Content

Concept

The SkySwitch vBroadcast application can be used to place outbound calls to a list of recipients. When a recipient answers the outbound call that was placed by the vBroadcast application, the application can take any of these actions:

  • Play a pre-recorded audio file and hang up
  • Play a pre-recorded audio file then transfer the call to a Call Center Agent
  • Transfer the call to a Call Center Agent (with no pre-recorded audio file)

The vBroadcast application is designed to be used in conjunction with the SkySwitch WebContact Call Center Suite. Connected calls can be transferred to an Agent within the PBX Domain using an inbound trunk on the PBX. Outbound calls to recipients can be limited based on the availability of Agents such that the system will only make outbound calls if an agent is available to talk with the recipient.

In addition, the SkySwitch vBroadcast application can also be used for an SMS blast, which will send a message to a large number of recipients. An SMS-enabled telephone number should be selected to be used as the sender of SMS messages. It is highly recommended that this telephone number be set up to send inbound SMS messages to Skyswitch’s SMS Responder so that inbound messages will be replied with meaningful responses.

To add this service to your reseller portfolio, fill out the request form for the desired service. https://form.jotform.com/70714831814152

Branding

The vBroadcast application has been updated to be available to your domains and no longer requires you to create Sub Tenants for your customers. The vBroadcast portal can be controlled from any web browser at a domain name that Resellers control. As a reseller, you simply create a DNS CNAME record pointing your chosen domain name to vbroadcast.skyswitch.com.

Users can then use the URL you supply to login to the vBroadcast application.  Control over who can access and use the vBroadcast application is done through an entitlement value. To learn more you can read our article on Entitlements Management.

Note that only users with the following scopes can log in to the vBroadcast application portal:

  • Reseller
  • Office Manager
  • Basic User
  • Integrations Only

vBroadcast for Mobile

The branded vBroadcast URL may also be accessed from a mobile web browser.  The look is very similar to what you will see on your desktop browser except for the menu items which will be initially minimized but upon clicking the menu button it will expand.

Reseller view

Expanded menu

Domain view with notification button

Configurations for Call Campaign

Create SIP Trunk in PBX

A SIP Trunk will need to be created that will accept bidirectional calls from the vBroadcast application.  Follow the steps below to do this.

  1. Go to Manage PBX on your reseller dashmanager.
  2. Click on the SIP Trunks tab.
  3. Create a SIP Trunk that will accept bidirectional calls from the vBroadcast application by clicking on the Add SIP Trunk button.
  4. Fill in the necessary data. The table below lists the input fields and what is required for each.
    FieldRequired Input
    NameDomain (Should exactly match the customer's domain name, i.e. domain.XXXXX.service, where XXXXX is the reseller id)
    DomainDomain (Same as above, enter the domain of the PBX customer)
    DescriptionAny description text
    Relay MediaYes
    Trunk TypeBidirectional
    IP ControlRequire Registration 
    SIP UserAssigned/Created by the reseller 
    SIP Password System generated
  5. Click on the Add button to save.

Login to vBroadcast Portal

Since your carrier trunk is available, you may now proceed to create and configure call campaigns that would use your carrier trunk.

In your Reseller Dashboard, click on Manage vBroadcast in the drop-down menu under Manage PBX.

If you do not see the Manage vBroadcast link in your Dashboard, open a ticket with the SkySwitch Control Tower to request access.

After logging into the vBroadcast portal, you will be viewing the vBroadcast dashboard.

