NAEO Newslinks

October 2017




NAEO Now

Get Inspired
by Gary Blair

Relief Fund Update
by Lina Cunningham

2018 Conference Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities

Save the Date: NAEO 2018

Featured Articles

From Our Executive Director
by Eric Ewald, CAE

Helping Hands
by Jolie Leblanc

Looking Ahead
by Kevin Mahoney

Vendor Spotlight: IPitimi

Amtelco Annex

Split Delimited Data into Separate Script Fields with the Split Expression Property Settings
by David Drenk

Gary Blair

Get Inspired


by Gary Blair

"Summer ends, and Autumn comes, and he who would have it otherwise would have high tide always and a full moon every night; and thus he would never know the rhythms that are at the heart of life. "

—Hal Borland

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NAEO

Relief Fund Update


by Lina Cunningham

The past couple of months we have been hit hard by hurricanes, earthquakes, natural disasters as well as a not-so-natural gunman disaster. My heart goes out to all of those and their families who have been affected by these devastating circumstances.

Following Hurricane Harvey NAEO pulled together with the help of our TAS community, CAMX and ATSI members, to raise funds for those in need, by establishing the NAEO Relief Fund. In hopes that we can all help those in need NAEO offered to match all donations up to $10,000. The donations started flooding in.

Some history, an Operator Relief Fund was established by NAEO following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to aid hourly telephone answering service employees who were affected during that tragedy. Years later a foundation was established with the mission to take up were the Operator Relief Fund left off. The Foundation was started in 2009 by Joe Adam, but largely rolled-out in 2011 in New Orleans. The intended recipients of funds were to be anyone in the industry that suffered losses, either material or wages, due to a natural disaster or essentially act of God. The Foundation Committee was comprised of Joe Adam, Jim Wagner, Robin Bailey, and Gerald Brosseau.

In late August Hurricane Harvey broke records of devastation and NAEO sprang into action. Since the Foundation had not been active for 6 plus years due to non-profit designation issues, it was decided that a new Relief Fund be established. The Foundation donated all the money they had in reserve ($9,600) to the new fund and dissolved the Foundation.

Today we are happy to say that the new NAEO Relief Fund’s mission is to provide financial assistance to needy employees of TAS industry companies who experience a natural disaster or suffer unexpected personal hardship. In a very short period of time were able to raise $44,500, and we received 22 applications for assistance. A review committee was appointed by the Board of Directors comprised of Lina Cunningham, President, Ian Cook, President Elect, and Gordon Mott, Treasurer. After reviewing some very heart wrenching stories from applicants we are humbled to announce that all 22 were granted. Each recipient received the maximum disbursement amount of $1,500.

I would like to extend a very heart felt thank you to all of you who made donations. A big thank you goes out to the Maryann Wetmore Foundation for a generous $10,000 donation.

I would also like to give a special thank you to the CAMX members and Linda Osip who participated in a challenge which helped raise $11,573.84CA. Combined with the individual donations made on the NAEO website and the contribution matched by NAEO, our expectations were pleasantly exceeded. I know that these donations will be put to good use and are very much appreciated by the recipients. I am happy to say that I am proud to be a part of group of people that care so much for each other. Thank you all.

If you haven’t made a donation, it’s not too late. Please do so here.

Please note contributions to this fund are not tax deductible.

Donate Now

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NAEO

2018 Conference Sponsorship & Exhibitor Opportunities


With the 2018 NAEO annual conference less than 6 months away, the Conference Committee is full steam ahead engaging existing sponsors and finding and securing new sponsorship opportunities. We’ve received feedback from both NAEO membership through the post-conference survey and from sponsors directly and are working hard to meet the goals of elevating the NAEO conference for our attendees and sponsors.

After an immensely successful conference in 2017, we certainly have our work ahead to make 2018 even better!

View Opportunities

One of our newest additions revolves around the First Timer’s Game during opening reception. A new community-level sponsorship allows a sponsor to participate in the First Timer’s game! Great for an industry veteran who wants to facilitate discussion with the conference newcomers, or brands that want to promote a specific narrative around their company or product.

