Posted on March 27th, 2020 by Nick Galea, CTO & Founder
It’s time for another road map update! Let me start off with the usual disclaimer, “It is not possible to give an exact road map with features and dates”, but we can tell you what is and what is not cooking in the 3CX kitchen. Of course, this month it’s all happening in our home kitchens with our staff working remotely.
So here’s an update of what we’ve done so far: We delivered Update 4 as per my original road map blog post, and pushed forward Google buckets’ support as well as 911 improvements to comply with new rules. We updated the WordPress plugin for better live chat feedback and delivered our brand new Android client with reconnect and video support.
This delayed Update 5 a little, since we had to work on some of the 3CX internals, such as the .NET core. This was required to be able to handle the new Apple PUSH infrastructure which was originally slated for Update 6. However, now that 3CX is already up to date with the latest libraries, Update 6 can be delivered even sooner.
This will be a major step forward for the iOS client. PUSH is now so reliable and performant, that it arguably makes the new iOS app the ideal client for 3CX. Given what is happening with Covid-19 around the world, equipping your staff with a mobile IP telephony client is absolute gold for any company. Quite frankly the new smartphone is so good you can question the need to put an IP Phone on every desk.
We also decided to update and improve the Windows client. We integrated our new APIs, updated its libraries, fixed outstanding issues and made it much more efficient. All with a view to keep it as a client for the coming years. More improvements are planned such as bringing CSTA support to it.
Update 5 should be released by the end of the month and it’s important to update as soon as possible this time. Plan for it now.
Brand new iOS client – Will require Update 5
Closely linked to Update 5 is our brand new iOS client. It has been completely rewritten and as our Testflight beta testers have witnessed, it now has the following features:
- New updated UI. Much faster and more responsive
- Supports new Apple Push infrastructure
- Adds Video calling
- Ability to reconnect calls if the connection fails or if you move between networks
The new iOS client is available on Testflight for select beta users and we intend to release it by end of May to the App store. THE OLD CLIENT WILL BE THE DEFAULT CLIENT FOR A WHILE LONGER TO ALLOW COMPANIES TO UPDATE.
IMPORTANT: The new app requires version 16, Update 5. If you are still on 15.5 go to v16 ASAP. Install Update 4 and prepare to go to Update 5. All iOS App users will be notified of the new App on their devices and if they update, they will not be able to connect to v15.5 or v16 Update 4 or lower. There will be no legacy client available because the old PUSH infrastructure will be retired at any moment.
WebMeeting infrastructure beefed up
The coronavirus outbreak has sky-rocketed web meeting usage for obvious reasons. We undertook a massive upgrade of our WebMeeting infrastructure, adding portal servers and increasing the number of available MCUs by 700%. WebMeeting usage increased by a whopping 1200 percent – but with the current infrastructure, we can easily accommodate growth. Furthermore, we are working to make it possible to deploy WebMeeting in your own 3CX installation.
Headsets: Plantronics support
While we do not have formal cooperation with Plantronics, it should be mentioned that their APIs are very good and that we have full support for Plantronics for most of their devices, for both Windows and the Chrome Extension. A blog post to follow with more detailed information.
We have added support for Polycom VVX devices – Now you can control your Polycom phone from the 3CX WebApp. Furthermore, Polycom devices can now be used in remote locations using STUN. Speed Dial, Shared Parking Orbit and LogIn/LogOut BLF are also supported.
Supported Polycom VVX devices:
We also included templates for the Grandstream GSC3505 and GSC3510, which are low-cost PA/announcement systems.
With Update 6 comes one more update which focuses on updating internals and doesn’t have that many bells and whistles to woo users, but it’s important nonetheless. Three key components of Update 6.
- Support for Debian 10
- Support for Raspberry PI4 64 bit
- Significant Performance & Resource-saving improvements
With Update 6 we make 3CX easier and cheaper to run in the cloud. We will update it to the latest Debian, make it run on low-cost Raspberry 4 devices and most importantly we have fine-tuned 3CX to use less memory and support more extensions and clients. That means less memory usage in cloud instances and the ability to scale to 50 extensions on Raspberry Pi4 (which has 2 GIG Ram and a better processor).
Office 365 Integration – shared mailbox, user to email matching
Update 6 drastically improves our office 365 integration. First off, setting it up is much easier since we now use the preferred email address rather than the principal email address. This email was often not the actual email used but a domain email account such as email@example.com. Now it will use the preferred email for integration with 3CX making setting it up and maintaining it much easier.
Furthermore, we have added shared mailbox support so that public contacts can be in the 3CX company phonebook.
Update 7 will allow connection of 3CX’s’ group chat with RCS, SMS and Facebook. Our strategy is to enable companies to take customer communication beyond calls. It will allow you to seamlessly deal with customers from 3CX whether they call in, visit your website, go to your Facebook page or send you an SMS message. In more detail:
- RCS is considered SMS 2.0. (What is RCS) Major telcos around the world support it and it means you can send and receive messages to customers at no charge. 3CX will provide you with a free RCS capability which you can use to message your customers.
- We will provide SMS services as a fall back in case the person you are messaging does not have an RCS compatible phone or service. Initially, the SMS service will be provided free as part of PRO or ENT licenses.
- If you have a Facebook page you can connect it to your 3CX installation.
Also in consideration is support for Apple iMessage.
We will be updating the reporting module to address outstanding issues.
We will research and consider adding Microsoft Direct Routing capability for Microsoft Teams, allowing you to make calls from Teams via 3CX. Please note that we are not committing to this functionality yet but we are going to research and consider it.
Update 8 is still a long way off, but we can confirm that we will try to include the following functionalities:
- Audit log
- Improved failover
- Improved outbound caller ID configuration
- Extended support to many more Door phone devices
That’s it for now! I look forward to hearing your feedback here.