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Archives: February 2012

True 800 Numbers Available
February 3rd, 2012

Since their development in the late 1960’s as an alternative to collect calling, toll free numbers have become increasingly popular.  Not long after their release, companies began to notice people preferred to do business with firms that had 800 numbers.

Over time, the original toll free numbers, those beginning with the digits “800” started becoming rare as more companies realized their importance in establishing a strong businesses presence. Additional toll free numbers starting with the prefixes 888, 877, 866, and 855 have been made available, but the original 800 numbers have become hard to get, and if you actually find one, they can be quite expensive.  Now, however, Virtual PBX has acquired a large block of these hard-to-get true 800 numbers, and we’re making them available at a very low cost.

Marketing Advantages of Having an 800 Number

  • Studies indicate companies receive more business advertising with an 800 number over any other phone number, no matter the type of business or the target market. An ad with a toll free 800 number almost always out performs the exact same ad without a toll free number. It is almost expected that a business will have a toll free number and businesses without one are potentially missing out on tons of sales opportunities.
  • An 800 prefix number is going to be a solid foundation for all your advertising. That “8-0-0″ gives your company an instant lift in trust, a more professional appearance, and virtually eliminates customer misdials. It’s rare in the business world that you find something that costs so little and provides so much in return.
  • The IDM institute of direct marketing discloses that having a toll free phone number for your customers to call can increase your response rate by 180%, another good reason to seriously think about using a 1- 800 number.

No Confusion

  • All the advertising in the world won’t make your phones ring if your audience can’t remember your phone number. 800 numbers are much more memorable and should be a critical part of your marketing effort.
  • Many people still wonder whether numbers other than true 8-0-0 numbers are toll free.A 2011 consumer research study found that 97% of consumers recognize the 800 exchange as toll-free, but few connected with the newer toll-free exchanges like 888, 877 and 866.

Credibility and Enhanced Corporate Image

  • A 1-800 number can improve your company’s image. It can help you establish a large, trustworthy presence with your client and prospects. Using toll free numbers will tell your customers that you are stable, professional, and serious. Even if you work out of your home, consumers often assume a toll-free 800 number is associated with a large company.
  • Moreover, toll free numbers expand your territorial reach encouraging people to call you from across the country or the world. Get an 800 number and put you company on a par with large corporations.

Here at Virtual PBX we recognize the benefits of allowing clients to call you for free, and have made it easy and affordable for anyone to get their own toll free number.  And we now have more true 800 numbers available than ever before.  We’re offering these numbers to clients at a reduced price for a limited time.  Contact us today to get yours.

Virtual PBX Receives 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award
January 18th, 2012

VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere Recognized for Innovation

Since its release in February 2011, VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere has been turning heads. People from a diverse range of businesses have praised and acknowledged VirtualPBX Complete as a cutting-edge service that delivers powerful features while reducing operational costs. This product has really hit home with small and medium businesses everywhere.

So far, VirtualPBX Complete has received two Product of the Year awards, two Excellence awards, a Best Products award, a Leadership award and an Innovation award. To add to the list is VirtualPBX’s latest 2011 Product of the Year award from TMC, a global integrated media company.

“I am happy to grant VirtualPBX with a Product of the Year Award. The editors of INTERNET TELEPHONY have verified that Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere displays quality and innovation plus provides real needs in the marketplace,” stated Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “I would like to congratulate the entire team at VirtualPBX for their commitment to advancing IP communication technologies.”

CEO of VirtualPBX, Paul Hammond, explains, “Our mission is to deliver communications tools that help businesses improve customer service and business productivity,” He continues, “This recognition from INTERNET TELEPHONY affirms the value of Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, which is making a huge difference for our business customers, who are also able to reduce their operational costs.”

For more information on VirtualPBX and this award, please click here.

