As customer expectations diversify and the operating environment alters, business communications tools have to be applied to the challenge of meeting the demands of a changing market. And within the organization itself, these tools must adapt as the business grows and changes over time.
While it may seem like a nice idea to remain in your comfort zone and not deal with the hassle of changing your office phones and business communications systems, the simple truth of the matter is that an attitude like this won’t keep you competitive. In extreme cases, sticking with tried and tested (but older) technology may even hamper your operations - and have a negative impact on your bottom line.
Take the move to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony and Unified Communications, for example. Many organizations have resisted a shift to this platform - despite its own proven track record of advanced communications features, improved business continuity, reduced costs, and increased efficiency.
But the world at large has warmed to VoIP - so much so that more traditional phone systems are being actively and officially phased out, in many regions. Any business that fails to make the switch will be at a real disadvantage.
Just as the approved communications infrastructure and operating environments for business may alter over time, so too will market conditions and customer purchasing habits.
For example, over 50% of consumers have been using their mobile devices to search for (and in many cases, purchase) the products and services they want. Any business that hasn’t equipped its staff and upgraded its call-handling practices to keep pace with this trend will have lost any edge it had over its competitors.
Growth And Evolution
Within the enterprise as well, conditions won’t remain static over time. New industry standards, operating practices, and technology will emerge. Personnel requirements will change, as fresh talent is recruited and existing staff move to different positions. Physical and geographical factors may apply, as new premises are acquired, or the business expands to various regions.
All of these will have an influence on the type of systems and equipment needed to run the business, and the nature of its communications set-up.
Smartphones and mobile technology have not only changed the way that people shop - they’ve become the foundation of an online economy that imposes significant demands on the way that consumers should be served by the commercial organizations they deal with.
24/7/365 support and availability are becoming the norm, with customers anticipating resolution or completion times that are as near to instantaneous as possible. And in order to deliver these levels of service, enterprises must empower their staff to collaborate with each other, gain ready access to information and resources, and communicate within the same time-frame.
In this environment, landlines and traditional phone systems simply can’t cut it, any more.
The digital economy requires advanced communications tools with global access, and real-time or near-instantaneous response. And these tools must cover a variety of platforms and apps, to allow for the multiple channels and different methods that people use to contact your business.
Future-Proof Solutions For Business Communications
To survive in today’s environment, businesses require a communications system that combines telephony, Live Chat, email, mobile app support, and social tools. All of this needs to be available across multiple operating platforms, with seamless integration between the various channels.
And to anticipate what the future may hold, that business communications platform must itself be open to change, and continuously evolving.
Net2Phone offers a full suite of voice and communications solutions, for businesses of all types and sizes, throughout the globe. Net2Phone’s integrated platform with phone, messaging, and chat provides the capacity and tools to manage your entire enterprise communications system from a single dashboard.
With new features such as advanced analytics, intra-company chat, and presence panels being added to the mix, net2phone is developing improved services, to usher businesses into the future.
If you’re ready to take the next step in evolution for your phones and business communications, get in touch with one of our net2phone representatives.
Publish Date: January 15, 2019 5:00 AM
There is no doubt that there are significant benefits to be had from migrating a telephone system over to a cloud-based solution – let this be clear to begin with. And indeed, one of the most-cited and glaring of these benefits is the savings that can be made in telephony costs.
However, what is not always made clear are the reasons why a hosted PBX solution will save the enterprise money. Empowering users with a clearer understanding of the technology behind hosted PBX is key in this regard, for it will allow us to better appreciate the true market value that cloud-based telephony solutions bring to the SME.
5 Facets Of Hosted PBX That Add Value For The SME
Setting up and managing an IP telephony system, keeping it up-to-date and adding new features and capabilities as they become available is a time-consuming and skill-reliant task to maintain in-house. But, by paying a third party to host your network, a business will free-up in-house resources to concentrate their efforts on more critical operations.
A hosted PBX will be completely managed by the service provider, including the maintenance of the system, and the implementation of security and updates as and when they become available. This means that you will be able to reduce reliance and ongoing investments on in-house skilled resources to keep your telephone system operational.
Legacy telephone PBX systems are all well and good – but the industry is in complete agreement that the future is VoIP. This means that a legacy phone system will never evolve and improve beyond its current state. Conversely, VoIP technology is constantly being improved upon, and indeed has infinite potential that users will continually benefit from as advancements become available in the future.
One of the biggest drains on businesses still using a legacy system is the fact that two separate networks are required – one for voice and one for data. However, with a hosted service, a single network will support full IP telephony, web hosting, emails, office desktops, IT security and multimedia, creating a solution that is far easier to manage and less expensive.
Most SMEs simply do not have the resources and in-house IT expertise to ensure security, reliability and round-the-clock availability for a state-of-the art modern IP telephone system. However, by opting for a hosted PBX service – and thereby outsourcing the management and maintenance of the technology and infrastructure that keeps the system running – SMEs will gain access to the high-quality skills that are offered by the host provider, which will keep the phones ringing 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
VoIP is packet-switched, as it has to be. For VoIP to be transmitted over the data network it needs to first be digitized and transferred as packets. This results in great value-added advantages for the SME – packets are designed to travel across the most efficient route to complete the connection, which means that users always benefit from high speeds and low costs.
Publish Date: May 8, 2017 5:00 AM
A lot has changed in the workforce over the past 10 or 20 years. Whereas once upon a time the idea of the ‘remote’ or ‘home’ worker was a very rare occurrence, regarded, indeed, with suspicion by the regular office-locked 9-5ers, in recent times there has been a tremendous rise in the number of people who work from home.