We’ve also heard the feedback from NAEO membership who attended conference in 2017: Sponsors were great, but we want even more! As such, we’re in talks with vendors who provide employee scheduling software, headsets, office aesthetics, VoIP services, and more!

If you love a brand or company and think they would be a good fit for the NAEO membership, please recommend them to the Conference Committee! You can contact Evelyn Portinari or Patrick Labbett directly.

To learn more about available sponsorship opportunities for the 2018 NAEO Conference, click here.

We look forward to seeing you in February in sunny, beautiful Fort Lauderdale!

Sponsor Today

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NAEO

Save The Date: NAEO 2018


February 25-28, 2018

NAEO 2018

See you at 2018 NAEO Annual Conference!

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treasurer

From Our Executive Director


by Eric Ewald, CAE

The NAEO Board just completed their fall board meeting at the site of next year’s Annual Conference: the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We hope you have February 25-28 marked on your calendar with a great big exclamation point behind it! The conference is a wonderful place to learn, connect with industry friends, share common and unique challenges and solutions and have some fun. If you have been you certainly don’t need to be “sold” on why you should attend. If you have not, I strongly encourage it and invite you to experience it for yourself.

You will be hearing exciting updates on conference planning and other NAEO programing areas through the fall. One fun piece of news to share from the meeting is NAEO just met its operational reserves goal of approximately one-and-a-half years of operating reserves. This is a typical target for many nonprofit associations. Appropriate reserves help protect the organization against unplanned and negative fiscal events and just as significantly serve as a kind of development fund should a member-value generating opportunity arise. A practical result of this will be that conference registration rates in 2018 will be the same as in 2017, no increase.

On top of this solid operational base is a vibrant organization with continued, strong relevance. I am very proud of NAEO for a variety of reasons including the wonderful people who make up the membership, the strong volunteer base and a wonderfully high level of activity. Via the listserve members continue to help fellow member save time, save money and improve their operations together. NAEO’s Board of Directors and committees are active and productive as they create and maintain many relevant resources and benefits for the community of members including: the Service Discount Program; the Operator Education Program; the eLearning Suite; the NAEO Mentor Program; NAEO’s Learning Management System; educational workshops and webinars and an informative (and fun) NAEO Annual Conference among other benefits.

What NAEO has done since 1984 is create and maintain functional, relevant and useful programs and services to help everyone in the course of their work. None of this would be possible without great volunteer leaders and active members. Thank you all.

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NAEO

Helping Hands


by Jolie LeBlanc

On August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall as a Cat 4 storm. Harvey dumped massive amounts of rain in Eastern Texas and parts of southwest Louisiana, causing major flooding in areas. Harvey was followed by Hurricane Irma which slammed into the Florida Keys, also as a Cat 4 storm, on Sunday Sept 10. And continued through Georgia and the Carolinas.

I’ve witnessed the damage these storms can produce, in 2005 my parents lost their home in Waveland Mississippi to Katrina’s wrath and my grandmother had four feet of water in her house. Last August I had eight inches of water in my apartment due to the historical flooding in our area and while I didn’t lose as much as some of my neighbors, it was something terrible and I wasn’t prepared. My brother took time off work to join a branch of the Cajun navy, heading to Texas to help rescue people and get them needed supplies. He said the devastation was unbelievable, and he lost many nights of sleep.

What struck me the most was how our Industry came together so quickly to help our friends and business associates as well as competitors who have experienced extensive devastation because of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

During Hurricane Harvey, Kevin Ryan at TAS United asked for help from NAEO’s online community, his Beaumont and Houston offices were hit hard. Within an hour our colleagues had answered the call. Remote agents across the country were logged into his system answering calls. Others offered office space and any kind of help that they could provide.

Because of these storms, some of our colleagues and their staff have been displaced from their offices or homes and many lost everything.

The NAEO Board of Directors called for an emergency meeting and the Operator Relief Fund was established. This fund is open to all TAS industry employees impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Our friends in Canada jumped at the chance to help. One of their PEG groups raised $3,500.00 Saturday in two hours and the donations are still coming in. Cam-X members jumped on the bandwagon and more donations are being promised. The Mary Ann Wetmore Leadership Development Fund is also contributing.