Create Trunk in the vBroadcast Portal

The use of the vBroadcast application requires the Reseller to create a carrier trunk in the application. To do this follow the steps below:

  1. Go to Carrier Trunk Management using the menu on the left.
  2. Click on Create Carrier Trunk button.
  3. Fill in the necessary data. The table below lists the input fields and what is required for each.
    FieldRequired Input
    Trunk nameYour preferred description name for the trunk.  (No spaces or special characters allowed)
    DomainSelect from the drop-down list the domain of the PBX customer. Domains with which a carrier trunk has been created will no longer be included in this list.
    UsernameUser name provided by your sip trunk administrator. This is the “SIP User” as shown in the section Create Trunk in PBX above.
    SecretPassword provided by your sip trunk administrator. This is the SIP Password as shown in the section Create Trunk in PBX above
    Tech prefix(Leave this blank. Field is currently unused.)
    PriorityThe lower the number, the higher the priority
    StatusActive

Manage Domains

As a Reseller, you are able to manage any of your domains that use the vBroadcast application. To do this, click on Domain Management on the left side menu.

This will open the Manage Domain page where you can search by Company or Domain name to narrow down the list of domains which are listed below.  From the list, you can click on the Login button to the right of any domain you want to manage.

Create Recipient Group

To create a recipient group follow the steps below:

  1.  Click on Recipient Group Management on the left navigation menu from the domain dashboard screen.
  2. The Recipient Group Management page will appear and from here click on the Create Recipient Group button.
  3. Fill in the necessary data. The table below lists the input fields and what is required for each.
    FieldRequired Input
    Recipient GroupEnter the name of the list you will be calling
    Group DescriptionEnter a description of the list that you will be calling
    StatusActive
  4. Click on the Create button to create the Recipient Group which will then appear in the list of all Recipient Groups belonging to the domain.

Recipient Groups

In the Recipient Groups list, you can:

  • See the status (active or inactive ) of each group (Status column).
  • Perform several actions on the group (Actions column):
    • Manage the recipients of each group by clicking on the Person icon ,
    • Edit the group details by clicking on the Edit icon , or
    • Delete the group by clicking on the Delete icon .

Add or Manage Recipients

To add or manage existing recipients in a group click on the Person icon under the Actions column to open the group’s Recipients page.

Note: Maximum of 100 recipients only per group.

Adding Recipients Manually

To manually add a recipient to the list, click Create Recipient button.

Enter a name and corresponding phone number to the designated fields and click Create.

Phone numbers manually entered must be in the 11-digit format. US and Canadian phone numbers are allowed to be dialed from the vBroadcast application.

Importing Recipients

To import a list of recipients from a file, click Import.

Then click Browse, then choose a csv formatted file, then click the Import button. You may click on Download Sample File to get a template.

The content of the file looks like this. 

Phone numbers uploaded to the recipient list must be in 11-digit format and should not contain any spaces or symbols.

Valid: 19009990001
Invalid: 1 900 999 0001
Invalid: 1(900)999-0001

Only US and Canada phone numbers are allowed to be called from the vBroadcast application.

Create Call Campaign

You will need to upload audio files (Maximum of 5MB file size) for your campaign. The audio files needed are:

  1. Introductory Audio Greeting  - This is needed if the campaign is to do Answering Machine Detection.
  2. Campaign Audio File - This is needed if the campaign is to play an audio file instead of connecting to a human agent.

To create the call campaign follow the steps below:

  1. On the left side menu click Call Campaign Management.
  2. The Manage Call Campaign page will load then from here click the Create Call Campaign button.
  3. Fill in the necessary data. The table below lists the input fields and what is required for each.
    FieldRequired Input
    Campaign NameName of the Campaign
    Caller IDSelect the Caller ID Number that will be used when calling the recipients for this campaign. 
    Recipient GroupsSelect one or more recipient groups to be called.
    Maximum Concurrent CallsEnter the total number of concurrent calls that you wish to make (must be 5 or less)
    Number of RetryEnter the number of times a recipient will be re-called if unreachable.
    Retry DelayEnter the number of minutes for the system to wait before retrying to call a recipient.
    Email IDsEnter the email address/es to send campaign completion reports to.
    Answering Machine DetectionChoose whether the application should try to detect when an answering machine has answered the call.
    Decision for AMDIf an answering machine is detected, you can choose to have the system either hang up or play a pre-recorded message. If the option  Playback Message is chosen, then you must upload a .wav format audio file to be played.
    Playback File MachineThis only appears if Playback Message option is chosen in Decision for AMD.  Here you can select your audio file or choose “Upload  New Playback File” if the desired audio file is not here.
    Intro GreetingChoose an audio file to be played when a machine is detected. It is recommended that this be a 12-second audio file as most voicemail intro recordings are also 12 seconds. If your desired greeting audio file is not here, click “Upload New Playback File” to upload a new one.
    Decision for HumanWhen a call connects to a recipient, the system can either play a pre-recorded audio file or transfer the call to the PBX.
    Playback File or Transfer Phone Number