Enter to Win Free Movie Tickets
January 5th, 2012

Do the increasing costs of movie tickets have you staying at home? If you love seeing movies on the big screen but can’t justify the cost, Virtual PBX has the contest for you. And it couldn’t be easier. Through March 1, 2012, Virtual PBX is offering you a chance to win free movie tickets. All you have to do is send us your best tech tip for using Virtual PBX.

Just think of all the ways you use Virtual PBX in your day-to-day life to improve your business and make your life easier. It could be a way you customize your greetings or use the Virtual PBX reports. Now Pick you favorite example and send Virtual PBX an email explaining how and why you use this particular feature.

Please see one of Virtual PBX’s tech tips below to help you get started:

Tech Tip
Route Callers Using CallerID

Are you in the situation where you need to route your inbound callers to certain extensions, queues, or to a voicemail box based on their caller ID? Do you get annoying calls from the same phone number? Virtual PBX’s AutoRoute feature can handle that for you.

AutoRoute can route a call to any extension, queue, voicemail box, or even block the caller by using some or all of the caller ID. AutoRoute is located under the Admin tab in the web interface. Just create a new entry, enter a portion or all of the caller ID, and then select the Route Action.

To enter, reply to this message or send an email to sales@virtualpbx.com with the following information:

  • Your name and the phone number where we can best reach you
  • Company name
  • Mailing address (to send your movie tickets)
  • Approval to reprint your tip using your name and company name
  • Your tip

Virtual PBX will send two free movie tickets for tips we quote on our web site or include in emails, and your business will get some free publicity.

Virtual PBX Receives 2011 Unified Communications Excellence Award
December 21st, 2011

Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere Recognized for Outstanding Innovation

 

Virtual PBX is no stranger to winning telecom awards. In the past two years alone, they have won 11 Product of the year awards, more than any other hosted PBX provider.

Now they have a new award to add to their quickly growing collection of achievements. TMC, a global, integrated marketing company, has named Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere as a recipient of its 2011 Unified Communications Excellence Award. The Unified Communications Excellence Awards honor products that have unique features and have made significant contributions in advancing technology in unified communications.

Virtual PBX Comple

te is perfect for small and mid-sized businesses, allowing professionals the freedom to carry their business extensions all over the world.

“Our customers have embraced the idea of attaining freedom to access VoIP business features on any smart device, which reflects our dedication to delivering a quality and cost-efficient product,” explains Greg Brashier, CMO of Virtual PBX. “This recognition reflects our dedication to meet our customers’ need for products and services that deliver powerful value while reducing their operational costs.”

Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC gave his “Congratulations to the entire team at Virtual PBX for their commitment to advancing UC technologies” and commented, “we look forward to future innovations.”

Unified Communications Excellence Award winners are published in the November 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

For more information, please visit www.tmcnet.com.

Analog Telephone Adapter
November 17th, 2011

Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA’s) turn a standard analog phone device, such as a standard touch-tone phone or a fax machine, into a Voice over IP (VoIP) device.  An analog-to-digital converter, it takes the analog signal from your traditional phone and converts it into digital data which is transmitted over the internet. Conversely, the digital signals received from your internet translate into analog signals you will hear through a telephone headset. This allows you to make calls over the internet without an IP Phone.

The obvious advantage of using an ATA is that you can use the phone you have on hand, either wired or cordless, with any VoIP service. So, if you want to take advantage of VoIP and not lose your favorite phone, an ATA is a great way to go. The same is true for businesses using analog lines.

An ATA needs to have an underlying VoIP service, such as VoIP service from VirtualPBX to work.  Typically, you will get credentials from your VoIP provider that will include a username/URI and a password.  You then need to configure the ATA to use these credentials.  Once you have this done, assuming you’ve attached a phone and the ATA is connected to the internet, calls can be made over the internet to and from the analog phone.

