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What is a Key System?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Key Systems, IP Telephony, Telephone Systems, VoIP

key system

A Key System – also known as a Key Telephone System (KTS) – is a very basic and traditional form of telephony primarily used by small and medium businesses.

Ideal for businesses with less than 30 users, traditional Key Systems include a central controller and multiple telephones. Each telephone has a button for every phone line.

Key Systems have been around in some form since the 1930s, but remain in use today despite new technologies. Many businesses decide to keep their Key System because they are simple and “just work”. By opting out of the VoIP trend, they are missing out on modern features and advantages.

For this reason, Bicom Systems created the IP Key System – Tradition Reinvented. Learn more about IP Key Systems here.

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Auto-Provisioning: How It Works & Why You Need It

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, PBXware

auto-provisioning

Auto-provisioning is a time-saving feature of IP telephony solutions like PBXware. How does it work? The administrator creates an account in the user interface then the IP phone is restarted and receives the configuration file via Internet. That’s it!

Aside from the obvious savings in time, auto-provisioning has a few other benefits:

  • All telephones can be configured from any location

  • Does not require IT personnel or support

  • Updating can be done on all phones regardless of location

  • Custom configurations are quick and easy

  • User errors are less common

If you would like auto-provisioning for your own office and your customers, check out PBXware or contact us today! 

More posts like this one:

  • What is IVR?

  • What is a Session Border Controller?

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What is an ITSP?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, ITSP

itsp

ITSP stands for Internet Telephony Service Provider and describes companies that provide IP telephone communications.

With gateway servers connected across the globe, ITSPs make it possible to connect phones via Internet. ITSPs are essentially VoIP providers that serve other businesses and end users.

Even more important than the question of ‘what is an ITSP’ is the question of ‘how to become an ITSP’. We addressed this question in our Start Your Own ITSP whitepaper. Learn more and download the free PDF here.

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What is a SIP Proxy?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, IPPBX, SIP Proxy, VoIP

sip proxy

A SIP Proxy is, in the simplest terms, an intermediary between two SIP devices. Also called a SIP server, a SIP proxy routes calls on a SIP network and is responsible for tasks such as registration, authorization, and other call functions and features.

A key part of any IP PBX, the SIP Proxy makes calls possible for users. Not to be confused with a SBC, SIP Proxies are unique and probably all you need.

Bicom Systems offers a SIP Proxy product, learn more here.

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Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 1 : Limitations

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Competitors, IP Phone, IP Telephony, ITSP, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, PBXware, Phone Systems, Thirdlane

thirdlane

It is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with Thirdlane, given how respectfully Alex Epshteyn at Thirdlane has always spoken of PBXware.

I am often asked why to choose PBXware over Thirdlane and it seems only right to write.

Curious about this question is the clear circumstances in which it is asked. These can be described in three categories:

  1. Existing users of Thirdlane’s Multi-Tenant PBX who have had reason to look further.

  2. New Providers looking to start a business line with very little resource

  3. Well established businesses – either ITSPs, VARs or Long Established Sellers of Phone Systems

For the first group, Thirdlane customers have dial tone. However, their ITSP is now so busied with the running of the business that the cost of maintaining the system takes on greater importance.

thirdlane

It is very noticeable how few subscribers the pain threshold seems to bite. So often, fewer than 100 subscribers – a handful of customers. These, still quite new, Service Providers are also considering how to automate the monthly invoice run and, ideally, the provisioning of services.

A customer wants a Queue, a Conference, an IVR… Surely this should take no more effort than checking boxes to solve everything from the feature’s creation to the monthly invoice going out, right?

There also are issues of support. Again the sheer stress that happens once ‘real customers’ come on board and previously naive dreams are exposed. Answers need to be found immediately both to ‘how do I do x, y, z?’ questions and, less often, bugs or critical failings.

Increasingly the need for integration to the desktop is a make or break to getting End User businesses.  Whether in the form of onsite systems from the Traditional Vendors or the large Internet Telephony Service Providers often using Broadsoft platforms, the market at large expects standard offerings to have presence, chat and more at the finger tips. Mobility is next.

What has also been learned by bitter experience is problems that may be caused by trying to piece-on a third-party software just because you don’t have it yourself. This could be an Operator Panel, for example, that can be strung through the Asterisk Manager. There’s no choice, you have to do it. The customer is screaming at you. So you spend an hour to download it, install it, try it yourself, and another hour to read the manual. You repeat that with the customer. Next day, the customer wants something that is missing … it is crashing … whatever happened to your sales plan that week?

thirdlane

For some though, there is the matter of scalability. To simply ‘add another server’ and ‘stick on another few hundred customers’ is not enough. All the customers need to be brought together in a single interface to be found easily and redundancy needs to be in clusters often with the options of dual location.

Stay tuned for Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 2: Cost of Entry and check out these other posts in the meantime:

If you found this useful or can add, please feel free to post and of course visit our whitepaper on How to Start an ITSP or watch the video below.

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5 VoIP Technology Basics That Increase Value

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Systems, Support, Telephone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

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We all know that VoIP reduces telephony costs, but we don’t necessarily know why. Understanding the technology behind VoIP allows us to better appreciate and market the value that VoIP brings to SMBs.

Ziff Davis explains the technology in their recent article entitled VoIP Primer – Five Technology Basics SMBs Need To Understand. 

Five VoIP Technology Basics:

1. VOIP IS DATA
The first thing to understand is that VoIP is data just like emails or files or instant messaging. While PSTN was a dedicated technology meant only for voice, VoIP turns voice into another form of data. Data is a much more efficient and cost-effective technology.

2. VOIP USES THE DATA NETWORK
Legacy systems require two separate networks – one for voice and one for data. A desk telephone uses the voice network while the computer uses a separate data network. VoIP integrates voice technology into one data network, resulting in a less expensive and easier to manage solution.

3. VOIP IS PACKET-SWITCHED
For VoIP to be transmitted over the data network it must be digitized and transferred as packets. The advantage of packets is that they travel across the most efficient route resulting in high-speed and lower costs.

4. VOIP IS REAL-TIME
Legacy telephony has always offered high quality voice in real-time because that’s what it was made to do. This has been VoIP’s biggest challenge but after over 20 years it is finally a worthy opponent of PSTN. With an optimized network and good VoIP software voice calls can be in real-time just like traditional telephony.

5. VOIP IS STILL EVOLVING
While Legacy telephony is a tried-and-true solution, it is no longer evolving and improving. On the other hand, VoIP is not yet a complete solution meaning it still has infinite potential. As technology continues to improve, VoIP will improve along with it. For example, Unified Communications opens a world of options to users and is only going to get better.

In conclusion, understanding these 5 pieces of VoIP technology gives us a greater appreciation of the value of VoIP. To read more, visit VoIP Primer – Five Technology Basics SMBs Need To Understand.

 
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5 Reasons to Migrate to VoIP from Ziff Davis & 1 From Us

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

voip

While sticking with a legacy system may seem like the easiest option, there is a plethora of reasons to migrate to VoIP. Ziff Davis brings us 5 of those reasons that we summarize below.

  1. Cost

    What is the primary motive for most business decisions? Cost! From cutting costs to increasing revenue, the budget is central to an SMB’s agenda. Thus it is the first reason to migrate to VoIP. Check out a few VoIP options and crunch the numbers. We guarantee that VoIP will end up costing you less in the long run.

  1. Employee Behavior

    Take a look around your office – are employees using their desk phones? looking at their computer screens? on a mobile device? Employee behavior is changing and the desk phone is losing its place as the center of any office. Modern business is done not only via voice, but also through email, instant messaging, and even video. VoIP integrates voice with all of these new technologies.

  1. Productivity

    Along those same lines, the ability to integrate VoIP with a wide range of other communication methods means increased productivity. A desk phone limits employees to communicate only when at their desk, and only when the other person is free. A comprehensive VoIP solution opens the door to employee collaboration through a variety of channels. Features such as presence give the real-time status of users, saving time spent looking for coworkers.

  1. Voice is Data

    Employees and usage aside, VoIP is a better option because it runs over the data network. A legacy system runs on a dedicated voice network, forcing companies to have two networks. This means paying two networks, maintaining two networks, plugging in two networks, etc. It is much simpler to run all of your voice and communication applications over one data network. 

  1. The Industry

    The final reason to switch to VoIP is simply keeping up with the industry. Not only users are migrating to VoIP, vendors as well are shifting from legacy solutions to VoIP. It will not be long until legacy support is difficult to find. Now is the time to take the leap – stay ahead of the industry, not behind it.

  1. It’s going to happen anyway

    Depending on where you are in the world, the TDM networks may have already switched off, or will next year. Find out before you’re found out.

