telecom sales

How to Win More Telecom Sales

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Uncategorized

telecom sales

You step into the car dealership and look around at all of your options. Red convertibles, little sports cars, all-terrain trucks. In your mind, you’re already flying down the highway, the breeze in your hair, music pouring from the car’s speakers, when the salesperson interrupts your thoughts with his mundane descriptions of the type of rubber in the car’s tires and the new fuel injection system.

When customers buy a car, they want to know how it’s going to feel driving it, not all the little mechanical details. The same idea applies to Unified Communication sales. At Bicom Systems, we’ve learned that in order to win more customers, you must give them an experience, a feeling, not just a description of each component of a phone system.

Start by getting to know your potential customers. Understand their visions, their plans for the future. Ask them about their current expenses and problems and get them to look forward two or three years and tell you what they’d like to change. Get into the mind of the customer.

The next step is to shift the customer’s focus away from the phone system to the bigger picture. Don’t describe the features, describe how those features will change their lives. How they’ll be saving time and energy. How they’ll be making sales left and right. How the system practically runs itself. Bicom Systems products piece together to create a seamless system for customers. We tell customers that our PBXware, TELCOware, and SERVERware combination will free up their time to win more sales while the technical operations go on in the background.

Finally, don’t forget to include a number of applications. Potential customers can find “good phone systems” among your competition. But if you have a “good phone system” with additional applications to make life easier for the customer, that will set you apart from the crowd. Even the most simple application can make all the difference if it is incredibly useful. Bicom Systems offers gloCOM, our Unified Communications desktop and mobile app, as the icing on the cake. gloCOM and our other applications speed up otherwise laborious tasks and give our clients that extra push that they need to sign on.

In short, don’t get lost in the competition by just offering a phone system. Or even a good phone system. Stand out from the rest by offering a lifestyle.

More posts like this one:

key system

What is a Key System?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

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.

More posts like this one:

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5 VoIP Technology Basics That Increase Value

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

voip

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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VoIP: On-Premise vs Hosted (Cloud) vs Hybrid

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

voip

In our previous post we listed 5 reasons to migrate to VoIP. If you have made the decision to switch to VoIP, the next step is choosing between an on-premise, hosted, or hybrid solution.

Here’s the difference between the three:

On-Premise VoIP is a good option for larger companies that want more control over their telephony solution. While some companies will benefit from managing their system in-house, smaller companies may not have enough staff or budget for this option. On-Premise VoIP involves a large up-front investment, but then the system belongs to the company.

Hosted (Cloud) VoIP is the opposite of on-premise. The system is owned and managed by a Service Provider company that rents it on a monthly basis. This is a better option for smaller companies that do not have a large up-front budget or a large IT staff. Cloud VoIP is less expensive in the beginning, but may be more expensive in the long run due to monthly payments.

Hybrid VoIP is a combination of the above two options. A typical hybrid VoIP solution would mean a hosted system run on a premise server and hardware. This brings in the best of both worlds and is an attractive option to growing companies that have some money to invest but do not want to purchase and manage an entire system.

Which option is right for your company? We recommend you do research a variety of solutions and Service Providers to find the best match for your company.

Get started on the Bicom Systems products page or sign-up for a FREE Account Manager to guide you in the transition to VoIP.

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Custom Work: IMAP Syncing

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

imap voicemail

Asterisk IMAP Voicemail system too slow? Not a problem!

Our custom workaround speeds things up with one way syncing between the IMAP mailbox and telephone system.

In this solution, voicemails are stored on the file system and monitored for deleted folders or voicemails. As soon as a voicemail is deleted from the email account, it is also deleted from the file system.

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Custom Work: gloCOM

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

s-net

Did you know we can customize gloCOM for any company or telephone system?

We’ve already done it for for S-Net Communications, Telappliant, and many others. You’re next!

Among other things, the custom solution can include:

  • Different name

  • Different icon

  • Disabled faxing

  • Support for web plugins

  • Setup of default country for outgoing calls

  • Removal of free edition

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5 Reasons Why Even SMBs Should Use VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

All too often it is large businesses that have all the advantages and many SMBs assume the same is true when it comes to VoIP. But Ziff Davis brings us 5 reasons why SMBs should be using VoIP too.

