Zulu Features/Questions

We’ve got Zulu working and are doing a comprehensive evaluation, hoping to replace our OpenFire/Spark chat system. OpenFire/Spark has wonderful integration with Asterisk but it’s no longer working and will not be fixed.

Zulu is looking good but for a few features that we either don’t understand or are just missing. I would appreciate input from other users of Zulu.

  1. There is an optional sound notification and 3 second popup when a chat message comes in. But if we’ve stepped away from our desk for a minute, when we ereturn there’s no indication that we missed a chat. I think there is a system tray icon that will show the number of unread chats - but this is pretty subtle.
  2. Automatic presence detection. Under “Preferences->General->Idle Settings” there is a “Set presence state to Away … After n minutes idle” setting. This would seem like it should do the trick to set Presence to “Unavailable” or “Away” after no activity is detected on the keyboard. - but it does not seem to work with any predictability and sometimes just does not work. Does this work correctly for others?
  3. Roster - is there a way to just show a list of contains in your group with the Presence indicator - sort of like a BLF side car on an IP phone.?
  4. Custom Presence message - can the “Away” or “Unavailable” message be customized (e.g. “Out until tomorrow”)?.

BTW, I cannot say enough about the fantastic commercial support we’ve receive from the Zulu support staff.

However we’ve received absolutely no response from Sangoma to either feature requests or questions on how Zulu works. Also the documentation is pretty sparse - I understand limited development resources, but it needs some more attention for Zulu to thrive.

Thank you - Richard

Did you already open an official feature request for Zulu (sounds like you might have)? We’ve played with it a bit, but the lack of Contact Center queue controls (sign in/out, ability to queue up pause with a reason code and log out) has kept us away for now.

We’ve only sent in one actual feature request - for the team roster which in spite of some wishful thinking was clearly not there.

On the other issues we just keep thinking maybe we don’t understand how it’s working or needs to be setup.It sure seems like changing presence to away when there is no activity on the PC for a while is how things should work. And notifications are important to get right, but I’m sure there are different opinions on what “right” is.

Fortunately we don’t need call center features, or at least queue-related features yet.

We’ve worked through the issues a bit more and there’s only one showstopper issue preventing us from moving to Zulu.

When someone is away from the desk and returns they need some persistent notification that a chat has arrived while they were were away. The current notifications don’t do that - the momentary sound/ding and the notification pup-up that lasts just a few seconds.

On a Windows PC, something like causing the Zulu tile on the task bar to flash would work (our current solution, Spark, does that) - but we’re open to other solutions/ideas.

Are we missing a current capability or has anyone figured out a solution to this? Any input/suggestions are appreciated.

Also, some nice-to-haves would be

  1. Stronger visual cues in the interface indicating where the new message is.from;
  2. A count of outstanding chat messages when you come back.

Hello Richard,

Thanks for your suggestions, we will work on making stronger visual cues in the interface (blinking)

As the presence concerns … I’m afraid the workflow you need is not supported on FreePBX itself (support multiple presence states for an extension), as presences are one for extension, meaning, if you have a device connected (lets say zulu) and that device changes it presence it will affect the rest of devices (desktop phone, ucp, etc).

Also Zulu Desktop support the usage of custom presences, you have to define them on the FreePBX admin, but, the feature “change presence when away” won’t let you select those custom presences tho.


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Thank you - the flashing task bar notification (or other similar persistent notification) is really important. As soon as I get some additional feedback from the team (today) I’ll file a formal feature request.

On the “presence concerns” I understand for the actual phone. But it looks like there is a Zulu “chat” or overall presence shown,separate from the “available versus on the phone” icon. Could that not be toggled to “Away” if all Zulu clients were idled, or “Available” if at least one Zulu client was not idled?

Thank you again for the response - Richard

Hey Richard,

There are two separate things in here, the “on a call” icon you see in the client it’s a feature to show when a user is on a call (despite their presence state), also you need to give permissions in order to make others see that, and the other thing is presence state itself, and they are global per extension.

If you enable this feature of “setting away when idle” what it’s happening is, Zulu client on that device will detect when that computer has no activity (hence idling) and set the presence to away (globally), so if you have one or more Zulu clients connected to that extension and just one it’s idling it will change you the presence to “away” no matter what in the other clients you set it up manually to available/chat/dnd etc.

I’d mention this presence workflow (global presences per extension) and how it is affecting you, to our project management so they can evaluate a feature request, about an improvement on how presences work.

I understand somehow presence is not something you can use today in your workflow, sorry for that, let’s see if this feature request is approved and you can have this in the future, but right now there’s no possible workaround on this.

Thanks for your input!

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First, I did finally submit the feature request - it is #950218 “Zulu Desktop Client needs stronger visual cues that chats have arrived”. It would be really nice to hear back when this might be considered, if at all.
I do understand that Product Management cannot respond to individual features, but looks across all requests when coming up with what to include in the next product version - but some feedback would be appreciated.

I say this because on Feb 6th we submitted another feature request, #947508 “Display User Roster / List of Contacts” (which is not nearly so critical to us) and have yet to receive any confirmation/feedback at all.

Moving on, thank you for the explanations.

For the “on a call” indicator, we are fine setting permissions on each user/extension so this works - so I believe that is working for us.

On what I called “chat presence” it does seem like even with the “setting away when idle” turned on it will not work so well if a user/extension has more than one instance of Zulu connected. It sounds like it should work as long as they just have a single instance of Zulu desktop running - i.e. on one computer.

What about if they has a single instance of Zulu desktop and also had Zulu Mobile on their mobile phone?

Thank you again - Richard

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I could not post back to the original topic [threads merged - mod]

Wanted to let folks know that Sangoma came through on this. If you are away from your desk and come back a while later - if you’ve received any activity while away (well at least a chat message) the Zulu icon will be highlighted in the Windows task bar and flash.

This was a big issue for us - we were used to something like this in our old chat client.


I don’t see an entry for 3.4.1 on the release note page, but maybe it will be published soon: https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/ZU/Release+Notes

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Hello @rnmixon

Yes, we’ve mentioned that to the devs and they agreed on your feedback, I will let them know to add it on the release notes.


The timely response is appreciated!

Do you know if this feature or something similar will be added to the Mac Zulu client? That is not so critical for this customer, but might be for others.

Thank you much!

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