    If the Playback Message option is chosen then you must upload a .wav format audio file to be played. If your desired playback audio file is not here, click “Upload new playback file” to upload a new one.

    If the Transfer to Agent option is chosen, then you must enter an 11-digit number that corresponds to a DID on the PBX that is routed to an appropriate call queue.

    Do Not Check Agent AvailabilityThis option controls whether the system will check the PBX for available agents before placing a call.
    Agent Call RatioThis option is only visible if the Do Not Check Agent Availability feature is unchecked. This setting controls the number of calls that vBroadcast will make relative to the agents available in a chosen queue. For example, if this is set to '1' then the system will make one outbound call for each available agent in the chosen queue. If set to '5' then the system will make five outbound calls for each available agent in the chosen queue.
    Queue NameThis option is only visible if the Do Not Check Agent Availability feature is unchecked. This drop-down selector allows you to choose the PBX queue that is checked for the agent availability calculation.
  4. Click on the Create button to save the call campaign.

Run Call Campaign

After a campaign is created, you may run it by selecting the tag in the Status column. 

Depending on the state of the Campaign, the options will be Start or Reset. Choose either of these options to begin the call campaign.

The various states of the campaign are depicted in this chart.

Note: A campaign that has started but was not configured correctly can't be adjusted even if you change the status to Stop. You will need to set the status to Pause first and then edit.

SMS Campaign

Create SMS Campaign

The domain must have an SMS-enabled phone number to be able to use the SMS Campaigns capability. 

To create the campaign follow the steps below:

  1. Click on SMS Campaign Management on the left side menu.
  2. Click on Create SMS Campaign button.
  3. Fill in the necessary data. The table below lists the input fields and what is required for each.
    FieldRequired Input
    NameThe name you assign to the campaign.
    Sender NumberThis phone number will appear to the recipient as the sender of the SMS message. If your preferred number is not in this list, make sure that the number is in your Inventory in your Manage DID Portal and that it is enabled for SMS. The SMS Caller ID chosen should be one of your toll free numbers and routed to the domain that is in use for this to work.
    Recipient GroupsChoose the recipient group that will receive the SMS message. (Only 1 may be selected)
    Email IdsEnter the email address/es to send campaign completion reports to.
    MessageThe content of the SMS message to send.
    Initial StatusChoose Immediately Fire if you want to run the SMS campaign after saving the campaign. Use Hold if you want to delay the running of this SMS campaign. You will be able to change the status to Created in the SMS Campaign Management page to run the campaign.
    ScheduleSet the Schedule for the campaign to run. This schedule is not to run the campaign in a recurring manner.
    By default, the schedule is effectively “all days of the year”. Once a campaign is created and the schedule in the form is not changed, the campaign will immediately run.
    However, if you want to run the campaign later (on the succeeding month or some hours later), change the schedule of the campaign.
    Samples Scenarios for Schedule:
    If you want to run the campaign immediately after creation or every time it is reset but you do not want it to run on a weekend, set the Campaign Week Day Start to Monday and the Campaign Week Day End to Friday.
    If the time of the creation of the campaign is 8 am and you want to run the campaign at 1 pm, set the Campaign Start Time to 13:00.
    If you created the campaign on a July and you want to run the campaign on the succeeding month, change the Campaign Start Month to August.
  4. Click the Create button to save.

