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A preview of what's coming in v20
Version 20 is more than a new version. V20 is the future of 3CX. With V20 we’ve re-architected 3CX from the ground up - ready for current and future market realities.
Originally, 3CX was designed for on premise - phone system only - installation, and targeted at SMB/Mid size companies. In a time when hardly anybody used SIP trunks and everybody still had a fax.
Over time of course we added a Linux version and cloud support. Our system found a great many larger customers that deployed it across multiple sites and with large numbers of users. Added to that was the requirement to add SMS, Live chat, Whatsapp to have true “omnichannel” support for modern day contact centers. Our smaller customers have continued to have dedicated installs but as the need for more frequent security updates grew, management of individual instances became an overhead for 3CX, partners and admins. A multi instance version of 3CX was needed and introduced.
So in v20, we have taken all the above requirements and built a new optimized system.
Partners and customers that follow 3CX have seen major changes in updates 4,5,6,7 and 8 preparing for this new version.
Version 20 has an entirely new management console. Named ‘Admin Console’, it is now part of the 3CX client. Users can switch to the admin console directly from the 3CX client without needing a separate login or URL.
We’ve taken the opportunity to modernize the entire management interface of 3CX and focus on features relevant today. We have simplified configuration of a great many advanced features.
A big part of V20 are the new Departments. Departments replace Groups as it more accurately represents what they are. In Windows Active Directory these departments would be called Organizational Units. These departments are now much more powerful - they can have their own office hours, holidays, time zone and language settings. Soon they will also have their own phonebook and CRM configuration amongst other things.
Users that are a member of a group automatically inherit these settings. Gone are the global office hours. This makes configuration and management much easier for larger installs. Individual extensions can still override the department hours.
Departments are also the basis of our new security: using departments and roles you can set permissions more granularly. For example, you could have a department “Sales” that would have its own administrator in charge of user management and IVRs. Besides users you can make any system extension or trunk a member of a group. By default trunks are system wide.
Remember that the security roles are assigned for each group a user is part of. So if your default group has all users in it and you make someone group admin then he/she will be able to manage all users.
If you’re not interested in using departments you can just stick to the one default group which each install of 3CX has. IVRs and other system extensions are part of this default group - by default!
With the client and management console now merged into one site we can have one easy to remember FQDN for users and admins. The web client slug is no longer needed so for example:
Before v20: https://company.3cx.us/webclient/
With the new easy to remember FQDN, and the capability for users to set their own password or utilize SSO, there is less reliance on the welcome email. Admins will be spared having to resend the welcome email to users.
One of the biggest additions is a new native 3CX Windows softphone. This will be an app similar to the iOS or Android app and will run in conjunction with the web client. The native softphone will overcome a number of limitations of PWA in terms of window notification control. Rather than a simple call notification it will have a proper answer dialog. Also a native softphone allows for audio control to be independent from the browser.
The big difference with the current native app is that it will be deployed via the Windows store - this means much greater security right from the outset: each Windows native app is security checked by Microsoft allowing us to avoid any situations as we had earlier in the year. It also means we can separately update the softphone from the main 3CX build for better manageability. The software app will be limited to call and essential pbx functions just like you have them on the iOS or Android app. With the 3CX softphone the electron-based desktop app will no longer be needed.
V20 sports an entirely new call manager: Based on 15 years experience in 350000+ installations we have adapted the call manager for the future:
We”ve also beefed up security, performance and testability allowing us to develop faster and for larger installations.
With the new call manager we were able to simplify - and make more accurate - the call logs from which the reports are generated. Once we release version 20 we can turn our attention to creating more and visual reports. We know reports need attention. This will be one of the first things we do after update one.
Going straight to Debian 12 gives us the latest resiprocate engine, as well as the latest versions of nginx along with the latest security patches future-proofing the install. When you upgrade you’ll be taken to Debian 12 in two steps: first to Debian 11 and then to Debian 12 after a restart. You'll be on the latest and greatest operating system available today!
We will publish 2 new APIs: One for the configuration side and one for the client/call control side.
Both APIs will need relatively experienced developers.
In this version we focused on improving the troubleshooting capabilities and supportability of 3CX. We greatly improved the events which will now give much more information about what's going on and what you can do to fix things yourself. The old activity and wireshark logs will have less importance, both of which are only needed for advanced level 3 troubleshooting. The focus will be on the event log as well as a health check page. Another big feature we’re adding is a voip quality monitor to tell you which leg of the call is the problem.
Version 20 will have certain requirements:
Some things that we’re working on but will not make it in the initial release:
We cannot give exact release dates but we envisage to have a preview in October followed by an alpha or a beta in the same month. A number of features will be done in later releases, including Teams integration, Bridges, hot desking and CFD apps.