#1 VOIP IS A SERVICE

VoIP is a service, not a product, which makes it accessible to any kind of business. Unlike legacy systems that came in a one-size-fits-all (or does NOT fit, in the case of many small businesses), VoIP solutions are flexible and can be customized to fit even SMBs.

#2 VOIP DOES NOT REQIURE A SWITCHED SYSTEM

Many SMBs incorrectly assume they will need an expensive switched system to use VoIP. While this may be the best option for larger businesses, it is not necessary. Other options like a Key Telephone System are available for small business at a significantly lower price.

#3 VOIP DOES NOT REQUIRE A FULL IT TEAM

Legacy systems necessitate a fully trained IT team to manage the separate voice and data networks and implementations. VoIP eliminates the need for a voice network and can be run without much IT support. Hosted or Cloud systems take implementation and support out of the hands of the SMB and allow individual users to manage their own line.

#4 VOIP DOES NOT REQUIRE A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT

SMBs that are hesitant to make large purchases with a long-term commitment can use VoIP on a month-to-month basis without a contract. This removes the risk of being stuck with a system that is not working for your small business. VoIP allows you to back out at anytime if it is not working.

#5 VOIP OPENS MORE OPTIONS

Incumbent providers have always catered to large businesses with SMBs as an afterthought. VoIP has so many options that even the smallest businesses can find a perfect-fit. With VoIP the customer is in charge of their solution. VoIP also opens the door to non-local solutions that can be purchased and maintained online.

In conclusion, there is no reason for SMBs to feel left out in the world of VoIP. With a solution available for any size of business, now is the time to make the switch! To learn more visit Why Your Business is Not Too Small for VoIP from Ziff Davis.

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Custom Work: Call Shops

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

call shops

Given the popularity of call shops around the world, it was only a matter of time until we created a custom solution for call shop functionality.

This solution was developed for Apio Technologies in Colombia to allow functionality with Call Shop booths, operators, receipt printing, API, and more.

Our Call Shop multi-tenant custom work can be duplicated anywhere around the world with a VoIP PBX telephone system.

Read more in our Apio Technologies Case Study.

 
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Custom Work: PIN-Based Dialing

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

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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Custom Work: Prison Telephony

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

prison telephony

While prisons and jails aren’t the first thing to come to mind when discussing Unified Communications, they do require a telephony solution similar to other companies or call centers.

After being approached about providing a prison telephony solution, we further tweaked our call shop custom solution to provide a custom workaround for the prison.

This solution utilizes vouchers that are created ahead of time with different denominations to be sold to prisoners for telephone calls.

Learn more from Wateen Telecom.

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Custom Work: CDR for Unanswered Calls

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

CDR

Do you employee a ‘Ring All’ strategy with several extensions? Does this lead to numerous ‘unanswered calls’ in your CDR? Does it drive you crazy?

It only took a few complaints for us to sympathize with the problem and do something about it. Our custom solution simplifies CDRs for situations where a ‘ring all’ strategy is in place.

For example, if a ring group with a ‘ring all’ strategy contains 20 numbers, each incoming call will result in 20 call records: 1 answered call and 19 unanswered calls.

This custom solution eliminates the superfluous 19 unanswered calls from the CDR on your telephone system.

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Custom Work: Multiple Parking Lots

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

parking lot telephony

By default, our system has only one IP PBX parking lot with 20 parking places. Have you ever wished for more?

Our custom workaround allows the user to add additional parking lots and parking spaces to the telephone system.

Contact your Account Manager today!

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Custom Work: Agent BLF

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

call center

Presence is one of the most popular advantages of Unified Communications and, more specifically, gloCOM. The ability to check the status of employees or coworkers in real-time is invaluable to productivity and collaboration for call centers or other businesses.

But if it’s not working correctly, what’s the point?

We created a custom solution that lets agents check and make sure presence is working on the telephone system correctly.

We give a BLF button to all users, allowing them to see if they are logged in or not and to log in or out with just a quick press of the button.

This is particularly useful for large enterprises or call centers that have many users online at any given time.

