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Here are more VoIP features you can use

Here are more VoIP features you can use

 August 28th, 2018
Here are more VoIP features you can use

The many features available for VoIP may overwhelm and confuse you. You might even overlook a lot of them. How do you keep track of all its applications and functions? We’ve compiled a list of features included with your VoIP service that often go unnoticed.

Busy lamp field

The busy light notifies you when people can’t take your call. You avoid disrupting someone from an important phone call, and you can choose to wait or call someone else. You can manage your call times more efficiently, especially if you make several calls a day.

In-call coaching

Train your employees on how to speak with clients over the phone using add-on services like Barge and Whisper. Barge enables you to silently monitor your employee’s phone conversation, while Whisper allows you to coach your employees during a call, without the customer hearing you.

Hot desking

It lets you transfer your phone settings and preferences over to another IP device. Any available IP phone can become your “personal” phone when needed.

Hold Music

Make waiting more tolerable for your customer with hold music that’s tailored to your brand’s identity. It also reassures your caller that their call is being redirected, instead of hearing just dead silence.

Hidden conferencing features

VoIP video meetings have features that can mute other people, organize internal voting systems, and more.

Hands-free dialing

Save time looking for someone in your phonebook by adding a call button above someone’s email address.

Call screening

It displays the caller ID on your device, so you can ignore or pick up the call.

Click-to-call

This website widget makes it convenient for your customers to call you by simply clicking on a button on your page.

Analytics

This function provides an analysis of your VoIP usage, giving important details like: Who calls you the most, who you call the most, and your customers’ geographical distribution, among others. Such information is useful in tracking call usage, costs, etc.

Get the most out of the VoIP services you paid for. To know more about the latest in VoIP trends and services, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Getting ready to switch to VoIP phones

Getting ready to switch to VoIP phones

August 10th, 2018
Getting ready to switch to VoIP phones

Voice over Internet Protocol, commonly known as VoIP, allows you and your employees to make and take phone calls over the Internet using your existing broadband connection. It saves you loads of money and increases team efficiency. If you’re considering moving to a VoIP solution, here are some of the most important aspects to address before the switch.

Network stability

Implementing a VoIP phone system presents unique challenges, such as maintaining a consistent internet connection. Backup internet connections and uninterrupted power supplies are just some of the hardware you should have to ensure reliable VoIP calls. If your internet goes down or the power is knocked out, business goes on as usual.

Bandwidth

Beyond a stable connection, VoIP calls also need minimum network speeds to function. Estimating your current bandwidth and VoIP’s needs is crucial to ensuring your calls are clear and free of drop outs. Before benchmarking your internet speed, decide on how many users, handsets, and calls per day your new VoIP solution will need to handle.

Security

As with anything connected to the internet, VoIP is susceptible to cybersecurity threats and breaches. You could fall victim to information theft and malicious attacks if you don’t have robust and preventive security measures in place. Your best bet is to deploy a firewall to monitor the flow of traffic and protect your systems from security threats.

Budget

VoIP is a long-term money saver for small businesses, but there are relatively small upfront costs when upgrading from a traditional phone system or another subpar VoIP solution. You need to take into account things like whether you’ll purchase deskphones, potential cabling challenges, and installation costs for VoIP-specific routers.

Staff

Employee training is key to a successful VoIP integration. You help these efforts by asking one, or several, of your staff to work with the vendor or IT provider to learn the new system and become in-office resources. While most people are already familiar with video conferencing software such as Skype, it helps to create user guides and manuals to educate those that aren’t as tech-savvy.

VoIP systems create countless cost-saving and business-enhancing benefits, but they should not be installed without certified help. Our dedicated professionals streamline the whole process so your solution is configured and optimized as quickly as possible. Get in touch with us today for information on how to embrace this groundbreaking technology.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Get the best VoIP experience with these apps

Get the best VoIP experience with these apps

July 26th, 2018
Get the best VoIP experience with these apps

VoIP apps let users send messages, make phone calls, and do other tasks through an internet connection. Most apps offer the essential services for free, and they can harmonize with your devices for consistent usage. Here are some of the top VoIP apps.

WhatsApp
The increasingly popular WhatsApp provides more than just text chats between users. There is also an call option, the equivalent of VoIP calls with the option of using video. So if you’re texting with a business colleague, friend or spouse, and need to communicate more clearly or face-to-face, you can easily switch your text chat to a more personal voice or video one. WhatsApp texting and VoIP service is free to download and use, and is available for all major smartphones.