It may be slightly cheaper to use an existing phone with an ATA than it is to buy a new VoIP phone.  However, you won’t have all of the same features that you would usually receive with a VoIP phone.  For example, system directories, call logs, and other features of a VoIP phone won’t be available in the same way on an analog phone.  So if you want the extra features and capabilities, your best bet is an IP Phone. However, if you would rather not invest in a VoIP phone at the moment, an ATA is the way to go for affordable VoIP service. You may lose some features but in some cases you will save money.  You can visit our VoIP Phone List page to compare prices and capabilities of our VoIP and ATA devices.

Some of our clients use ATAs to connect hardware fax machines to their virtual PBX service.  While most clients simply use our virtual fax functions for both inbound and outbound faxing, some people want to employ a standard hardware fax machine.  It gives them a paper printout of their fax and may fit better into existing processes.  Typically, this is done by setting up a VoIP-enabled extension for faxing and then using an ATA to connect the fax machine. Adding a fax phone number that rings directly to the fax extension allows the fax machine to work just like it would on a separate analog phone line, at a fraction of the cost.

VirtualPBX sells and supports the Cisco/Linksys SPA2102 ATA.  Other ATAs may work with our service, but we’ve found that some don’t handle faxing well.  For more information, give us a call at 888-825-0800.  We’re here to help!

You Can Rely on VoIP
November 2nd, 2011

As VoIP is such a new technology, you may wonder how reliable it is. Communication is key to any business, so it must be reliable.  Most companies rely on multiple forms of communication, including telephones, email, web services, and more.  Of all these communication types, phone calls demand the highest level of instant interaction, and any delay or trouble with a phone call is noticed more quickly.  So call quality and reliability of your phone service are critical.  A major interruption in service can greatly impact a company’s performance and have far-reaching consequences and even poor call quality reflects negatively on your business. Inconsistent or unreliable phone service is simply unacceptable. So, if you are considering switching from a traditional phone service to a VoIP phone service, you may wonder if VoIP is something you can rely on.

Simply put, today, VoIP can be extremely reliable. VoIP has been around long enough for all the big issues to be worked out. With a good VoIP provider and solid internet service, problems such as latency, jitter, static, and dropped calls have been eliminated. Interestingly, the reasons some people worry about using VoIP – sound quality, dropped calls, intermittent loss of service – are the same concerns that afflicted the original PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) phone system. PSTN quality has continued to improve over its many years of use, and old-style analog phone systems using copper wires for connection have become the standard for call quality.  VoIP is still undergoing important changes, but by selecting the right VoIP provider, you can already get quality and reliability that rivals analog connectivity.   VoIP communication services are progressing and evolving faster than ever and the issues associated with VoIP are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

In fact, now VoIP telephone service can be even more reliable than traditional telephone service and provide better features at a lower price. VoIP telephones will often work in situations when traditional telephone services won’t.  Suppose, for example, that you need to work from both home and office.  With VoIP, you can have service anywhere you have an internet connection. So even if you loose internet connection in your home or office, you can make and receive phone calls from any internet connection anywhere, whether you take calls on your desktop VoIP phone or a softphone on your computer or smart phone.  And the internet itself  is very reliable. It has built in redundancy, routing packets around any failing links.  The biggest reliability issue will be with your own Internet Service Provider (ISP), so you’ll want to select a provider that has a solid reputation for reliability.  To check your current service, you can run our VoIP Test and see the bandwidth, jitter, latency, and packet loss associated with your current connection..

In addition, the sound quality of a VoIP call can be as good if not better than a call made through traditional landline services.  This is because with VoIP, your voice breaks down to a digital form, which can be exactly reproduced at the other end of the call, unlike with landlines which can inject noise or lose strength over distance.

