#1 Secret to Keeping Your Business Up and Running During Inclement Weather
March 5th, 2014
Whether it’s a snowstorm, hurricane, or other natural disaster, businesses often suffer due to the amount of downtime that is associated with inclement weather. Whether it’s a day or an entire week that your business is without power, your bottom line can be affected significantly when you don’t have access to clients, customers, employees, or vendors. The key to keeping your business up and running during a bout of inclement weather is a disaster recovery service.
2014 experienced one of the worst winters in history. According to a recent article by International Business Times, Chicago has been hit with 67.9 inches of snow thus far, earning the city the 5th snowiest winter since 1884. Boston has seen 53.5 inches of snow so far this winter, well above their usual average. As prepared as these cities were, businesses still experienced a large amount of power outages. The South was significantly less prepared for such large amounts of snow, along with icy conditions and the “Polar Vortex” broke various records. South Carolina’s mayor compared the recent ice storm devastation to that of a hurricane. The storm left a whopping 350,000 people without power at its peak, according to an article by TheState.com.
What is PBX Parachute?
PBX Parachute is a remote backup phone system that acts as a standby PBX to include instant, automatic failover. It can mirror your primary phone system settings and take over if your VoIP business phone fails in the event of a disaster. Incoming calls can be automatically redirected to the PBX Parachute service and then sent to pre-determined alternate locations. You get to choose the location, whether it’s a softphone, a branch office, or a home phone. Callers will never know there was a problem with your usual phone system, as calls remain unaffected and business can resume as usual.
Just as a parachute would, PBX Parachute waits until it’s called upon. And when you need it, you don’t have to worry about moving data, running software, or booting hardware – it’s that easy.
Such disasters, whether it’s a snow storm or hurricane, can have large consequences for businesses and gravely affect bottom lines. Keep your business up and running with a disaster recovery service.
Multiple Airlines Ban In-Flight VoIP… Will Cellular Coverage Follow the Same Fate?
January 14th, 2014
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently considering a proposal to allow cellular coverage on planes, a service that might include making phone calls over the Internet, but it would be up to each specific airline to determine whether flyers can make calls in the air. While the FCC has not made a final decision as to whether it will allow cellphone use during flights using cellular coverage, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will make the final decision. If the DOT agrees to in-flight cellular coverage, then airlines still would have the right to enforce their own rules, as previously mentioned. Just last month, the FCC lifted its ban on use of personal electronic devices like Kindles, iPads, and Laptops under 10,000 feet, due to the fact that they do not interfere with cockpit instruments.
However, there have already been a few airlines, including, Delta and JetBlue have made the decision to ban in-flight VoIP, which is a common way to communicate in business settings with PBX phone systems. Just last week, Delta’s CEO has sent a company-wide memo to all employees saying Delta would not be allowing cellular or VoIP calls on any flights. However, Richard Anderson, Delta’s CEO, said that the airline is working to allow customers to use text, email, and other silent data transmission services from “gate to gate,” once the ban on cell phones is officially lifted by the FCC.
JetBlue provides a new in-flight Wi-Fi service, known as Sky-Fi, allowing users to access the Internet on flights. Last week, JetBlue opened up a small window where flyers could make calls via VoIP from a commercial airliner and while they discouraged these phone calls, they would not enforce rules against it and would handle situations on a case-by-case basis. However, after an outcry from disturbed passengers, JetBlue officially retracted the use of VoIP on their flights. JetBlue recently stated, “We’ve heard from many customers and the majority have shared that they do not want voice or video calls allowed onboard. We currently do not allow customers to use VoIP onboard. Our inflight team will enforce this as they would enforce any other onboard policy.”
These airlines believe that voice calls in the cabins would be a disruption for the travel experience for flyers. In a Delta Survey in 2012, the majority of customers, as well as employees, said that the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from their flying experience. Due to the disturbance that voice calls might provide other passengers, it’s unlikely that many flights will allow VoIP or cellular coverage on their flights. But as JetBlue demonstrated, there might be a glimpse of hope to find a happy medium where a small window of time is allowed for phone calls, particularly on business flights.
VoIP Expected to Gain Popularity in Europe: Here’s Why
January 8th, 2014
According to new statistics from Eurostat, 60% of people within the EU28 are online at least once each day, with 79% of households having access to the web in 2013 and 76% boasting their own broadband connection. Now that the majority of people throughout Europe use the Internet on a regular basis, VoIP is likely to become a huge investment for millions of people. Most businesses in Europe also rely on the Internet to complete operations in a variety of industries, meaning that the trend is sure to follow in the business world.
While Internet usage varies throughout the continent, with just 54% of households in Bulgaria being connected in comparison with 95 per cent in the Netherlands, it is clear that the majority of the population can access the Internet at any time. The lowest access rates were recorded in Bulgaria at 54%, Greece at 56%, and Romania at 58%. The nations with the highest access rates included Luxembourg at 94%, Denmark at 93%, and Sweden at 93%. When it came to broadband, Finland topped the charts with 88% of the population having the technology in place, followed by Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK, all 87%.