Skype
Even seldom Internet users and the non-tech savvy are likely to be familiar with Skype. This VoIP trailblazer was allowing users to place calls over the Internet long before many even knew what VoIP was. But for those who are unfamiliar with this service, Skype users can place voice or video calls to other Skype users for free. You can also call a landline or mobile that doesn’t use the app for a very small fee. As for new changes, you can now conduct conference calls with the group video calling function that Skype has recently added.

Viber
Like Skype, you can use this service to place free VoIP calls to other Viber users. You can also call non-Viber users for a low fee, which is usually less than most cellular service plans. And because Viber is primarily a mobile app, it also has some nice benefits if you’re using it on your cell. Unlike other free VoIP services, Viber doesn’t require a username. Instead, you simply use your cell number as an identifier, which makes it easy for you to call contacts on your phone. What’s more, it also doesn’t eat up a large amount of data per call, only using 250KB per minute.

Viber is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone devices, and requires no registration to use the app.

Google Hangouts Dialer
If you’re a Google Apps user, you’re likely familiar with Hangouts. What you may not know, however, is that you can install an app, Hangouts Dialer, that enables VoIP calls. Once Dialer is installed in the Hangouts app, you can use it to call any phone number in the world, including landlines. Best of all, most calls to Canada and the US are free.

For business owners who are a bit tentative of VoIP, these four apps will give you an easy opportunity to test the waters. If you have any VoIP questions, or are ready to start saving money and install a VoIP system in your business, call us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Causes of call-quality issues of VoIP

Causes of call-quality issues of VoIP

July 11th, 2018
Causes of call-quality issues of VoIP

Phones are absolutely essential to any company’s communications arsenal. And after Alexander Graham Bell made the first coast-to-coast long-distance call in 1915, it was clear that this was technology that had the power to transform businesses. But as with all emerging technologies, there were some kinks to work out.

Choppy Voice

The main factor in disjointed, start-stop sounding messages in a VoIP environment is packet loss, which occurs if individual data “packets” are lost in transmission. When this occurs, the gateway at the receiving end of the call tries to predict what’s been lost, but when it can’t, the gap in data remains empty. With a simple tweak to your VoIP system’s bandwidth settings, sending and receiving voice data will become smoother and significantly reduce these interruptions.

Static

Many VoIP systems use an ATA, or Analog Telephone Adapter, to convert analog voice signals to digital signals. This sometimes produces static during calls, with the culprits usually being incompatible power supplies or feedback from the phones plugged into the ATA. Easy fixes include unplugging/replugging the ATA and/or the devices connected to it, or switching to IP Phones, which require no analog/digital conversions.

Voice Echo

It’s fun to hear your voice repeating throughout the high-walled canyon you’re hiking, but not so great when you’re having a quick chat on the phone. Although VoIP echo won’t totally disrupt your conversation, there are a few things you can do to reduce it, such as adjusting volume and gain settings, upgrading your USB headsets, or implementing VoIP echo cancellation software.

Post-dial Delay

Commonly referred to as PDD in VoIP parlance, post-dial delay is fairly self-explanatory. It refers to a delay between the time the caller finishes dialing and when they hear ringing, a busy signal, or some other kind of “in-call” information. It can be a nuisance when, instead of the ringing being delayed, it never actually occurs and you suddenly realize that your call has been connected.

This is actually an external issue from a vital piece of VoIP technology known as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). At the moment, the only solace we can offer is that its widespread nature means you’re not alone, and a solution should be coming along soon.

By now, it’s clear to most small- and medium-sized businesses that a VoIP phone system can benefit them, even with the occasional delayed ring or scratchy call. Because what we’ve learned from previous telephony advances is that inconveniences like these are manageable. We can help you manage — from VoIP planning to installation to optimization, contact us today for more information.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Getting staff to use collaboration tools

Getting staff to use collaboration tools

June 25th, 2018
Getting staff to use collaboration tools

An organization might have the most state-of-the-art technology in the world at its disposal, but none of it matters if people don’t use it. Here are five good ways to ensure collaboration tools adoption for your business.

