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 https://www.virtualpbx.com/learn-more/quality-reliability/.
What Exactly is a Softphone?
October 27th, 2011
I am sure you have heard the term softphone recently with the huge growth of everything VoIP, but do you really know what one is? Common sense will tell you that it is a phone but what kind of phone and how could it affect your business?
Basically, a softphone is a phone that lets you make calls over the internet from a computer or other smart device. As the name would imply, it is a piece of software that acts as a phone interface, allowing you to dial phone numbers and carry out other phone related functions via a screen (PDA or Computer) using your mouse, keypad or keyboard. Conversations usually take place through a headset or a microphone and computer speakers.
The softphone software or application can be downloaded from a variety of providers such as Counterpath or SNOM. These are sometimes also referred to as ‘clients’. Many of these applications are free although some have a modest cost. Softphone clients are available for Macintosh, Windows and Linux computers, and many smartphones, such Androids and iPhones.
In most cases you will find a softphone used in conjunction with VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol. This form of computer telephony uses an internet connection to deliver voice information over the internet. For more information regarding VoIP, please check out this blog. VoIP calls can go over a standard internet connection on your local network, wireless networking (WIFI) or even a cellular data network, such as 3G or 4G.
So, we have a softphone client and an internet connection. There is one more component needed to use a softphone and that is a provider. Although anyone can download and use the free softphone software, a VoIP service provider must provide the underlying VoIP phone service over which the calls are carried. A softphone is registered with the service provider, and often a phone number is assigned. Calls to and from the softphone are routed over the service provider’s network. The features and functionality of each softphone will vary somewhat from one softphone provider to another.
So who can benefit from using a softphone? Telecommuters and anyone who travels frequently for starters. For users on the go, especially those who travel overseas, softphone service allows them to conveniently make calls from their smartphones and laptops, saving them the hassle and expense of using a hotel phone or roaming on a cell phone. Also, softphones are well suited for small and medium size businesses that save money by cutting their ties with expensive traditional phone companies. Furthermore, softphones do not require expensive hardware which needs to be maintained. Softphones are inexpensive and easy to upgrade.
Thinking about trying out a softphone yet? If so, Virtual PBX would be happy to help you set up you softphone to best fit your needs. Every Virtual PBX system includes VoIP Anywhere technology, which can turn your cellular phone or computer into a Virtual PBX VoIP phone. With VoIP Anywhere and our award-winning open-systems approach, you can use any standard SIP softphone, from almost any vendor, to make and receive calls over your data connection. We’ve reduced the bandwidth requirement so that high quality calls can be made over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connections. You simply register your softphone as a VoIP device in our service, and open the softphone application to make calls.
Benefits of a Virtual PBX Softphone
Tons of Included Features
All standard Virtual PBX features that are available to a VoIP extension are available to all calls to and from a softphone, like call recording, or choosing your caller ID. And softphone calls are included in your Virtual PBX business reports so you’ll always have records of every call. You can make outbound calls from your cellular phone without giving up your personal phone number. And call-backs go to your company number, not to your personal phone. You protect yourself while looking more professional.
Little to No Cost
Our flat-rate plans include the ability to add softphones at no charge. And any extension in a usage-based plan can be enabled to use VoIP, for both VoIP phones and softphones, for just $5 per month per extension. Minutes used on a soft phone are part of your plan. Flat-rate plans have no per-minute fees for calls to a softphone or to a destination in the continental U.S. or Canada (within our fair-use policy), and calls through usage-based plans simply use plan minutes.
To put a softphone on your Virtual PBX account, you should first download a softphone from a good provider. Then, you add the softphone to your account starting from the VoIP Phones page of our vConsole web portal. For more information visit our VoIP support pages.
VirtualPBX Introduces VirtualPBX 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 VirtualPBX 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, VirtualPBX 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 VirtualPBX. “By introducing VirtualPBX Complete with VoIP Anywhere, we are delivering that freedom and flexibility to carry their business extension anywhere in the world.”
Because of VirtualPBX’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 VirtualPBX 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, VirtualPBX allows high-quality calls to be placed over 3G, 4G and WiFi connections.
