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Understanding OnSIP's "Global Availability"

What should OnSIP do when someone attempts to call you? For a long time, this was a very easy question to answer. Desk phones were plugged in 24/7 and very few people were using softphone applications, so we would simply ring your phone a predetermined amount of time before redirecting the call to your failover address, such as a voicemail box.

Now that our users are using desk phones, desktop applications and mobile applications, while receiving calls from phone numbers, SIP addresses and website chat applications, things can get a bit more complicated.

For example, we can see that you've logged out of the OnSIP app (which suggests you are finished taking calls), but you still have a desk phone plugged in... should we still attempt to reach you or should we send the caller straight to your failover so as to not waste their time?

What is Global Availability?

Global Availability, represented as "Available" or "Away", is a setting set by each OnSIP user to indicate whether or not they are actively open to receive calls. If a user is set as "Available", we will attempt to reach him. If a user is set as "Away", we will send calls straight to his failover address and none of his devices will ring.

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How Global Availability Differs from "Do Not Disturb"

"Do Not Disturb" is a common device-specific setting. If you set a desk phone or softphone app to "Do Not Disturb" mode, you will not hear that device ring during an incoming call. However, setting your desk phone to "Do Not Disturb" does not affect your softphone application, and vice versa.

Global Availability is universal for all your devices. It does not simply mute one device, but rather, it tells OnSIP to bypass your devices all together.

How Global Availability Differs from Busy Lamp Field and Presence

Busy Lamp Field, Presence, Registration Status, etc. are all indicators of whether or not you are (1) logged into a device and (2) currently on a call. However, if you are not on a call, these indicators fall short of telling us (and your coworkers) if you are actively taking calls. For example, your desk phone may be plugged in and registered, but you may be out to lunch or in a meeting.

Global Availability addresses whether or not you would answer your phone if someone were to call you. For example, by setting yourself as "Away", you are informing your coworkers not to transfer calls your way.

Please note: if you are on a call, this information will still be conveyed to your coworkers via a red "Busy" indicator in the OnSIP app, as well as activated BLF buttons on desk phones.

What is sayso and How Does It Use Global Availability?

Phone numbers, extensions and speed dial buttons are the most common ways to initiate a voice conversation, but emerging technology has made applications like sayso voice chat possible. In short, sayso is a voice/video alternative to text chat for your business's Sales and Support departments. For more information, click here.

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The great thing about sayso is that your website visitors are only given the option to call representatives who are actually available to take their call. If a representative is busy on a call or away from their devices, a different representative is presented instead. This ensures your website visitors speak with a human, rather than being sent to a voicemail after several seconds of ringing.

In order to know which of your representatives are available to speak and which are not, we need to gather this information from the users themselves.

How Global Availability Works

In order to obtain an availability status, a user must log into the OnSIP app at least once. They can do so at app.onsip.com or through our desktop or mobile applications. Upon logging in, they will be set to "Available" by default.

(In the event that a user has never logged into the OnSIP app, they will still be able to receive calls via their desk phone or third party application, but will be ineligible to appear in sayso or on your organization's Team page.)

Within the OnSIP app, a user can set himself as "Away" by clicking his profile picture in the top right of the web/desktop app or through the Settings tab of the mobile app.

When set to "Away", a banner will appear at the top of the screen, warning the user he will not be receiving calls until he reverts to "Available". When a user is set to "Away", they may still initiate outgoing calls.

  • Important: Global Availability is a persistent setting. If a user sets himself as "Away", then logs out of the app or closes his laptop/browser, he will still be considered "Away" and any other devices he may be logged in/registered on will not ring, including desk phones.

    If a user on your account learns that calls meant for him are going straight to voicemail, this may be the cause. We recommend these steps to find out.

If a user is on an active call, they will appear as "Busy", regardless of whether they are set to "Available" or "Away". However, their availability setting will determine whether or not they can receive additional incoming calls.

Global Availability syncs across all devices the user is logged in/registered to. If a user is logged into both the desktop and mobile app, changing his availability in one app will be reflected in the other.

What Happens if I'm Set to "Available", but I'm Actually Unavailable?

If you are not enrolled in any sayso topics, the consequences are negligible. When someone tries to call you, we'll still attempt to reach you before sending the caller to your failover address.

If you are enrolled in a sayso topic, website visitors may still be given the option to call you, with the suggestion that you "can talk immediately". The caller may feel misled if you are not there to answer the call, but we will still try to find them another representative to speak with.

What Happens if I'm Set to "Away", but I'm Actually Willing to Take Calls?

As mentioned above, it is possible for a user to set themselves as "Away", then forget about it. In this scenario, calls intended for that user will be sent straight to his failover destination. If that user is enrolled in sayso topics, he will not be presented to website visitors as an available representative.

For this reason, it's important for users taking advantage of Global Availability to maintain an accurate status.

 

Uncommon Scenarios

SIP Aliases

Global availability only applies to your SIP address, not your SIP aliases.

If you are in a queue with a SIP alias, you will get queue calls as usual regardless of your Availability status. If you are in a queue with your SIP address, you will get queue calls depending on your Availability status.

Outdated Versions of the OnSIP App

For global availability to work consistently, users must be on the latest version of the OnSIP app. If a user is experiencing any issues with Global Availability, please ensure this is the case.

If using the web app, OnSIP will use the latest version each time the page is loaded. We recommend refreshing the web app each morning, for daily users.

If using the desktop app, users will be presented with an in-app dialog announcing that an update is available for download. MacOS users who installed the app via the App Store will receive a notification through a desktop notification.

If using the mobile app, users will see that an update is available through the App Store or Google Play.

 

Created October 15, 2019

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