Why Forums Work

Why Forums Work

Online forums have been bringing industries together for decades. They are a great way to foster a sense of community and encourage peer-to-peer interactions. Overall, they improve the engagement of similar players in the industry. 

The Bicom Systems Partner Forum launched early in the year of 2021. The forum is exclusive to resellers, distributors, and partners of Bicom Systems. We found many users who think alike and ask similar questions, so we created a safe space for all. 

There are many benefits to forums and reasons why people use them. When your immediate network of friends and family can not help you, forums are a great way to connect you to strangers who understand what we’re talking about, how you feel and what you need.

The similarity between members is what makes forums so successful. We like ‘people like us’. Moms want to talk to other moms. Food bloggers with chefs. Fitness groups who share a passion for healthy living. People like to share a connection, a sense of trust and understanding.

Don’t believe us? Take a look at a few threads we gathered to showcase as examples. 

EXAMPLE # 1 – Billing Biz

Partner #1 asks:
“What are other partners using to bill for Toll-Free and International usage from PBXware CDRs?”

The partner was looking for recommendations for external billing solutions compatible with the Bicom Systems software suite. Responses from other resellers and distributors came flooding in!

Response #1:
“Hi Partner, we offer a fully featured billing platform for Telco CDR Rating and UCaaS Billing. It is a very flexible and easy-to-implement platform. Please feel free to email me; we would be happy to help!”

Response #2:
“Hey, Partner! We recommend this billing system, and I built a macro in Excel to tear down the CDR report from the Bicom Systems platform, and it sorts out only the billable minutes! Our billing structure is set up and most of our customers are set to unlimited usage, so, there is not a huge file to parse. That being said, I imagine you could work with them to build something that fits your needs using the Bicom Systems API.”

Response #3: “We use a Bicom Systems partner, Bandwidth!” 

And just like that, the partner has many options and recommendations to sort through. Forums like this are extremely helpful because companies have different needs and desires. But at the same time, people share their personal experiences so users can trust their endorsements.

EXAMPLE #2 Old Age Hardware

Premium Partner Asks:
“I wonder if anyone ran into a situation where you had an implementation of a nursing home or a hotel, and they wanted to keep their old wireline infrastructure for the Rooms. What solutions do you propose for this?”

Response #1:
“Hi, Partner! Hopefully, I understand you correctly. We had a client with many analog lines/wires and phones that they needed to keep but wanted to move to VoIP/PBXware. We ended up going with the rack-mountable 48-port Grandstream GXW4248.

The 48 port unit comes with two 50-pin Telco connectors, which the customer already had in place, so these replaced what was already there nicely. If needed, we could have broken these connectors into individual wires and spliced them using a punch-down block or individual button splices. The smaller units appear to have analog jacks, which is also an option.

The GUI of this device is super intuitive and easy to use. Each analog wire pair has a section in the interface to add your SIP Username, SIP Password, and Server Address credentials. You are basically done/registered unless you want a more detailed configuration (various timers, auto-hot-dial, etc.).”

Response #2:
“The Grandstream ATA is the way to go! I have 300 patient rooms run remotely from MT PBXware. Those ATAs are always in my toolbox. You can’t beat ‘em.”

Response #3:
“We have also used the same Grandstream solution in some large Adult Living Facilities. As others said, they are a reliable and solid solution.”

As we see above, not only do we have a strong recommendation, but other partners also backed it! This example perfectly showcases the benefits of an online community such as a forum. 

Are you a Bicom Systems partner and NOT part of the forum? Connect with our Business Success team here, and they can get you started. Are you interested in becoming a Bicom Systems partner? Contact our Sales team for a free demo! 

Let’s Connect.
📞 +1 (647) 313 1515
📧 sales@bicomsystems.com
💻 www.bicomsystems.com/contact-us   

Tele2 switches on 5G in Lithuania’s capital

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WIOCC Group secures $30 million equity investment from IFC to support Africa’s digital infrastructure expansion

Press release

IFC Equity Investment in WIOCC Group to Support Africa’s Digital Infrastructure Expansion.

To improve access to quality broadband internet and data hosting services for homes and businesses in Africa, IFC today announced it is expanding its relationship with West Indian Ocean Cable Company Holding Ltd (WIOCC Group), a leading digital connectivity and infrastructure provider in Africa, with a $30 million equity investment. The new investment will support WIOCC Group’s continued rollout of terrestrial fiber-optic networks, investment in new subsea cables, and the launch of world-class, open-access core and edge data center infrastructure across the continent.