Whether you are ready to sign up now or still not convinced, we recommend taking a look at gloCOM. A business softphone that simplifies and enhances communication, gloCOM embodies the essence of VoIP and Unified Communications. gloCOM empowers business users to communicate and work better in modern workplaces. Among other things, gloCOM can

  • Simplify and enhance business communications

  • Save time and money spent on communications

  • Encourage collaboration and productivity

Visit our gloCOM page to learn more!

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A VoIP Glossary

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Telephony, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

Do you ever hear VoIP jargon and acronyms that fly over your head? Thanks to Ziff Davis we can learn all of those terms and more in The Business User’s Glossary to VoIP.

Some of the acronyms they cover are:

ATA – Analog Telephone Adaptor

Adapts a traditional analog phone to work with VoIP.

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device Employees today are often allowed to use their own mobile devices or tablets at work.

CDR – Call Detail Record Detailed information about incoming or outgoing calls.

DID – Direct Inward Dialing Refers to an internal extension that can be reached via a standard 10-digit telephone number.

E1 The European version of T1 (see below).

HUD – Heads-Up Display The idea of using a softphone right on the computer screen rather than a phone on the desk.

IVR – Interactive Voice Response Refers to a VoIP voicemail system.

POP – Point of Presence The point where the company’s network connects to the telephone company’s network.

SIP – Session Initiation Protocol Allows different devices to be compatible on the same VoIP network.

T1 Standard data transmission line in North America

Head over to Ziff Davis to read more!

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Four Ways to Get Started with Mobile VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

Do you use mobile VoIP at work? If your answer is no, you should start! And if your answer is yes, keep reading, you still may learn a thing or two.

The following are four things to think about as you get started using mobile VoIP in your business.

1. Choose a Data Plan

The cellular data used by mobile VoIP when outside of a WiFi zone can add up quickly. Before getting too far, ask your carrier about data plans and choose the right one for your company.

2. Make it Secure

As with any other business calls, VoIP or not, security is an important issue to consider. Whether your company will use MDM (Mobile Device Management), EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management), or a VPN (Virtual Private Network) app, do not skip this step and open the company to potential security breaches.

3. Skip the Consumer Apps

Though consumer VoIP apps are common and free, it’s not a good idea to mix business with consumer software. From Skype to Viber to WhatsApp, these applications serve their purpose well enough outside of the office, but seek a business solution for your business.

4. Take Advantage of Features

One of the things that makes VoIP so popular today is its plethora of features. This is no different in the case of mobile VoIP. Take time to learn the features and take full advantage of them.

Ready to get started? Check out our softphone gloCOM.

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What is Unified Communications?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Telephony, Unified Communications, VoIP

Unified Communications is an indispensable business tool that integrates all of your communications into one simplified and enhanced interface.

The result of an increasing number of communication tools and gadgets, Unified Communications has become a necessity to juggle so many inboxes and modes of communication in today’s business world.

From your phone line to instant messaging to social media, Unified Communications makes it possible to keep up with everyone and everything.

So how does it work?

Unified Communications typically uses VoIP to integrate a variety of communication technologies. This includes IP Telephony, email, voicemail, instant messaging, Outlook, and more.

Now that we know what Unified Communications is, stay tuned for our next post on the Benefits of Unified Communications.

In the meantime, check out an example of a Unified Communications tool.

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Paying Too Much for a Telephony System that Doesn’t Even Give You Results?

Written by Kevin Langford on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Phone, IP Telephony, PBXware, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Products, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

voip phone system

Support and maintenance cost you an arm and a leg. Your telephony system operates like something straight out of The Flintstones. You’re itching to make more sales and grow, but an old system is holding you back. Worst of all, you’re losing customers to companies that offer ‘cool new features’.

We’ve heard the story over and over again… It’s time for a change! Forget the Flintstones – let’s become Jetsons!

Bicom Systems helps telecom resellers update their telephony system and take the first steps toward more sales and growth. We cut the support and maintenance costs so you can focus your budget on what really matters – a powerful and feature-rich system that opens the door to unlimited growth. With a variety of hosted and rented options, there is no need for large up-front investments or mortgages. Growth doesn’t have to be expensive anymore!

The best part? Fun and cool features. From Call Detail Records to Customizable Queues to IVR, your new features are sure to attract and retain customers. gloCOM, the most advanced softphone on the market, brings the latest in Unified Communications to desktop and mobile devices. gloCOM will give your users all of the tools they need for effective communication, including click-to-call, instant messaging, drag-and-drop conferencing, call records, file and screen share, faxing, voicemail, and more!

What are you waiting for? Leave Bedrock behind and give us a call today!

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4 Ways VoIP Adds Value to SMBs

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Cloud Services, gloCOM, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Systems, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

voip

As we discussed in VoIP Selling Points, VoIP and cloud services are about so much more than just saving money. It is about more than telephony, too. VoIP is an entire integrated communications experience that is capable of adding value to businesses in many ways.

So how do VoIP and application like gloCOM softphone add value?

Head over to Telecom Reseller to read our full post!

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4 Reasons VoIP Will Save You Money

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Support, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

In today’s economy most businesses are looking for ways to cut costs and save money wherever possible. One great way to save money is your phone bill. Switching to VoIP will cut your monthly expenditures drastically.

VoIP is less expensive than traditional telephony in a few ways:

  1. Cost of calls – traditional calls go over copper wires and analog circuitry while VoIP calls go over your network at a much lower cost.

  2. Hardware – most VoIP systems will integrate with your existing hardware at no extra cost.

  3. Maintenance – a VoIP Telephony Service Provider will take care of maintenance and upgrades as part of your monthly fee.

  4. Features – VoIP includes a myriad of built-in features that do not require an additional fee like traditional telephony would.

Whatever size your company, VoIP is guaranteed to lower your phone bill and monthly communications expenditures. To read more, visit Looking to Shrink Your Company’s Phone Bill? Look at VoIP for Business from the IT Toolbox.

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Custom Work: PIN-Based Dialing

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Custom Work, IP Phone, IP Telephony, PBX System, Phone Systems, Telephone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

telephony security

Companies today report that security is one of their top concerns. One of the many ways we’re able to help protect you is by preventing unauthorized calling.

With this custom solution, once a handset is picked up, the telephone will automatically dial the access code and ask the user for the extension/PIN combination.

After the call is done, the user extension will be billed.

Security is important to any VoIP PBX telephone system. Contact your Account Manager today!

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SIP Attack Protection

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in 4PSA, Competitors, IP Telephony, sipPROT, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Software

sip attack protection

Recently we’ve been hearing of several hacks and attacks on 4PSA VoIPNow. It’s a worst nightmare come true for some users.

In one example a hacker managed to make €80,000 worth of calls before being caught! This user had no idea that VoIPNow was experiencing security vulnerabilities.

Another user did not experience an attack, but was kind enough to share some light on the situation.

These attacks are sure to cause financial loss, service downtime, password theft, and more.

Want to avoid being the next victim?

SipPROT is an extremely effective telephony app that provides real-time protection from SIP attacks.

Unlike the competition, sipPROT works with LIVE traffic, dynamically blocking and unblocking IP addresses that threaten the system.

SipPROT utilizes pattern recognition, brute force detection, and SIP protocol anomaly detection to detect all attacks.

Start using sipPROT today to protect your network, resources, and customers!

Learn more at our website or contact us at sales@bicomsystems.com

 
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5 Ways to Validate a VoIP Purchase

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Marketing, Phone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

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What do you think of when you hear the term MARKETING? I think of drawing prospective clients in with features, promised benefits, and catchy phrases or images. But there is a whole other facet to marketing that we often forget: Purchase Validation.

Our advertisements and websites and other marketing techniques will not only be seen by prospective VoIP clients, but also by current customers, giving us the opportunity to validate and reinforce their decision. Combat buyer’s remorse and encourage customers to take pride in their VoIP purchase, thus telling others about it, through marketing.

How do we do this? Ziff Davis brings us 5 Ways you’ll Know that VoIP was the Right Decision which we summarize below:

#1 – COST SAVINGS

You likely promised lower costs to prospective clients, so now is the time to remind them how much they’re saving. Ziff Davis shares eight areas in which business save costs with VoIP:

  1. Monthly Line Charges – less than Legacy costs

  2. Domestic Long Distance – no longer an additional cost

  3. International Long Distance – lower rates and/or plans

  4. Enhanced Features – now FREE with VoIP

  5. Reduced Need for Toll-Free Numbers – no longer spend on Toll-Free

  6. Phone Systems – no large capital investment

  7. Less Need for TEM – less complex, less need for management

  8. Trunking – shift from PRI trunks to SIP trunks

#2 – EMPLOYEES LOVE THE NEW FEATURES

Users that had been using the same Legacy system for their entire career will be impressed with the vast features available with VoIP – and the easy learning curve. Ziff Davis gives us four of the most popular features among users:

  1. Visual Voicemail – users can access their voicemail anywhere with an Internet connection and easily share messages with others

  2. Ad Hoc Conferencing – advanced conferencing features such as drag-and-drop, recording, etc.

  3. Click-To-Call – simply click on a contact on a PC or mobile device to call

  4. Customization – users can control many features from their PC including ring tones, personal greetings, call forwarding, etc.