The catalyst, of course, has been the surging rise of the internet, bolstered even more now with the advent of the cloud and – no less significant – the smartphone.
But it’s taken a long time for the technology to reach the point where we are now – that is, according to a recent study by YouGov Omnibus, where 54% of office workers are working remotely, either full or part-time. Indeed, in years gone by, employees who wanted to take advantage of flexible working were forced to either set up a virtual private network (VPN), rely on consumer-grade, poor quality Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or go the whole hog and have a completely separate telephone line installed in their home just for work.
But modern communications technology has torn down all of these barriers. Indeed, the only real stumbling block now that might stop an employee working remotely revolves around the trust between the business and its workforce.
Remote Workers Are More Productive
Some companies simply don’t allow their employees to work from home, even though the capability is there. The reason for this stance is simple – when you allow employees to work remotely, there will always be the productivity question mark looming over everything that they do. However, to be frank, this type of attitude in 2017 suggests an unhealthy company culture more than anything else.
Research from both sides of the pond has in fact found that remote workers are actually more productive than those who come into the office every single day of the week.
Firstly, scholars at Stanford University in the US ran an experiment – the 2014 Ctrip Study – the findings of which revealing that people who work full time from home are 13% more efficient. As the Money & Career CheatSheet reports:
“Professor Nicholas Bloom, one of the study’s authors, claims the work-from-home experiment, which lasted nine months, saved the company $1,900 per employee. This factors in savings on office space, higher performance, and fewer people quitting.”
Remote Workers Are Happier
If we hark back to the YouGov poll for a moment, we can also see that remote workers are also happier workers – and indeed, it’s not too much of an assumption to make a direct correlation between contentment and productivity.
Of the 54% of the office workers that were able to work from home, 30% felt that their productivity increased when they did so.
But in terms of attitudes, an overwhelming 70% said that “it is important for businesses to allow their employees to work remotely.”
Even so, 23% of the employees interviewed said that their employers allow them to work from home simply because the business “didn’t like it” – which once more reeks of a bad company culture more than anything else.
Why Hosted PBX Is The Best Solution For Remote Teams
Anyone who’s worked in an office will know that it can in fact be a rather distracting place to try and get all your work done. And with this in mind – and in light of the research provided – it certainly makes sound business sense to employ a strategy where employees have the option of working remotely. This doesn’t have to be every single day – and in fact it makes better sense to have all employees come into the office at least once or twice a week, as this gives them the opportunity to catch up on anything that they might have missed while working at home.
But in order for any amount of remote working to be a success, then it’s essential that you have the technology at your disposal that can enable it to happen reliably and simply.
For businesses that want to facilitate remote working and reap all the benefits of a happier and more productive workforce, there is a choice to make. You may already have the tools that will enable remote working, but it may be the case that you will have to invest in some new technology – and one of the best and most cost-effective solutions lies in hosted PBX.
Hosted PBX offers all the functionality that is found in traditional, wired telephony systems, but with many additional benefits and a cost-saving price plan.
The Benefits Of Hosted PBX For The Remote Worker
Reduced Costs To The Business
As with all aspects of hosted PBX, money is saved right from the word go in terms of installation and maintenance. Indeed, there is no installation or maintenance costs with hosted PBX no matter if the worker is at home or in the office – all of this is absorbed into the monthly fee that you pay to your provider. There is also no hiked charges for long-distance calls, nor any for separate landlines, and at the end of the month you will receive one single invoice for your entire workforce, including remote workers, which in turn means that the need for the accounting team to catalogue and approve an endless list of phone bills is also negated.
Ultimate Mobility And Flexibility
No matter if your employees are working from home or are in the office, they will all have the exact same access to all features and capabilities of the business phone system. This is because the PBX resides in the cloud, rather than being tied down to the office building, which means that it is accessible from anywhere, regardless of your employees’ physical locations.
For employees using their mobiles, they will have downloaded an app, which will allow them to remain constantly connected to the central corporate phone system. In effect, this means that any worker can use any device, be it desk phone, smartphone, tablet, or even their personal computer with softphone application.
What is essentially a very simple feature comes into its own with a hosted PBX solution for the remote worker. Your employee will be given one number which their clients will be able to reach them on. When the client dials, the call is forwarded to whatever device the employee happens to be using at the time, meaning that calls are never missed, and the client doesn’t have the hassle of having to remember or re-dial different numbers.
With hosted PBX, there is also no long term commitment to the amount of lines on the system. This means that adding and removing users as needed becomes a very simple task, and your business is ultimately and indefinitely scalable.
Another great bonus of hosted PBX is that you can be entirely flexible with the amount of staff your business has. For instance, if your business experiences seasonal spikes, then you may need to set up remote locations or add telecommuters for support during these times. Indeed, you will be able to advertise seasonal placements for people who want to do some extra work at home, meaning that you can essentially cast the net as far and wide as you like.
Publish Date: May 2, 2017 5:00 AM
As the persistent spread of the internet and all of its glorious capabilities continues, the world is met with more and more startups, all fully capable of growth, and all making massive contributions to local, national and international economies.
SMEs dominate the private sector, reaching a total of over 5 million and accounting for 60% (15 million people) of private sector employment. This is clearly an enormous market, which has been steadily adopting VoIP and unified communications over recent years for the purposes of cost efficiencies and productivity gains.
It is therefore a very real prospect for value added resellers (VARs) to start adding hosted PBX to their offering.