Run SMS Campaign

After the campaign is created, you may run it by selecting the tag in the Status column. Depending on the state of the Campaign, the options will be Created or Reset. Choose either of these options to begin the SMS campaign.

SMS Campaign Status

 This is the status of a newly-created campaign and has never been processed yet. It will be processed once the schedule run of the campaign is reached.

 This is the status of a campaign that is currently in progress.

 This is the status of a campaign that has completed its run. Click on the Completed button to run the campaign again.

Note: A completed campaign can be re-run by changing the status to “Reset”.

Appointment Reminders

Terms

  • Appointment - a person with a phone number and a schedule.
  • Reminder - A notification message for a person with an appointment sent by call or SMS at a configurable duration before the appointment schedule.

Where To Record Appointments

Appointments are stored as a recipient group. It is recommended that you create at least one Recipient Group of type Reminder for each of your business entities. 

For example, if you have a doctor’s clinic and beauty salon that would like to set up SMS or Call reminders, create one recipient group for the doctor’s clinic appointments and one recipient group for the beauty salon.

Proceed to create your Recipient Group. Provide a helpful name and description. On the Appoint Reminder Group, choose Yes. Status should be Active if you want it to start giving out appointment reminders to the persons that would be added to this group.

How to add this kind of appointment is discussed in a later section.

How To Configure Reminders

On the left navigation bar, navigate to Reminder Management. Click on Create Reminder Campaign button.

Supply your preferred campaign name and select your target recipient groups you just created. 

Also, choose the campaign type. 

  • Call - Recipients will get their appointment notifications via calls to their phone numbers.
  • SMS - Recipients will get their appointment notifications via SMS sent to their phone numbers.
  • Both - Recipients will get their appointment notifications via call and SMS to their phone numbers.

Reminder Delivery via SMS

If your reminder will be delivered by SMS, choose the SMS Caller ID to be used.  The SMS Caller ID chosen should be one of your toll free numbers and routed to the domain that is in use for this to work. 

You can configure the content of your SMS message and use the following keywords as placeholders:

  • $name - use this as a placeholder of the recipient’s name
  • $datetime - use this as a placeholder for the appointment schedule.

Reminder Delivery via Call

If your reminder will be delivered by call, configure the following:

  • Max Concurrent Calls - Enter the total number of concurrent calls that you wish to make (must be 5 or less)
  • Call Caller ID - choose one of your phone numbers
  • Number of Retries - the maximum number of call attempts if the recipient phone number is not reachable
  • Retry Delay - number of minutes between call attempts
  • Intro Greeting - Choose a playback file to be played as an intro greeting.
  • Answering Machine Detection - Choose Yes if an answering machine is to be detected.
  • Decision for AMD- What to do in case a machine is detected. Choose between:
    • Hangup Call
    • Playback Message - If chosen select a file for playback in the Playback File Machine portion.
  • Call Message- Options for the message played when the call connects. 
    • Playback Message - This option will show a file chooser dialog for you to upload the audio file to be played
    • Text to Speech Message- This option will convert to audio the text inside the message box.  This has 2 sub-options:
      • Similar To SMS Message - This copies the message written in the SMS section (see above portion) and grays it out. To edit the message you will have to do this in the SMS section message box.
      • New Text - You can type your message in the message box.
    • Message - This is the text to be converted to speech. Use $name as a placeholder of the recipient’s name and $datetime as a placeholder for the appointment schedule.

Set the Scheduling Information

In this section, you will set the schedule as to when the notifications will be sent.

  • Notify On - The number of days before the appointment schedule that the reminder is sent. Options are 1 - 15 days or ‘Same Day’.
  • Notify Time - The time of the day the notification should be sent. 
  • Effective Start Date - Date when the reminder program starts
  • Effective End Date - This drop-down menu will let you either ‘Choose Date’ on when the reminder program ends or the ‘Never’ option which will keep the reminder program running continuously. Selecting Choose Date will show a date picker below for selecting the end date.