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5 Steps to Migrating from Legacy to VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

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.

ip key systems

Our Verdict on Polycom

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

polycom

We asked the Bicom Systems support team what they thought of Yealink Telephones. Do they recommend them? Dread working with them? Have a different preference?

The consensus was a green light for Yealink phones.

Support was quick to point out the issues they had run into with Yealink phones – after all, that is their job. But the issues were minor and not enough to change their positive view of Yealink.

For example, when the new T4X devices came out, Yealink introduced a new firmware version that was meant to fix previous issues. However, the improved firmware brought several bugs with it. Support felt that with each release that fixed one bug, a new bug yealink would emerge. This was not entirely Yealink’s fault – the firmware upgrade instructions stated that the devices should be restored to factory settings, something that most users did not bother to do.

While Yealink phones “are not Polycoms”, they actually possess some benefits over Polycom to certain users. They are less expensive and more user-friendly. Users that do not require advanced customization will get sufficient quality from Yealinks, especially for the lower price. Polycoms can be intimidating and require a steep learning curve.

In short, while support does encounter bugs with Yealink telephones, they still recommend them to customers due to their user-friendliness at a lower price.

What are your thoughts on Polycom? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below! Or head over to our website for more information.

See also: Polycom vs Aastra & our Polycom Products

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Our Verdict on Yealink Phones

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

yealink

We asked the Bicom Systems support team what they thought of Yealink Telephones. Do they recommend them? Dread working with them? Have a different preference?

The consensus was a green light for Yealink phones.

Support was quick to point out the issues they had run into with Yealink phones – after all, that is their job. But the issues were minor and not enough to change their positive view of Yealink.

For example, when the new T4X devices came out, Yealink introduced a new firmware version that was meant to fix previous issues. However, the improved firmware brought several bugs with it. Support felt that with each release that fixed one bug, a new bug would emerge. This was not entirely Yealink’s fault – the firmware upgrade instructions stated that the devices should be restored to factory settings, something that most users did not bother to do.

yealinkWhile Yealink phones “are not Polycoms”, they actually possess some benefits over Polycom to certain users. They are less expensive and more user-friendly. Users that do not require advanced customization will get sufficient quality from Yealinks, especially for the lower price. Polycoms can be intimidating and require a steep learning curve.

In short, while support does encounter bugs with Yealink telephones, they still recommend them to customers due to their user-friendliness at a lower price.

What are your thoughts on Yealink? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below! Or head over to our website for more information.

Also see: Yealink Completes Interoperability Testing with Bicom Systems & our Press Release & our Yealink Products

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3 Steps to Testing Hosted VoIP Systems

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

cloud telephony

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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Polycom vs Aastra

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

polycom

We recently received an email from a customer debating the pros and cons of Polycom vs Aastra telephones. They were going to begin using Polycom telephones but one employee brought up his poor past experiences with Polycom and pushed for Aastra.

He shared three reasons he preferred Aastra telephones:

  1. Autoprovision – handsfree, fire and forget setups – reduces time and increases customer satisfaction

  2. Ease of use – as above

  3. Robust

In his experience, Polycom was slow and cumbersome – taking too long to reboot between changes and lacking an extensible interface to extend the functionality of the telephone.

They asked us for some advice on the benefits of Polycom phones. We responded with the following:

Polycom changed a lot with firmware v4.x. You should trial that first.

It can now update ‘some’ of its configuration without rebooting. For instance, if you send a SIP NOTIFY packet, it will re-download the config files and not require full reboot (this depends on which options are changed).

There is also a new web interface (although I do not recommend to use it in combination with auto provisioning) which allows for the modification of almost all options (previously this was not the case).

Yes, it is more complex. You need to read its Admin guide from beginning to the end to truly understand the concept.

Sure, they still boot slowly and you may have some trouble until you set it up, but it is the type of device that once you setup, you don’t tweak around constantly. It is not a perfect ‘dev’ device (where you have to constantly add/remove accounts etc).