The real question in VoIP reliability may be in your choice of VoIP provider.  You’ll want to choose a company with a strong reputation for reliability, and know what they do to make sure your phone system stays up and running, all the time. VirtualPBX has taken all the precautions to ensure you will have the most reliable VoIP service available.  Our service runs in a secure, hardened data facility that is part of our national infrastructure.  It has many sources of power, carriers, and lines, including primaries and multiple backups in each area.  In addition, we’ve built the whole system with reliability in mind.  Every component has multiple backups and redundancy.  So if a component fails, your calls are not affected.  In most cases, over half of our equipment could fail and you’d still get your calls.  This is one of the reasons Virtual PBX is so well known for its reliability and quality.  For more information, check out the Quality and Reliability page of our website at http://www.virtualpbx.com/learn-more/quality-reliability/.

Virtual PBX Receives 2011 Internet Telephony Excellence Award
October 20th, 2011

VirtualPBX Complete Honored For Exceptional IP Communications Solutions

VirtualPBX, the pioneer and leader in hosted PBX phone systems, is proud to announce the company has won another major Telecom industry award.  INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine has named Virtual PBX Complete as a recipient of the 2011 INTERNET TELEPHONY Excellence Award. This is the third consecutive win for VirtualPBX who also has won the award in 2009 and 2010.

Erik Linask, Group Editorial Director for TMC, explains they choose companies “through an extensive application process and with support of their customers who verified outstanding achievement in the IP Communications solutions.”  He added, “Virtual PBX Complete has excelled in delivering cutting-edge solutions. Its customers are extremely pleased and have offered their testaments of support.”

Customers of VirtualPBX love VirtualPBX Complete for its distinctive blend of traditional analog and IP telephony, designed with the small- and mid-size business in mind. Incorporating Open VoIP Peering capabilities, VirtualPBX Complete eliminates the need for proprietary software, allowing users the freedom and flexibility to carry business extensions anywhere around the world.

For more information on VirtualPBX and this award, please click here.

Virtual Pbx Introduces Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere for iPhones, Android Phones and Computers
September 21st, 2011

VoIP Anywhere streamlines VoIP bandwidth requirements to allow VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections

In modern day business, the ability for workers to stay connected wherever they are is invaluable. Traveling to international destinations, working in between their homes and their offices, people are constantly on the move and having a phone service that can keep up with them is crucial.

Although cell phones are great for taking important calls when away from the office, the costs of calling are high, especially when it comes to roaming charges. Furthermore, dialing out from a mobile phone shows the user’s personal caller ID, not the company’s phone number.

VirtualPBX now offers a cost effective way to stay in contact with anyone, anywhere with its newest enhancement to Virtual BX Complete – VoIP Anywhere. Customers can now use their smartphones and computers as VoIP handsets with complete business phone system capabilities. This is drastically cheaper than cellular roaming, long distance charges, and hotel room rates. VoIP Anywhere is very inexpensive, flexible, and functional, offering advanced functionality at a fraction of the price. With VoIP Anywhere, your smartphone becomes your office extension, receiving calls just like you were at a hardware VoIP phone, as well as displaying your company’s caller ID information when you make outbound calls. In addition, Virtual PBX announced support for HD Voice for HD-capable devices.

“Our launch of VirtualPBX Complete has generated tremendous demand from our customers. As they embrace our system, they are increasingly seeking the freedom to access their VoIP business features on any device, wherever they are,” said Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX. “By introducing Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, we are delivering that freedom and flexibility to carry their business extension anywhere in the world.”

Because of Virtual PBX’s commitment to open systems, users can avoid the high costs of proprietary software and choose the option that best fits their needs. With VoIP Anywhere, turning your computer or smartphone into a VoIP Extension is easy. Just register any softphone, such as those available for Android phones, iPhones and computers, as a VoIP device in the Virtual PBX service to access VoIP Anywhere capabilities. Once registered, simply open the softphone application to make calls and access all of VirtualPBX’s system features, such as business caller ID for outbound calls, call recording, call transfers, presence management and reporting. By reducing bandwidth requirements for VoIP calls, Virtual PBX allows high-quality calls to be placed over 3G, 4G and WiFi connections.

