Spok has received several inquiries regarding our products' ability to function in a remote teleworker environment as customers continue to navigate their response to COVID-19. Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Q: Are operators able to work from home using Spok console solutions?
A: All Spok console products (MediCall, Spok Console, and Smart Suite) can run in a remote configuration using Spok computer telephony integration (CTI). Spok's consoles were designed to integrate with your telephony platform utilizing a physical CTI connection and therefore won't work in a virtual environment.
To run a console in a remote configuration the remote location must have:
- High-speed internet and a fast/low latency VPN connection to the office network. The recommended MINIMUM bandwith is a 25 / 10 down / up connection.
- A Voice over IP (VoIP) office phone (or softphone running on the console PC) with a headset.
Once the console is connected to the network through a fast VPN and is configured to work with the VoIP phone or softphone, then the console should work in the same manner as it does in the customer’s facility.
Note: Spok customers have the option to include a remote call center design during initial implementation as part of Disaster/Recovery planning. If the remote call center was not included in your initial implementation, and your organization would like to add it now, please contact your Spok sales representative to discuss options. In order to expedite, your query please fill out the attached remote workstation questionnaire prior to contacting your Spok Sales Representative.
Q: Will the remote configuration work in a remote desktop protocol (RDP) or Citrix environment?
A: No. Spok does not test, certify, or support running consoles in a remote desktop virtual environment configuration. Virtual environments are not supported by Spok CTI because they require a physical connection to the phone in order to work properly.
Q: If my phone system doesn’t allow VoIP or I don’t have a softphone, will the remote console still work?
A: The directory look-up functionality of the console will work as designed, but remote users will not be able to answer or transfer phone calls through the console. All phone call handling requires a physical phone or softphone.
Q: Will Voice with a Smile work?
A: Yes. Voice with a Smile will work as long as there is a physical phone, headset, and the correct audio jacks on the remote computer.
Q: Will Spok help me install all my consoles on laptops so my contact center agents can work from home?
A: Yes. Each console installation requires a license and your Sales representative can help your team through the process of adding new licenses. Spok Professional Services can also be engaged to support the installation process.
Q: What considerations beyond the Spok products should we address to ensure we are setting up successful remote work environments?
A: Important considerations include:
- Provide remote teleworkers a dedicated "business class" internet connection
- Satellite or 3G/4G wireless networks will not provide the level of service required to support Spok critical notification and telephony integration solutions.
- The dedicated connection should be separate from the teleworker's personal internet to prevent other user internet traffic from interfering with bandwidth usage (Netflix/Amazon streaming, etc.).
- Ensure your organization has an IT policy to support remote workers
- Review how your organization will support remote hardware (including VoIP phones, workstations, laptops, etc.).
- Special handling of any manual processes and physical requirements for your Call Center Agents
- On-call schedule management (for those that reside outside of Spok)
- Answering of any physical phones, alarms, code calls, etc.
- Any other procedures requiring physical presence, i.e. pager swaps
For further information on PBX vendor remote capabilities:
- Cisco - https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_us/covid19.html
- Avaya - https://news.avaya.com/cp-cc-remote-offer-covid19-reg