2022 TMC Labs INTERNET TELEPHONY AWARD Winners Solve Real Communications Problems

By TMCnet Staff November 03, 2022

Welcome to the 2022 TMC Labs INTERNET TELEPHONY Innovation Awards, where we have selected a diverse range of winners, from Ooma AirDial, which makes a great POTS replacement; The Toll-Free Exchange, which brings Resp Orgs into the world of IP communications. Continuing, Upstream Works for Finesse, which enhances the Cisco (News - Alert) contact center with a complete omnichannel solution, allowing an intuitive agent desktop to empower agents to provide informed and personalized customer experiences with consistent tools for multiple channels and interactions. Finally the Zultys (News - Alert) MX Solution, which has been a steady and experienced player in the UC market for many years and continues to evolve and add new features.

We hope you enjoy our reviews and thank you for reading and participating in these awards.


Ooma AirDial

Businesses face a huge challenge with the impending demise of legacy copper-wire analog phone lines, also known as Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). Millions of devices and systems in business locations across the United States require a POTS line – ranging from fire alarm panels to elevator phones, fax machines, public safety phones, building access systems, and more. In many cases, they can’t be migrated to a standard VoIP connection. As POTS infrastructure dwindles, carriers are sharply increasing monthly rates and quality of service is declining.

Ooma AirDial is a great solution for the “copper sunset” dilemma – a complete drop-in solution from a single vendor that combines on-premises hardware with fully backward-compatible virtual POTS lines and a wireless data connection to the cloud. This sets AirDial apart from competing hardware-only solutions, which require the partner or end customer to provision on-premises equipment with phone and wireless service.

Ooma AirDial also offers a POTS replacement solution with remote device management. Anyone involved in an AirDial deployment – IT teams, property managers, telecom supervisors, etc. – can access the Ooma Remote Device Manager portal anywhere at any time to view the status of AirDial devices. The RDM can be customized to display key data, either in list view or device detail view (e.g., in-service status, wireless signal strength, and health of the backup battery). The RDM can also be set to send automatic notifications, by text or email, to multiple users whenever there are events, such as an AirDial device going out of service or having a low battery. What’s more, MSPs managing AirDial installations for multiple clients can monitor devices across all of their accounts and even control billing and selection of service plans.

Other features include:

  • Up to four analog connections with standard dial tone and full backwards compatibility with POTS
  • Options for either an exclusively wireless connection or failover from a wired broadband connection to wireless
  • Backup battery that will maintain service for eight hours or more during an outage
  • LCD display that shows wireless signal strength, battery status and phone line status
  • Heat sink and ventilation for fan-less cooling
  • Number porting
  • Mounting that can be either vertical (wall) or horizontal (shelf)

We chose Ooma AirDial to win the 2022 TMC Labs INTERNET TELEPHONY Innovation Award because of its ability to solve a real-world problem with a simple, elegant solution that actually adds management features and functionality not even available in the POTS solutions it replaces.

The Toll-Free Exchange

The Toll-Free Exchange (TFX) enables Responsible Organizations (Resp Org) to route toll-free traffic between each other over a SIP trunk, eliminating the complexity and costs associated with using the PSTN. Businesses connect to The Toll-Free Exchange over a single SIP trunk. The company has a patent on the technology behind Resp Org ID based routing.

Toll-Free traffic traditionally goes through a carrier, to a Tandem, over the PSTN to an IXC and then onto the receiving Resp Org. The Toll-Free Exchange, utilizes a SIP trunk to connect the originating carrier through the Toll-Free Exchange to the receiving Resp Org. This IP enables Toll-Free traffic for the first time, which improves audio quality, allows for better routing control, reduces costs, and improves revenue.

Routing toll-free traffic over the IP network using Resp Org IDs instead of 10 digit numbers allows for a virtually unlimited number of routes as well as individually negotiated pricing between organizations.

Other benefits include: The Toll-Free Exchange provides a single monthly billing statement; Resp Orgs can set their own pricing structure; there are no tariffs; the TFX centralizes provisioning, net settlement, and analytics. The company launched a partner program with AllStream in February 2022 to enable the Toll-Free Exchange in Canada.

We chose The Toll-Free Exchange to win the 2022 TMC Labs INTERNET TELEPHONY Innovation Award because we think it is about time Resp Orgs were able to fully benefit from IP communications, allowing them to join the ranks of most businesses and consumers.

Upstream Works Software

Upstream Works for Finesse

Upstream Works for Finesse (UWF) delivers streamlined agent experiences to enterprises and contact centers that need to support multiple application integrations. Contact centers and organizations face common challenges like productivity, retention and customer loyalty. UWF helps organizations improve the agent experience with intuitive tools and streamlined workflows to increase First Contact Resolution (FCR), improve Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and optimize IT agility with a cost-effective, scalable and flexible solution that uses an innovative approach to exceed customer expectations and business value.