#3 – NETWORK IS EASIER TO MANAGE

The previous two benefits of VoIP will please management and employees, but what about the IT team? The following three examples will benefit IT:

  1. Streamlined Operating Environment – legacy systems involve two separate networks that need IT management, but VoIP converges them in to one network

  2. Self-Provisioning – VoIP is more flexible and user-friendly so IT will have a lighter workload and be less dependent on the carrier

  3. Budget-Friendly – due to the lower costs of VoIP the IT team will no longer be under budget constraints and can freely make changes without seeking budget approval

#4 – ACCESS TO A RICH ECOSYSTEM

While Legacy Telephony is a tried & true and long-lasting solution, VoIP is dynamic and opens the door to a large ecosystem of developers and innovation. VoIP will continually benefit users over time in two ways:

  1. Added features & functions that go beyond Legacy’s capabilities. For example, High Definition voice.

  2. Integration with other communication features such as video, presence, messaging, and ultimately Unified Communications.

#5 – STEPPING STONE TO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

While VoIP may be a passing trend that gives way to text or other methods of communication, it is the first step towards Unified Communications. Companies that purchase a VoIP System will be getting a foot in the door to Unified Communications and will be able to gradually add the other pieces.

 

In short, companies with VoIP will reap many benefits for years to come. We can use marketing to validate their decision and get them excited about the future. Want to read more? Visit Ziff Davis and 5 Ways you’ll Know that VoIP was the Right Decision.

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2014 State of Unified Communications – Part 3

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Telephony, PBX System, Softphone, Unified Communications, Virtual PBX

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In our first and second posts in this series on the 2014 State of Unified Communications we discussed the overall growth of the market, premise vs cloud deployments, collaboration, and what users are looking for in Unified Communications.

We’ll start off our final post talking about what IT Teams need to do in Unified Communications…

With the growth of the Unified Communications market in 2014, IT teams have more pressure than ever to develop and maintain an excellent solution.

IT Teams must acquaint themselves with the vendors on the market. Aside from all of the large business providers, consumer and cloud providers are gaining traction and represent real competition in the world of Unified Communications.

They must also recognize that Unified Communications are an essential part of telephony today. The market is growing and the competition has already adopted Unified Communications.

WHAT TO DO WHEN STARTING OR EXPANDING A UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS SOLUTION

After hearing those statistics and expectations for the Unified Communications market in the year to come, are you ready to start or expand your UC development? If so, follow these guidelines for a smooth transition:

  1. Target the deployment, at least at first. Provide UC to only those users that will most benefit to begin a slow transition.

  2. Evaluate all of your PBX options. You may not have to upgrade your PBX equipment. Unified Communications is more about virtual features and capabilities than equipment.

  3. Seek a vendor with plans for federation. As the world of telephony moves to 100% Unified Communications it will be important to connect with suppliers and business partners that have different systems.

  4. Do not minimize the importance of voice. While Unified Communications has many benefits to offer, voice continues to be the most fundamental service. Ensure that the new solution will allow maximum quality voice features within your company.

  5. Take full advantage of training. Less important is how to actually use Unified Communications – that tends to be self-explanatory; but teach users the value and benefits of using those features in order to get the most out of the system.

  6. Market your UC solution to its full extent. Unified Communications has so much to offer – show users and potential clients why it is so indispensable. From increased efficiency, to reduced cost, to employee productivity, UC practically markets itself with a little effort.

Not sure where to start? Bicom Systems Account Managers would be happy to talk to you. Contact us at sales@bicomsystems.com, browse our products, or watch our gloCOM Unified Communications app video:

In summary, the world of Unified Communications has made vast improvement in the past year, but there are still several areas that could use some work for the remainder of 2014.

Want to keep reading? Download the full report from Information Week

What are your thoughts on how the Unified Communications Market is going? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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2014 State of Unified Communications – Part 2

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Systems, Unified Communications

In our first post in this series on the 2014 State of Unified Communications we discussed the overall growth of the market, premise vs cloud deployments, and the new buzzword: Collaboration.

While this year’s statistics make it clear that companies are pleased with Unified Communications in general, the numbers also identify the areas that need some work over the next year…

SECURITY

A group of IT Executives were provided with 11 Technology Initiatives and asked which they were implementing or planning to implement. The number one response was ‘improving security’ with 88% of the participants.

unified communications

Image source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Security is clearly a big concern for businesses today. Of all participants that use Unified Communications, 81% invest in security. More specifically, 80% have data firewalls, 55% have voice firewalls, 37% have UC security appliances, and 33% have session border controllers.

Participants say their primary security concerns are:

  1. ‘An attacker getting access to the data network through the UC system’ – 54%

  2. ‘Smartphone malware entering the network’ – 52%

ANALYTICS

Analytics is a newer idea in Unified Communications that could become an immensely useful feature. With analytics, the UC system will remember certain details about the user and be an interactive software.

For example, the system could respond to user requests based on recent activity, upcoming calendar events, etc.

TRAINING & HOW-TO

Unified Communications users are disappointed that the solutions are not always as user-friendly as promised. The idea of Unified Communications is that anyone can use it without extensive training. If business products are too complex, businesses may elect more user-friendly consumer options.

The most popular method of training is still computer-based, use by 33% of participants.

SOCIAL INTEGRATION

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While the Unified Communications market seemed to be moving toward Social Media integration, it did not get anywhere in the past year.

According to participants, Social Networking is at the bottom of the list of beneficial features of Unified Communications, with only 3% of the vote.

The idea would be essentially a large business directory and discussion board that would provide a resource for employees throughout the world.

FEDERATION

Federation is about getting varied Unified Communications platforms to work together. Clearly there are many platforms on the market and that number will continue to increase over the coming years. These platforms must find a way to function together so that users from different companies, or even within larger enterprises, can work together via Unified Communications.

BANDWIDTH & CONNECTIVITY ISSUES

cloud unified communicationsOne of the largest complaints from Unified Communications users is the connectivity issues. While Unified Communications has so many benefits to offer, it does require a constant connection to the Internet. Some of the new features like video and live collaboration require even faster and more dependable connections.

In some ways, IT and developers cannot do anything about this issue. However there are new ideas and technologies emerging that make this a valid topic of discussion in 2014.

Also check out Part Three where we discuss IT team’s responsibilities in Unified Communications and what to do when starting or expanding a UC solution.

Want to keep reading? Download the full report from Information Week

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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2014 State of Unified Communications – Part 1

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Marketing, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Unified Communications

In April of 2014, InformationWeek conducted a Unified Communications Survey with 488 Business Technology Decision Makers in North America. The results are in and the news is good for Unified Communications. The market has seen significant growth over the past year. However, this means that user expectations are at an all-time high and vendors have work to do this year.

OVERALL GROWTH FOR 2014

Of all survey participants, 70% have a Unified Communications solution or plan to deploy one in the future. These systems are being used by vast numbers of users – 34% of those participants provide Unified Communications to 76% or more of their users.

These numbers have increased since previous years. The percentage of participants that have a UC solution has increased from 38% to 44%. Additionally, those that do NOT plan to deploy a UC solution has decreased from 32% to 30%.

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Image source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Not only are more companies using Unified Communications, they are also using their systems more extensively. The number of participants that provide UC to 76% or more of their users increased from 21% to 34%.

As could be expected with a growth in Unified Communications, the traditional desk phone is losing popularly. This year 14% of participants have no desk phones whatsoever. Only 30% have desk phones for 76% or more of their users.

PREMISE VS CLOUD

While there is no doubt that Cloud has made its presence known in the Unified Communications market, premise is still the more common deployment.

Companies with premise or premise-based deployments make up 64% of all participants. Complete Cloud set-ups account for only 3% of participants, though 17% have hybrid set-ups with some sort of Cloud component.

unified communicationsImage source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

According to the participants, this trend will not change in the near future. Of all participants, 52% envision themselves with all or primarily premise deployments two years from now.

However, this means that a large amount of the participants are still open to the idea of Cloud. While premise set-ups may be less expensive in the long run, Cloud Providers could, and should, promote the benefits of Cloud. Features like ease-of-use, mobility and BYOD, and a low capital investment may make the long-term investment worth the price.