#1 Conduct an audit and have your use cases ready – The first thing you need to do is run an internal audit to figure out which collaboration tools are in your environment and why. Then, make sure you have a handful of clear, real-life use cases ready to share on how the tool can be used and what benefits they can help achieve. For example, a project-oriented team may be more open to using Microsoft Teams if they see the built-in project management and workflow features the software provides.

#2 Select the right tool and approach for the job – Understand that collaboration tools have to work the way your people do, not the other way around. This means if you purchase a VoIP system with a glut of call features you’re never going to use — like voicemail to mail or whisper and barge features — adoption rates will suffer. And if you are unsure about how your company will react to the new collaboration tool, sign people up for a free demo and ask for their honest feedback.

#3 Do proper testing and train users – Before encouraging widespread use of new collaboration tools, you’ve got to ensure that you’ve optimized your IT infrastructure to cope with the added demands — and that means properly testing your network ahead of deployment. Then, train your employees how to conduct calls and communicate through the software. Once they understand how to use the collaboration tool, they’re more inclined to use it for their day-to-day tasks.

#4 Plan a phased deployment – For higher chances of success, go with a phased deployment. Start by piloting your chosen tools with a group of early adopters, learn from them, and make adjustments. Next, extend that pilot from a small group of users to a department. Repeat the same process before deploying the tools to more departments, then eventually, to the entire organization.

#5 Regular monitoring –  Finally, you should monitor the quality and performance of your employees using the software. This will allow you to spot and fix user-experience issues early on.

Overall, a good introduction can ease employees into using the new VoIP and collaboration tools. And with proper usage, these tools can enhance productivity and promote well-coordinated teams.

Call us today to accelerate your enterprise’s adoption of collaboration tools.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Working remote? Use VoIP

Working remote? Use VoIP

June 7th, 2018
Working remote? Use VoIP

The workplace has been steadily evolving, and much of this is fueled by the rise of remote workers. Last year’s Gallup survey showed that of more than 15,000 adults asked, 43% of them worked outside of the office. Why does remote working look more appealing to employees these days?

The appeal of working remote

The perks of telecommuting, or working remotely, go beyond wearing your jammies while doing your job. Employees are unbound by time and space, so talent can come from anywhere. They don’t have to beat the traffic during rush hour since they can work in the comforts of their home or any place of their choice. Less stress and favorable working conditions help increase employees’ morale.

But there are challenges to having workers physically apart. It’s not as easy to turn to a colleague to consult when he or she is across town. Meetings can be tedious to set up, and correspondences via email lose their immediacy. And there’s more possibility of miscommunication when you cannot see the other person’s body language.

VoIP as a must-have tool for telecommuting

For remote working to work, an effective and reliable system of communication is necessary. That’s why companies turn to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.

VoIP is a telephony system that uses the Internet to transmit data. So VoIP systems can transmit a variety of data aside from audio — video, photo, file, etc. The more popular examples of applications using VoIP technology are Whatsapp, Facebook Video and Voice Chat, Skype, and Google Phone, to name a few.

VoIP systems make telecommuting viable. It allows remote workers to connect to one another in real time, at any time. Communication lines aren’t limited to audio; video calls bring remote workers face to face with one another. They can send files back and forth at the speed of a click, leave comments, or edit each other’s work with ease.

One of the best things about VoIP systems is that they’re very affordable. Whether audio or video, so long as it’s sent through the Internet, it’s free. And because VoIP systems have flexible and changeable structures, it’s easy to expand or downsize as needed.

Getting the best out of VoIP

Here are a few ways remote workers can make the most out of their VoIP systems:

  1. Use a hosted VoIP system. The system is hosted in the cloud, usually maintained by a third-party provider. Being in the cloud means easier access for remote workers from different locations. Having an outsourced provider is more convenient because they have the experience and expertise to ensure the VoIP system is always in tip-top shape.
  2. Choose one with mobile app. This allows greater mobility for remote workers, as they do not always need to be in front of their desktops. And the more mobile your workers, the more agile your company.
  3. Get one that uses a VPN connection. A virtual private network (VPN) allows different computers to connect safely and securely via the Internet. Remote workers can send and share data without fear of cyberattackers even when they are using public WiFi networks such as those in coffee shops, malls, and hotels.