New System Features
- Calls from ANY device: With VirtualPBX 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 VirtualPBX’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.
Learn more about VoIP Anywhere capabilities here.
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.
Virtual Pbx® Awarded Internet Telephony’s 2011 Tmc Labs Innovation Award
August 5th, 2011
Virtual PBX Complete Honored for Exceptional Innovation
Virtual PBX has always watched out for every one of their customers, from the smaller businesses to the larger corporations, making sure to deliver products and services everyone finds useful for their business.
Virtual PBX’s latest solution is no exception, supporting a complete blending of analog and IP telephony, while also incorporating open SIP peering. In doing so, Virtual PBX Complete ultimately meets the needs of all Virtual PBX customers from traditional landline clients to VoIP telephony customers. Setting new standards for flexibility, features, price, and ease of installation, Virtual PBX Complete forged ahead, establishing new technology and employing out-of-the-box thinking.
This is what innovation is all about. And this is why Virtual PBX Complete was named the 2011 TMC Labs Innovation Award winner. The award, presented by TMC’s publication, INTERNET TELEPHONY, honors products that display innovation, unique features, and significant contributions toward improving communications technology. The TMC Labs Innovation Awards are granted to those companies demonstrating groundbreaking contributions to the industry.
“The Innovation Award exemplifies the best and the most unique products and services that this industry has to offer. Virtual PBX has proven its commitment to quality and the further development of the IP communications industry through its Virtual PBX Complete solution,” stated Tom Keating, CTO and TMC Labs Founder.
“Congratulations to the entire team at Virtual PBX for earning this great honor. I look forward to seeing more innovative solutions from them as the company continues to contribute to the future of IP communications,” Keating added.
In order to be seen as valuable innovations, new products and services must be strong enough to progress into the marketplace. In addition, fast changing technologies and lifestyles cause people to have greater expectations. Customers are used to products that constantly improve and make their life easier.
“This recognition demonstrates the significant impact Virtual PBX Complete innovation has had on our market,” said Greg Brashier, COO of Virtual PBX. “This award, coupled with the enthusiastic responses from our customers, is a testament to Virtual PBX’s hard work and commitment to provide services that meet the wide range of customer needs.”
“Virtual PBX has demonstrated to the staff of TMC Labs that Virtual PBX Complete is truly innovative in the IP Communications industry. Virtual PBX Complete has made contributions which have resulted in significant advancement to the industry,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “We’re proud to reward Virtual PBX’s hard work with a TMC Labs Innovation Award this year.”
The 2011 TMC Labs Innovation Award highlights will be published in the July and August 2011 issues of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.
VirtualPBX® Affiliate Program
July 26th, 2011
VoIP is the latest and fastest growing telephony technology anywhere. With its quickly advancing technology and affordable prices VoIP is becoming more and more the standard for businesses across the world. The market for VoIP solutions is huge and there is a broad customer base. This is why now is the perfect time to take advantage of the VoIP industry. How, you ask? Here’s how VirtualPBX can help.
Partnering with VirtualPBX offers the perfect chance to expand your sales opportunities into a highly profitable new area of business. By becoming a VirtualPBX Affiliate, you can offer your customers a service that improves a crucial function in their business – their telephone service. As a result, you can strengthen your relationship with your customer as a valued business partner and trusted advisor.
VirtualPBX has teamed up with Share-A-Sale to offer a simple affiliate signup process so that you can begin earning commission payments from your website as soon as possible. As an affiliate, you would receive automatic payments via Share-A-Sale for every customer you provide that signs up with VirtualPBX. Simply add one of our Virtual PBX banners or text links to your website. We will even design a custom banner for you upon request.
If you want to make money in the VoIP industry or the telecommunication industry in general, there is no better program than the Virtual PBX affiliate program. Here’s why:
· Partnering with VirtualPBX is 100% free. There are no fees or deposits.
· Short sales cycles – customers typically recognize benefits from the service within 24 hours of purchase
· Extremely easy implementation – Simply join our Affiliate program through ShareASale easy signup process, place a banner or text link on your website and start earning commissions right away.
