Simwood Partner Update

 

By Simon Woodhead

We’ve made loads of changes to the Sipcentric platform over recent months but, frankly, have been pretty poor at telling you about them! I want to catch up on a few of the shiniest here now, but going forwards our new CMO Claire will be keeping you updated more regularly, including catching up on those not mentioned here.

Simwood Residential

We introduced this at SimCon but it has had a lot of work since and we’re now ready for sensible testers who can give us some constructive feedback – get in touch if you think that’s you! 

What is it? We have many AltNet customers (I think most of them!) who need a telephony solution for their customers that avoids the lunacy of inviting BT to overbuild them, or the arguable cost and hassle of operating their own platform. At the same time, WLR3 is going – it’ll be gone by 2025 – and a lot of the channel’s revenue comes from it, leaving those partners who realise this looking for alternatives. Simwood Residential is the solution to both those challenges in a domestic setting.

As a Simwood Partner product, Simwood Residential is fully white-labelled to your brand and available within the exact same manager interface you’re used to. Seats lack corporate features, such as queues which are unnecessary in a family environment, but retain the notion of extensions for different family members and a familiar call-flow configuration – yes Granny can have her own direct line but still pick up calls to the ‘house’ number. 

I’ve been ‘over the top’ in my house for 20-odd years (cue misquotes!) but never considered running a PBX to be worthwhile; Simwood Residential bridges that gap perfectly. Of course, you can also add multiple numbers – perfect for second-homers in the UK or abroad – including mobiles ported into us.

Of course, as well as IP phones and ATAs (perhaps embedded in CPE), this again has full use of our apps for iOS and (really really soon) Android. We’re avoiding mentioning the name of that here so Partners can refer customers to it as their own. After all, it assumes your configured branding after log-in. Now, as well as your business customers, your residential customers can enjoy apps, taking the house number and calling plan anywhere they go.

Pricing will be announced in due course but in any event given our full seats are a fraction of WLR3 prices, you can rest assured this will be too. If you’d like to be kept up to date, please let us know.

Stripe integration

We already do your invoicing at no charge if you want us to, white-labelled of course, but we can now take your payments too! 

Don’t worry, we’re not touching your money and instead have added Stripe support to the platform. Thus you go and get your own Stripe account, which settles to your own bank account directly, and link it to your Simwood Partner account by adding API keys. We will then charge your customers for your invoices using your Stripe account. Charges appear on their statements in your name and you get the money directly. Your end users can manage their card details themselves in the portal. If you set a payment method to be required your customers will be subtly nagged through the portal to add card details. 

You might need to chase up bad debts yourself and handle any chargebacks, but the monthly chore of exporting CDRs, sending invoices, uploading payment files is all taken care of for you. Our price to replace a third party billing and payment service and save you all that time? Free! You will of course need to pay your own Stripe service fees; sorry!

Call recording upgrade

Simwood Partner has more than doubled in size since we acquired Sipcentric to create it. Call recording has been and remains a free feature, but when you offer such a valuable feature for free, it follows you’ll attract customers who sell a lot of it and tend to keep recordings for a while! Add to that a few customers who prefer to send 50,000 API requests when they could send 5, and the backend has come under a bit of strain since the acquisition. This is nothing to what we’re used to on the wholesale platform but still an order of magnitude scaling of the Sipcentric platform. It has done pretty well because it was well-designed long before we had anything to do with it, but there’s been growing pains we’ve discussed before, such as the sheer volume of call recordings being handled.

Late last year we committed to giving the attention deserved to the platform, essentially moving it across to Simwood infrastructure and methodologies, and that has been ongoing in the background since. There have been numerous changes there such as a complete rewrite of the manager interface you use, and indeed the new branding interface, but the most impactful has been changes to call recording.

There’s nothing to ‘see’ here as such but I hope you’ve noticed that recordings are available much faster and things are a lot more stable. All of the recording related weak-points have been addressed such that if there’s any issue with recording now, the only impact will be recordings taking a little longer to be visible to you.

We’re not done with the migration but our CTO, Charles and team are working around the clock quite literally, and doing a great job.

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That’s all for now. Thanks as ever for your support.