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June 2010

Save Time, Money and Effort with Business VoIP

By June 16, 2010 No Comments

Small business proprietors must be able to look past their normal small business needs and view the bigger picture. The right VoIP solution can provide the same great tools and features utilized by major Fortune 500 enterprises for a rate that any small business budget can afford.

As a cost effective substitute to pricey public telephone service, VoIP works by converting analog voice signals into digital data packets that are then transported over the Internet.

The robust nature of business VoIP and the widespread availability of Internet connectivity mean that it is possible to meet a large variety of telecommunications requirements without the risk of additional service fees. Since VoIP provides optimal results when used in conjunction with unified communications it provides small businesses with an extreme competitive advantage in a lucrative market.

Uncertainties in the financial market have prompted small enterprise proprietors to realize the importance of lowering fixed costs.
Far too many businesses, however, fail to realize the importance of maintaining a robust telecommunications system in their quest to save money. VoIP technology provides highly advanced telecommunications process on an affordable scale, enabling small businesses to take advantage of a system designed to meet their needs and goals – without spending a large amount of capital.

While operating over a VoIP platform, all voice and data communications are transmitted over a single network, through the public Internet network. A practice that proved successful in saving a great deal of time, money and effort. Since most modern businesses already have access to high quality broadband Internet it is possible for them to utilize that existing connection to maintain all of their telecommunications needs without sacrificing quality or adaptability.

Multiple employees have the ability to utilize the network simultaneously to make or receive phone calls, faxes or surf the Internet. Since all VoIP calls are encrypted using the most advanced data encryption technology, security over a VoIP network far surpasses that of a conventional landline.


The Benefits of a Hosted Business VoIP Solution: More than Just Cost Savings

By June 14, 2010 No Comments

Many advantageous benefits can be attributed to the use of a hosted business VoIP phone system when compared to a more traditional telephony service over the local telephone network. Utilizing the Internet to facilitate both verbal and data communications provides access to many highly advanced telecommunications features; features that if used in a standalone telephone network scenario would be far too costly to deploy. Historically, businesses seeking to reap the rewards of a corporate PBX would have been required to house and maintain a large onsite telephone system. When operating over a hosted VoIP solution, however, the majority of the technical infrastructure is fully housed and maintained offsite at the location of the hosted provider. This practice allows smaller businesses to experience the rich features and capabilities of a fully functioning corporate phone system, without having to allot a portion of their office space to house the equipment, or employ a team of technically sound professionals to maintain that equipment.

The benefits of deploying a hosted VoIP solution is not limited to financial savings and can be realized in a multitude of arenas across the company. For all intents and purposes, however, the benefits and motivators of migrating to a hosted VoIP solution can be established in three key areas; Financial, Operational, and Service.

The primary motivator in VoIP deployment has always been the realization of substantial cost savings, both immediate and on-going. As it was mentioned earlier, the majority of the major infrastructure is housed offsite at the physical location of the hosted provider and therefore the only major equipment the business needs to be concerned with purchasing is the actual IP phones.

Other fiscal advantages include:

• A hosted solution offers an easily expansible platform that can only increase in value, unlike conventional phone systems which tend to depreciate over a five year time span.

• Budgeting to meet the fluctuations of conventional telephone service proved difficult and costly. Since hosted VoIP services are most often bundled they include unlimited calling and a variety of tools and features for a single monthly set fee.

• Businesses anticipate growth, however, operating over a traditional PBX adding extensions or expanding the business requires expensive equipment, labor and other incidentals which can result in hundreds of dollars. VoIP offers a completely scalable solution that allows the business to grow with ease.

• Since the actual telephone system is housed at the location of the hosted provider it is not uncommon for them to absorb the breadth of the costs associated with maintenance and repairs, allowing the business to leverage these funds in other areas of their company.

• Businesses maintaining multiple locations or remote offices will experience the most benefit as they are able to virtually connect each office through a single network.

Hosted VoIP can be credited for alleviating some of the operational burdens of running a smaller business. Some of these benefits include:

• Increased call capacity. Previously businesses were limited to the number of incoming / outgoing calls they could maintain. Since VoIP operates predominately based on the amount of available bandwidth and the number of telephones a business has onsite it is possible to tend to a large amount of calls simultaneously.

• Most businesses are still reliant upon faxing technology, but fax machines have always been surrounded by stigma. Using the faxing services available with most hosted solutions, businesses are able to send and receive faxes the same way they would an email.