While some may not be able to contribute to the relief fund, there are other ways to help. Gift cards to Walmart, Target, grocery stores and gas station are helpful. There are also needs for clothing, food, toiletries, baby items. Maybe we can put a collection box in a corner of our offices for these items and send them to our colleagues in need.

If you haven’t made a donation it’s not too late. Please do so here.

If you or someone you know needs assitance, the guidelines and applications are at NAEO.org, CAMX.ca, and ATSI.org.

I knew this industry was a wonderful place to work. I’ve learned more and made lasting connections since becoming involved in various industry associations. But I’ve seen more compassion and generosity in the past few weeks that I am just awestruck.

Thank you to all those who are helping to make a difference.

“We make a living by what we get,
But we make a life by what we give.”
—Winston Churchill

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Kevin Mahoney

Looking Ahead


by Kevin Mahoney, Major Clients Advocate and Engineer, 1Call Division

In this edition of Looking Ahead, let’s explore “The Cloud.”

We have talked about the five cloud characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured services. We have discussed the three cloud service models: software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). We finish by talking about the four major cloud deployment models: public cloud, private cloud, community cloud, and hybrid cloud. As always, these models are recognized as such by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The private cloud is fairly straightforward. This is cloud services designed for a single organization. Consumers within the organization may include different business units, but the focus of the private cloud is to service the one specific business organization. This is important to note as the cloud functions may not scale as easily as with a public cloud, but in this model it is the organization that determines the design and scalability of the resources.

This model is similar to building and managing one’s own infrastructure in which the organization has the option of building the resources itself on site or off, or of having a third-party provide the resources. Security and downtime play a critical role in making this build versus buy versus on-site or off decision.

For example, healthcare organizations and other industries may have mission-critical applications to consider, particularly with respect to Internet availability, that make the private cloud on-site model the best choice. Or perhaps moving data to the cloud would violate a regulatory standard such as HIPAA, HITECH, SOX, or SAS 70.

Examples of private cloud deployments include OpenStack and vCloud. OpenStack is an open source cloud platform supporting the IaaS model. It provides businesses with IaaS resources for internal purposes. Once owned jointly by NASA and Rackspace, OpenStack now is a non-profit organization operated by the OpenStack Foundation. vCloud from VMware Inc. is a platform that also supports IaaS environments. The idea behind the suite of vCloud solutions is to create a cloud-based virtual data center that enables the organization’s IT staff to deliver scalable services to internal business units much like a public cloud does.

The public cloud is the exact opposite of the private cloud. NIST defines the public cloud as:

“The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or by some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the cloud provider.”

Here we think of Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Azure, Gmail, and Salesforce.com as examples of highly scalable, multi-tenant services. Security, maintenance, and isolation of data between customers are controlled by the cloud provider. The public cloud is great for hosting SaaS applications, for managing changing load demands, for development and testing environments, and reducing infrastructure costs. One of the reasons this model is so popular is the fact that users typically pay the costs on an allocation or utilization basis with on-demand provisioning, and thereby are maximizing their resources. The public cloud is a great model for information that is not highly sensitive nor subject to security mandates.

The community cloud focuses on providing services for specific consortiums and interest groups. A community cloud is shared by several organizations with similar policy and compliance considerations. Data and security are shared between the members with access restricted for those outside the community. Facebook and LinkedIn are examples of the community cloud model.

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking service with more than 1.65 billion users (Craig Smith, Digital Statistics Review, May 23, 2016). There are no fees to join and use Facebook as its revenue is generated by advertising. Privacy is one of the main challenges with Facebook as its policies have been known to change without user knowledge. LinkedIn also is a social networking service, but it caters to professional business users. LinkedIn has more than 433 million users in 200 countries (Craig Smith, Digital Statistics Review, May 1, 2016). LinkedIn offers a free subscription along with several paid tiers, with each tier providing additional features.

Healthcare organizations in particular are good candidates for the community cloud. These organizations are concerned with regulatory requirements. The community cloud is a good way of ensuring these organizations meet these challenges, and they can benefit by the sharing of information and resources with similar organizations.

