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December 2009

Auto Attendant For Small Businesses

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

“To be connected to the future of IP telephony, press 1.”  The implementation of automated attendants are taking the corporate world by storm.

An automated attendant allows a caller to be transferred to a specific telephone extension without the intervention or assistance of an operator or receptionist. The auto attendant identifies and greets incoming callers, manages faxes and messages and routes calls to the correct location or department.

As one of the most powerful features in any business telephone system, auto attendants maintain a very specific functionality; eliminating the need for a live operator or expensive call routing system.

Acting as the initial interface handling incoming calls and maintaining the ability to handle multiple extensions, the auto attendant is capable of efficiently answering all calls and ensuring that they are quickly routed to the intended recipient.

There are many features and benefits associated with an automated attendant system, most commonly is a directory permitting callers to dial by name in order to find a system user.
Other common components of an automated attendant include:
Transfer to Voice mail
Transfer to Extension
Automated call answering with a professional custom greeting
Customizable hold music functions
Interactive voice prompts
Fax, email, or message alerts
Many automated systems also have the ability to route calls depending on the time or day of the week.

The use of an automated attendant in a corporate phone system allows subscribers to receive phone calls wherever they are located as it utilizes the functionality to forward business calls to any phone number and divert unanswered or busy calls to a voice mail system.

Provided as part of a hosted PBX system, automated call answering features can be incorporated into any local or toll-free business number.

In short, an automated attendant system offers a high quality, professional imaging with time and cost saving rewards.


Use Internet Fax Service For Your Business

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

Fax machines, in one form or another, have been in use since 1843. Historically to send a fax the user would attach a piece of paper to a rotating drum, with the print facing outward.  To transmit the information through a telephone line, fax machines employed a very simple technique: If the spot of paper that the photo cells were viewing was white, the fax machine would transmit one tone; if it were black, it would transmit a different tone.

The receiving fax machine would contain a similar rotating drum and a mechanical pen to dot mark the paper.  Depending on the tone sent by the sending fax machine, the receiving machine would either apply or remove the pen from the paper.

Traditional fax machines were complicated pieces of machinery with motors and finely tuned rotating parts.   Fax machines quickly became a common feature of many offices. More common, however, where the problems associated with the traditional fax machine.

With the rise of IP telephony and virtual infrastructure, paper jams and downed phone lines have become an issue of the past.  Businesses are now realizing the benefits of  Internet based fax systems.

Internet fax delivers a dramatic reduction in communication costs, most notably when exchanging long faxes overseas or between distant offices.

Being as there are no telephone connection charges associated with sending a fax via the Internet, the cost of sending a fax is completely covered by a fixed Internet connection fee.

There are many advantages of implementing an Internet based fax system, including:
The elimination of the need to install a second phone line.
The Green eco-friendly option of paperless communication, integrated with e-mail.
The ability to send and receive multiple faxes simultaneously.
A noticeable reduction in telephone operating expense.
The ability to send and receive faxes from any location maintaining Internet access.

Vfax with Nextiva offers consumers many benefits, including the ability to send and receive fax by e-mail, Microsoft Office, any web portal or even through a conventional fax machine.  With vFax there are no more busy signals, no more lost or missed faxes, the freedom to access faxes from anywhere – even from a mobile phone and privacy is always ensured.

Internet fax is a valuable solution to those enterprises looking to receive the best in IP telephony while reaping the rewards of monetary savings and functionality.


What Does a Hosted PBX Do For Small Business?

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

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?

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

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

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

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

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

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?

By December 16, 2009 No Comments

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.