• Faxes can be sent simultaneously, without having to worry about paper jams or tied up phone lines.

• Connecting multiple offices over a hosted VoIP solution allows for greater productivity and enhanced collaboration.

• The most noteworthy hosted small business VoIP providers reward their consumers with Automatic Call Distribution, Find Me – Follow and many other revolutionary business essential features.

• Businesses routinely hiring teleworkers will realize the extreme benefits of VoIP as it enables offsite employees’ remote access to the entire business telephony system wherever broadband Internet access exists.

• Smaller businesses will grow to appreciate the use of direct inward dial numbers on a much more cost efficient platform than with traditional telephony.

• Hosted VoIP allows businesses to expand their talent reach by hiring professionals the world over.
Utilizing a hosted VoIP solution frees mangers and small business proprietors from many of the service-oriented headaches and technical challenges of conventional phone systems since most duties can be performed virtually by the solutions provider.

• Conventional telephony systems often required onsite visits from expensive repair technicians for both maintenance and repair. This practice was both costly and time consuming. Businesses deploying a hosted VoIP solution will seldom ever see a repair technician since the hosted provider assumes responsibility for most of the major repair elements.

• If a business operating over a conventional PBX wanted to move their phone line, or set up shop in another location they may have been required to contract a telephone service technician. This is not the case with hosted VoIP, moving is as easy as plugging an IP phone into a broadband Internet connection.

• Hosted VoIP offers disaster recovery planning far superior to its conventional predecessor. Historically, should disaster strike, businesses operating over the public telephone network could have been without telecommunications services for days. Most hosted VoIP solutions providers will offer to re-route callers automatically to a predetermined number in the event of a disaster. This feature comes equipped with automated attendants, voicemail and call forwarding.


VoIP and National Security

By June 14, 2010 No Comments

The Internet Voice Campaign by the VON Coalition sought out to uncover some of the most advantageous benefits of VoIP as they relate to national security and how the use of such technologies could be used to address both government and civilian safety concerns. Some of their findings were extremely impressive.

VoIP technology is now being praised as a disaster recovery option should regular telephony functions be rendered inoperable due to the event of a disaster. Since broadband Internet is rapidly becoming the foundation for unified communications, it is plausible to view VoIP as a potential safety net in emergency situations.

Some of the key findings of the report include:

1. Following 9/11, the United States Commerce Department migrated to a VoIP solution enabling warnings to be transmitted between specific departments – an advanced warning system allowing offices to be alerted of emergency situations.

2. The Department of Defense utilized more than 8,000 VoIP phones in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This allowed the Defense Information Systems Agency to house sensitive communications over a private network and control voice and data traffic while working to combat terrorism. The Department of Defense is debating a full migration to VoIP technology.

3. The US military has been utilizing satellite based VoIP for security purposes in Iraq since the fall of Saddam’s empire. This practice provided a complete and comprehensive command network with the call encryption necessary to secure communications fully.

4. The Environmental Protection Agency operates over a VoIP platform as a method of bolstering their disaster recovery center. They require a method of remaining connected with remote office locations and resuming communications instantly in the event of failure.

5. Various state governments utilize VoIP technology to broadcast the profiles of missing or abducted children to phones across the state; a practice that has rapidly increased response times.

6. Most US Naval aircraft carriers are equipped with VoIP and the Naval Network Operations Center is entirely supported by VoIP technology.

7. Each of Arizona’s state agencies complies with a law requiring a migration from conventional telephony to VoIP. This migration will enhance 911 service, cost efficiency and provide far better security than traditional phone service.

These are just a few examples of how VoIP is working to enhance the way the nation communicates. It is anticipated that VoIP demand will increase greatly as more government agencies elect to operate over a unified communications platform – a change that will enable them to save time and money while greatly enhancing the security of a nation.


Business VoIP: Minimal Investment, Maximum Result

By June 9, 2010 No Comments

A fully functioning telecommunications system is a key element of business success. Previously only larger enterprise or those with a large capital expenditure were able to maintain such complex systems. Today, thanks to the emergence of hosted business VoIP even smaller organizations are able to procure and experience the benefits of corporate telephony. This provides a competitive edge to smaller firms looking to establish a solid corporate image in a big business world.

A hosted VoIP solution will prove to be a valuable investment to the average small business proprietor; the advanced call management functions will assist greatly in the bottom line of the business and ultimately result in higher sustainability and an increased profit margin.