10 Tips For Selling Hosted PBX To New Customers
If you’re encouraged by these figures, plus, no doubt, all the other noise that’s started to bubble up in recent years about the future of hosted PBX, then the tips that will follow are aimed squarely at you.
However, as a salesperson you will know the importance of research before you plunge into a pitch. Research the potential customer before you dive in – it will give you the advantage in the long run, as any one of the following suggestions could be the way in to sealing a new deal.
1. Focus On The Proven Cost Savings
Hosted PBX will save the customer money, so make sure that they know this in no uncertain terms. Indeed, this is the only way that you’re going to succeed. In today’s highly competitive business environment, selling IT solutions is all about who’s offering the biggest savings – and that’s the hosted PBX seller.
2. Choose Platforms Developed With A Reseller or Agent Program In Mind
This really can’t be emphasized strongly enough. When partnering with a provider, you want to know that you’ve got full support, that any questions can be answered quickly and satisfactorily, and that you’re equipped with everything that you need. Check out the net2phone Partner Program to see why when it comes to partnering, no one looks after channel partners better.
3. Highlight the Importance Of Mobile
The smartphone and tablet revolution has changed the way we communicate forever. Hosted PBX will deliver a flawless communications system, whether their business employees are at work, at home, or on the go.
Indeed the average person is said to check their mobile phone 150 times a day. With so much time dedicated to staring at our pocket gadgets, it’s essential to take into account the importance of mobile in the current workplace. However, each prospect will rely on mobile phones to varying degrees, so during the sales process you need to make sure that you get to know the degree of mobile usage the prospect anticipates, and from there you will be able to offer the best service that matches their situation and requirements.
4. Low Administration Effort
One of the greatest things about hosted PBX, of course, is that all the difficult, technical stuff is handled in the cloud by the provider. This means that any business who takes it up can essentially completely unburden the IT team from their current communications services, allowing them to focus on more pressing matters – such as delivering a better customer experience and increasing profits. Make sure this point is made loud and clear.
5. Highlight the Scalability of Hosted PBX
A recent survey of over 350 companies with revenue of less than $100 million found the majority of enterprise buyers interested in switching to a new phone system were mainly concerned with the reliability and scalability of the system. Put these concerns to bed – hosted PBX is designed for scalability, and clients only ever pay for what they need. And, net2phone has over 25 years of providing the most efficient and reliable, highest quality voice services.
6. Reiterate That You Are The One-Stop-Shop For All Hosted PBX Needs
When pushing for conversions, clients can often get worried that you’re just shining them on – that as soon as they’ve agreed and have signed up, they’re just going to become another number in the system, and no one they speak to will ever remember them. No – this isn’t the way to win new customers and keep them happy. Indeed, some clients will even be concerned that they will have to deal with multiple vendors when they begin the migration, which may well put them off doing so.
Instead, put their mind at ease by explaining how your organization’s ability to manage all of the client’s communication needs gives you the most valuable solution on the market – there are no multiple vendors to manage, just you. That’s a real value proposition right there.
7. Sell Yourself As A Trusted Advisor And Absolute Expert
There’s a lot of information out there about hosted PBX these days, and the chances are if you’ve got a bite that the prospect will have already heard about some of the benefits. This gives you a great opportunity to expand their existing enthusiasm onto all the other great benefits that they haven’t heard of yet.
But more importantly, you want to give the impression that you’re looking out for the customer’s best interests every step of the way. Indeed, it’s your job as the sales representative not to just sell any product to the prospect, but to sell the best product that is right for them, and also that they fully understand and are in agreement that the best option has been chosen.
This means you’re going to need to do your research. Make sure you’re well-versed in the pros and cons of traditional and hosted PBX, and then work with your client in steering them in the direction that best equates to their most immediate needs.
In 2017, the threat from cyberattack has never been greater, and of course the more we rely on the internet, the greater that threat will continue to be. Therefore, it’s likely that your prospects will have security questions and concerns about the hosted PBX solution. Evaluate services such as VLAN configuration, user authentication, and encryption, as well as the security of configuring and signaling methods.
9. Flexible Deployment Options
As a reseller, you should be able to equip yourself with the necessary tools to find the right deployment option that matches the client’s precise needs for each individual delivery. Though it’s important to reassure that no matter what deployment option is chosen, there is no reduction in feature set, since it is cloud versions of the software, platform and service that hosted PBX provides.
10. Feature Rich
Of course, one of the things that modern businesses want is a telecommunications system that is filled to the brim with professional features that can do everything from music on hold to provide an auto attendant and find me/follow me call routing. Hosted PBX can of course offer all of this and a lot more besides.
But you will do well in your sales consultation to determine exactly what features the client is after, and then advise them as to the best deal available that suits their needs and desires.
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Publish Date: April 6, 2017 5:00 AM
The modern day business customer wants more than a simple telephone system. Even for those with an on-premise PBX with no intention of moving completely to a hosted alternative, there are still a whole load of cloud options on their wish list – and as an on-premise PBX provider, you know that it would be a smart business move if you could provide them.
Indeed, whilst current adoption rate of hosted PBX for the time being still stands at around 36%, there are many indicators which suggest that adoption is likely to skyrocket over the coming years. This turning of the tide means that the on-premise PBX provider would do well to exercise some foresight, and start making moves now to ensure future competitiveness.
All companies of course want to be the all-in-one solution, but those who have established themselves firmly in the realm of traditional PBX are starting to feel the heat from the hosted PBX competition.
Hosted PBX, of course, is proving to be extremely attractive to many new start-ups and existing SMEs who are looking at ways to modernize and cut business expenditure. Cloud technology is proving to be the great leveler of businesses on many fronts, and, to be frank, one is hard-pressed to find an area of IT where this is more apparent than with PBX systems.
