Archive for December, 2009


What Does a Hosted PBX Do For Small Business?

Private Branch eXchange, or simply PBX, offers small to mid-sized businesses a simple and effective way to utilize the rich features of IP telephony without the management hassles and added stressors of a traditional telephone routing system.

A hosted PBX system delivers functionality as a service, available over the internet, using equipment located in the premise of Nextiva’s exchange.

Although IP telephony was once plagued by performance and quality issues, businesses are realizing that hosted PBX systems now offer advanced features and functionality over traditional TDB-based phone systems.  Historically, the high costs associated with executing network upgrades and ongoing utilization, as well as acquiring and configuring PBX equipment, and supporting IP hardphones left a bitter taste for many organizations.

By shifting the telephony management and support responsibilities to Nextiva, hosted PBX permits businesses to experience the advanced functionality of IP telephony without the upfront capital investment and in-house technical support expertise normally required.

There is a wide variety of benefits in implementing a hosted PBX service. In addition to call routing, holds and transfers, and allowing multiple users to be reached from a single business number, a hosted PBX system also manages incoming calls that are not immediately answered.  Services such as faxes, voicemail, automated messages, conferences and call recording are all available to hosted PBX consumers.

Hosted PBX offers many features, including:

The ability for a single number to be presented for the organization as a whole, despite a physical geographical distribution, including allowing employees to be connected from home using a traditional landline telephone, while still receiving the same features as any PBX user.
The elimination of the need for enterprises to manage or pay for on-site hardware maintenance and upgrades.
The supported integration of custom toll plans, including the allowance of intra company calls.
Integrated billing and accounting, and;
Direct Inward System Access, or the ability to access internal features from an outside telephone line.

Hosted PBX is a cost efficient and rewarding IP telephony option for many enterprises. Since it is a hosted system, there is no need to purchase expensive hardware, nor upgrade costs to budget for. Hosted PBX is a viable solution to corporations seeking to implement the most advanced technology, regardless of the enterprises size or scope.


What is Unified Communications?

Unified communications is generally a tool recognized primarily for larger corporations, however, more recently smaller businesses and home users are recognizing the benefits and rewards of unified communications.  Unified communications is the integration of real-time communication services like video conferencing and instant messaging with non real-time services such as voicemail or e-mail (unified messaging).

Unified communications is a bundle of products linking together unified user interfaces and driving communications efficiency.  No time is wasted in trying to locate the most appropriate means of contact since all features are linked simultaneously.  The presence functionality of unified communications refers to the real time tracking of any given users location and availability.  The best method of contacting any user is also made available at any given time.

Unified communications consumers are able to send a message via one medium and receive a reply on another.  Being that features can be categorized between synchronous (real-time) features and asynchronous (non real-time) features, users have the ability to smoothly transition from one form of communication to another. Example, users can choose to switch between instant messaging conversations to live video conferences with the click of a button. However, it is a common misconception that unified communications is the same as unified messaging in the sense that users are able to receive voicemails and faxes in their email inboxes.

There are many technology and business drivers when considering the implementation of a unified communications platform.  Those seeking implementation are generally driven by one or more of the following factors:

They are planning to perform a major infrastructure upgrade or refresh and maintain the ability to bundle the platform with the new infrastructure.
They would like to boost employee productivity by making it easier to interact with communication tools.
They are looking to optimize communication within the office, between employees located at various locations, or both.
Implementing a unified communications platform is not without reward. The benefits of deploying unified communications include:

Mobility Benefit. Platforms facilitate communication and collaboration between in office and mobile employees. It encourages a collaborative atmosphere and can result in reduced mobility usage cost.

End User Benefit. Unified communications informs users of the current best method for contacting another user on the system and provides them with an instant method of doing so. This reduction in communication lag enables end users to streamline and improve their productivity.

When making the decision on whether or not to implement a unified communications platform, understand that it is a relatively new technology area that is frequently misunderstood. Unified communications offers a significant opportunity for those seeking to enhance the way they communicate.


Unified Communications and Small Business

More than ever, the word unified communications is being used around the world. Businesses, both small and large, are beginning to realize the benefits of unified communications. By moving to a unified communications platform, business owners are able to integrate their communications channels into one. Therefore email, hosted phone systems, instant messaging, web conferencing, and many other communication channels are being integrated into one solution.

By utilizing a unified communications platform, business-owners are able to send a message through one channel and receive a response from another. No longer are businesses required to pay multiple providers for their communication needs. With a unified communications service provider, all communication channels are supported by one company. This means businesses have one bill from one provider for their communication solutions. Because commucation channels are bundled and integrated, a unified communications platform will not only improve efficiency, it would also increase customer satisfaction.


Every Business Needs a Phone

Technological advancements in communications have led to many available channels for businesses and customers to interact. Customers and potential customers can communicate with a business via a phone, email, fax, online chat, social media web sites, the list can go on and on. Depending on the type of business or industry, certain communications channels may be more effective than others. But regardless of business, everyone can use a telephone. Whether its to call leads, customers, or partners, the telephone continues to be one of the most valuable and effective forms of communication. It can be argued that the phone is the most important communication tool in the world. The phone has helped bring the world closer, people throughout the world are able to connect in a matter of seconds.

When starting a new business, it is important to remember that phone service is a necessity. There are plenty of options when it comes to the type of phone you can use. Your business can run off of a cell phone, traditional land line, VoIP, PBX phone system, or a combination. One thing that must be recognized is that every business needs a phone. To this day there are arguments as to who actually invented the telephone and it’s tough to say whether or not the founders of the telephone ever thought their technology would have such a great impact for so long. But it’s a reality, phones are vital and your business should not operate with a phone. VoIP technology has helped millions of people all over the world save money on their phone bill while gaining many great features.