COLLABORATION

A new buzzword has emerged in the world of Unified Communications: Collaboration. Companies that use Unified Communications have expressed great satisfaction with the increased ability to collaborate within companies and teams, whether in the same office or on opposite sides of the world.

The market study provided 12 ways that Unified Communications helps business and asked participants to name the top three for their company. The most popular response was “improve employee collaboration” with 62% of the vote.

unified communicationsImage source: http://www.networkcomputing.com/

Two of the most loved collaboration tools are audio conferencing and video. These tools give teams a way to effectively and efficiently communicate regardless of location.  Other tools that UC users enjoy are unified messaging, instant messaging, and the corporate directory.

Also check out Part Two where we discuss what users are looking for in Unified Communications today and Part Three where we discuss IT team’s responsibilities in Unified Communications and what to do when starting or expanding a UC solution.

Want to keep reading? Download the full report from Information Week

What are your thoughts on how the Unified Communications Market is going? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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5 Steps to Migrating from Legacy to VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Telephone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

While VoIP has been around and available for over a decade, many businesses have yet to make the jump from a Legacy Telephony System to VoIP. Legacy Systems were a significant investment and were expected to last, so many businesses are hesitant to abandon them for the newest trend. However, VoIP is quickly becoming the mainstream choice in the world of business telephony, so it is time to take the leap.

Fortunately Ziff Davis wrote a guide that will walk you through the process step-by-step: Migrating Your Business to VoIP: Five Key Success Factors. We outline those steps for you below:

  1. RECOGNIZE THIS IS A JOURNEY
    The first step to transitioning from Legacy to VoIP is simply understanding that VoIP is constantly evolving and preparing yourself for constant change. But recognize that this change is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it means ever improving service and increased features. Moving to VoIP will entail some risks but we are confident that the benefits outweigh any roadblocks along the way.

  2. ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF 3 STAKEHOLDER GROUPS
    Once you are prepared to begin the journey of VoIP, your company must define its goals.  VoIP will impact three major players in your business and each can potentially benefit:a) Employees – Your employees will be the primary users. VoIP can increase their efficiency and effectiveness. For example, VoIP features like a softphone will encourage employees to quickly and efficiently communicate with coworkers or clients.

    b) Executives – The ultimate decisions will be made by the company executives. Points of interest to them will be the cost-effectiveness of VoIP, the increased worker productivity, and the ability to integrate the telephony system into a complete Unified Communications solution.

    c) IT – Company techs will be responsible for the VoIP system. They will enjoy the fact that VoIP is more user-friendly and most features and updates will not require their assistance, freeing up time for other matters.

  3.  CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEPLOYMENT MODEL
    VoIP gives you three deployment options:a) Premise – This is basically a continuation of your legacy system. It would mean a smaller change and more control of your system, but is more expensive and requires a comprehensive IT team.

    b) Cloud – The opposite of a premise system, a cloud system would save money by outsourcing management or hosting. This option is becoming more common as the cloud gains popularity.

    c) Hybrid – A hybrid system combines the best of both premise and cloud. A company that is not ready to part with its legacy system may choose a hybrid solution that will VoIP-enable their older system.

  4.  CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENDOR
    The next step is deciding whether to continue with your Legacy provider or shop around for a new provider. If you have a positive business relationship with your current provider and they offer an enticing and affordable VoIP transition plan, that may be the best option.However this may be the time to move on to a smaller company that is more specifically suited to your company’s needs. Nowadays you will find many options, even outside the world of telephony.

  5.  PREPARE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
    The move to VoIP will be a big change and your company must be prepared.

    Step 1 – Review your phone system contract and determine whether you can replace your telephones and system.

    Step 2 – Create a timeline with specific goals and targets. Assign responsibilities to specific people.

    Step 3 – Perform a network assessment to decide if your system is ready for VoIP. This will also help in the decision between Premise or Cloud.

    Step 4 – Determine what will change for your employees and prepare them for those changes.

    Step 5 – Test the new system with a specific group of users to ensure it is working as promised, particularly during busy times.

Transitioning to VoIP may sound like a daunting task, but thousands of companies have made a successful transition with great benefits in the short and long term.

Want to read more? Check out Migrating Your Business to VoIP: Five Key Success Factors from Ziff Davis.

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5 Benefits of Hosted VoIP (Cloud VoIP)

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

cloud voip

As companies today make the move to VoIP telephony, they are faced with two options: Premise or Cloud.

While premise is a popular option because it is similar to legacy systems and gives more control to the company, Hosted VoIP offers several benefits to SMBs.

Ziff Davis shares give benefits of Hosted VoIP in Five Implications that make Hosted VoIP Good for your Business. We outline those benefits below.

1. SIZE DOESN’T MATTER – ANYONE CAN DO IT

While bigger often has the advantages in business, Hosted VoIP levels the playing field and represents an opportunity that even the smallest business can deploy.

A Hosted VoIP system means that a third party is taking care of most aspects of the communications system like managing, maintaining, troubleshooting, etc. SMBs that do not have extensive IT abilities will still be able to use the system.

2. YOU’LL GET CLOSER TO YOUR CUSTOMER

While legacy systems were primarily focused on giving employees a means of internal communication, VoIP opens the doors to customers on the outside. Hosted VoIP offers extensive features such as softphones, video calls, chat, and mobile. These open up the lines of communication with customers and ensure their satisfaction. While this is plausible with premise VoIP as well, it would require a comprehensive IT team to carry it out.

3. YOU’LL GET MORE LEVERAGE AS A CUSTOMER FOR TELEPHONY

The Hosted VoIP market is a consumer’s market that boasts several choices. Legacy systems were not built for SMBs and required costly investments for a less-than-ideal products. Hosted VoIP, on the other hand, is available in many different packages with varied prices and features. SMBs can shop around and choose a provider that meets their needs and budget.

4. CLOUD IS A BETTER BUSINESS MODEL FOR VOIP

Hosted VoIP provides a better model for SMBs that are on a budget. Expenditures are reduced via a lesser initial investment and lower usage costs. Monthly fees are a fixed rate that fit into SMBs budgets.Additionally, Cloud VoIP means more reliable service that is not susceptible to local weather conditions or power outages. Employees can work from home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

5. GROWTH-FRIENDLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Hosted VoIP is a good decision for long-term growth. While legacy systems were an investment, they did not drive growth or improve with time. Hosted VoIP can scale and evolve at a low cost as the company grows. It is simple to add new offices or work-from-home employees.

In summary, Hosted VoIP can do so much more for SMBs than simply save money. To read more, visit Five Implications that make Hosted VoIP Good for your Business from Ziff Davis.

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Is Microsoft Lync Taking us back to the 1960s?

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Microsoft, PBX System, Phone Systems, Softphone, Unified Communications, Virtual PBX

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PBXware collaborate:

An office phone system of any size usually consists of multiple inbound lines mapped to a larger number of phones sitting on desks and is supposed to meet all telephony needs for the organization.

Lync is undermining that assumption and taking us back to the situation in the 1960s and 70s where organizations operated internal phone systems, ‘PAX’, and an externally facing ‘PBX’.

Because Lync is being introduced via the MS desktop estate, it reaches a market that’s currently poorly served from the PBX and circumvents the traditional voice management and procurement routes.

Out of the box, Lync offers IM, presence, screenshare, internal extension to extension calling, and an audio bridge. Call Recording? Possibly a few other features. Leaving aside the difficulty to install it and get it going compared to many other Unified Communications clients such as our own gloCOM. The missing feature is inbound DDI and outbound calling.

The use case is as follows:

Virtual teams within an organization will use presence and IM and screenshare and a combination of mobile and desktop audio. They’ll make use of the onboard audio conferencing for internal discussions but have to use a traditional audio service and some other to another service if external parties are involved.  This undermines the whole thing as the Lync audio client is now redundant, although landline and mobile are available, as soon as you consider the need for a headset it gets messy.  A user would need 3 headsets.

Apart from the power of Microsoft – why does anybody bother?

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Five Reasons to Upgrade from Nortel to PBXware Key System

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Competitors, Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Nortel, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

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Are you a customer trying to decide where to go next? Are you faced with more options than ever before and unsure which is the best after leaving Nortel Networks and BCM 50? Have you considered PBXware Key System?

PBXware Key System is the logical next step after Nortel, also known as Nortel Norstar or Meridian Phone Systems, for several reasons…

1. Fast & Easy Set-Up Migrating to a new telephony system is difficult enough without the added-in stress of a lengthy installation and steep learning curve. PBXware Key System boasts the fastest phone system set-up on the market.

2. VoIP Telephony The telephony market has been inundated with VoIP offerings in recent years. With more features, bigger sales, and less costs, most telephony companies have already made the move to VoIP. It is not a passing trend, VoIP is the telephony of the future and of today.