On-premise PBX has for many years given business the professional edge. Music on hold, advanced calling features, call transfers, forwarding and all the rest. But it’s been expensive – often prohibitively so, especially for the lower echelons of the SME category. But, with hosted PBX, an equally professional business telecommunications system is now readily available for even the smallest business with the tightest of budgets.
Scalable, flexible, resilient, extremely cost-efficient, and with steadfast business continuity plans all bundled in, it really is only a matter of time before hosted PBX becomes the norm, rather than the exception.
And, as the hosted PBX revolution takes hold, pressure is inevitably being placed on traditional providers who are having to turn away potential new customers who can’t come up with the upfront capital required to get set up with an on-premise PBX. Selling hardware is becoming increasingly difficult and will likely become almost impossible over the next five years. Indeed, the traditional PBX provider perhaps only ever has a once-every-five-year recurring revenue stream when their customers finally decide it’s time to upgrade their hardware. The worry, then, is that these once-loyal customers won’t be coming back next time round, as hosted PBX becomes increasingly prominent, affordable, reliable and competitive.
The Transition Period
Of course, hosted PBX is not the norm yet, and telephony is a big boat to completely turn around. And, as such, it’s safe to say that no one is going to go out of business just yet – but companies do need to be prepared.
If you’re selling premise-based solutions only, when what many new customers are increasingly after is cloud options and holistic communications solutions, things might well start to get a bit tough in the years to come. Put simply, during this great transition period, what the smart seller needs is to be able to offer is feature-rich, high-value products as well as the data services that hosted PBX can provide – because that’s what the 2017 business customer is demanding. What is more, it’s imperative that you continue to be your customers’ single source, or else you risk losing them completely to full-service hosted PBX providers.
The Rising Opportunity For VARs
It should come as no surprise to learn that full-service hosted PBX providers are going aggressively after this opening in the market. Indeed, they are trying their hardest to prise this opening as wide as it can go so they can slip in most comfortably. And it’s working.
With hosted PBX, all the PBX features that are so coveted by the modern enterprise remain hosted in the cloud, whilst the on-premise equipment can range from just IP phones plugged into the SMB’s existing data network, to phones, switches and routers building a parallel data network for the voice solution.
This model is a serious threat to the sales of traditional PBX. And hardware sales get hit, so too, of course, does the services revenue that goes into the support and maintenance of that hardware. When the hosted PBX revolution takes off – which it most certainly posed to do – the market for premise-based phone systems will in all likelihood correspondingly shrink rapidly, and that spells real danger to the traditional PBX VAR.
But, rather than sitting back and watching it happen, what this scenario actually creates is an opportunity for those same VARs to adapt their business models. The first thing to do, of course, is to become a selling partner with the hosted providers. Indeed, the knowledge and skill set that was instrumental in making the successful VARs good at positioning premise-based telephony solutions will be key to helping customers identify the right hosted solution for their needs.
Indeed, existing VARs who have sold and supported premise-based solutions in the past, are actually in prime position to take full advantage of and capitalize on the rising threat of hosted PBX solutions, as they confidently go on to usurp the market of legacy phone systems.
Become a partner with net2phone today and retain customer loyalty while benefiting from the advanced VoIP technology net2phone offers. Get in touch to find out more.
Publish Date: April 3, 2017 5:00 AM
Having made the decision to switch your office communications system to Voice over Internet Protocol, your next step is to choose a VoIP provider that’s a good fit for your business, and the way that you work. Not all business VoIP services were created equal - and not every one will be suitable for your organization and its needs. These guidelines should help.
The Core Benefits
Sole Proprietors And Micro-scale Enterprises
At the single owner or micro start-up stage, incoming calls are vital - so a customizable Auto-Attendant is a must. Call routing to your designated best numbers, or to your best qualified employees are the key features to look for. Custom messages for promotion and Music On Hold can help boost your image.
For diverse small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), a variety of VoIP options exist such as voicemail with phone, or phone with desktop - together with a variety of calling features and levels of integration with web and mobile applications or office software.
Web-based management consoles and/or fully hosted PBX services reduce the cost and maintenance burdens associated with traditional phone lines. And cloud-based VoIP solutions give businesses the option of more fully integrating their telecommunications with desktop productivity software, online scheduling, collaboration, and document-handling platforms, plus cloud-hosted storage and network infrastructure.
Companies with large workforces and numerous phone lines should expect to see dramatic savings from VoIP - from 30 to as much as 90%. Shop around for a balance offering the best feature set and the highest savings.
Dedicated Call Centers
If you operate a call center, many business VoIP providers offer dedicated packages to address your need for huge numbers of incoming and outgoing calls, reduced waiting times, comprehensive feature sets, and quality assurance. Look for call recording facilities with analytics and reporting tools, to enhance your call monitoring and customer experience refinements.
For All Users…
The ideal VoIP solution should be fully capable of meeting all the operational and business needs you specify, with options to reconfigure or customize your subscriptions in response to changing conditions.
Publish Date: March 15, 2017 5:00 AM
As the pace of VoIP adoption among small and medium-sized businesses continues to grow, larger corporations which have been enjoying success with deployments of cloud technologies in their marketing divisions and call centers are also looking to Voice over Internet Protocol as a way forward for enhanced service provision.
Providers and vendors have responded in kind, with offerings and promises of advanced VoIP features that are “enterprise-ready”. In this article, we’ll look at the considerations that large-scale enterprises need to be aware of to ensure that their systems and network infrastructure are ready to make the most of VoIP.