New System Features

  • Calls from ANY device: With Virtual PBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, turning your smartphone or computer into a full-featured VoIP phone is simple. Using any standard softphone and a minimum of a 3G connection, any device can be accessed through your existing Virtual PBX number.
  • U.S dial tone: VoIP Anywhere provides a U.S. dial tone while avoiding high international dialing rates. Dialing a U.S. number from an international location can even be free with Virtual PBX’s flat-rate packages.
  • HD voice: The new VoIP Anywhere system negotiates HD voice on any HD device. If the device you are using supports HD, then the call can automatically be connected with HD quality.
  • Business caller ID: Calls made from a VirtualPBX extension can send the company’s phone number for caller ID. With VoIP Anywhere, mobile users no longer need to worry about giving out their personal cellular numbers while making business calls, and contacts know how to get back in touch with the company, not just the individual.

For more information regarding VoIP Anywhere, please visit http://virtualpbx.com/products/voip-phone/softphones/

Small Business, Big Savings
September 19th, 2011

One important factor in running any successful business of any size is to keep control of the money flowing out of the door.  This is particularly true for small businesses with little help from investors. In today’s economy, small business owners know first hand the importance of cutting costs within their business to ensure growth of the company.  The goal is the stretch their dollars as far as possible to keep the bottom line as high as possible.

Below are some suggestions to help you cut down on business expenses and increase the bottom line.

Monitor usage of office supplies.
This is a great way to quickly and easily cut costs. Purchasing office supplies can often be major expense for any business, even a small home business. Thousands of dollars can fly right out the window when office supplies are misused. Simply adjusting how you use and buy these supplies can save you a considerable amount of money. Before you buy supplies such as pens and paper, double check to make sure you are out.  In addition, put the supplies in a locked room so employees are not tempted to grab things they may not really need.

Don’t Just Buy Individual Items
You can save money by purchasing things in bulk.  You might not think that buying more can save you more, but with the right approach you can pocket significant savings. Over time, smaller purchases can start to add up very quickly.  If there are items you business uses a lot of, research where to get the cheapest per item cost, and buy these items in bulk to save money. For example, instead of buying paper in 500 sheet packs, consider buying a case of 5,000 sheets.

Buy used or reconditioned.
Having the latest and greatest equipment is nice, but not always necessary. You can function just as well by purchasing used equipment, furniture, tools and other business related items. Buying used items for your office can help you stay within your budget.  You can still have a professional image and keep your budget in check when buying used furniture. Start by looking at your local want ads, business closeouts, and auctions. Save your cash for when you really need it. You can always buy new equipment and furniture later.

Check Your Utilities
There is no way you can run a business without utilities such as electricity, cable, and internet. However, there are many ways you can save money on your utilities buy doing a few simple things. Do some research and see if you can choose your provider.  You can also request an energy audit and off-peak usage discount from your utility company. The energy audit is free, and they can give you tips on how to conserve energy and reduce your bill. Get a printout of your energy consumption and see if you can get a discount when your peak usage coincides with their low-point usage.

Another way you can save money on your utilities is to turn down the heat during the winter season. According to the Alliance to Save Energy, for every degree you lower your office temperature during the heating season you can save 5% on your bill.  In addition, make sure the lights are out when no one is in the office.

Use Virtual PBX
Last but not least, simplify your life and save money by using Virtual PBX.  Telecom costs are a major expense in every business.  But you don’t have to pay a lot of money for great service.  By using a VoIP phone and Virtual PBX service to make and receive phone calls, you can save money by getting rid of your landline carrier.  By switching to Virtual PBX you can save 40-80% in traditional phone system and landline costs – a significant relief to your pocketbook!  Virtual PBX provides business communication that is affordable, easy and accessible from anywhere with low monthly fees and no contracts or setup costs.