3. Account Managers Bicom Systems PBXware Key System goes above and beyond the features and capabilities you would expect by giving you an experienced Account Manager that is prepared to walk you through the transition and even beyond. Rest assured that your Account Manager will understand your business and ensure you receive the best possible system and support available.

4. Unified Communications PBXware Key System is part of a turnkey Unified Communications system that will make communicating easier, faster, and more efficient for your company. Our software trio and additional desktop and mobile applications give users flexibility and constant connectivity. Simplify your telephony migration by switching to a company that can offer you everything from the same place.

5. Extensive Features One of the most impressive aspects of PBXware Key System is its extensive feature-set. Make this telephony upgrade worth it by increasing employee productivity and efficiency through useful telephony features.

Additional Reading:

Or talk to an experienced Account Manager by emailing sales@bicomsystems.com

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How to Choose a New Provider after Nortel

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Competitors, Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Nortel, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

nortel

Are you ready to move on from Nortel and BCM 50 but unsure how to choose a new provider? Life After Nortel: SMB Migration Roadmap and Buying Decision Checklist from Ziff Davis provides five guidelines to keep in mind as you compare providers after leaving Nortel Networks (also known as Nortel Norstar or Meridian Phone Systems):

1. VoIP Pedigree The VoIP market is full of newcomers with offers that will dazzle and impress. Be cautious and look for an experienced company that has a long and positive track record. Read case studies and ask for references.

2. Core Business Most telephony companies have more than once focus; look for a company that is committed to phone systems and that shares your outlook on telephony. Find a company that will innovate and progress but continue offering what you need.

3. Range of Features As you dive into the world of VoIP for the first time do some research on the options and features available. You are going to want to stay with the same telephony provider for a long time, so make sure they have everything you need and want.

4. Customer Base Does the provider usually serve large enterprises? SMBS? Is there niche a specific industry like hospitality, medical, or government? Seek a provider with customers similar to your own company so that they will understand your business needs and obstacles.

5. Viability This is going to be a big move – go with a provider that will be around for many years to come. Ask about the provider’s financial situation and their plan for the next several years. Pay attention to how the company is doing and choose one that appears to be viable in the world of ever-changing technology.

Ready to get started? Talk to one of our experienced Account Managers about upgrading to PBXware today! With a fast & easy setup, PBXware encompasses the most advanced technologies and unified communications features along with an understanding Account Manager to help you with the transition and beyond. Just email us at sales@bicomsystems.com today!

Additional Reading:

What Happened to Nortel?

How to Move On From Nortel

Five Reasons to Upgrade from Nortel to PBXware KeySystem

Life After Nortel: SMB Migration Roadmap and Buying Decision Checklist by Ziff Davis.

There’s Life After Your Nortel PBX from VoIP News

Or talk to an experienced Account Manager by emailing sales@bicomsystems.com

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How to Move On From Nortel

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Competitors, Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Nortel, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

nortel

Nortel (also known as Nortel Norstar or Meridian Phone Systems) customers are facing a crossroads and must begin making decisions about their future. The world of telephony is overwhelming and many leaving Nortel Networks and BCM 50 are unsure which direction to move. The decision is made a little easier by Life After Nortel: SMB Migration Roadmap and Buying Decision Checklist from Ziff Davis.

The whitepaper from Ziff Davis lays out several options and roadmaps and encourages companies to take the initiative to make a decision before their competition gets ahead of them. The move from TDM to VoIP may be intimidating but it is necessary and ultimately beneficial.

Ready to move forward? You have three options:

  1. Stay with Nortel
    If your company is satisfied with its current system and is still reaping the benefits from its initial investment with Nortel, it could stay on board for another year. Avaya will continue supporting Nortel customers until October 2015. However, keep in mind that the competition is beginning to make the move to VoIP and will be leaps and bounds ahead a year from now.

  2. Transition to Avaya
    Avaya promises a seamless move to their VoIP system for current Nortel customers. The move would be relatively painless and your company would not lose its support system along the way. Avaya is big and has a good reputation; making it a viable option for your company. But as long as your company is going through a migration, consider all of your options.

  3. Switch to a new provider
    If you are ready for something completely new, delve into all of the new telephony options on the market today. Perhaps you want the latest technology; maybe you want to switch to a smaller company that will give you more personalized attention; or maybe you want to spend less on telephony – you are sure to find something that meets your needs.

Ready to switch to a new provider but unsure how to choose? Stay tuned for our next post How to Choose a New Provider after Nortel.

Or talk to one of our experienced Account Managers about upgrading to PBXware today! With a fast & easy setup, PBXware encompasses the most advanced technologies and unified communications features along with an understanding Account Manager to help you with the transition and beyond. Just email us at sales@bicomsystems.com today!

Additional Reading:

What Happened to Nortel?

How to Choose a New Provider after Nortel

Five Reasons to Upgrade from Nortel to PBXware KeySystem

Life After Nortel: SMB Migration Roadmap and Buying Decision Checklist by Ziff Davis.

There’s Life After Your Nortel PBX from VoIP News

Or talk to an experienced Account Manager by emailing sales@bicomsystems.com

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What Happened to Nortel?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Competitors, Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Nortel, PBX System, Phone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

nortel

Nortel, also known as Nortel Norstar or Meridian Phone Systems, was one of the best in the world of telephony; an industry giant. Unfortunately, after its initial transition from PBX to IP PBX, Nortel Networks and its famous BCM 50 (Business Communications Manager 5.0) did not keep up with the evolving industry and trends like Cloud or VoIP.

It was ultimately broken apart and sold in pieces to different companies. The carrier aspect went to Genband, wireless to Ericsson, metro Ethernet to Ciena, and telephony to Avaya who will only support Nortel customers for so long.

With the Nortel brand and BCM 50 essentially gone, their customers are facing a crossroads and must begin making decisions about their future. The world of telephony is overwhelming and many are unsure which direction to move.

So how do we move on from Nortel? Read about your options in our next post How to Move On From Nortel.

Or talk to one of our experienced Account Managers about upgrading to PBXware today! With a fast & easy setup, PBXware encompasses the most advanced technologies and unified communications features along with an understanding Account Manager to help you with the transition and beyond. Just email us at sales@bicomsystems.com today!

Additional Reading:

How to Move On From Nortel

How to Choose a New Provider after Nortel

Five Reasons to Upgrade from Nortel to PBXware KeySystem

Life After Nortel: SMB Migration Roadmap and Buying Decision Checklist by Ziff Davis.

There’s Life After Your Nortel PBX from VoIP News

Or talk to an experienced Account Manager by emailing sales@bicomsystems.com

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3 Steps to Testing Hosted VoIP Systems

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Support, Telephone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

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Is your company upgrading to a Hosted VoIP Phone System? With the clear financial and functionality benefits it probably was not difficult to reach that decision. But narrowing your options and making a final choice is more difficult.

Use this simple 3 step test from Ziff Davis to compare your three favorite vendors.

  1. Assign three users to test three separate phone systems.

  2. Choose an IP telephone that is compatible with all three candidates and configure one for each user.  Give the same telephone to each user so that the only variable is the phone system, not the hardware.

  3. Have each user test one system for an entire month, making note of what they like and dislike. While call quality and basic operations will not vary greatly between hosted systems, there are a few important things for the user to pay attention to:- Support from the provider

    – Reports

    – Voice mail

    – Billing

    – Competence of the provider’s back end systems

    Make sure the test lasts a month so that the test users have time to become comfortable with the system and fully appreciate the differences from the current phone system.

To read more, visit Ziff Davis’ Simple Ways to Test a Hosted VoIP System

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IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations Buyer’s Guide

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Telephone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

The costly and uniform telephony systems that dominated businesses for years are quickly becoming a thing of the past. IP Telephony is a more economic and flexible option that makes sense for most companies today. Whether you are looking to start fresh with a brand new IP Telephony system, or simply to upgrade your current system to better fit your needs, IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations, Buyer’s Guide from Ziff Davis is a must-read article. Below we highlight their top ten points that companies must consider when shopping for an IP Phone System.

  1. Usage – While legacy phones were solely meant for voice calls, IP phones have a much wider range of capabilities and options. From video to conferencing to messaging, considering how the phones will be used allows you to get the most out of the system.

  2. Who – We used to choose one type of phone and all employees would use the same one. IP phones, on the other hand, come in many varieties and can be used in more places. Now more employees can have phones and each type of employee can have a certain type of phone.

  3. Type – Desktop phones were the only option in the past, but IP phones come in a number of forms. Decide whether your employees need traditional-looking desk phones, softphones, or even wireless devices.