The first thing enterprise users should bear in mind is that a VoIP system must share the same network as their other workloads and applications. The speed and smoothness of data transmission across the network will have a significant impact on VoIP, which is greatly sensitive to latency, jitter, and packet loss.
So before deploying a VoIP system, it’s essential to conduct a network analysis to determine where bottlenecks occur, and to set a base level for normal network performance in the absence of VoIP. Given the maximum number of simultaneous calls expected at any given time, the presence of other network data in the pipe, and the codecs selected for the system, this analysis should reveal where issues of insufficient bandwidth may occur on local or wide area network links where VoIP traffic is due to be passing.
These observations will determine whether it’s necessary to negotiate a higher speed link with your internet service provider, and/or whether routers and hubs on the network will require upgrading. This is also the time to assess network security, and to ensure that your infrastructure is protected from malware and intrusions.
Enabling Quality of Service (QoS)
On a mission-critical platform such as enterprise telecommunication, call quality is paramount - and in a successful VoIP infrastructure, Quality of Service (QoS) must be assured. This is accomplished by giving network priority to the data that originates from and travels to your VoIP system. VoIP packets should always be given top priority so they meet minimum delay on their travels - even on low-traffic networks where congestion is less of an issue. QoS needs to be enabled and configured throughout your network infrastructure.
VoIP packets typically originate or end up on IP phones and gateways, which are usually configured to automatically tag VoIP data so that QoS mechanisms like IP precedence or DiffServ-DSCP can identify and process them properly. If this identification functionality extends to other devices on your network like routers, switches, and firewalls, it’s possible to configure Quality of Service across your entire infrastructure.
To keep costs down, companies with remote sites and branch offices usually pass voice traffic over their leased lines or Wide Area Network (WAN). As WANs are generally much slower than Local Area Networks (LANs), edge routers must be configured to give top priority to VoIP packets, in order to ensure Quality of Service.
In addition, low-bandwidth codecs like G.729 should be used together with QoS and IP Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) header compression, to deal with packet losses and delays, and to minimize bandwidth demands on low-speed WAN links.
Setting Up Voice VLANs
With QoS properly configured, the next step is to isolate VoIP traffic in dedicated VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) which are set up for voice data alone. These accommodate only traffic from your VoIP infrastructure, and ensure that your VoIP PBX, voice gateways and IP phones have more bandwidth available, and enjoy an isolated and secure environment, free from any threats faced by your main network infrastructure.
Your entire VoIP infrastructure should be in its own VLAN - regardless of the size of your network, or whether it’s wired or wireless. This VLAN hosts your main VoIP PBX, IP phones, gateways, and other devices and services usually placed in a separate voice VLAN. Wireless networks also require a dedicated VLAN for wireless VoIP clients (such as WiFi).
For large organizations having several branch offices and remote sites, continuous monitoring is required to ensure that QoS remains properly configured, enabled and active on the edge routers connecting the various strands. Quality assurance should extend beyond simply monitoring, to securing and optimizing your VoIP services.
This will help guard against degradations in voice, video, and data transfer quality as network demands fluctuate.
CX And Service Control
Proper configuration, enabling Quality of Service, and edge monitoring will enhance security and communications quality in the customer-facing environment. To fully optimize the customer experience or CX, a service control center may be established to provide visibility into customer environments throughout the enterprise. With centralized monitoring and administration, service management and troubleshooting may be implemented proactively.
General Monitoring And Troubleshooting
To uncover hidden bottlenecks, identify network problems, and ensure that QoS is properly functioning, it’s essential to monitor your LAN and WAN infrastructure, and to take periodic benchmark and performance measurements. This may be done using open-source applications, commercial monitoring suites, or software coded in-house.
Publish Date: March 6, 2017 5:00 AM
Gaining a competitive advantage is what the business world is all about. No matter how small your enterprise, there will be other in your field, and your space, directly competing with you for business.
This is 2017. And, as such, the first port of call for most prospective new customers will be your website, or possibly one of your social media outlets. Either way, these days it’s the norm for people to validate a company by checking out its online standing.
And, what is more, the way people are accessing the internet has also undergone a seriously revolutionary change over the past 5 years or so. Whereas in the past, the most common means for accessing the internet was via a desktop or laptop computer, last year Google confirmed that more internet searches now take place on a mobile or tablet device than they do on traditional PC computers.
Indeed, the whole world has moved online, and the online world has unequivocally gone mobile. And this is a great thing for business, as you will already know. When people are visiting your site on their mobile devices, you will of course be presenting them with the convenient option of a clickable phone number, which will instantly make your business phone(s) start ringing.
But what happens then? If you’re a small business that’s constantly working out in the field, it may not be at all appropriate if your mobile phone starts ringing whilst you’re in the midst of a job or dealing with another customer. Indeed, it may be the case that you use the same phone to take both your personal and business calls.
Whilst this may have seemed like the most convenient solution when you first started up, you will probably have come to the realization that you’re missing a lot of calls and potential business whilst you’re either unable to reach your phone, or perhaps engaged in a call already with your better half.
Of course, most larger businesses won’t ever be faced with this problem, as there will be a dedicated team to handle all client calls and organize the field workers’ schedules accordingly. However, when you’re trying to run the whole show on your own, you’re going to need some help to always stay professional, and not let all those potential customers give up on you over one of your competitors. And the answer lies in a hosted PBX solution.