Finally, one of the more popular deployment models is the hybrid cloud. NIST defines the hybrid cloud as:

“The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).”

The hybrid cloud model might be considered the best of both worlds. Here, we have the advantages of secure applications and data as with the private cloud while still benefiting from the lower costs of sharing data and applications as with the public cloud. Cloud bursting, which is the process or ability to move from a private cloud to a public cloud, can help balance workloads during peak workloads and workload spokes without interruption or user intervention. Backup and disaster recovery is another beneficial use case for the hybrid cloud.

Examples of the hybrid cloud include Amazon Web Services (AWS) offering called Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) technology and Microsoft’s Azure. Amazon’s VPC can extend a customer’s data center into the AWS cloud infrastructure. This enables customers to run their application servers in the AWS infrastructure while keeping their data in their own data centers. Data control is retained by the customer while scalability of the application servers is achieved by being in the cloud. Microsoft Azure enables customers to use its PaaS APIs to integrate with their private applications, thereby maintaining the security of their applications.

The four cloud deployment models as defined by NIST help us understand and see through the marketing hype surrounding cloud computing. Cloud computing is an ever-changing and growing technology that offers game-changing possibilities to IT staffs and the business community. And it is here to stay.

Kevin Mahoney is a hospital and healthcare-related account advocate and sales engineer at Amtelco, a manufacturer and supplier of call center solutions located in McFarland, Wisconsin. Contact him by email at kmahoney@amtelco.com

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NAEO

Vendor Spotlight: IPitimi


IPitimi (Pronounced epitome) is not your average telecom provider, but a custom VoIP solution developer, dedicated to delivering tailored-made VoIP implementations for any opportunity. We pride ourselves in our flexibility, scalability, reliability, and our experience supporting small, medium, and large contact centers.

IPitimi has standardized on and leveraged the industry best UC platforms built by the likes of Broadsoft. IPitimi operates a national 100% IP based network. Our VoIP backbone features world-class engineering and a geographically redundant Super-Nodes architecture to ensure that every single connection and call runs over our private network or is just one hop away from the leading network carriers. Our systems are built on industry best Cisco, Broadsoft, Acme Packet, Sonus and General Bandwidth session border controllers. We were pioneers in IP Telephony, and our current architecture and network design virtually eliminates packet loss, jitter and latency regardless of location.

IPitimi is bringing forth a new technology to contact centers, just like we did SIP in 2003. SD-WAN will do to MPLS and Redundant connections networks what hosted VoIP is doing to the PBX and PRI. It is just another one of those technologies, “leapfrogging” what is currently in the market. SD-WAN allows for the best disaster recovery to date. This is not simply a fail over, where one internet connection drops and a redirection to another connection happens. This technology utilizes multiple connections simultaneously. This new SD-WAN technology allows for as classification of data traffic. You can give your business users voice priority over their streaming music. It’s time for everyone to start using their bandwidth to the full potential, and that is exactly what IPitimi’s SD-WAN solution is doing.

The IPitimi team is built around communications pioneers who have a passion for bringing the most advanced technologies to market. Our passion for technology is only surpassed by the dedication of our team to provide the best experience, and most reliable services in the market. Together with our customers, we will change the way they interact with the world by providing innovative communication applications combined with world class support that solves each of their unique problems while also improving reliability, efficiency and productivity.

For more information on IPitimi and the service offerings, visit ipitimi.com, email Lori@ipitmi.com, or call 1-855-IPITIMI.

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David Drenk

Split Delimited Data into Separate Script Fields with the Split Expression Property Settings


by David Drenk
All rights reserved © April 2016
Contact: insider@amtelco.com

The Split Expression property settings for the Set Field response element can be used to divide delimited data from a field or Advanced Expression into separate message fields. This feature can be used to parse information from any source that can provide data in a delimited format to an Intelligent Messaging script. The script keeps track of the last value retrieved, so that the Set Field response element can be called multiple times to divide the data into multiple message fields.

For example, the To Address of an inbound e-mail message might contain multiple e-mail addresses. The Intelligent Series (IS) MergeComm feature stores the To Addresses in one field, separated by commas. The Split Expression feature can be used to separate these e-mail addresses and write them to individual script fields.