  4. Budget – Telephony systems are no longer a major investment expected to last for years. The cost of transitioning to VoIP has dropped greatly and the overall cost of telephony and equipment is lower as well. Different budgets may be assigned to different employees or departments.

  5. Voice – Traditionally, telephony was only used voice. And voice is still the number one use today. While VoIP may not offer the same quality of voice as a legacy system, it is a less expensive option. HD voice is an emerging market to consider.

  6. Features – Your company should weigh its required features and desired features. Choose a system that offers everything you ‘need’ and then look for extras.

  7. Display – Different systems offer all different kinds of display options. From basic text to bigger and better screens to camera and video, your company must think about what kind of display it needs.

  8. Video – Along the same line, video is now an option with IP telephony. If some or all employees need video, they will need video-enabled devices and a network to support it. However, IP phones can only take you so far with video.

  9. Mobile – If desk phones are no longer a necessity at your business, you may begin shifting towards mobility. Some IP phones are compatible with mobile phones or can help the company begin to shift in that direction.

  10. Power – It is no longer a requirement to use AC power and keep telephones close to outlets. Your company may opt for Power over Ethernet (PoE) which allows power and connectivity to use the same cable.

To read more, see IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations, Buyer’s Guide from Ziff Davis.

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How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, Phone Company, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

As the world of telephony has evolved over the past few decades we are faced with an ever increasing number of decisions on what kind of system to use. The move from legacy telephony to a VoIP or Unified Communications is a big jump that requires thought and understanding. How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications from Ziff Davis discusses the difference between the two options and is an important tool to making an informed decision.

The article discusses 5 considerations to keep in mind when choosing between VoIP and Unified Communications.

  1.  What is driving the need in your business?
    If your business is looking to cut costs, VoIP is the clear choice. It will mean a much lower cost while not causing a huge change for users. The savings are seen almost immediately.On the other hand, if your business is looking for the newest features and capabilities in order to increase productivity and efficiency, Unified Communications is a good option for ‘the latest and the greatest’.

  2.  What is driving the need for IT and your network?
    The switch to VoIP can be adjusted according to your company’s budget. If the budget allows for it, you can do a gradual shift to the new system and even get new hardware. But if the goal is to save money, you can do a minimal switch.Unified Communications will almost certainly involve a financial investment to get started, but be more feature-rich and effective in the long run. UC will require more support from IT to maintain and run.

  3. What are the needs of your employees?
    If your company does not want to make a major change for users and plans to continue user desk phones, VoIP is the best choice. It allows the company to take a step forward while not causing a drastic change for the employees.If employees are ready for more usability and change, Unified Communications will offer them a more features and tools. With training employees will adapt quickly.

  4. What are the needs of management?
    As we’ve repeated again and again, VoIP would be the best option of management is considered with saving money. Costs can be cut drastically and quickly.But if management is interested in increasing employee productivity, Unified Communications will allow more options and features. This is a strategic decision not based directly on price.

  5. What are the needs of the vendor?
    Vendors and service providers are gradually moving towards Unified Communications, but VoIP is still the more common offering. This is an opportunity to become the incumbent vendor.Always remember that you ‘get what you pay for.’ Choosing an extremely inexpensive system will probably come back to hurt you in the end.

Overall, it is important to learn as much as possible about all the options and make an informed decision. To read more, see How to Choose Between VoIP and Unified Communications from Ziff Davis.

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Zamtel Call Center Consultation

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Call Center PBX, Case Studies, IP Telephony, PBX System

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Last year we worked with Necor Zambia Limited, a telephony reseller, to implement a call center solution for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). On many occasion during that project we found ourselves working closely with Zamtel – the national incumbent of Zambia. We gained a mutual understanding and ultimately began an ongoing dialogue that has recently culminated into a whole new project in Zambia.

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Multi-Tenant Comparison Table

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Competitors, IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBXware, Support, VoIP

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Are you looking for a Multi-Tenant Telephony Platform and overwhelmed by all the options?

Tired of clicking back and forth between websites and trying to remember which features go with which company?

Search no further. We have compiled a Comparison Table just for you.

Click on the image to the right or Download the PDF and weigh your options today.

Bicom Wiki

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Bicom Systems Announces Strategic Partnership with VOIP INNOVATIONS

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Call Center PBX, IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, PBXware, Press Releases, VoIP, VoIP Innovations, VoIP Providers

voip innovations

PITTSBURGH (7 August 2013) – Bicom Systems is pleased to announce its partnership with VoIP Innovations in order to combine our expertise and better serve the market with a synergy of telecommunication services.

VoIP Innovations, a Wholesale VoIP Provider based in Pittsburgh, “aggregates services from the nation’s largest telecom providers to give our customers the low Wholesale VoIP rates and network footprint needed to be competitive.” With more than 20 years of experience, VoIP Innovations is a leader in the market and serves customers around the world.

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How do ‘all your pieces’ fit together to become a Phone Company ITSP ?

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, ITSP, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Products, TELCOware, Virtual PBX

Probably the question that is not asked but always answered when making an introduction of Bicom Systems’ Products is the one in this title.

With so many pieces it is rather understandable why confusion may arise and yet having explained this many times now, recipients reply unanimously with confirmation that it all makes sense. For this reason it seemed only appropriate to write it down and make some other supporting diagrams and videos that really demonstrate the turnkey nature of all these pieces.

Quite simply, Bicom Systems can deliver the most turnkey telephony company with the most features and functions on the market.

We start with our platform, SERVERware. SERVERware comes in two editions, SERVER Edition and NETWORK Edition. See links for supporting diagrams.

SERVERware provides virtualisation and redundancy. In the SERVER Edition the virtualisation means that many application services can be set on the same server, The Primary Controller. These may include : PBXware MultiTenant or Call Center PBX Editions, TELCOware or other items such as Email Server, Web Site a vanilla Asterisk or Trixbox or FreePBX even. Each is contained within its own Virtual Private Server (VPS) and as such

The Server Edition can then in turn be set to mirrored redundancy, using a Secondary Server, so that should the Primary Controller Server fail the Secondary takes over. Although similar options exist with VMware, Serverware uses Virtual Servers and so the voice quality is best served by keeping the voice traffic on the CPU rather than in a virtualised manner. Serverware also has added security features such as being set in the CHROOT and ………………..

In the Network Edition, the roles of the original two servers change. Firstly all application services are now present on dedicated hosts. The Controller is then freed to perform two functions: duplicating data from the hosts to its own hard disks and monitoring the hosts that in the event of failure of a host that the services on the lost host will be reallocated to the next available host. As the cluster expands the duplication of data may be performed to a SAN.

The Primary Controller is mirrored to a Secondary Controller so that should the Primary fail the above two functions will continue.

Typically in an ITSP scenario one of the application services in its own VPS will be the Multi Tenant Edition of PBXware. It is here that the core telephony takes place from registrations to enhanced services and telephony billing that rates CDRs.

Then on another VPS may be a Call Centre PBX Edition of PBXware if a customer has a dedicate requirement. Often with Call Centers there is a need to access the MySQL database, run detailed reports and thrash CPU with Call Recordings, as such resource needs to be identifiably dedicated. This way a heavy usage call center can latter be moved to its own resource or indeed even for its component part be split to dedicated servers.

If a provisioning platform such as TELCOware be used then it too will have its own VPS on either the server or network edition of SERVERware. The provisioning starts with the CMS (Content Management Systems) creating a web site where visitor can peruse hard and subscirptions products created in the Shopping Cart Products & Services with a view to ordering. To place orders visitors must sign up and create an Account.

TELCOware does not have any real telephony, everything is virtual. After receiving an order it uses API to send instructions to PBXware to provision the service, registrations, DIDs, IVRs or similar. There are wizards in place to assist with this.

According to the subscription bought it will then generate an invoice at the end of the period which will reflect the subscription and any extra call spend made, drawing CDRs from the switch it is associated with. This could be one or many PBXware or even another system, Asterisk based or not.

Upon the invoice being settled by manual payment or automated with a supported gateway such as worldpay, authorize.net, linkpoint, paypal, skrill … funds will be attributed first to the subscription and then if available to the call spend fund on the telephony account on the associated softswitch.

In addition to these products, Bicom Systems also has a wide variety of supporting Desktop Applications which continue the turnkey theme through to the End User and allowing your ITSP effort to simply have what others do not and stand out from the competition.

Please feel free to look through the supporting material, however nothing quite compares to an online demo and please do ask for Account Manager, the linking piece, to contact you in your language of preference (English, Spanish, French or Portuguese). As well as the architecture there is a whole lot of other advice to be provided and Marketing Materials and Support.

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Mark Spencer and Astricon: His Contribution to the World’s First Professional Open Source Turnkey Telephony System

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, PBXware

It’s probably long overdue that this article is written about Mark Spencer and Astricon. Not least before memories become too distant.