The flexibility of VoIP systems means one can be customized for you. If you need a VoIP telephony system that’s just right for your needs, call us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

The lifespan of a business phone system

The lifespan of a business phone system

May 23rd, 2018
The lifespan of a business phone system

Today’s technology allows customers to engage with brands and companies across a broad range of platforms and mediums. But the telephone still remains an essential communication tool for businesses. It makes sense then to invest in a phone system that lasts, and our advice will help you find just that.

Different phone systems
Phones have come a long way, from analog landlines to digital handhelds. Today’s businesses need a phone system that can service their numerous needs, and in most cases, VoIP phones are the answer.

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a system of hardware and software that uses the internet instead of wired circuits to transmit data. VoIP does more than just transmit audio; it can also send a variety of data (video, multimedia, SMS, etc.) and perform other tasks as well.

A VoIP system’s hardware (phone units, cables, CPUs, etc.) and software (one or more applications that run the system) can be either on-premises or hosted.

  • On-Premises — Their hardware and software are physically housed within the premises of the company.
  • Hosted — Some of the hardware, like phone units and other equipment, can be found within the premises. But most, if not all, of the software are hosted online. Service providers look after hosted systems for their clients.

Lifecycles: On-premises vs. hosted
With hardware, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on-premises or hosted. Hardware is affected by the wear-and-tear of daily usage. Barring any accidents or physical damage, VoIP hardware should last as long as analog handsets, usually several years.

It’s another matter with software, which needs constant updating. It’s faster and cheaper to update software that’s hosted in the cloud versus one that’s on-premises. The differences in longevity between the two should be negligible; both can last upwards of 10 years, depending on your IT support.

Technology today vs. before
Cloud technology has fundamentally changed the way IT solutions are produced. In the past, hardware and software were built to last. Today, they’re built to adapt and change.

The effect of this shift on hardware and software is dramatic.

  • Most hardware components are very similar, with replacements and upgrades coming every 5-8 years on average.
  • Cloud software is faster, easier, and costs less to upgrade. Critical updates can be released almost constantly, with complete overhauls taking no longer than 2-3 years.

As your business grows, your phone system should be able to adapt to rapid growth, the need for more speed, and integration with the other systems in your business, like email or management software.

Be a step ahead
Your business cannot afford dropped or missed calls. Imagine what one day of phone downtime would do to your company. The time to replace your phone system is not after it fails. The best time is before that, when you can plan and budget properly.

Nowadays, it’s not longevity that’s important; it’s staying ahead of the curve. Call our experts today so you can always be a step ahead.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

How to stop VoIP theft of service

How to stop VoIP theft of service

May 4th, 2018
How to stop VoIP theft of service

As the use of Voice over IP (VoIP) phones becomes more widespread, so too do security threats against it. And the most common type of VoIP fraud? Theft of service. Let’s examine how it affects your VoIP network and the preventative measures to counter it.

What is theft of service?

Internet-based calls are far more vulnerable to fraud compared with more traditional telephony services. VoIP calls face threats from identity theft, eavesdropping, intentional disruption of service, and even financial loss. Theft of service, the most common type of VoIP fraud, includes stealing usernames, passwords, and account information. Hackers usually introduce viruses into your system to crash it or steal user passwords.

From a legal standpoint, theft of service means obtaining service from an individual or a company without payment. It may involve: deleting or changing invoicing records, unauthorized invoicing, or taking the property of a service provider.

Also, hackers may simply want to crash your system and will flood the network with packets of data so that callers lose access. They may also try to intercept the packets to eavesdrop on calls.

A third type of VoIP hack accesses your VoIP system and allows spammers to flood your office with promotional calls similar to junk email. This type of attack is called SPIT (spam over internet telephony). Once a hacker accesses your communications system, they might broadcast unsolicited messages, advertisements, or other commercial messages over your VoIP.

The solution

Defending against theft of service does requires nothing new or unusual, just a little common sense as well as technical preventative measures.

Common-sense measures involve even IT novices who can make your passwords as secure as possible and, obviously, prevent unauthorized physical access and use of your VoIP phone instruments. The technical stuff? Keeping your antivirus software up to date, combined with fraudulent call routing detection and encryption software.

VoIP has rapidly become an essential business communication tool, so it makes perfect sense to understand exactly what theft of service is to avoid its negative impact. We’d be more than happy to give you advice on implementing any of these protections or managing your VoIP services. Give us a call to get started.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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