Using Split Expression in a Script

A Set Field response element is needed for each segment of data that you want to parse. Add the Set Field response elements to an appropriate script node, for example the script’s Initialize node or a screen’s Load node. If the data is coming from a MergeComm trigger, a MergeComm Branch can be added to the MergeComm node of the script to filter on the type of trigger, and the Set Field response elements can be placed inside the appropriate branch.

In our example, the Set Field response elements are added to the eMail branch of the MergeComm Branch response element, which is inserted in the MergeComm node of the script.

After adding your Set Field response elements, right-click the first Set Field response element and select “Properties.” The Set Field Properties window is displayed.

General Properties

The settings on the General page of the Set Field Properties are used to select a field and to specify the value to assign to that field.

Field Name: The Field Name indicates the name of the field whose value will be set. Click the Field Name menu and select the script field that will store the first segment of information.

Set to value: The “Set to value” property indicates the value to assign to the field. By default, the field type is set to Text. To change the field type, select “Change To” from the menu, and select a field type from the submenu.

In our example, the data we are trying to split was passed to the script in the To Address of a MergeComm e-mail trigger, so we click the field type and select “MergeComm Field.” The property changes to a menu of MergeComm fields. We then open the menu and select “_inbound_email_to_addresses.”

Set field only if blank: This check box is used to prevent the overwriting of a value already stored in the message field.

  • Select this check box if you want to assign the value to the field only if the field is empty.
  • Clear this check box if you want to assign the value to the field regardless of whether the field already contains a value.

Split Expression Properties

The Split Expression settings are located on the Split Expression page of the Set Field response element properties. Click the Split Expression tab to display the Split Expression properties.

Split Expression

The Split Expression check box is used to return only a delimited portion of the data specified in the “Set to value” property on the General page. Select the “Split Expression” check box.

Delimiter: The Delimiter is a character or combination of characters used to separate data into distinct pieces of information. Type the character or characters used in the data as a delimiter.

In our example, a comma ( , ) is the delimiter used to separate the e-mail addresses contained in the _inbound_email_to_addresses field.

Extract first field: The script keeps track of the last value retrieved, so that multiple Set Field response elements can be used to retrieve individual pieces of the data.

  • If the “Extract first field” check box is selected, the Set Field response element extracts the first segment of the data, from the beginning of the data string to the first delimiter.
  • If the “Extract first field” check box is cleared, the Set Field response element extracts the next segment of the data, starting after the previous segment that was extracted and ending at the next delimiter.

For your first Set Field response element, select the “Extract first field” check box to ensure that the first segment of data is selected. For subsequent Set Field response elements, clear the “Extract first field” check box to retrieve the next segment of data.

Summary Properties

The settings on the Summary page are used to generate a summary automatically if no Summary response element is implemented by the script.

If you are using the automatic summary feature, click the Summary tab and configure the appropriate settings.

When you are finished configuring the Set Field properties, click the Ok button to save the settings to the IS database.

Configure the properties for the other Set Field response elements that you added to your script. When configuring these Set Field response elements, clear the “Extract first field” check box so that each Set Field extracts a new segment of the data. When you are finished, each Set Field response element should be programmed to store a segment of the data in a different message field of the script.

For a MergeComm script, you may want add additional Set Field response elements to store the Subject and Message of the MergeComm e-mail trigger. You also may add a Send to Dispatcher response element to send the script to an operator.

At run time, the data in the _inbound_email_to_addresses field is split into the individual message fields according to the location of the delimiter. The individual addresses can be displayed to an operator, can be used to select a contact from the IS Directory, and can be used to perform scripted dispatching.

Requirements

  • IS Server 4.3.5864.21801 or later
  • IS Supervisor 4.3.5750.08 or later
  • IS Messaging
  • SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition or later
  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 or later
  • MergeComm (optional)
  • MergeComm Triggers (optional)
  • Inbound Email (optional)
  • IS Directory Contacts (optional)
  • Infinity Telephone Agent 5.60.5750.04 or later (optional)
  • Soft Agent 4.3.5750.03 or later (optional)

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