2003 and the world was a different place compared to 2013. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was out, The Matrix Reloaded although I only got to see Charlie’s Angels remake. There was no Fonality, no Switchvox, no 101 others trying to be the next best thing that would come and go – alas Trixbox.

Well just code, dreams and some cards to be more precise Sangoma Cards … and Mark Spencer. Oh and a lot of shooting in the dark and I don’t just mean Charlie’s Angels. There was Pingtel (remember that) and there was Asterisk and there was some CRM and CMS software we had left over. A friend showed us Asterisk, we saw what could be done to pull this together and we worked. Then we worked some more. Then we prayed that Asterisk might yet stabilize to version 1.0

By 2004, matters were beginning to get more contentious Michael Moore released Farenheit 911, but no, my movie of the year was not Shrek II – I got to see The Incredibles.

For the first time in the History of the World … well before get too far on that one … hmm … well we’ve still to find out otherwise. Yeup an open source telephony engine, not delivered as another ‘open source project’ but professional, warranted and with the purpose of quick & easy commercial deployment. Something a reseller could be proud to stand behind. The ‘best of both worlds’: Open Source flexibility with the guaranteed to work. This would later transpire to part of the Bicom Systems winning formula of ‘bespoke deployments’ for the ‘cost of off-the-shelf’. It would also see us find other Open Source Telephony Projects such as Kamilio & Erlang that could be brought into a professional wrapper. It would also see the turnkey principal edge towards the desktop and now mobile and towards the automation of service providers.

Then we bought an air ticket to Atlanta Georgia. The hotel we were booked into was wonderful as long as the rooms were still there following the hurricane – we stayed downtown instead.

As the first Astricon conference gathered momentum the questions were asked. Not least ‘could anyone design a general purpose all encompassing GUI for Asterisk?’ The floor was quiet and Mark Spencer had all eyes pointing towards him. We had to get out before the tension of what had to be done got to hot to bear – time for a drink.

We came out of the hotel to find out that the Dukes of Hazard possibly were not real and made our way downtown. There we begun to realize Michael Moore may have had a point that America was changing for sure we could see there was more chance of finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq than somewhere to get a beer to drink in downtown Atlanta. As reality became fantasy we even stopped a cop who after being comforted we had no mal-intent upon approaching him gladly wished to help but then realized he too knew of nowhere to scorch a parched soul. Fortunately a local who walked the area regularly and purposefully approached us and asked “are you looking for somewhere to drink? I’ll take you for a dollar.” He did and we never looked back. The next day …

PBXware was released in a workshop room and then we showed it to Mark Spencer.

I am not sure really what Mark thought of our efforts. We hope though it provided the community with inspiration for many options that followed. That Multi-Tenant Edition we brought forward in 2005, the desktop applications, outlook but – we know though we need to do more and so much is again coming this year – stay tuned.

Thank you Olle & Steve for Astricon.

Still though – a big thank you to Mark Spencer for Asterisk. It helped.

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Invitation to a Multi-National

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, ITSP, Multi-Tenant PBX, Phone Company, Phone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

Here was a recent pitch to a Multi-National : you may wish to adopt to your own purposes:

I was passed your details by Fierce Voip. Possibly you were looking at our how to become an ITSP whitepaper.

If you can elaborate your interest I should more than happy to provide as service.

For our part, we were the first company to take Open Source Telephony Engines and deliver turnkey products. Increasingly the work is for running large hosted service provider models. The largest so far is 50,000 subscribers for ******. Yes ! Even the phone manufacturers use us !

By the nature of the technology it would be a lot simpler and controlled, never mind cost effective for an organization such as ******* to put in place ‘one large softswitch system’ but with multiple location redundancy to deal with natural disaster & acts of terror.

This of course beckons the question if ‘one’ system can cater for all possible needs of such a diverse organsisation. Any simple declaration of a perfect system is naive. What we have been able to do at Bicom Systems however is provide ‘best-fit’ custom development for the cost of ‘off-the-shelf’. A simple example for NASA was to design a conference facility that permitted the administrator to listen to twenty conference simultaneously while accessing 600 contributors around the world to pull in.

Let me know your interest and doubtless I can contribute further.

Regards

Steve

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Why should we choose PBXware MultiTenant PBX vs IPSMARX Multi Tenant PBX? (Part I : Limitations)

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Competitors, IP Phone, IP Telephony, ITSP, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, PBXware, Phone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers, VoIP Software

It is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with IPSMARX, given how IPSMARX has positioned itself ‘as’ Bicom Systems. I have though wondered more and more why they do so up against PBXware MultiTenant PBX. Here are some reasons that might help with understandings:

I am demanded to reply to this question orally on a weekly basis and it seems only right to write. Curious about this question too is the clear circumstances in which it is asked. These can be described in three categories: i) Existing users of IPSMARX’s Multi-Tenant PBX who have had reason to look further ii) New Providers looking to start a business line with little resource iii) Well established businesses either ITSPs, VARs or Long Established Sellers of Phone Systems.

For the first group, customers have dial tone. However the Service Provider’s hands are now so filled with the running of their business that the cost of keeping the system becomes all consuming. Very noticeable is with how few extensions on the system and the pain threshold seems to bite. So often, fewer than 100 subscribers – a pocketful of customers. A customer wants a Queue, a Conference, an IVR… then “surely this should need no more effort than a check-box selection to solve everything from the feature’s creation to the monthly invoice going out ?” Surely it should not need custom programming from the switch provider for each small tweak? There also are issues of support. Again the sheer stress that happens once ‘real customers’ come on board and previously naive dreams are exposed. Answers need to be found immediately both to ‘how do I do x,y,z ?’ questions and less often bugs or critical failings. Increasingly the need for integration to the desktop is a make or break to getting End User businesses.

Whether in the form of onsite systems from the Traditional Vendors or the large Internet Telephony Service Providers often using Broadsoft platforms the market at large expects standard offerings to have presence, chat and more at the finger tips. Mobility is next. Not just a breeze blowing softly but rushing winds. A simple SIP client is not where the world will be. Mobility means the user should be an integral part of the local switch.

What has also been learned through the school of hard knocks is problems that the next customer wants something unique. You never quite know what and unless the system is inherently flexible you will be left just listening to the screams. For some though there is the matter of scalability. To simply ‘add another server’ and ‘stick on another few hundred customers’ is not enough. All the customers need to be brought together in a single interface to be found easily and redundancy needs to be in clusters often with the options of dual location.

If you found this useful or can add please feel free to post, Parts II (Cost of Entry) & III (It has to work and it has to do more) are to follow and of course our whitepaper on How to Start an ITSP.

Other Articles on IPSMARX:

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Keeping Up With the Market

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, PBX System, Phone Systems, Press Releases, Softphone

As new technology hits the market every year, month, even day, older office equipment and tools are becoming a thing of the past. Things like desk phones, tape recorders, and fax machines are sitting on shelves accumulating dust.

According to a survey done be LinkedIn, the top ten items that are becoming a thing of the past are:

  1. Tape recorders (79%)

  2. Fax machines (71%)

  3. The Rolodex (58%)

  4. Standard working hours (57%)

  5. Desk phones (35%)

  6. Desktop computers (34%)

  7. Formal business attire like suits, ties, pantyhose, etc. (27%)

  8. The corner office for managers/executives (21%)

  9. Cubicles (19%)

  10. USB thumb drives (17%)

Source: http://press.linkedin.com/node/1229

As bulky equipment and old tools disappear from the work field, you can turn to Bicom Systems to get up-to-date solutions and keep up with the rest.

We offer things like PBXware – an open standards turnkey telephony platform that can operate as a hosted solution entirely in the cloud, gloCOM – a desktop application that unites and enhances communication and can be used on nearly any electronic device, and many other options found on our website.

Don’t continue using antiquated items and falling behind the competition, contact Bicom Systems today to begin using the most modern technology on the market.

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What is a Soft Switch?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, IP Telephony, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softswitch, Telephone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

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Having passed from live operators to automated hardware devices, most telephony switches introduced today are in effect central devices in a telecommunications network using software on open standards hardware. These voip switches have greatly reduced cost and increased functionality to an extent that we are only beginning to know & understand.

In many parts of the world, it is now typical that the connections made by the soft switch are done via the internet from one IP Telephony line to another, with even the media stream able to pass directly rather than the expense of bandwidth and resource staying on-net. There is, however, still the need to be able to interface with traditional hardware based switches and to have a true control of services, Media Stream must be controlled.

Class 4 Soft switches (Tandem) are used between local offices exchanges and carriers or carrier to carrier to avoid the high costs of long-distance calls via PSTN. Class 5 Soft switches, on the other hand, can route even PSTN telephone calls, making them an ideal solution to offer End Users. However, because of the interaction with the end users, Class 5 inevitably has the features and functions of a PBX which are increasingly a part of Unified Communications.