What Equipment Do I Need In Order To Use VoIP?

Millions of people have already switched to VoIP and many more continue to switch on a daily basis. Not only are people switching to VoIP at home, businesses (both small and large) are reaping the benefits of Voice over IP technology. Since VoIP is a relatively new technology when compared to traditional telephone communication, many people are not familiar with the equipment needed in order to use VoIP.

Since VoIP operates each call through the Internet, a broadband high-speed connection is necessary. In almost every case, the more bandwidth you have the better. A VoIP connection can be established with any type of high-speed Internet connection, as long as the connection is reliable and stable. This means that a cable or DSL connection would be just fine to use with VoIP service.

Calls can be made either through a softphone via your computer or with a physical phone, by using an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) or an Internet Protocol (IP) phone. There are many soft phone solutions on the Internet that are free and work with SIP based VoIP technology. If you do not wish to use your computer to make and receive phone calls, we recommend you look into using an IP phone.


Enhance Your Communication With VoIP

VoIP has simplified communication for business all over the world. Prior to VoIP technology, particularly Hosted PBX business phone systems, companies were limited when it came to their telecommunication methods. Only businesses with large sums of money were able to afford the setup and maintenance of a phone system. Not only did it cost tens of thousdands of dollars to buy a phone system, there were high maintenance costs associated with these in-house PBX systems.

VoIP phone systems have leveled the playing field. Small businesses, with limited financial resources, are now able to present an image as if they are a large multi-national corporation, thanks to the features available with a VoIP phone system. A hosted PBX business VoIP phone system will come with an automated attendant, directing callers to the appropriate employee or department. On top of the call routing and call forwarding features, incoming phone calls can be routed to your VoIP phone regardless of your location. For example, if you take your VoIP phone with you on a trip and connect it to the Internet, you will be able to make and receive calls just like you were in the office. With VoIP you are able to work from anywhere as long as you have a good Internet connection.

A VoIP phone system is a great solution for any sized business. By using a phone system in your office, you will gain better features, increase customer satisfaction, and save a ton of money.


Traditional Phone Service and VoIP Service Providers

As you can imagine, traditional telephone companies were making a killing before VoIP technology became mainstream. That’s not to say that traditional phone companies are going out of business, many of them are still strong. But consumers and business owners now have more choices when selecting their phone service provider. The cost savings that come with switching to VoIP have led millions of people to leave their traditional phone company and begin using VoIP.

Not only does VoIP service come with a low price tag, most VoIP services include many features that are sold at an extra cost by the traditional phone providers or not even offered at all. Whether you are interested in VoIP phone service at your home, business, or both; if implemented correctly, there can be enormouse benefits in switching to VoIP.

When the term ‘VoIP” is brought up, some people feel that the technology is not reliable and 911 does not work. With respect to 911 dialing, some providers do offer Enhanced 911 service. Prior to choosing your next phone service provider, please make sure that they offer 911 dialing in case of an emergency. As for reliability, VoIP phone service has evolved very well and is practically as reliable as a land line. As long as your Internet connecting is working and stable, you should not experience any issues with your VoIP service.

If you are considering making the switch to VoIP, it is recommended you speak with a VoIP professional in order to ensure a smooth transition and that everything is done correctly from the start. Setup of service is simple and the benefits are endless.


What is a VoIP Phone System?

Businesses of all sizes, from having 1 employee to 10,000 employees, require a phone system. Phone systems are the foundation of any company’s communication. An average phone system comes with powerful features like an automated attendant, employee extensions, hunt groups, and call forwarding, just to name a few. Before the establishment of VoIP-based phone systems and Hosted PBX service, businesses would pay thousands of dollars in setup, maintenance, and calling costs.

VoIP phone systems are the new way of business telephony and one of the fastest growing communication advancements. Not only are small business VoIP phone systems easy to use and powerful in terms of features, they are very cost-effective. Businesses can save up to 80% in their telecommunication costs by switching to a business VoIP phone system. Since business VoIP phone systems, like the Nextiva Connect 360, are fully hosted by the phone service provider, there is no need for hiring a phone specialist or someone with an IT background. Setup takes minutes and there is no need for wires or cables. All you need is an IP phone or an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) to make and receive phone calls. A business VoIP phone system can enhance the image of a business, enhance communication with potential and paying customers, as well increase productivity. If you have a business, you should consider switching to a small business VoIP phone system.


Implementing VoIP For Your Business

Increasing customers and profitability are key facets to any company’s success. Since many businesses rely heavily on communication with their customers, particularly over the phone, it is important to have an advanced and reliable phone system. VoIP technology is as reliable as land lines as well offer more benefits.

Rather than using the traditional methods to make and receive calls, VoIP completes calls via the Internet. Since VoIP uses the public Internet, the cost to make and receive calls are far lower. VoIP is also simple to implement and relatively inexpensive. By implementing a VoIP-based phone system in your office, you will find an increase in productivity, growth, and profits. Standard features that come with a business VoIP phone system include:

*Auto-Attendant
*Remote Call Forwarding
*Hunt Groups
*Voicemail to Email
*Caller ID
*Conference Calling

Implementing VoIP into the workplace will streamline your environment and lower your telecommunication costs. Since VoIP providers offer cheap rates for domestic and international calling, your company will instantly save big on its phone bill. If your business currently has its own PBX system, you will no longer have to worry about managing the equipment or scheduling a “phone guy” to visit your office and address any issues. Hosted PBX VoIP requires no closet space or the need for a local tech-guy. The service is fully managed and updated by the service provider and as the customer you’ll have access to manage your entire account Online.




 
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