continuity

Telecommuting Benefit 5: Continuity

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

telecommuting continuity

This is the final post in our series on Effective Telecommuting with gloCOM. Today we’ll discuss our fifth and final benefit of telecommuting: continuity.

Having workers in different geographic locations with a VoIP tool like gloCOM ensures constant and consistent service both within the company and in customer relations.

Different workers in different locations can deal directly with customers or supplier in their area, eliminating issues with time zones or travel. It allows companies to do business locally across the country or the world.

gloCOM also allows employees to work remotely with no warning in the case of being snowed in, staying home sick, or other emergency situations. It opens the door to employees that need a few weeks or months away from the office for whatever reason.

The best part? Customers will be none the wiser. gloCOM replicates your office anywhere in the world so work is not interrupted.

To learn more or get started with gloCOM, visit our website or contact us today!

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telecommuting retention

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telecommuting savings

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Telecommuting Benefit 4: Savings

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, IP Phone, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Telecommuting, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

telecommuting savings

We’ve now discussed three benefits of VoIP telecommuting: better employees, increased employee retention, and productivity. Today let’s take a look at the savings that results from telecommuting.

Supporting individual telecommuters is much more cost-effective than supporting entire offices that require more hardware, furniture, even office space.

VoIP telecommuting via gloCOM makes it even more cost-effective with less spending and lower rates. It is simple to set-up gloCOM anywhere in the world with no need for special equipment or services. This is especially beneficial in countries where the company is not physically present or familiar with service providers.

Finally, telecommuting is often temporary, allowing companies to scale up and down as the budget allows.

To learn more or get started with gloCOM, visit our website or contact us today!

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collaboration

Telecommuting Benefit 3: Productivity & Collaboration

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

telecommuting collaboration

Our previous post in the Benefits of Telecommuting series looked at increased employee retention. Today we’ll discuss how a VoIP application like gloCOM causes productivity & teamwork to increase as well.

The biggest factor in guaranteeing productivity and collaboration among remote workers is presence. Using the presence feature on gloCOM, supervisors and coworkers are able to monitor who is online and available in real-time.

Supervisors can use this feature to ensure employees are online and active during working hours. Teams can use it to quickly monitor the availability of other team members and initiate spur-of-the-moment meetings.

Another feature essential to effective telecommuting is reliable communication in real-time. gloCOM provides several methods of communicating that always work with just the click of a button. From instant messaging to voice calls to screen share, telecommuters are available all the time in real-time.

Finally, telecommuting eliminates commutes and distractions that may decrease productivity in an office setting. With no idle chat around the water cool or slipping out of the office early to beat rush hour, employees will be productive for more hours in the day.

To learn more or get started with gloCOM, visit our website or contact us today!

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customer retention

Telecommuting Benefit 2: Employee Retention

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

telecommuting retention

In our previous post we talked about telecommuting offering better employees. Today let’s discuss how it also means happier employees which translates to increased employee retention.

Supervisors and business owners have long known that happy employees = productive employees.

While not all individuals will appreciate the telecommuting environment, many will thrive working from home. The increased flexibility and balance between work and home leads to more satisfied employees.

That satisfaction with work will make them more likely to stay at the company longer.

VoIP tools like gloCOM allow employees to happily work from home with all of the communication and collaboration tools they would find in the office. It allows management to supervise and communicate with remote workers to guarantee maximum productivity.

To learn more or get started with gloCOM, visit our website or contact us today!

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Telecommuting Benefit 1: Better Employees

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

telecommuting employees

In this post we opened the discussion of the effectiveness of telecommuting with VoIP, and specifically with gloCOM, our unified communications app. In the next few posts we’ll delve into some of the specific advantages.

Let’s start by talking about the employees. Telecommuting workers are actually better workers.

With no geographic boundaries, companies can find best-fit employees from a much larger selection, and often at a lower rate.

Rather than settling for the local best, companies that use telecommuting can demand specialists or experts from around the world.

Can’t afford to have a specialist on staff? Telecommuting means the position can be part-time, temporary, or even on a consulting-basis.

And of course, gloCOM is the invaluable tool will keep all these experts in touch. To learn more or get started with gloCOM, visit our website or contact us today!

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telecommuting retentiontelecommuting collaborationtelecommuting savingstelecommuting continuity

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Effective Telecommuting with gloCOM

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

telecommuting

While telecommuting has existed for years and years, it has never been as effective and productive as it is today thanks to VoIP and Unified Communications. With benefits to both employees and employers, telecommuting is a real option today using UC tools such as gloCOM.

A few major trends have made effective telecommuting not only possible, but maybe even the best option for many companies: The Internet, Mobility, and Globalization.

Nowadays there is Internet access virtually anywhere, whether via Wi-Fi hotspots or LTE data. That plus the constant presence of smart phones, tablets, and portable laptops means that anywhere can become an office in just moments.

Telecommuting is not only plausible; it’s advantageous to many companies today. Globalization means that companies have customers, suppliers, even competitors across the world. It only makes sense to have employees with just as far a reach.

gloCOM softphone enables users to work effectively anywhere with an Internet connection. From crystal clear individual or conference calls to file and screen sharing to group and individual chat, gloCOM will convert into a virtual office anywhere in the world. It overcomes archaic barriers to remote working such as the inability to communicate or technical difficulties. It even monitors productivity and keeps management up-to-date and involved.

