a review of the new features added in MR85-88:
- Long-term commitments to increase customer lifetime value. A CSP can now offer a discounted price in exchange for a customer's commitment to keep using the service for a set period, e.g., two years. If a customer stops using the service before the commitment period expires, the system automatically applies a penalty to recoup the provided discounts.
- Tools to ensure a better debt collection process. If a customer has an unpaid bill, a CSP can now apply a late payment fee and even limit services (e.g., reduce Internet bandwidth). After the overdue invoices and late payment fees are paid, the system will automatically restore service in full. And if these tools still don’t help get the overdue invoices paid, PortaSwitch can be set to automatically terminate the customer or the commitment after a certain period of time.
- Web UI to track the provisioning status for third-party systems in PortaBilling and save time on troubleshooting. You can now see all configuration events to be delivered to external systems in the PortaBilling web UI: filter events by status (successful or failed), or browse the logs of unsuccessful provisioning attempts to investigate errors. Once the error is fixed, you can reprovision the third-party system in a single click.
- Batch mobile account generation to enable fast and easy distribution of prepaid SIM cards. Mobile operators can now easily involve distributors in selling ready-to-use SIM cards to a large number of end users: just launch the generation of accounts, and quickly allocate them to distributors.
- PortaSwitch support for Opus codec transcoding. This new feature allows a browser-initiated call to connect to any system that doesn’t support Opus, one of the “standard” WebRTC codecs.
Next, we covered all of the third-party integrations that we’ve recently developed:
- Integrating payment processors via iPaaS. Previously, you had to update the whole system to get the maintenance release that includes the desired new payment processor – a long and resource-intensive process. Using PortaOne iPaaS it takes only 2-3 weeks to develop and deploy in the cloud an integration with a brand new payment processor! And once the new module is active in iPaaS, activating it in your PortaSwitch system (MR87 or higher) takes 10-20 minutes and only requires you to apply a new configuration, without any changes in the code. Connecting to iPaaS payment processors is even possible for older releases of PortaSwitch (MR 55-86) - it requires installing an iPaaS connector via patch, though (but still, no full update is required!).
- Zendesk ticketing solution. We’ve enabled an integration with this industry-leading customer support service, so now you can enjoy the benefits of Zendesk (i.e., connect with your customers on any channel without losing context, gain a comprehensive view of the entire customer journey) and save huge amounts of time for your support agents.
PortaBilling customer records and contact information is delivered to Zendesk, so first-level support can use a single UI for all operations. The data sync works the other way too: PortaBilling administrators can see the customer’s list of Zendesk tickets on the PortaBilling web interface and open a specific ticket with a single click.
To enable the integration, you need to install a PortaBilling sync app in your Zendesk account, and configure the connection from PortaBilling to Zendesk. If you do not have a Zendesk account yet, contact your CSM – they’ll be happy to help create a Zendesk account for you and will ensure that it’s properly enabled for the integrations.
- Microsoft Active directory. With this integration, CSPs can now improve infrastructure security by managing users within a centralized register and allowing those users to access all corporate resources (including PortaBilling) with a single set of credentials.
During the webinar, we also briefly explained iPaaS Workflows and how it helps you connect new systems (like CRM or an accounting software) to your existing technology stack using a visual low-code platform. For more detailed information and even a real-time demo, re-watch our recent iPaaS Workflows webinar.
Finally, we offered an overview of all our new products:
- WebRTC module for PortaSwitch. This alternative to IP phones allows subscribers to save on communication equipment costs when switching to a remote office. Subscribers can send and receive audio and video calls and record conversations using only a web browser. The WebRTC component can be embedded into third-party websites to provide features, like an "instantly call our sales rep" link – so CSPs can offer this as a value-added service. The module is delivered via iPaaS, so setup is super fast: in fact, it will only take 20 minutes once the iPaaS subscription has been configured.
- Self-care portals via iPaaS. Customized self-care portals allow for a better user experience and reduce the load on your customer service team. You can deploy a new portal within a couple of days, and with no need for a PortaSwitch update. Use a portal developed by PortaOne (we already have a SIP trunking portal, and the one for IP Centrex is under development), or create one that will meet your specific requirements and deliver it via iPaaS.
- PortaBI. This product has gone through several new releases since we first presented it in April. In PortaBI 1.4, for example, we introduced an alerts and notifications service that allows you to monitor important indicators and react immediately if certain values cross the threshold. And now with PortaBI 1.5, we’ve launched advanced metrics that show the actual profitability of a specific customer or product – even complex products that involve subscriptions and bundles of free minutes/megabytes.
Top Webinar Q&As
Q: Does the WebRTC solution allow downloading call records in bulk?
A: The WebRTC module we demoed is an initial version and, so far, it doesn’t allow bulk downloads of call records. But the good news is that this initial version can and will be enhanced further – we have plans for more developments, and we want to hear your enhancement requests, too! Please contact us and share which WebRTC solution you need for your project so that we can give you the product you need. Also, please mind that the WebRTC module can be licensed as an SDK – so you can embed it into your own web portal or totally re-do the GUI.
Q: Can I use PortaBI to analyze CDRs and to get statistics on calls per destination over time (days, weeks or months), minutes per destination over time or cost versus revenue of minutes?
A: This is exactly what PortaBI does. In addition to a set of predefined reports with visual data on products, usage, revenue, profitability, subscriber dynamics, top vendors, and top customers, PortaBI also allows you to create your own custom reports – using a simple, intuitive UI tool and without involving programming tools such as SQL. You can arrange a free-of-charge 14-day trial of PortaBI – the trial will run with your actual data and will include an on-boarding session with PortaOne staff.
Q: Is your iPaaS solution PCI DSS compliant?
A: Payment processors like Stripe support token-based payments, so they store credit card information on their side. That means the iPaaS module merely passes the credit card data to the payment processor and receives a token (randomly generated ID of the credit card, stored on the payment processor side) in return, which is then stored in PortaBilling. This way, there is no actual credit card data stored on the CSP’s side and, hence, there is no need to pass PCI DSS certification.
Do you have questions about any of our new releases and products that weren’t covered here? Remember that you can get in touch with us and get them answered absolutely any time. We’re always here to give you all the details you need on how you can benefit from our products and services – and even more.