Advent of VoIP in the SMB Market will be a Game Changer: Virtual PBX COO
August 9th, 2011

The popularity and dependency on VoIP (Voice Over IP services) has been increasing over time as VoIP technologies mature and many companies no longer consider them a risk to deploy.   In fact, when considering an update or replacement of their traditional PSTN system, many businesses are highly likely to replace them with VoIP-based phone systems.  The migration to VoIP over the past few years has just been rampant.  Fueled by negligible long distance fees and flexible, cost effective alternatives, VoIP telephony has experienced a massive surge among small and medium sized businesses.

According to an AMI-Partners report, more than 30 percent of small businesses (1 – 99 employees) and 50 percent of medium sized businesses (100-999 employees) expect VoIP to become a critical part of their operations.  In addition, a new forecast from In-Stat research shows that between now and 2015, the amount of small offices (1 to 4 employees)  using broadband IP telephony services will increase by 83 percent.

To create a clearer picture of the VoIP market and where it is headed, TMC (NewsAlert) CEO Rich Tehrani recently caught up with Greg Brashier, chief operating officer at Virtual PBX, a provider of cloud-based business phone systems.

Brashier believes that virtual, cloud-based technologies and next-generation mobile devices will soon replace traditional business phone systems, as more and more SMB and enterprise employees use these solutions with softphones for VoIP calls.  “With the increased data bandwidth and intelligence of smartphones, more users will be putting softphones on mobile devices, and using them as the destination for VoIP calls. In doing so, they can take business calls anywhere without paying PSTN or mobile fees for minutes. This technique will also allow users to make outbound calls through their corporate phone systems, enhancing call tracking and reporting while simultaneously delivering a corporate caller ID instead of personal mobile numbers,” said Greg Brashier.

Greg also believes the adoption rates of Virtual phone systems will increase exponentially over the next few years as these phone systems continue to move from niche products to the mainstream market.

“This trend will bring a host of benefits to mobile workers and companies”, says Brashier, “such as significant costs savings and the ability to access all the features of a corporate phone system while out of the office.” Greg continues, Virtual PBX pioneered mobile business telephony with the first Virtual PBX system. The genesis of the company was the idea that workers in a business should be enabled to work from any location, using any telephone. We have clients with workers scattered around the globe, all part of the company’s central phone system, and users communicate.”

Regarding the how the market segment evolved over the past year, and the trends which have fueled those changes, Greg says, “The largest changes in our market segment have been the increasing recognition and acceptance of virtual, “cloud based” phone systems as a more cost-effective replacement for traditional PBX hardware and the use of VoIP in place of traditional analog telephony.” Greg adds, “Our market has not yet completely assimilated the last major disruptive technology – the advent of VoIP in the SMB – and this will continue to be the biggest single factor changing the landscape in this market. The majority of SMBs are still using traditional phone systems, but the market share of VoIP is now making major inroads.”

This model is becoming mainstream and it is what businesses are requesting. Greg explains, “Virtual PBX has been leading this charge for more than 15 years. In the first 10+ years, all development was done based on getting virtual, cloud-based systems to work with traditional telephone equipment and phones. Now equal development is being generated for VoIP users. For us, it has always been a cloud model – first the PSTN cloud and then the Internet cloud.”

Furthermore, Greg explains that businesses are also requesting systems that work without fail, have easy implementation and are the best price for each clients specific situation.  Greg says Virtual PBX addressed these request, creating “a flexible, blended approach that allows any combination of traditional and VoIP systems, embraces third-party offerings through our Open Systems (NewsAlert) initiative, and offers multiple use and payment models tailored to each need.”

As for the future of Virtual PBX Greg says, “Many SMB users aren’t aware of the wide variety of options and the flexibility available to them today. We’ll be addressing some of the great options in telephony that allow businesses to tailor systems to their unique needs rather than just choosing between premise vs. hosted, or analog vs. Internet phone systems. It’s possible to mix and match the best of all of these options, and the result is far greater than the sum of the parts.”