The most widely available VoIP solutions provide the same great advantages of higher end conventional PBXs such as automated attendants, Find Me – Follow Me, call distribution, fax to email, call forwarding and even voicemail to email notification.

The automated attendant is quickly becoming the most sought after business enhancing tools. It acts as a virtual receptionist available to professionally greet and route callers twenty-four hours a day. Correctly configured automated attendants will provide incoming callers with a variety of options such as dial-by name and extension. Callers can be instantly routed to their intended recipient and will ensure that no caller ever hears a busy tone as it is able to handle multiple calls simultaneously.

Each of the features and functions offered on a hosted VoIP platform allow business management to effectively manage the business from multiple locations through an active Internet connection. It also enables small business owners to focus their attention on more pertinent areas of the business without having to worry if business calls are being missed.

One of the most favorable attributes of a VoIP system is the limited resources it consumes. Unlike a conventional PBX, VoIP requires little more than a converged network and an active broadband Internet connection. Given that the entire system can be maintained and upgrade remotely from the location of the chosen VoIP provider there is no need for small businesses to invest in set up or dedicate a large portion of the office space to house bulky and expensive infrastructure.


Who Should Switch To Business VoIP?

By June 8, 2010 No Comments

Smaller enterprises are often met with the realization that they must adopt new methodologies to combat rising telephone PBX service rates in order to maintain profitable and competitive in today’s market. Especially those businesses planning to expand their market reach to include new office locations across the country.

Businesses in similar situations or those looking to reduce overhead expenses may be aptly suited to migrate to a VoIP solution specially engineered to meet the ongoing needs of smaller organizations. VoIP affords smaller enterprises the use of enterprise PBX features and tools for a fraction of the cost of a conventional system.

VoIP is merely an acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol, the term used to describe the process of transmitting encrypted voice data over the public Internet network. As a technology, VoIP maintains the ability to support not only voice traffic, but it is also able to transmit video, text and graphic imagery. The ability to support such a large medium of communications has aided greatly in the success of VoIP in a small business environment. VoIP telecommunications provides greater flexibility and many more features than business executives would expect to receive over a traditional platform.

Given that the basic operational need for VoIP technology is a broadband Internet connection there is little need for specialized hardware and the need for copper wires is entirely eliminated. Since voice calls are transported, in real-time, over the public Internet and not over the public telephone network usage costs are drastically lowered.

While nearly half of the nations businesses are already deploying VoIP in one form or another it is estimated that 73 % of businesses will migrate to VoIP by 2013. Examine the following scenarios to determine if your small business is ready to move towards VoIP telecommunications success.

1. Rising telephone bills: Traditional telephone service plans can be extremely cost restrictive. This may be realized more by businesses required to make frequent or long duration long distance or international calls. By utilizing VoIP, a fixed monthly rate enables businesses to take advantage of unlimited domestic and international calling eliminating the extra surcharges often given by the phone company. Most businesses deploying VoIP report a fiscal savings of nearly 80% off their regular monthly telephony charges.

2. Promised benefits that will never be realized: It is a common ploy amongst local telephone providers to make claims of savings should businesses switch to their current service plan. There truth of this, however, is that these benefits are seldom ever realized. With VoIP there is an immediate return on investment which does include substantial upfront savings.

3. Expensive infrastructure and costly maintenance: While still operating over a conventional PBX, in order for a business to experience the greatest benefits they would first have to procure the latest and most advanced hardware – infrastructure that was likely to be very expensive. Since VoIP is predominately software based, businesses require minimal equipment in order to realize the benefits. Equipment that most businesses already have such as computer and Internet connections. At most, businesses will need to invest in VoIP phones, but these are often upgradable at no extra charge by the hosting provider.

A VoIP solution is likely to add value to most any small organization, regardless of the scope or industry, and the above scenarios are only a few of the examples when migrating to VoIP is sure to bring success. Contact Nextiva today to discuss your unique business needs.


Reasons To Get Hosted Business VoIP

By June 7, 2010 No Comments

Small businesses the world over are reducing their telephony expenses while greatly improving productivity simply by migrating to a hosted business VoIP solution. Listed below are some of the key factors associated with hosted VoIP success.