UWF enhances the Cisco contact center with an omnichannel solution, allowing an intuitive agent desktop to empower agents to provide informed and personalized customer experiences with consistent tools for multiple channels and interactions. UWF helps organizations protect and leverage existing technology investments with a flexible migration path that allows contact centers to evolve from on-premises to private cloud and public cloud on their own schedule and with a consistent agent desktop experience.

UWF supports digital transformation, customer experience (CX) innovation and operational efficiency. The enhanced agent desktop with digital channel flexibility, integrations with business applications, and simplified team management improve productivity and personalize engagements.

UWF offers a gadget-based framework for agents, supervisors and administrators to provide consistent customer and agent experiences. This framework provides contact centers with enhanced functionality and support for all channels and interactions. The unified agent desktop brings it all together in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.

Gadgets include:

  • Interaction Activity viewer for all interactions and omnichannel context data
  • Interaction Capture
  • Task Bar
  • View Tasks
  • Marquee for team and contact center announcements and statistics
  • Team Chat for easy collaboration
  • Email, Chat and Unified Digital Messaging
  • Supervisor Desktop for team management simplicity
  • Virtual Agent Portal

The UWF desktop streamlines workflows by seamlessly connecting all the applications agents use every day. Agents can easily access multiple applications, including artificial intelligence (AI), business, vertical and contact center applications and CRMs like Microsoft (News - Alert) Dynamics and Salesforce. Agents benefit from a unified desktop experience, seamless workflows and a reduced level of complexity.

UWF has been designed to make agents’ work easier with productivity and collaboration tools. The new Virtual Agent Portal helps to boost productivity by powering the agent experience with the best artificial intelligence (AI) applications, including Amazon, Google (News - Alert), IBM, Microsoft, and more. Businesses can integrate their AI framework(s) with the Upstream Works Agent Desktop and utilize the Virtual Agent Portal to display agent assistance and guidance for an efficient, seamless and personalized customer experience.

The Virtual Agent Portal offers a dedicated area on the Upstream Works Agent Desktop that can be used to help agents with the tools and data needed to enhance their capabilities and provide meaningful and personalized engagements. Automating agent tasks with the Virtual Agent Portal can free up time and allow agents to focus on more complex customer issues. The UWF Virtual Agent Portal is an optional gadget that can be enabled or disabled for the UWF Agent Desktop and will be displayed as a panel on the right side of the desktop. The portal interface can be configured globally or separately for specific teams.

Other distinctive features worth mentioning are:

Digital Transformation

  • Digital Channel Flexibility: The agent desktop supports all channels – voice, emails, chats, messaging, video, co-browse, social, conversational AI, and more - in one easy-to-use desktop suite.
  • Unified Agent Desktop: The solution integrates with the systems and applications that organizations use every day.

Greater Speed to Competency – The Great Resignation

  • Speed to Competency: Upstream Works makes it easier to train and manage agents for greater speed to competency. This is a key consideration when Contact Center and CX leaders are looking for ways to reduce agent workload during the great resignation. The easy-to-use agent desktop with productivity tools and consistent handling of all channels and customer interactions makes it easier to train and manage agents for greater speed to competency.
  • Simplified Team Management: Team collaboration and communication tools allow for faster and more accurate resolutions; real-time performance management reports enable data-driven decisions and on-the-fly management, whether agents and teams are working from home or in-office

AI-Powered Agent Experiences

  • Integrated AX: Integrate purpose-built AI applications to improve the agent experience as required without creating new islands of experience.
  • Personalized and Proactive CX: Businesses may augment agent intelligence with an enhanced Agent Desktop, Virtual Agent Portal, real-time CX visibility, context data and Upstream Works Assist AI-powered knowledge management

We chose Upstream Works for Finesse to win the 2022 TMC Labs INTERNET TELEPHONY Innovation Award because we were impressed by its digital transformation, AI and speed to competency innovations.


MX Solution

Zultys MX solution offers businesses of all sizes a feature-rich, energy-efficient path to IP telephony and Unified Communications (News - Alert) in a single platform. The company offers both on-premises and hosted deployment options for clients.

Zultys Hosted Solution is contained entirely within the Zultys data center and customers require only the UC client or a Zultys deskphone to receive incoming calls. The data center connects SIP trunks, MX software image, and, where-applicable, historical data storage.

Zultys offers MG gateway devices located at the customer site to provide analog extensions for faxing and other applications. The company reduces the training time needed by users as it offers an identical user experience for our hosted and on-premise clients. Other features include presence, chat, text, voicemail to email, video, conferencing, mobile integration, contact center, flexible feature management, secure file transfer and HIPAA compliance.

We chose Zultys MX Solution to win the 2022 TMC Labs INTERNET TELEPHONY Innovation Award because Zultys has been a consistent UC player in the market and continues to innovate and add new features to improve its communications solution over time.

Edited by Erik Linask
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