Critical Considerations When Selecting a Voice Logging Recorder Solution

Critical communications are rapidly evolving and increasingly interconnected. The voice logging recorder (VLR) is a central component in any critical communications environment, interfacing with myriad telephony, radio, console, intercom, public address and other sources of audio. The keyword to consider when selecting a VLR is flexibility: in the diversity of potential recording inputs, the tailored capabilities of the control & management software, the available platforms for the recorder and, of course, in the after-sales service and support.

Support for diverse recording inputs is probably one of the most important technical considerations when acquiring a VLR. Even if your current audio recording requirement is fairly basic (for example plain-old analogue telephone lines and radios), there is a good chance that your communications systems will be changing to IP within the lifetime of your VLR. You should therefore ensure that your chosen recording system can support a wide range of interfaces, covering analogue, digital and especially IP communications, with the possibility to easily upgrade systems with different recording channel types in the future. We have this covered with Total Recall VR products – all of the Total Recall VR products support recording from a multitude of IP based communications, including Tait and Hytera DMR radios, SIPrec, SIP, H.323, RTP, ED-137, Cisco BiB, RTSP and more, which can be supported alongside analogue or ISDN recording channels in the same server, and easily added to a recorder as a post-installation upgrade. A wide range of integrations and easy upgrade potential ensures that your investment in a recording solution is protected long into the future.

Flexible control & management software is imperative for both the security of your VLR and adding maximum value to your implementation. From a security perspective you need to ensure that users can have finely tuned access to (and availability of) various features based on operational requirements. For example, it is often desirable to provide users with access only to calls involving their own telephone extension, or to restrict access to recorder configuration to technical staff.  Highly configurable, per-user software access such as that offered by Total Recall VR PC Applications is an essential consideration in any VLR implementation.

Of course, when we discuss the flexibility of VLR control and management software it is also essential to give serious consideration to the range of functions that the software provides. For some users it is sufficient to have basic functions like single-channel call monitoring, call search & replay, and basic configuration. For others, more advanced features such as multi-channel event reconstruction, multi-channel monitoring, advanced network archive functions and/or system management can add significant value to the VLR solution, streamlining business processes and providing insights from the enormous volumes of call & audio data captured by the recording system. It is important to give serious consideration to the full range of possibilities that your VLR software offers – for example, 3 installation licenses for Total Recall VR Desktop are included with all of our solutions, providing all the powerful functionality mentioned above.

The availability of flexible platforms for call/audio capture is a frequently overlooked aspect of the VLR selection process, especially in the critical communications market. Traditional recording solutions are dedicated (physical) servers installed on the client’s premises – which still has its place, and is indeed required by law for some clients. However the rapidly evolving technological landscape has provided new and innovative solutions for clients who are willing to look beyond the traditional server ‘box’. For those who wish to retain physical ownership of the recording hardware (on-premises recording), virtual machine recording solutions such as Total Recall VR Virtualis provide an interesting and cost-effective option. Users who are open to software as a service (SAAS) can take advantage of 100% hosted and managed cloud recording solutions (for example Total Recall VR Cloud), which offer easy monthly subscriptions and hands-off installation, configuration and management. Find yourself a manufacturer/developer who offers all of the above options, and who can advise you on the solutions that are best matched to your specific needs.

Finally, it is critical to consider the available options for after-sales service and support. The type of support that your organisation will require depends on your mission and focus. A large organisation with dedicated technical staff may be able to undertake large proportion of service activities in-house, and only require very basic manufacturer support. Smaller organisations, or those whose mission is not technical/communications related may wish to have access to extended support services, or to extend the manufacturers warranty for longer periods. Therefore, it is imperative to reflect upon the full range of services and support that a VLR manufacturer provides – for example, Total Recall VR offers a standard 2 year product warranty, which can be extended to 5 years, local support via a worldwide dealer network, up to personalised support & training plans for organisations with specialised needs. A wide range of service and support capabilities ensures that your VLR solution will be maintained in accordance with your current needs, and more importantly can grow and develop in step with your evolving requirements.

This is a lot of information to digest! If you want more details or explanation then you can get in touch with us, or one of our reseller partners.

Nicholas McLean
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