How To Add Appointments

There are two ways to add appointments, either by entering appointment information thru the vBroadcast portal or by posting appointment information via an endpoint webhook.

It is possible to have multiple appointment reminders for the same number.

Entering appointment information through the vBroadcast portal

  1. Go to the Recipient Group Management page via the menu on the left.
  2. Click on the Manage Recipients button of the recipient group where you will add a person’s appointment.
  3. Click on the Create Recipient button
  4. Supply details of a recipient to which an appointment schedule will be created.

    Details to supply are:
    • Person’s name
    • Phone number
    • Appointment date
    • Appointment time (The timezone is based on the time of the user who logged in.)
    • Phone type (SMS or Call or Auto-Detect)
  5. Click the Create button to save the appointment.

By posting appointment via HTTP Webhook

  1. On the Recipient Group Management page, select the Recipient Group of type “Reminder” to where you will add a person’s appointment.
  2. Click on the edit icon of the Recipient Group. 
  3. In the Webhook section, take note of the token displayed. This will be used in your HTTP POST to the vBroadcast webhook.
  4. Click on the Copy Token button.
  5. Click on the API Integration Guide link to know more about this. The guide shows the HTTP POST REQUEST template and explanations of the parameters to be passed.
  6. Click on the Save button to finalize.

List of Appointments

All the appointments are listed in a table. For easier management, it is indicated if the appointment is a Past appointment or a Future one. Only future appointments will receive notifications. Note also that how well in advance the notification is given is dependent on the Notify On (can be configured for the number of days before the schedule) discussed above.

From here you can:

  1. Delete Recipients - Done by either clicking on the red x icon beside the recipient entry under the Actions column. Or selecting multiple recipients via the check boxes beside each recipient entry and clicking the Delete Recipients button.
  2. Delete All Recipients - Click on the Delete All button to do this.
  3. Return to the Recipient Group Management page - To return click on the Back button
  4. Create Recipient - as discussed in the previous section
  5. Import Recipients - Select a prepared file with appointment information and import it into the appointment list via the Import button. A template can be downloaded through the import page.
  6. Export Recipients - Clicking on the Export button will download a CSV format file containing these appointment schedules.

API Integration Guide

View your Recipient Group which is of type Reminder. Copy the token displayed on the page.

You will use this token when using the vBroadcast webhook for adding or removing appointment schedules.

Security Note: If you think your token has been compromised, click the “Create New Token” and click Save. Use the new token in your client application that posts new appointments to the vBroadcast Webhook.

Adding an Appointment

From your client application, send an HTTP Request using this format:

curl --location --request POST 'https://vbroadcast.skyswitch.com/index.php?r=api/addappointment/' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{
    "token":"qXbbZ6KoR0R7q4obeGVqKGYMO6R0eP",
    "name":"John Smith",
    "phone_number":"12023334545",
  "appointment_date":"2020-01-30",
    "appointment_time":"14:00",
    "phone_type":"SMS"
}'

HTTP Method and Endpoint:  

POST https://vbroadcast.skyswitch.com/index.php?r=api/addappointment/

Body Parameters: 

  • token - The token for the target Reminder configuration.
  • name - Name of the person with an appointment. Max of 50 characters.
  • phone_number - Phone number of the person with an appointment. This must include country and area code. For a US and Canada phone number, it must start with 1 and will be 11 digits long.
  • appointment_date - Date of the appointment in yyyy-mm-dd format.
  • appointment_time - Time of the appointment in hh24:mi format (24 hour format)
  • phone_type - CALL for wireline. SMS for mobile.

Note that the timezone followed is the timezone of the campaign creator, usually the business owner or the region in which the business is located. The timezone is usually displayed in the title bar of the table.