Where broadband is widely available and of good quality, it makes sense for any large or small businesses to implement a VoIP phone system. A VoIP phone system can be beneficial to virtually every type of company, no matter the size or industry. With the cost-saving potential, rich media service and features VoIP has to offer, such as online call monitoring and online phone system access, as well as phone portability, a VoIP phone system holds ideal features suited to fit a wide array of business needs. Traditional landlines are considered to be old-fashioned, particularly in businesses, and can be unreliable and expensive to maintain.
Once business owners understand the benefits of VoIP and as costs keep getting lower and service becomes more and more advanced, VoIP is likely to become just as popular in Europe as it is here in the United States.
Welcoming 2014 With a Virtual Phone System
January 2nd, 2014
2013 has whizzed on by and it’s time to start prepping for the New Year. Do yourself and your small business a favor by starting the year off right with a virtual phone system.
You might be wondering how switching to a virtual phone system could have such a positive impact on your business. This single change helps you reduce overhead and adopt more sustainable, affordable operating practices, giving you the potential to make 2014 the most profitable year yet.
Reduce Your Operating Costs
Making long-distance and international calls on a daily basis can certainly get expensive. Fortunately, there are many virtual phone system providers out there that offer affordable plans, including unlimited nationwide long-distance and even unlimited international calling. Plus, with a hosted system, the cost and responsibility of maintaining and repairing the equipment is shifted from you to the provider to help save you even more money. Forget about the set-up costs, maintenance visits and all the related hassle.
Lower Your Equipment Costs
Since the phone system is virtual and hosted off-site, it’s unnecessary to have a dedicated room in the office to house equipment. That frees up more office space for you and your employees.
Keep Your Telecommuters Happy
Telecommuting is a new reality in today’s modern workplace and offers countless benefits to both you and your employees. Telecommuters typically spend more time on the phone, and make more calls per day than office workers. Telecommuters are also happier, take less sick days and stay in their jobs longer. A virtual phone system is the perfect way to manage a remote workforce, while simultaneously increasing productivity and reducing overhead. It’s also a great sustainable and affordable business practice to attract and retain talent in a competitive marketplace,
So what are you waiting for? By investing in a virtual phone system, you can help save your business money in 2014 and beyond.
Beat the Winter Blues with Business VoIP
December 19th, 2013
With the first day of winter coming this Saturday, December 21st, you might be feeling a little blue. The advent of the winter season is an indicator of many things: flu season; cold, gloomy weather; frozen toes. It’s enough to make anyone want to hibernate under the covers and sleep till spring.
Here’s how business VoIP can help you combat that winter depression. We can’t promise you hibernation time. However, with communication tools like business VoIP that help you stay connected to your team and your customers, working from home is a seamless experience.
Softphone apps allow you to use your personal smartphone, laptop or tablet to make and receive calls, so long as there is an Internet connection. Plus, you’ll still be able to enjoy all of the excellent features that come along with a complete business phone system, including auto-attendant, TrueACDTM Queuing, virtual fax, custom greeting, virtual extensions and so much more.
So even if you’re working while lounging in your pajamas at home, you’ll still be able to maintain that sleek professional business image. And that’s as good a reason as any to invest in a business VoIP system.
You Can Take It with You – Using Business VoIP on Your Mobile Device
December 12th, 2013
It’s no secret that the world is going mobile, so it’s nice to know that business VoIP allows your work connections to be mobile too. Since, more than half of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices in many industries and geographic locations, it’s critical to have your office phone available wherever you are.
You’ve probably heard of the many benefits that business VoIP systems have to offer small- and medium-sized businesses. They increase productivity. They eliminate the need to hire IT staff since users can easily make the necessary changes on their own time and at their own convenience. Plus, there are lower startup and maintenance costs. Since your business will be utilizing a data network instead of regular phone lines, you’ll be able to combine all communications into a single network.
One of the greatest benefits of business VoIP, however, is unprecedented access. You have the ability to access VoIP anywhere you go, as long as you have a connection to the Internet. In other words, you can go mobile without sacrificing all the fantastic, advanced features that your business telephone system has to offer. So if you have employees who work abroad, get stuck in traffic or work from home, business VoIP could be the perfect fit for your business.
As you begin prepping for 2014, keep in mind the many ways that business VoIP could benefit your business. It’s an even greater return on your investment knowing that you have the option of bringing business VoIP with you while you’re on the go.
3 Vital Things to Consider When Planning for VoIP
December 5th, 2013
When implementing voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), technical teams often overlook key elements. Without proper planning, these issues can come back to haunt a business. To ensure your business enjoys a painless transition with VoIP, we put together three vital things to include in your plans for a successful deployment of your VoIP phone system:
- Compatibility With Current Infrastructure
The first step in any VoIP installation is ensuring the current infrastructure in place can handle a VoIP telephone system. By examining your current phone system dial plan and ensuring all extensions and patterns are functional, you’ll save yourself the potential headache of installing a non-functioning system. To be completely safe, consider a VoIP test. These tests can measure bandwidth, latency, jitter, and the port status of your network.