See also: Our Verdict on Polycom & our Polycom Products

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IP Phone: Top 10 Considerations Buyer’s Guide

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

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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IP PBX System Part 3: Example Scenarios

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Uncategorized

ip pbx

This is part of a series of posts from our newest whitepaper on IP PBX System. Click here to view all posts in series.

A Bicom Systems Whitepaper examining On-Site and Hosted IP PBX Systems November 2012 www.bicomsystems.com

PART THREE

EXAMPLE SCENARIOS

The difference between hosted and on-site solutions is not black and white; there is no absolute rule to dictate which type of IPPBX solution is superior. The following scenarios illustrate the differing needs and situations of end users and their appropriate solutions. Read these examples to understand when to use hosted, on-site, or combination solutions.

Scenario 1 A company including 50 local workers that speak to each other on the telephone extensively. However, the company has limited bandwidth that only supports five concurrent calls.ip pbx systemSolution: an on-site system that will route internal calls locally, freeing up the bandwidth to support incoming and outgoing non-local calls.

Scenario 2

A large national provider has branches in many different cities, several of which are in remote locations.ip phone systemSolution: a large hosted infrastructure with dual location redundancy for the headquarters and many of the branches, in addition to on-site PBXes for the remote locations that do not have bandwidth, preferably with the same software as to provide continuity and minimize training efforts.

     

Scenario 3 A manufacturing plant of 200 staff members with 100 pre-existing cabled analog handsets already patched. The company does not wish to lose their investment in the 100 handsets and cabling.ip pbx systemSolution: an on-site hybrid system linking the existing handsets and adding new IP possibilities.

Scenario 4

A small business that employs four home workers, none of whom take responsibility for IT matters.ip pbxSolution: a hosted solution that gives users communication abilities without any need for maintenance or installation.

Other posts in this series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: IP PBX System Options

Part 3: Example Scenarios

Part 4: Selling an IP PBX System

Part 5: Conclusion

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What is a Soft Switch?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

softswitch

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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Definition of PBX Phone System

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

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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Partnership in Africa

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

Here at Bicom Systems we like to give our partners “free press” whenever we can. One of the ways we do that is through case studies. You can browse our gallery of case study on our website.

Today I’d like to take a few minutes to highlight one of our clients in Africa. Back in October we partnered with Necor Zambia Limited to serve the Electoral Commission of Zambia during a heated and important election.

After winning the bid to provide communication services to the Electoral Commission, Necor knew that they had to provide a higher quality of service than ever seen before in Zambia. They turned to Bicom Systems to help them in that task.

Bicom Systems offered a solution through our PBXware Call Center PBX edition with two M2000 appliances in mirrored failover. Each M2000 appliance had Sangoma A200 and A101 cards inserted.

(A special thanks to Sangoma for their help in dealing with the unusual configuration of Zamtel – the incumbent service provider).

Yealink T20P telephones were installed to complete the solution.

(Another special thanks to Yealink for being an important resource).

After a successful installation and traning, the product was delievered to the Electoral Commission of Zambia, surpassing their expectations and pulling the entire communiciations industry of Zambia forward with it. The election went smoothly thanks to a strong telephone systems that could withstand the dramatic increase in calls.

This is a huge success for both Bicom Systems and for NECOR, who has expanded greatly since partnering with Bicom Systems. With this successful partnership created, the sky is the limit, so to speak, for both Bicom Systems and NECOR Zambia Limited.

For more information, read the complete case study.

For other posts on our work in Zambia, see Zambia Presidential Election won with PBXware and Zamtel Call Center Consultation.

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How to Compete with SHORETEL Phone Systems

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

In order to compete with Shoretel Phone Systems, you need to get a bit more creative. They have a great phone system that may very well be better in some ways than our own PBXware. To compete with that, Bicom Systems shifts the customer’s focus away from the phone system and to the big picture.

Get your customer to look 2-3 years ahead and think about what they want. Remind them that this sale isn’t just about a brand new phone system today, but about a solution that works for them for years. Don’t just give them hardware, give them a new and improved lifestyle.

If you want to compete directly with Shoretel’s phone system, add plenty of applications onto your own. Even simple applications can be huge money and time savers for clients and entice them away from competitors’ systems. Show them how your applications will have true value to their company.