Giving Your Business that Professional Edge With Hosted PBX
By signing up to a hosted PBX service, you will be accessing a sophisticated phone system that will provide a huge boost to your professionalism, which is particularly useful for a 1-2 person business. Hosted PBX requires no additional hardware or special expert set-up – everything is managed in the cloud by your provider and can be used directly in conjunction with your existing mobile device.
With hosted PBX, you will be able to route several numbers to one phone and access a wide range of professional features and business capabilities that your business need to stay competitive in today’s market.
But, beyond convenience, there are plenty more attributes to a hosted PBX service that will give your small business a professional edge. Here, we list our top 5.
1. Make Your Business Appear Bigger Than It Is
Giving your business the appearance of being a large operation instantly adds credibility, and you can do this quite simply with an auto-attendant feature as part of your hosted PBX solution. An auto-attendant literally works as a virtual receptionist, which can answer and handle calls 24/7, making you always reachable and always open to take enquiries about new business.
2. Creative a Positive Hold Experience For The Customer
No one likes being put on hold, but, when you’re a small business, this is inevitable from time to time. But, you can make the experience a positive one with hosted PBX with professional hold music and ring-back tones that you personally choose to reflect the image of your brand.
3. Call Forwarding
When someone calls your business number, with hosted PBX you can choose which phones ring, be it your mobile, your home phone or the phone in your office. With features like find me/follow me call routing, your phones can be configured to create a list of phones that will ring before the caller gets pushed to voicemail. So, for example, you might have your office phone ring twice, but on the third ring your mobile starts to ring, and then on the fifth your home phone.
4. Call Transfer
With Hosted PBX you can also directly transfer any call that you receive to any other phone number, without having to give this second number away to the caller. For instance, many one person businesses will often have a partner that helps with accounts or billing. If you receive a phone call from a client who wants to discuss these issues, you will be able to simply transfer the call over to your partner’s mobile instantly, without having to ask the customer to hang up and redial a different number.
5. Virtual Switchboard
Even if you’re running your business from your bedroom – or there are 3 of you all running the business from 3 separate bedrooms in 3 separate locations – giving out home numbers is not something that you will be wanting to do. Nor will it be convenient to stick a redirect on your home phone to your mobile whilst you nip across the way to get yourself a sandwich at lunch time. And with hosted PBX you won’t have to. Instead, you get a virtual switchboard that you control, routing calls through to your mobile or the internet phone in your home office. You’ll have full control and you can add extensions as your company grows. No PSTN (public switched telephone network) or ISDN (integrated services digital network) lines, and all the calls within your company are completely free, so you can call your colleagues for nothing – just as if you were in the same office.
Publish Date: March 2, 2017 5:00 AM
BVoIP provides a comprehensive cloud communications platform for IT and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to adopt and deploy both internally and for their downstream customers. While BVoIP leaves the door open from a dial tone perspective allowing partners to retain their current provider or choose a new dial tone provider, BVoIP has selected a group of preferred, vetted providers in each region to deliver a more streamlined program. net2phone is now one of these preferred providers.
net2phone’s SIP Trunking service provides BVoIP clients with access to unlimited international calling for a low, flat monthly rate. net2phone’s SIP Trunking solution includes unlimited calling anywhere in the US (including Puerto Rico) and Canada plus 22 other popular destinations: Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Backed by IDT Telecom, a leading global carrier of voice communications, and certified compatible with the majority of IP PBX providers, net2phone SIP Trunking is efficient and reliable.
George Bardissi, President and CEO of BVoIP
“BVoIP is excited to team with net2phone. We believe net2phone’s SIP Trunking provides extreme value to our partners. net2phone’s unlimited international calling plans can help them to win new business and compete more effectively in this global economy.”
Jonah Fink, President of net2phone
“We are delighted to team with BVoIP in order to provide their partners with unparalleled flexibility. BVoiP’s partners will be able to select net2phone SIP Trunking solutions featuring unlimited calling between 25 popular international destinations, and will also be able to price those solutions to meet their customers’ requirements. Our recent certification by 3CX further strengthens net2phone’s value add solution for BVoIP’s partners.”
Publish Date: February 27, 2017 5:00 AM
In honor of President’s Day, hear the latest from OUR President, Jonah Fink.
Jonah Fink, President of net2phone, has been heavily involved in the development and growth of the products, the brand, and distribution network for over 15 years. He’s passionate about VoIP and even more passionate about our partners.
Read more about what he has in store for the channel!
Tell us about net2phone’s latest portfolio initiatives.
Jonah: For any business to be successful, there needs to be a focus on both the today and the tomorrow. For net2phone, the today is to provide a high-quality voice over IP experience to business customers that are migrating from traditional systems to the cloud. At net2phone, we’re also focused on the tomorrow. net2phone’s product roadmap includes other communication paths such as messaging, chat, and collaboration which will be an evolution for tomorrow’s technology.
What do you think are the greatest opportunities and challenges for channel partners?
Jonah: If you walk down the main street of any town and analyze just how many of the existing businesses are still using legacy phone systems and incumbent telecom services, the opportunity is clear. Businesses all share the common goal of needing more features and functionality to improve their business’s communication while adding savings to their bottom line.
The challenge is to get these businesses educated… to wake up main street and make them aware of what’s out there. “Cloud” is a vague term and can be scary to some businesses, so it is important for us to educate these businesses on the advantages of cloud telephony.
How has your partner ecosystem changed in the past year?
Jonah: One of the many benefits of the cloud is its invitation to IT professionals and Managed Service Providers to the VoIP space, which has widened the partner ecosystem for net2phone. It is no longer just about the narrow telecom and VAR installer base. net2phone will continue to invest in our partner tool sets to make it easy for partners of all types to sell the net2phone solution.
