Business Telecommunications Via The Cloud: A Lofty Idea

Business Telecommunications Via The Cloud: A Lofty Idea

Are your VoIP communications winging their way through the cloud? If the answer is “No”, let’s see how cloud computing can maximize the utility of those state of the art VoIP phones you have. Or perhaps you’re thinking about purchasing VoIP phones and wish to consider a cloud-based solution for their optimum use. Going onto the cloud, simply put, is employing host-provided hardware and software remotely by way of the internet (referring here to a “public”, rather than a “private”, cloud), thereby transferring the infrastructure costs and the burden of applications management and risk to the host. In effect, the user purchases on-demand software for a monthly fee based on usage, paying only for the level of service the business requires. This makes the cloud an ideal vehicle for small to medium size businesses that prefer not to invest large sums of capital for the acquisition of hardware and software nor incur the relentless periodic expense of maintaining those assets. There is a matter of trust involved in all of this, since by employing the cloud a user is relying on a hosted server in a remote location. So, it is critical that users have confidence in the provider’s ability not only to deliver quality service at a reasonable price but to maintain a secure operating environment. Toward that end, the provider must satisfy users that its service plan includes a set of security policies, layered technologies and controls to protect infrastructure and data from attack and must include provisions for system back-up and disaster recovery. With respect to business telephone systems, specifically, the principal benefits of migrating to...
SIP: One connection for voice and data. One path to more profits.

SIP: One connection for voice and data. One path to more profits.

Just when you thought your telephone system was state-of-the art, along came SIP Trunking to turn business telecommunications on its ear. And here are the reasons: deploying SIP Trunking can save money and improve productivity for businesses and institutions of any size. A Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) Trunk is a communication path that delivers voice and data on a single, converged line utilizing the speed and reliability of the internet. SIP has become the common signaling standard for real-time communications for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). By doing so, SIP lowers the operating costs for a business and maximizes the use of network capacity by leveraging bandwidth and sending more traffic along the same sized pipe. There’s no more paying for separate access for voice and data, since only one connection is needed; no more need to maintain a T1 line; no more PRI. The cost of domestic outbound calling can be lowered significantly. This all serves to maximize the effectiveness of a PBX system and generate a higher return on investment. A SIP Trunk is a virtual phone line that employs a broadband internet connection for access and uses existing customer premise equipment, applications and communication devices to simplify and expedite communication. It can create an on-line presence and allows for protocols that initiate, manage and terminate communication sessions. SIP can prioritize messages automatically for users, which saves time and increases employee productivity. In addition, SIP makes it easier to initiate a communication with someone because the initiator will know by what means and when an individual is available to receive that communication. The three basic components needed...
How Auto Attendant Can Save Customers

How Auto Attendant Can Save Customers

Imagine that Arthur Miller had not written Death Of A Salesman, but instead wrote Death Of A Sale. In the opening scene an eager customer places a phone call to one of several competing suppliers, only to hear after ten rings those two dreaded words: “Please hold.” What unfolds is a tragedy played out in three acts of agonizing waiting: Patience, Anger and Utter Despair. And when the curtain comes down, the sale has been lost and perhaps the customer, too. This is theater that no business owner ever wants to see, and it doesn’t have to happen. With Auto Attendant, long call-holding periods, botched call routing and lost messages are easily avoided. Existing customers get the good service they expect. Prospects are made to feel confident they have called a company that is on the ball. Sometimes referred to as a “virtual receptionist”, Auto Attendant is a business telephone system feature that without human intervention routes calls to extensions or departments, plays music on hold, records voicemail messages and sends voicemail messages to email. It can also manage advanced call-forwarding options and send faxes. When implemented properly, what Auto Attendant does best is save customer relationships and gives businesses a better chance to convert prospects into customers. Most Auto Attendant systems offer a simple menu that can be customized to the needs of an organization (“for sales, press 1, for customer service, press 2”, for example) to facilitate its use by callers. It may also allow callers to reach an operator or receptionist by pressing a particular number, usually “0”. Auto Attendant systems have options that provide for...
Selecting The Right Telecommunications Carrier

Selecting The Right Telecommunications Carrier

Dissatisfied with your current telecom carrier? Need enhanced technology? Unhappy with service outages? Paying too much? The likely drivers of the search for a telecom carrier are a desire for improved technologies, the quest for better customer service and more reliable tech support, the need for a higher level of management reports and analytics, and the goals of increasing revenues and containing costs. Here are some thoughts on how you may go about evaluating the merits of a carrier. Technology Provided: Ascertain if the carrier’s technology meets your business requirements, both present and future. Weigh each feature of the carrier network and determine its importance to your needs. Know what you want and what you don’t want. Think about how well the service will integrate with other technologies you now utilize or anticipate utilizing in the near future. You may wish to explore how readily the platform accommodates the use of mobile devices, which have increasingly become integral to business telecommunications. Bundled packages of digital phone service, high-speed broadband internet service, PRI over a fiber optic connection and Ethernet network plans can be purchased for better pricing. To improve productivity and reduce travel costs, determine if a carrier supports efficient web-based and audio conferencing systems. Customer Service/Tech Support: No matter how strong a carrier’s technology platform may be, if the level of customer service and tech support does not meet your expectations, that carrier can have a deleterious effect on the operation of your business, jeopardize your customer base and hurt your bottom line results. Inquire about the carrier’s customer service philosophy and procedures, find out about the responsiveness...
Office Security & Access Control: “The New Pocket Protectors”

Office Security & Access Control: “The New Pocket Protectors”

A burglary or act of vandalism can ruin your day – and, in the extreme, it can ruin your business. To prevent that, you need to protect your pocket, the one that holds your profits, not the one that holds your leaky pens. The importance of maintaining a safe, secure operation for your business cannot be over-emphasized. Managing access to your facility and monitoring activity inside and out are the keys to enterprise security. Insurance may cover the dollar cost of theft and damage that you may incur, but the true cost to your business can far exceed the repair or replacement of assets stolen or destroyed. Access control and video surveillance systems will secure your business site, help to protect valuable assets, including equipment, inventory, proprietary technology and confidential data, while ensuring a safe workplace environment for your employees and your customers. Quality technologies manufactured by premier firms such as Honeywell and Mobotix for intrusion detection and surveillance are available at costs that readily justify the benefits they produce. Using keypads and proximity readers, door and gate control systems can limit access by location, by time of day and days of the week. IP surveillance cameras, operating in real time, can be viewed at a monitoring station or accessed by computer, tablet or smart phone. While some video cameras store images on built-in computers, others utilize DVR technology for archive storage. Having adequate security systems may produce the added benefit of reduced outlays for insurance premiums. Lowering your business insurance costs requires lowering your business risks, and the risks of theft, fraud and property damage can be reduced...
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