· Lots of tools and support – VirtualPBX provides you with all the tools, support, target markets, content, strategies and much more information to help you maximize your earning potential.
· Competitive Payouts – We offer some of the highest payouts in the in market.
In addition, when you’re ready to start promoting VirtualPBX we provide all the linking and keyword strategies to incorporate, as well as channel information to help you target the right markets. If you like to blog, there is content available for that as well. However you choose to market VirtualPBX, we’re anxious to help.
Be in business for yourself with the support of VirtualPBX at your side. Be a part of the worlds fastest growing markets with one of the highest quality VoIP providers in the business. VirtualPBX invented this class of service and with over 15 years experience and the most robust technology in the market, nobody provides better features, reliability, or service than Virtual PBX.
To learn more about the VirtualPBX Affiliate program, please visit our partners page. If you are interested in other ways to partner with VirtualPBX please check out our next blog.
Virtual PBX Reports
June 30th, 2011
Knowing the trends in your caller traffic is important in making informed, timely business decisions. With Virtual PBX’s 16 real-time web-based reports you can analyze your call traffic in numerous ways. All reports can be exported as a CSV into your preferred spreadsheet or as XML into your customer relationship management (CRM) database. You can also run multiple report results simultaneously. So what are the various reports and how can you use them to best benefit your company?
The first report available to you is the Extension Incoming Call Report. This report will help you to gauge your extension owner’s productivity by showing how many calls they took for a certain time period. This report also shows you the call duration, if the call connected, went to voicemail, or was abandoned. With this report you can also better plan your staffing requirements throughout each day more effectively.
The next report, the Extension Call Summary Report, gives a basic overview of how many calls were taken by each extension. It will show the total amount of calls per extension and break down the amount of calls connected, going to voicemail, voicemail abandoned and abandoned.
You can also keep track of how your ACD Queues and the agents in those queues are performing with the Queue Call Summary Report. For each ACD queue, this report will show you the overall number of calls offered to the queue, number of calls actually answered, number of calls that ended up going to voicemail, as well as the number of calls that were abandoned – in other words, the caller hung up before they were successfully answer by an agent.
If you want to make sure you have the right amount of queue coverage during certain times of the day, the Call arrival Pattern Report is perfect for you. This report will clearly show you peaks and valleys in call traffic. You can select the report start and end dates, time increments (15 min, 30 min, or 1 hour), select which ACD queues, as well as which Virtual PBX phone numbers. You can even export this report to a bar chart for easier reading.
Just using the above four reports could vastly improve the success of your business. Imagine what you could accomplish with all 16 real-time reports in your hands! Be sure to read our next blog post to find out more about how the Virtual PBX reports can streamline your business.
Is Your Business Changing? Virtual PBX Can Change With You
June 28th, 2011
Virtual PBX’s hosted phone service is flexible and quickly adapts to the changing needs of your growing business. Easily scalable and constantly updated with new features, Virtual PBX will keep up with your business no matter how fast you change.
With traditional PBX’s, everything must be installed and maintained by on-site IT staff and for a growing business this can get very expensive, both in terms of dollars and time.
With Virtual PBX you can easily add or remove extensions and ACD Queues, switch plans, add Voip phones and make many other changes whenever you need to – and for a fraction of the price! Everything is in your control.
Virtual PBX also makes it easy for customers to configure the system to meet their changing needs with a simple user interface. Add a new phone number for that new ad you’re placing in the new magazine, update your main greeting with your new business hours, or route calls to a new employee, all with the click of a button.
Monitor and train new employees with Virtual PBX’s real-time web monitors and call recording. Keep an eye on when they are logged in and out of ACD queues, when they are receiving calls, as well as when they are marked unavailable. Also, ensure they are giving the best phone customer service by using free call recording. You can also use the call recording feature to train new employees.
Use free conference minutes to communicate with employees and customers virtually anywhere in the world. For ultimate flexibility, each extension owner can have a conference call going on at the same time.
With Virtual PBX you will always have multiple ways to connect with employees, customers, and vendors whenever and wherever your business takes you.