What investments is net2phone making in the channel community?
Jonah: net2phone has made a strategic acquisition of Live Ninja, whose expertise and focus is on messaging, collaboration, video and presence. net2phone is committed to integrate and absorb these technologies into our hosted voice product set. Just as the young millennials are relying on chat and messaging, we believe that the business community will do the same. It is clear this will be a strong, value-add to the channel, as it will increase ARPUs, stickiness and longevity to the customer lifespan.
Is there anything else that you’d like to highlight for your channel partners?
Jonah: I think what makes net2phone truly unique is our passion and energy for the channel. Complacency is a dirty word in the halls of net2phone. We are constantly evolving our product set and improving our channel partner tools to meet today’s needs and prepare for tomorrow’s demand. net2phone is not looking to follow, we are looking to innovate. We are determined to shake up the industry, both at the end user and channel levels. Interesting things are coming.
Publish Date: February 20, 2017 5:00 AM
LONDON, UK & NEWARK, NJ, 07 FEBRUARY 2017 – 3CX, developer of the next-generation software based Unified Communications System, and leading global VoIP provider net2phone, announce a partnership making net2phone an official 3CX VoIP provider following successful interoperability testing.
As one of the world’s largest international voice carriers, net2phone has a global network of partners and thousands of business customers worldwide who will benefit from this partnership with access to cutting-edge, cost-effective and customizable telephony solutions.
In addition, net2phone has over 1,000 employees spanning six continents, as well as data centers in seven countries. This global reach supports partners and end-users alike with accessible technical expertise and on-demand customer support to provide a superior customer experience.
In conjunction with net2phone’s certified, low-cost SIP Trunking solution, 3CX’s Unified Communications System offers a feature-rich, scalable and equally affordable telephony platform.
Leveraging these services, businesses will also be able to reduce operating expenses associated with the maintenance and repair of costly legacy telecommunications infrastructure—serving to further reduce overhead.
Octavius Gould, General Manager North America, said:
“The successful interoperability testing between 3CX and net2phone will allow 3CX Partners and end users in the US to choose net2phone as their VoIP Provider for use with their 3CX PBX. net2phone is a global leader of VoIP solutions and one of the largest international voice carriers in the world, trusted by thousands of businesses worldwide. We can rest assured that net2phone will provide 3CX customers with top-level VoIP service and support.”
Jonah Fink, net2phone President, said:
“Our certified SIP Trunking solution is the perfect complement for 3CX’s next generation unified communications system. Our SIP Trunking service offers unlimited calling to the US, Canada, Mexico, India and more than 20 other popular destination countries for a low, flat monthly rate. And because we provision only through qualified and trusted channel partners, our partners are free to tailor customized solutions to fit the technical and budgetary requirements of each of their 3CX customers.”
About 3CX (www.3cx.com)
3CX is a 100% channel company and is the developer of a software-based and open standards IP PBX which innovates communications and replaces proprietary PBXs. 3CX cuts telco costs and boosts company productivity and mobility.
With integrated WebRTC web conferencing, softphones for Mac and Windows and smartphone clients for Android, iOS and Windows phones, 3CX offers companies a complete Unified Communications package out of the box.
50,000 customers worldwide use 3CX including Boeing, McDonalds, Hugo Boss, Ramada Plaza Antwerp, Harley Davidson, Wilson Sporting Goods and Pepsi. Maintaining its global presence, 3CX has offices in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, Russia and Australia. Visit 3CX on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+.
About net2phone (www.net2phone.com)
Established in 1996 and backed by IDT Telecom (NYSE: IDT), net2phone was and still is the VoIP innovator. net2phone is a global leader of Voice over IP solutions and one of the largest international voice carriers in the world, trusted by thousands of businesses worldwide. With revenues in excess of $1.5 billion per year, 1000 employees across 6 continents, and data centers in 7 countries, you can rely on net2phone to be your communications partner of choice. To join the growing net2phone partner program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: February 8, 2017 5:00 AM
Though Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is rapidly gaining in popularity and acceptance, there’s still some hesitation on the part of business users to adopt the new systems. Much of this stems from misconceptions about the technology and its performance.
In its early days, VoIP did have teething problems and performance issues. But the truth of VoIP today is in stark contrast to some of those commonly held myths, like…
1. The Sound Quality Is Inherently Poor
As VoIP depends on internet technology to convert voice signals into digital data, there was some truth to this in the early days of sporadic, low-speed connectivity. Complaints included dropped calls and intermittent or muddy sounding voices.
VoIP sound quality is dependent on the available bandwidth, and today’s broadband networks offer business-class service which is optimized for voice transmission, and actually gives voice signals priority over other forms of data. The result is that VoIP sound is typically equal to landline quality or better, and superior to cell phone quality in most cases.
2. VoIP Won’t Save You That Much Money
Unlimited local and long-distance calls and international calls at fixed rates lower than landlines or mobile services are part of the typical VoIP package. Especially with a hosted PBX solution, set up and management costs are minimal – much less than for traditional phone hardware. It’s possible for enterprise phone costs to be reduced by 70% or more, if a switch is made to VoIP.
3. It’s Difficult To Install And Maintain
With a hosted VoIP system, users don’t need to install anything complex themselves. The service provider sets up and configures your managed router, verifies the state of your internet connections, and gives guidance and technical assistance in setting up all your VoIP connected phones. Many devices come pre-configured out of the box – all you have to do is plug them in.