Shoretel has a great system, there’s no denying it. But customers need something more than just a great system. They need tools to make life easier for them and a plan for the future. Bicom Systems offers a number of Desktop Applications to customers to give our phone system that extra push. We also work with customers through each and every step to push and inspire their company ahead.

Do not be fooled by Shoretel’s “1000% redundancy promise.” It requires 1000% more boxes to support, one for each service. Bicom Systems delivers five nines simply and efficiently.

This post is part of a series: Read the others be clicking below:

How to Win More PBX Sales

How to Compete with Alcatel Lucent

How to Compete with Microsoft

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How to Compete with MICROSOFT Phone Systems

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Uncategorized

Microsoft Phone Systems may seem like a huge, intimidating competitor, but it’s actually not that difficult to win sales against them. Bicom Systems has determined that they have three major weaknesses that we can easily compete with.

1. Microsoft phone systems are based on IT-applications, not just voice communications. They are not specialized in voice and don’t understand all that goes with it. For them, it’s just one application among many. Your company can compete with this by showing the customer that you’re specialized in voice communications – the most important component. Bicom SystemsPBXware has excellent speech quality and high reliability, as seen in our projects involving Lync where the VAR had to drop using Lync.

2. Microsoft is more expensive in the long-run. Ask your customer to think about the next 3-5 years and prepare a cost comparison for them to look at. With Microsoft, software needs constant upgrading which is much more costly than the simple hardware upgrades or add-ons they’ll have with a voice-centric business. With Bicom Systems customers can simply add-on to PBXware as they wish without spending on constant upgrades and ‘newer’ software.

3. Stability. The simple fact is that every major vendor chooses the Open Source base of Linux upon which to build their phone systems. Do you want to be rebooting your phones as often as you do your Microsoft PC?

4. Finally, everyone has some sort of pre-formed opinion about Microsoft. Take advantage of this. If your customer has had bad experiences with Microsoft, it will be easy to win the sale against them! Start by asking your customer about their experience and take the opportunity to respond to any issues they’ve had. For example, if one of our potential customers has had breeches of security with Microsoft, Bicom Systems tells them about our built-in security features.

Don’t let Microsoft’s big name intimidate you. They may be a huge player in the industry, but they’re not specialized in voice communications and can’t compete with the higher performance and lower price of specialized companies.

This post is part of a series: Read the others be clicking below:

How to Win More PBX Sales

How to Compete with Alcatel Lucent

How to Compete with Shoretel

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How to Compete with ALCATEL PBX Telephone Systems

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Uncategorized

Alcatel Lucent is a large industry leader that may be intimidating to competitors at first. But the secret to winning a deal against Alcatel PBX telephone systems is to take advantage of their weaknesses.

For example, Alcatel Lucent has big promises and plans but does not offer much when it comes down to the details. If you’re up against them, provide plenty of information about details to the customer. Offer them a clear road map about where your product will take them over the next few years, explaining each step of the process in detail. Bicom Systems utilizes our Account Managers to walk customers through each step in the buying and installation process and even beyond. Clients have someone to turn to with questions and doubts even after the sale has been completed.

Another weakness is Alcatel Lucent’s lack of partnerships and alliances. They may be a giant industry leader, but they work alone. Make your product stand out by highlighting your partners and the features that they integrate. Although Bicom Systems is still a very young company we have already struck up with some of the industry’s giants and will continue to do so.

Alcatel Lucent is also held back by cultural confusion. Lucent is clearly no longer American, but it is hard to see that Alcatel Lucent has embraced itself as a ‘world company’ in the manner that Bicom Systems was incepted.

Don’t even try to compete with Alcatel Lucent on price or functionality, it’s a waste of your time. On price, their handsets are given away to compensate for the 1 million functions that do not quite come together. Instead, convince customers that you are the best choice by offering them a complete product with complete support.

This post is part of a series: Read the others be clicking below:

How to Win More PBX Sales

How to Compete with Microsoft

How to Compete with Shoretel

Want to read more on Alcatel-Lucent’s strategies, check out Telecom Lead’s Alcatel-Lucent strategies: What’s missing?