Digital infrastructure is the backbone of Africa’s internet economy. Ongoing investment in fiber optic networks and data centers will allow increased access to more affordable and higher-speed internet across the African continent, according to eConomy Africa 2020, a report by IFC and Google. This expanded access could yield significant economic gains: a 10 percent increase in mobile broadband penetration in Africa would yield a 2.5 percent increase in GDP per capita, notes a study by the International Telecommunication Union.

IFC’s digital infrastructure strategy in Africa is aimed at enabling reliable, and affordable connectivity. This includes investing in the growth of independent tower operators, data centers and broadband, as well as supporting mobile operators, with an emphasis on supporting expanded connectivity in fragile and conflict situations (FCS) and low-Income International Development Association countries (LIC-IDA).

In the past fiscal year (July 1, 2021–June 2022), 34 percent of IFC’s digital infrastructure investments were in FCS and IDA countries.

Over the last decade, IFC committed and mobilized more than $7 billion in digital infrastructure and services, with more than $2.5 billion between July 2020 and June 2022. In addition to providing financing, IFC supports investees to improve corporate governance and align environmental and social practices with IFC’s performance standards.

“At IFC, we recognize that there is a critical need for reliable digital infrastructure, which is fundamental to improving the quality of people’s lives and driving business growth,” said Mohamed Gouled, IFC Vice President of Industries, during a signing ceremony with WIOCC Group today in London. “In the past fiscal year, ending in June 2022, IFC invested $1.3 billion in digital infrastructure, with over half of those investments taking place in Africa’s telecommunications, media, and technology sector. Our partnership with WIOCC Group underscores IFC’s commitment to closing the digital divide in Africa.”

IFC’s equity investment builds on its previous financing to WIOCC Group, in the form of a $20 million loan issued in 2020 via IFC’s fast-track COVID-19 financing facility, a facility set up to help sustain economies and preserve jobs during the pandemic crisis.

“IFC is a true strategic partner that has been there for us since the start. IFC’s role as one of the founding lenders in 2007 was critical in enabling WIOCC Group to grow and thrive. This new investment supports our goal of establishing an integrated, open-access, core-to-edge cloud ecosystem throughout the African continent, underpinned by truly scalable, carrier-neutral, open access, shared infrastructure that delivers high-quality and affordable digital connectivity,” said Chris Wood, WIOCC Group Chief Executive Officer. “By decentralizing the cloud and enabling content delivery to the point of use, we are establishing the infrastructure required to expedite successful deployment and adoption of 5G, the Internet of Things and other key developments that will deliver economic growth throughout the 2020s.”

Featured image is WIOCC Group CEO Chris Wood (left) shaking hands with IFC Vice President of Industries Mohamed Gouled (right).

Cable upgrade announced for CFX-1 and EWC submarine cable networks

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Telecoms could benefit from changes to shortage occupations list


There’s not much positive press for Liz Truss at the moment, but one change from the UK Prime Minister which is likely to be better received is a review of Britain’s visa system which could benefit the telecom sector.

The government is set to review the “shortage occupation list” which will enable certain industries  more freedom to employ staff from overseas – including, as widely reported, broadband engineers.

The changes would mean a relaxation of requirements around speaking English and simplified entry for migrants from outside the EU with lower visa fees and no employer requirement to prove that there is no suitable local worker for the role.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) welcomed the review saying “Guarding against skills and labour shortages can simultaneously help keep inflation in check while ensuring firms have the people they need to grow, benefiting everyone.”

The Times newspaper reported Truss specifically mentioning the need to recruit broadband engineers from abroad so they can help fulfil a Government promise to ensure 85% of homes have access to full-fibre broadband.

The telecom sector has long recognised it’s skills shortage with various initiatives undertaken to try to address the situation, including Telcom Group and their Telecoms Engineer Bootcamp, whilst the subject was discussed by a panel featuring altnets including CityFibre, Full Fibre and Zzoomm at last weeks Connected Britain.

James Fredrickson, Policy Director at Hyperoptic, is quoted by ISPReview as having said “It’s great to see progress being made on this issue – this will be a big help in securing the skilled labour needed to accelerate full fibre rollout. We will continue to work with the Home Office to maximise the impact of this.”