A.) Regardless of the industry or scope of the enterprise, migrating to a small business VoIP solution will allow businesses to realize a much more affordable telecommunications platform. Most reputable VoIP suppliers provide a 30 money back guarantee allowing organizations to test the waters before committing fully. One of the most advantageous benefits of VoIP telephony is the availability of unlimited domestic and long distance calling for a single low monthly rate.

B.) A hosted VoIP solution allows smaller enterprises to break from on premise PBX equipment, and the management and maintenance duties associated with housing such complex infrastructure. Operating over a hosted platform provides businesses with the use of a fully functioning telecommunications platform on a virtual basis which allows the business to save time, money and effort since the hosting provider will maintain the switching equipment and most other necessary pieces of hardware – the only equipment the business would be responsible for is VoIP enabled phones or headsets.

C.) Since the hosting company is responsible for most of the maintenance and managerial functions, smaller enterprises are able to reduce the amount of staff they require as well as eliminate a large portion of their IT expenses. It is also possible for businesses to provide around the clock telephone service, without having to employee multiple secretaries. The very best VoIP providers offer free automated attendants with their VoIP solutions. Automated attendants greet callers in a professional and unified manner, ensuring that each call is correctly routed to its intended location.

D.) System upgrades are simplified when operating over a hosted VoIP platform. The majority of VoIP solutions providers who offer hosted service will routinely administer VoIP phone updates so that the business is not required to. This service is optimal as it allows the business to utilize the latest and greatest features on a consistent basis.

E.) Another major benefit of a hosted VoIP solution comes in the form of scalability. Hosted VoIP providers will effortless add or remove extensions on demand, making it possible for the business to expand with ease.

F.) Smaller enterprises employing teleworkers will receive significant benefit from a hosted VoIP solution as it enables all workers access to the corporate telecommunications system over the Internet. So long as the teleworker is stationed near an active broadband Internet connection and has their VoIP phone handy they can log into the businesses communications system and carry out business as normal.

G.) Companies relying on call metrics and management will also find value in hosted VoIP as most hosted solutions providers are able to offer call recording and reporting with their services. Recording business calls allows management to closely monitor offsite employees and maintain records for compliance standards.

H.) Businesses expect VoIP service to save them money on their telephony expenses, but many are surprised to learn that it can also save them money on their ongoing utility costs. Since hosted VoIP allows smaller enterprises to promote a telework environment there becomes opportunity to reduce utility consumption in the physical office.

I.) One of the driving factors for VoIP migration is its use in unified communications. Through the use of unified communications smaller businesses are afforded access to telecommunications over various mediums. It allows for click-to-call technology as well as Internet fax and voicemail to email notification, as well as many more business enhancing features.


Business VoIP Provides An All Encompassing Communications Solution

By June 3, 2010 No Comments

IP telephony and VoIP are gaining significant respect in the business market as all encompassing forms of corporate communications. IP telephony, as a revolutionary form of telecommunications, has brought the perception of affordable business communications to a global sphere. The enhanced functionality of VoIP is possible in part to the wide spread availability of the Internet and its ability to provide a solidified base for data transmission. Smaller enterprises previously deploying conventional telephony systems over the public telephone network are now entertaining the use of advanced technological system such as VoIP as a means to carry out their communications practices.
Hosted VoIP has the ability to afford a large quantity of advanced tools and features to smaller businesses, on an affordable platform. Making it possible for smaller enterprises to harness the same high quality telecommunications functions as their major Fortune 500 competitors for a fraction of the cost of a traditional PBX.
The dramatic reduction in call charges, ease of management and administrative use, and the ability to integrate business enhancing applications in a virtualized, real-time environment have assisted greatly in the overall success of VoIP in business use. In addition, businesses deploying VoIP report that their managerial and employee efficiencies have improved greatly. The correct small business VoIP solution will simplify the communications process, providing businesses with access to unlimited calling across the globe. It is estimated that of the businesses currently utilizing a VoIP solution, more than half of them report average monthly savings of 80% off of their previous telephony expenses.
The convergence of both voice and data communications into one complete and effective system makes VoIP a powerful business tool. Allowing employees to execute voice, data, email and video communications on a single platform will greatly improve collaboration and lower the amount of consumable materials purchased.
VoIP has been tested in most environments and has been proven to be most successful in small businesses routinely doing business across the map. As well as in environments where telework is prevalent, or where the business maintains more than one office location. There are many other scenarios where business VoIP can bring forth tremendous gains. Contact a Nextiva representative to discuss the potential benefits of a VoIP solution.