BENEFITS OF SOFT SWITCH

The softswitch is highly favorable to more traditional methods of routing for a number of reasons, including:

  • Higher scalability
  • Less hardware needed, saving money and space
  • Expansions or upgrades only involve new software, not a whole new product
  • More affordable
  • Open Standards creation, resulting in a more customized and flexible system
  • Remote installation is possible
  • Can route any & all types of incoming calls – IP, cable, copper, etc.
  • May provide extra software-based features such as:
    • Voicemail
    • Call recording
    • Billing
  • Requires less time-invested

Don’t waste time and resources with older, less efficient systems. Upgrade to a voip switch today and begin offering the above features – and more – to your customers!

HOW TO CHOOSE A SOFT SWITCH

So you’ve decided that you want to upgrade to a voip soft switch, but are unsure where to start. With so many options on the market, it’s important to do research and know what to look for. We’ll help you get started.

When shopping for a voip switch, keep the following features in mind:

LEAST-COST ROUTING

Least-Cost Routing (LCR) is a feature that allows the soft switch to select and route to the least expensive outbound line of communication. The voip soft switch will periodically compare paths from different carriers and choose the least expensive one. This is especially useful if you or end users call a number of different companies. The least-cost route to a city in South America may be entirely different from the least-cost route to a city in India. With this feature, your voip switch will always route you to the least expensive route for that particular call.

CALL CAPACITY

There are a few ways to measure call capacity. It is important to ask about these measures and soft switch capacity when doing your shopping.

Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA) is a measurement of the number of attempted calls during the peak – busiest – hour. If the softswitch capacity does not meet or exceed the BHCA, you can expect failed calls and stress on the network. A good softswitch company will calculate their BHCA and adjust the capacity of the softswitch accordingly.

Similarly, the number of calls set up per second will give you an idea of how many incoming and outgoing calls you can have at once. Be sure to choose a softswitch that can handle the volume of calls you need. The number of simultaneous calls is another important angle to look at.

On the more technical side, the number of lines, racks, and media gateways is another measure of capacity. Again, do not make the mistake of selecting a softswitch with a capacity lower than what you need. In order for customer and your own satisfaction, the softswitch should have a capacity above and beyond what you need.

ADDITIONAL FEATURES

While some softswitches only include the barebones routing system, others come with incredibly useful features or add-ons. It is highly recommended to take advantage of those features. Look for a softswitch that can integrate with other modules and essentially serves as a central controller. Some useful add-ons include:

  • SIP PROXY – A SIP Proxy is an indispensable softswitch feature that will allow routing of not only IP telephony calls but also traditional PSTN calls. If you wish to use your softswitch with end users, this feature is required.
 
  • PRESENCE SERVERS – A Presence Server feature will allow enhanced communication between users. It gathers information about connectivity and availability, giving users alternative ways to communicate. With this feature you will be able to select what to share and with whom.
 
  • BILLING A softswitch with an included billing feature will save you ample time, money, and resources. It will automatically bill users based on calls. If you don’t want to look for and spend on separate billing software, look for a softswitch that includes a billing module or add-on.
 
  • REPORT GENERATION – Similarly, softswitches may include a report generation module that will automatically provide you with statistics about calls. Rather than buying software or paying additional employees to determine and report call statistics, look for a softswitch that will do this for you.

CUSTOMIZATION

Finally, be sure to select a softswitch that is customizable and flexible. In today’s market, finding an open source option should not be difficult. This will allow you to customize the softswitch to your needs and those of your end users. Save money and time by getting a solution made just for you.

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Hosted IP PBX Solutions

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Business PBX, Call Center PBX, Hosted PBX, IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, PBXware

As hosted IP PBX solutions take over the industry and replace and outdate other options, PBX resellers are faced with a unique opportunity; now is the time to begin offering hosted IP PBX solutions and claiming a niche in the market.

Many resellers have merely tweaked their current systems to allow for a hosted option, leaving much to be desired. Resellers that offer complete hosted systems fulfill a specific need in the market that has yet to be fully met. Now is the time to take advantage of this gap in service and begin offering complete hosted solutions that end users can rely on. Whether you are just getting started or wanting to upgrade to newer technology and solutions, Bicom Systems has the software and resources to get you started. With ample experience in the field of hosted solutions, Bicom Systems will provide you with software, hardware, marketing materials and an Account Manager to guide you.

Bicom Systems’ PBXware is the world’s first and most mature professional open standards turnkey telephony platform. Available in Business, Call Center, and Multi-Tenant, editions, PBXware allows you to deploy flexibly, reliable, and scalable hosted IP PBX communication systems.

Offering a true hosted IP PBX system provides End Users with a number of benefits:

  • Managed service with pre-defined service agreements
  • Remote management
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Future proofing
  • Predictable monthly service charges
  • Voice integration
  • Customization

Learn more at www.bicomsystems.com or contact us today at sales@bicomsystems.com to claim your spot in the hosted IP PBX market. Or to learn more about how we’ve help other companies, check out our Case Studies.

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Definition of PBX Phone System

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Call Center PBX, Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Telephone Systems, Virtual PBX, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

A PRIVATE BRANCH EXCHANGE (PBX) PHONE SYSTEM is an internal telephony network that allows for inexpensive calls within a company or organization. It is an efficient form of unifying communications within an office or network of branches.

The PBX connects the private network to the Public Switched Telephone network (PSTN) for external calls. Specific outgoing lines are reserved for those calls.

Internet Protocol (IP) PBX is the newest development in the industry. This is the same system but uses VoIP and software to make communication more streamlined and less expensive.

Users of PBX systems have four options: PBX, IP PBX, Hosted/Virtual PBX, and Hosted/Virtual IP PBX.

Bicom Systems offers an IP PBX phone system in the form of PBXware. We offer three different editions to cater to specific needs: Multi-Tenant PBX, Call Center PBX, and Business PBX.

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Hosted PBX vs Google Voice vs On Premise PBX response

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Hosted PBX, IP Phone, IP Telephony, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

After reading Ruben on VoIP‘s article Hosted PBX vs Google Voice vs on premise PBX, I knew I had to write a response.

My first thought: Interesting and provocative in all the best senses. Oh the benefit though with hindsight.

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Why to use SUPPORTED UADs?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Telephony, Support

It is important for serious Internet Telephony Service Providers to use only supported UADs. Here at Bicom Systems, we use only the following UADs:

It is important to use only support UADs in order to mantain professionalism and to have the ability to support customers. If one individual at our company were to recommend or offer to support a non-supported UAD, we wouldn’t be able to stand behind it and support it later. Eventually, that customer would need support from different parts of the company who wouldn’t be able to follow through. We would have no documentation on the UAD, no experience or testing in problem-solving, and auto-provisioning would likely not work. The customer would not be able to receive the necessary support and Bicom Systems would begin losing all credibilty with customers.

In summary, it is incredibly important for any serious and professional company to only offer and recommend supported UADs in order to avoid issues later on. Bicom Systems uses the above list of UADs and is contiuously adding more options to that list.

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Security and Bandwidth with PBXware

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in IP Telephony, PBX System, Support

This week I had an interesting little puzzle to solve for the implementation of a PBXware MultiTenant PBX. Much of the scenario was familiar enough. The prospect had been using Elastix and Trixbox and was tired of being hacked. However two important distinctions were a low bandwidth provision in location and an absolute legal requirement to have the server located in the low bandwidth provision.

The prospect’s activity was to be only PRI for the purpose of the telephony and any IP was to be limited to the GUI interaction and the sending of messages by email. There was consideration of the possibility to separate PBXware MultiTenant PBX Interface from the Asterisk Engine and have the PBXware in a different location.

The following reply was made:

“1. Separating the interface from the Asterisk is going to be less security as it implies there needs to be a tunnel to join them. The Asterisk is still where it is. This though is already reduced in issues by using SERVERware as it puts the Asterisk inside the CHROOT.

2. We simply do not get hacks, if : a. SIPROT is used, although you have no SIP trunks b. Firewall is used – we have no backdoor c. When using a bastion : a page through which users need to pass before they arrive a the PBXware interface and the access to PBXware is limited to local IP only. d. If we do set up and maintenance of the security – we not had problems ourselves.

3. Bandwidth required / to be used is minimal for the PBXware. From your description your presence is ‘not’ in a datacenter ? (guessing). 256kps is though enough to purpose.

4. Some bandwidth activity e.g. voice/fax2email would still come off the telephony server.”

… hopefully the prospect will take the advice … for sure though – should be interested to know of any issues of security you may have had …