The major infrastructure for a hosted system is remotely managed by your service provider. Adjustments to your plan (adding or removing lines, etc.) can be made via web-based management software that’s easy to use.
4. VoIP Is Unreliable And Unsafe
A VoIP service is only as “unreliable” as the internet connection that backs it up. Calls can of course be affected by internet service interruptions, network latency, or power outages – but making provisions for sufficient bandwidth (whether as a network host or service provider) can guard against many of these concerns.
Service providers have measures in place like automatic failover or re-routing of calls to mobile phones, for ensuring business continuity during blackouts, natural disasters, or other emergencies. And VoIP systems are actually less susceptible to eavesdropping and security leaks than landlines – though users should ensure that their own network security is in place with measures like encryption and properly configured firewalls.
Publish Date: January 19, 2017 5:00 AM
Publish Date: January 5, 2017 5:00 AM
I must start by saying THANK YOU! The incredible growth in 2016 is only possible thanks to the achievements of our partners in the channel. As 2016 is coming to an end, I felt it was important to recognize and thank the channel and net2phone’s partners that contributed to the success net2phone has enjoyed in 2016!
Cloud-based communications in 2017 will fuel a continued wave of prosperity for our partners and for net2phone. Based on our success and the growing demand we see for cloud communications month after month, there has never been a better time to be a net2phone partner. At net2phone, we do not have a direct sales team that competes with our channel partners. We focus 100% of our attention and efforts on our channel partners. We will be bringing our innovative solutions and strong financial incentives directly to our partners. We will invest in you because “Its All About You!”
I feel that 2017 will be an incredible year of growth. We will continue to innovate real world cloud UC solutions that allow our agents to transform the way their customers do business by making them more agile, mobile, scalable and productive.
Together, net2phone and you – our partners – are making the benefits of Hosted Unified Communications a reality! Together we will innovate business communications and help business customers with the migration from premises-based phone systems to cloud-based phone systems.
Here’s to a great 2017!
Publish Date: December 29, 2016 5:00 AM
Given its wide selection of professional telecommunications features, digital data handling and integration with multimedia and online information types, flexibility and cost-effectiveness, it’s little wonder that increasing numbers of businesses are switching from traditional premises-based telephony to Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP.
It’s a whole different technology from the on-site PBX and public switched telephone network (PSTN), and making the move requires some attitude adjustment and careful planning. This guide will help you smooth the transition.
Establish Your Goals
Changing your business phone system is a step that needs to be taken in line with your overall business objectives, so you’ll need to make an assessment of how you expect your new VoIP system to impact on and improve your existing and future operations. This evaluation needs to be made across the board, so you should invite input from all departments and levels of your organization: Human Resources, IT, marketing, finance, etc.
Set a Budget
Take a look at your books, financial projections, and bottom line, and determine how much you’re prepared to commit to the transition – and the kind of value you expect to receive from your money.
Set a Time-frame
First decide whether you’re prepared to make an all-in-one transition to VoIP (which might be the case for single owner and smaller-scale enterprises), or a phased move, in stages. If it’s the latter case, you’ll need a timetable for each phase, and be prepared to adjust the time-frame in response to conditions on the ground or external factors.
Get Your People On Board
Acceptance and understanding of the new system will be crucial to its successful deployment, so people at all levels of your organization will have to be on board. Some of the groundwork for this will have been done at the planning assessment stage, with the call for input from various divisions, and the formation of a team consisting of representatives from across the enterprise.
Part of their responsibility should be to act as a channel for communicating knowledge about the new system and the effects of the migration to their own departments, and on to the organization as a whole. This process should also take in feedback and suggestions.
Choose A Provider You Can Work With
A smooth transition will be more likely your VoIP provider is one whose service offerings and working practices are in line with your own operations. If your existing telecoms carrier now offers VoIP services (and you’re happy with the way they’ve dealt with you in the past), this could be your starting point. But be prepared to shop around and do some due diligence to identify providers who may be a better fit.
The provider you choose should be able to give consultation and guidance before installation, a stress-free and efficient set-up, and always available technical support once things get running. This, in addition to all the features and capacity you actually need (without hidden charges or superfluous tools), some room to grow (easy, with online provisioning), and assurances about network availability, security, and data integrity.
Consider Your Existing Infrastructure
Some of your legacy hardware may still be usable – a condition which might sway you toward a phased transition. And options like Analogue Telephone Adapter or ATA peripherals may make it possible to give VoIP functionality to existing phones. Note that this could be a first step, as ATA technology on legacy phones won’t give you the full benefits of today’s business VoIP.
For a true migration, you’ll need to make an IT assessment of your existing network infrastructure – particularly your connectivity and the bandwidth which will have to be shared with the new installation. Remember that you’ll now be moving voice, video, and digital data across the one network, so you may need to add bandwidth, upgrade switches, or add gateways. A fully hosted and managed VoIP solution in the cloud may be the answer, if your on-premises infrastructure is likely to prove inadequate.
Consider Continuity and Quality of Service
Improvements in broadband provision and the evolution of higher bandwidth mobile technologies like 4G and 5G have made voice transmission over digital channels much smoother than in the early days of VoIP, so call quality is less of a concern these days.
More critical are network availability and business continuity – without which your services won’t be accessible, your customers and users may be disappointed, and your business and reputation will suffer. So your choice of VoIP provider needs to take in their provisions for assuring business continuity and Disaster Recovery.
Do a Test Run
In all cases, a test migration (perhaps for a single branch office or department) will demonstrate how well or otherwise the new system works, and enable you to fine-tune configurations and features for the next stage.
Publish Date: December 21, 2016 5:00 AM