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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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March 25, 2020 |

Cytracom Ships Updated Desktop App with Calling and Faxing Functionality

The unified communications vendor fast-tracked development of the browser-based tool, which was originally slated to reach market in June, to help its partners support end users struggling to stay productive while working from home.

Cytracom has shipped a feature-complete beta version of an updated desktop app for its unified communications platform that features in-app calling and faxing functionality, along with faster setup options.

Such capabilities have recently become critical for businesses impacted by “stay at home” restrictions now in effect around the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cytracom accelerated its development timeline for the new system, which was originally slated to debut in June, as a result. 

“Given this crisis and looking at the market and talking to our partners, we realized that everybody was moving in this direction of working remotely, and needed a solution,” says CEO Zane Conkle. “We really wanted to help our partners help their customers stay connected.”

The first edition of Cytracom’s desktop app, which shipped alongside a slew of other new features last April, was designed to help partners exchange SMS messages, check voicemail, view the presence status of co-workers, and access click-to-dial functionality. Its replacement, by contrast, includes the same, much wider, range of features found in the vendor’s desktop phones and mobile app.

“Everything you can do from a physical phone, you can do in Cytracom Desktop,” Conkle says. “You essentially have every service that Cytracom supports.”

That includes the ability to place and receive calls, a feature much needed by office workers now forced to become telecommuters. Such users could make calls remotely before via Cytracom’s mobile app, or by taking their desktop phone home with them. According to Conkle, though, neither option is practical for many users. 

“Not everybody has an Ethernet jack in the most convenient places in their house,” he notes, and some lack consistent wireless coverage. Users faced with such problems can use the desktop app instead now, and spare their IT provider a site visit in the process.

“It eliminates the need for the partner to get involved and try to set up physical phones at a customer’s house,” Conkle says. “Nobody wants to go to somebody else’s house at this time.”

Desktop users have access to e-fax functionality now for the first time as well. Despite the greater popularity of more modern communication channels, faxes continue to play a central role in many business processes. That’s a problem at present, however, for companies that rely on an office fax machine.

“Now that everybody’s working from home, who’s getting the fax? I can’t get to that machine to pick up a fax or to send a fax,” Conkle notes.

Included as well now in the desktop app is a real-time call center reporting interface that displays information about calls in progress, calls on hold, average wait time, agents on duty, and more. Only users with access to Cytracom’s administration portal could view that data in the past. Now, Conkle says, “it’s been democratized where everybody has access to it.”

A new setup feature in the app lets technicians invite all of an organization’s employees to create user accounts on their own, rather than manually add those accounts one by one themselves. “We really wanted to ease the burden on our partners,” Conkle says. Especially now, he continues, when many MSPs are scrambling to get homebound newcomers to unified communications up and running as quickly as possible.

Like its predecessor, the new desktop app is browser-based and therefore compatible with any laptop or desktop device. “We’ve got some customers that use Chromebooks, for example, in a call center environment, so we wanted to really support all of those scenarios,” Conkle notes.

Though ready for use in production environments, according to Conkle, the revised desktop app is still technically a beta release. “We’ve been pushing updates and we’ll continue to do so,” he says. The company has no firm date set at this point for putting the system into general availability. Even so, he continues, adoption has been swift.

“We’re seeing it climb at just an exponential rate,” Conkle says.

That’s exactly what Cytracom anticipated given the challenges so many people are coping with at present. According to Conkle, getting the app ready in time to help partners with those challenges was a crash effort.

“This got released months ahead of schedule, and that came at a great sacrifice by the team, both the team and then their families, as people worked around the clock to accelerate the schedule to get this out the door,” he says. Cytracom has fast-tracked other, as yet unspecified, updates and initiatives due to the coronavirus outbreak as well, he adds.

“The product roadmap has been accelerated, and on multiple fronts,” Conkle says.

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