We once thought of “Virtual Users” as esoteric, solely the domain of our most sophisticated customers.
More recently we’ve come to see that a diverse and growing range of customers are making use of this capability, which has largely been undocumented. So here’s an introduction to our virtual friends.
We begin with a little background to establish the basics of user profiles.
Identifying call participants requires that the system know something about them. This information is stored in their personal profile, as pictured below.
The profile contains various pieces of information about the user. The basics include:
- Email Address
- PIN or Passphrase
- Company Name (optional)
- Time Zone
The foundational piece is the email address. It’s at the core of how the system identifies users. It’s used in several ways, for example:
- Users log into the web portal using their email address and PIN or passphrase.
- Participants are invited to a conference using their email address.
- When the conference is scheduled the system sends everyone invited an email invitation that’s personalized with their unique connection details.
Looking further into the profile there, can be one or more phone numbers.
The system can automatically recognize a user dialing in based upon the caller-ID presented. Alternatively, the system can dial out to the participant at one or more of the numbers in the profile.
This approach to identifying an individual works extremely well. However, there are edge cases where the user isn’t an individual or the email traffic from ZipDX is undesirable. This is where “Virtual Users” come in handy.
What is a Virtual User?
A virtual user is any ZipDX user where the email address in the profile contains “zusers.com” in the domain. The following are a few examples of email addresses for virtual users:
How Are They Special?
The zusers.com domain in the email address tells the system to not send email of any kind to that user.
Like any other user, the virtual user’s email address and PIN can be used to log into the ZipDX web portal. Since the virtual user typically isn’t a person, the profile is generally managed by the person who set it up, or the account administrator.
How Do I Create a Virtual User?
Any meeting organizer can create a virtual user. The process is similar to pre-registering a participant, but slightly different.
- Log into zipdx.com using your email address & PIN
- Click on the Profile tab
- Click on the Other Profiles button
- Click on the Create Virtual User button
Thereafter the process is like pre-registering any new participant, except that the email address you choose will be constrained to the zusers.com domain.
By now you might well be asking,”How is this useful?” Allow me to illuminate.
A Simple Example: A Conference Room
Many times participants joining a conference call do so individually, each from a different location. In that case, each of them have are identified by the system and connected to the call.
When there is a group joining the call from a conference room the situation gets a little murky.
A conference room is usually a shared meeting space, not assigned to specific individual. As such it’s not appropriate for the conference room phone to be added to the profile for any particular individual.
Of course, one of the participants in the conference room could dial-in to ZipDX, connecting using their PIN. While the conference room as a whole would join the call successfully, the conference dashboard, call history and reporting would indicate that only one person had connected.
This is clearly less than ideal.
A Virtual User to the rescue!
To solve the problem we create a virtual user (firstname.lastname@example.org) as the faux identity for the conference room. Then add the conference room phone to that profile, enabling both Auto-ID and Call-Me.
Now you can explicitly invite the conference room to your meeting. When scheduling the call, whether via web or Outlook, add email@example.com to the list of participants.
The system will see the zusers.com domain, adding the participant to the call, but not send an email to that participant.
At meeting time, if Call-Me is enabled, ZipDX will call the conference room phone.
Alternatively, someone can dial the ZipDX access line. If the system recognizes the phone based upon its Caller-ID it will place them right into the conference – no conference code or PIN required.
If it doesn’t recognize the phone, they can follow the prompts, entering a PIN or the conference code.
While the call is in progress the dashboard will show that the “conference room” is joined to the call. The call history will also indicate that the conference room was connected, which at least implies that a group was involved.
Using the process described above, any meeting organizer can create virtual users using the generic zusers.com domain.
An account administrator can also request the ability create virtual users with an account specific sub-domain, such as @mycompany.zusers.com.
The private subdomain ensures that there are no possible naming conflicts with other virtual users on the system. This can be useful if you plan to make broad use of virtual users.
Virtual users are a tool that adds some flexibility to our Identity Conferencing model.
They’re an ideal way to handle a conference participant that isn’t a specific person, and ensure that ZipDX never sends email messages where it’s not wanted.
The example offered describes only the simplest way of leveraging a virtual user. They get used in dozens of ways, literally every day. They’re just one more way that we aim to solve conferencing problems for our customers.
If you have questions about any aspect of ZipDX please contact our support team at:
- Or, +1-312-348-8175,
- Or, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re here to help you get down to business.