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Archives: January 2012

Are You Ready for 2012?
January 11th, 2012

5 ways to start the New Year right

With the end of 2011 at our heels, it is time to look ahead to 2012. Focus on setting your goals and putting plans is place to achieve them. Need some help? Here are five ways Virtual PBX can help you start the new year with a bang.

  1. Examine your History – One great way a business can plan ahead for the New Year is to look at data collected from the previous year. Use you Virtual PBX reports to analyze your call stats from 2011 to help you staff more appropriately. Run a Call arrival Pattern Report to see what times of day you took the most calls. This report will clearly show you peaks and valleys in call traffic. This way you know what hours and in which queues to staff more representative.
  2. Use Call Recording to Monitor Agent Effectiveness – Using free call recording, managers are able to ensure rules are being followed, representatives are giving the best possible customer service, and customers are given accurate information. You can also use the call recording feature to train new employees.
  3. Save Money by using VoIP Phones and Soft Phones – There is never a bad time to save money so why not start saving this year. With Virtual PBX Complete, most companies will save between 40% and 80% on monthly phone costs. Use our VoIP phone service with a VoIP phone or soft phone and stop paying for expensive analog phone lines.
  4. Improve your Greetings – The main greeting is the first thing a caller hears when calling your number. This greeting should welcome callers and direct them to your departments and information. With Virtual PBX, there are multiple ways to customize your main greeting and make your small business sound like a big company. For instance, you can create different daytime and nighttime greetings and use our Day/Night scheduler to switch between them automatically.
  5. Keep up with the Latest Virtual PBX News and Offers – Make sure to check out our Virtual PBX Facebook page to hear first about news, new products and special offers. In addition, read tips to help you grow your business and connect with other business owners.
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.

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.”