HTTP Response

  • 200 - Appointment stored successfully
  • 400 - Failed request. See "message" attribute for the explanation.

Sample Response:

400 
{
    "status_code": 400,
    "message": "Invalid Phone Type passed"
}

Removing an Appointment

From your client application, send an HTTP Request using this format:

curl --location --request DELETE 'https://vbroadcast.skyswitch.com/index.php?r=api/addappointment/' \
--header 'Content-Type: application/json' \
--data-raw '{
    "token":"qXbbZ6KoR0R7q4obeGVqKGYMO6R0eP",
    "phone_number":"12023334545",
    "appointment_date":"2020-01-30",
    "appointment_time":"14:00",
}'

HTTP Method and Endpoint:  

DELETE https://vbroadcast.skyswitch.com/index.php?r=api/addappointment/

Body Parameters:

  • token - The token for the target Reminder configuration.
  • phone_number - Phone number of the person with an appointment. This must include country and area code. For a US and Canada phone number, it must start with 1 and will be 11 digits long.
  • appointment_date - Date of the appointment in yyyy-mm-dd format.
  • appointment_time - Time of the appointment in hh24:mi format (24 hour format)

If an appointment of exactly the same phone number and appointment_date and appointment_time is found, it will be deleted.

SMS Subscription Keywords

Industry standards require that recipients of text messages be able to opt-out of receiving SMS messages.  Accordingly, vBroadcast will recognize the following keywords:

  • STOP
  • END
  • CANCEL
  • UNSUBSCRIBE
  • QUIT 

STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE or END or CANCEL or QUIT

When a recipient sends any of these keywords to a phone number that is used in a vBroadcast campaign the system automatically disables any future SMS messages from the vBroadcast to the sending number.

SUBSCRIBE or UNSTOP

When a recipient sends any of these keywords to a phone number that is used in a vBroadcast campaign the system will allow any future SMS messages from the vBroadcast to the sender number.

Where to see list of Unsubscribed SMS Numbers

  1. Log in to your vBroadcast portal.
  2. If logged in as Reseller, go to Domain Management first. Search for your subject domain and then click the associated Login button.
  3. On the left navigation button, click on the Unsubscribed SMS Numbers menu item. You will be shown a list of numbers that have unsubscribed.
    • DID Number - this column shows the number to which the number on the right unsubscribed from.
    • Customer Number - this column shows the numbers that are unsubscribed from the DID on the left.
    • Unsubscribe Date - the timestamp of when the unsubscribe request was sent. The timezone is displayed at the title bar of this table.

Note: It is not possible for users of vBroadcast to add or remove customer numbers to the unsubscribe list. Only the phone number holders can do that by sending the right keywords.

Impersonate End User

This page allows the Reseller or Office Manager to impersonate Basic Users under the managed domain. Each Basic User can create Call Campaigns and SMS Campaigns.

Reports

The vBroadcast application provides several reports you can access this by clicking on Reports on the left side menu and selecting either Call Detailed Report, Call Summary Report or SMS Detailed Report.

Call Detailed Report

The Call Detailed Report shows the following information. This report is only available at the Domain view.

Call Summary Report

The Call Summary Report shows the following information.

This report is available to a reseller where it shows summary information per domain. This report is also available to the domain where it shows summary information per Campaign.

SMS Detailed Report

This report lists all the SMS campaigns that ran. 

Click on the Details button to go into the page listing all the phone numbers that were sent out with the campaign’s SMS message.

Appointment Reminder Report

You can view a report of the reminders set up by going to the Reports menu and in the sub-menu click on Reminder Detailed Report.

Here you will see the list of reminders for both Call and SMS Reminders. You can filter by Date Range and/or by choosing the Campaign Name to narrow down your results.

If your search turns out without results, it will indicate ‘No results found.’. Note that search results are different for Call and SMS Reminders.

You may click on the Export to CSV button to download this detailed report.