- End User Training
It’s important that every user is educated on how VoIP works. Luckily, with minimal training, VoIP is easy to understand. However, the success of your VoIP implementation is reliant on the users’ acceptance to this new technology. Keep in mind that a little training can go a long way toward modifying less-than-excited attitudes. It’s natural to face a little resistance when new processes are put in place but taking the time to highlight the advantages of VoIP will help promote a smooth transition that doesn’t cost your company time and money.
- 911 Emergency Services Location Reporting
There could be legal implications if you don’t have accurate location reporting with emergency calls, which is why you should address location reporting immediately. There are many options at varying price points to choose from. The most common solutions are a PSTN line with a voice gateway at each site, a Cisco Emergency Responder (CER) or similar application, or a carrier-provided 911 services system. Have your decision made before you implement.
VoIP can help save your business money while providing it with added features that you wouldn’t normally find in a typical analog phone. By keeping these three things in mind before deploying VoIP, you can ensure the time and money you expected to save with VoIP is gained by your business.
Ready to Take the Plunge? Upgrade to a Virtual Phone System
December 4th, 2013
Still considering VoIP for your business, but not sure if it is right for you? For those still on the fence about making the switch to hosted VoIP, here are a few compelling reasons why you should take the virtual phone system plunge.
Keep remote field workers productive
With softphone apps, you can stay connected to the rest of your team, even when you don’t have access to your handset. Using your personal smartphone, laptop or tablet, you can continue to make and receive calls, as long as there is an Internet connection. Plus, you’ll still have access to all of the great features that come along with a complete business phone system. Traveling on a business trip or working from home will feel like just another day at the office.
Free up your office space
Since everything is done over the Internet, a virtual phone system doesn’t require any equipment on-site. You can get rid of the bulky equipment and free up that valuable office space for more productive purposes.
Disaster-proof your business
With a virtual phone system, there is no expensive PBX equipment in your office to go down or get damaged during a natural disaster. If there’s a storm in the forecast, your employees can continue working from their IP phones at home or wherever they have a broadband Internet connection. Your business stays 100% productive, no matter what the weather looks like outside.
Keeping in mind the potential productivity gains for yourself and your staff, as well as the cost-saving benefits, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from diving in and investing in a virtual phone system.
Home for the Holidays? Stay Connected with a VoIP Phone System
November 27th, 2013
Did you know that a VoIP phone system could be your saving grace this holiday season? With Thanksgiving tomorrow, we’re sure you’re already thinking about gobbling up some turkey and fighting off that tryptophan daze.
But what happens if you’re also expecting an important business call that day? You might assume that this means swapping family time for a trip to the office. But what if you had another option to consider?
With the assistance of a VoIP phone system, you can give your employees the option to work from home. Since the only thing that’s needed to access your VoIP business phone system is a high-speed Internet connection, your employees can stay connected even while working their way through a second helping of mashed potatoes. That’s sure to make for some happy employees.
Plus, most VoIP service providers offer features that allow you to forward your office number to any mobile device, enabling you to make and receive calls from your office number even if you’re dialing from your personal cell phone. You can maintain that professional business presence anytime, anywhere.
So kick up your feet, enjoy this time with your loved ones, and let your VoIP phone system take care of all of your communication needs, secure in the knowledge that you can still respond professionally if an emergency comes up. Happy Thanksgiving!
How VoIP Saves Your Business Money
November 26th, 2013
More and more businesses are slowly but surely replacing the traditional analog telephone systems with new and improved VoIP telephone systems. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and allows you to run your phone service through your Internet connection rather than your local phone company. So what are the benefits? Primarily, there are a variety of added features that VoIP offers, including auto-attendant, TrueACDTM Queuing, virtual fax, custom greeting, virtual extensions, and much more. These features are simply not available with a traditional analog phone that so many businesses have given up on.
Aside from the increased variety of features available for businesses, both small and large, is the fact that VoIP can help save your business money. Did you know that you can save 40% to 80% on your monthly phone bill with the installation of VoIP? There’s no PBX hardware to buy or maintain and there are often plans to fit your specific business needs, so you will never over-pay for a service you don’t need.
Save Up-Front on Equipment and Support
A traditional business phone systems require expensive PBX switching hardware that needs routine maintenance – a typical PBX switch costs anywhere from $500 to $2,000 per user. A great VoIP PBX provider will do the installation, maintenance, upgrades, and enhancements for free, saving you thousands of dollars on your phone system. A VoIP telephone system can grow with your company, regardless of size.
Full Service at Lower Cost
Low cost doesn’t mean low quality. Small businesses can now get all the same features as large businesses with a plan that’s right for them. When you choose a good VoIP provider, your monthly phone bills will be lower, thanks to free long-distance calling in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the fact there is no need for a separate fax line or fax machine. You get to choose the pick that’s right for your business, with smaller businesses choosing usage-based plans and larger businesses selecting the flat-rate plans with unlimited minutes.
With added features and lower-costs, what’s not to like? If you’re unsure about whether or not your internet connection can handle VoIP, take a VoIP test and see if VoIP is right for your business.