Telecommuting provides several benefits to both employees and employers in the following ways:

  1. Better employees

  2. Increased employee retention

  3. Increased productivity & collaboration

  4. Savings

  5. Continuity

Ready to get started? Contact an Account Manager today!

To learn more or get started with gloCOM, visit our website or contact us today!

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telecommuting employeestelecommuting retentiontelecommuting collaborationtelecommuting savingstelecommuting continuity
moving-voip

5 Considerations to Moving Your Business VoIP System

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

voip system

Moving a business is often a lengthy and complicated process. While VoIP technology certainly means less hardware and cables to move, it still involves some planning and forethought. So the big question is : to take the VoIP System along or start over at the new address?

Take It or Leave It : Moving Your Business VoIP System from Ziff Davis addresses that question and offers five considerations to take into account when making the decision.

1. Circumstances Around Your Move

Take the VoIP System if : The move is well organized or planned in advance. The business is being merged or relocated to somewhere without a VoIP System.

Leave the VoIP System if : The move is spur-of-the-moment or disorganized. The business is being merged somewhere with a better system.

2. Type of Environment

Take the VoIP System if : The new environment is similar or smaller than the current.

Leave the VoIP System if : The new environment is a shared space or an expanded space.

3. Your Phone System

Take the VoIP System if : You are still satisfied with your system and it is still a newer system. The system includes better applications than the competition.

Leave the VoIP System if : You are no longer satisfied with the system or have been wanting to change or expand. The system does not include the newest applications and capabilities.

4. Changing Communications Needs

Take the VoIP System if : The current system will continue to serve you for the next several years; if it is flexible and expandable.

Leave the VoIP System if : The move is about making change or growing and expanding.

5. What VoIP Vendors Can Offer

Take the VoIP System if : Your VoIP Provider offers options and deals to migrate the system to your new location.

Leave the VoIP System if : Other VoIP Providers are offering something more lucrative.

To read more, see Take It or Leave It : Moving Your Business VoIP System from Ziff Davis.

on premise pbx

5 Reasons to Choose On-Premise PBX

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

on-premise pbx

We discussed some of the benefits of a Cloud PBX System in a previous blog post, so today we’ll discuss the benefits of choosing an On-Premise PBX system.

#1 OWNERSHIP

Traditionally, phone systems have always been purchased and owned. If this precedent has worked well for your business, there is no reason to change now. Owning an on-premise system gives control and peace-of-mind to the company. It is one more company asset that cannot be changed or taken away.

#2 CONTROL

Along the same lines as ownership, an onsite pbx system puts the control into the hands of the company. The in-house IT team can manage and customize the solution to fit current needs and even specific users. With all of the new features offered by VoIP, it only makes sense to have the control to use and change them as you wish.

#3 COST

While some companies will shy away from the larger up-front cost of an on-premise system, others will appreciate making a one-time investment. Unlike hosted systems, on-premise will not require monthly rent or other fees. On-Premise VoIP is less expensive than Legacy because it is software, rather than hardware, based.

#4 PARTNER RELATIONSHIPS

If you already have a good relationship with your providers there is no reason to change now. Your provider already has experience and knowledge of your company, users, and communication patterns. An onsite PBX solution allows you to stay with the same provider rather than start from scratch with a new vendor.

#5 IT TEAM

Companies switching from legacy to VoIP likely already have an experienced IT team in place. An on-premise system allows them to continue their current duties and carry the company through the transition to VoIP. Entrusting the new system to the current IT team will ensure a smooth transition.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to choosing an On-Premise Based PBX system. However there is a caveat; VoIP systems are inherently more complicated than legacy systems. They come with the advantage of an interface GUI to deal with this; however, the core skills to manage the network remain critical. The provider of your legacy system may not be familiar with these skills.

There are benefits to both On-Premise and Hosted systems depending on the needs of your company. To learn more, read 5 Reasons to Deploy a On-Premise Based VoIP System from Ziff Davis.

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4 Ways Voice is Still Better than Video

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

voice call

While video calling is gaining traction in the world of VoIP, voice calling is still the best choice in most business circumstances.

What makes voice better than video?

1 – Voice Eliminates Distractions

Traditional voice calls appeal to just one sense (hearing) and allow both parties to focus on simply listening to a voice. Video calling, on the other than, brings in a whole other sense (sight) and opens the door to distractions. For example, delays between the sound and image will distract the viewer and slow down communication. Video also brings in other factors such as clothing, expressions, or things in the background that distract and detract from the speaker.

2 – Voice Has Lesser Requirements

Video calling necessitates more hardware and a better network than voice calling. Aside from needing a camera and device that processes sound and video, video calling uses more bandwidth. Most VoIP voice calls use 8 to 24 Kbps while video calls can use from 128 Kbps to over 1 Mbps. Video calls have other consequences to equipment such as lower battery life.

3 – Voice is Easier to Setup

Whether VoIP or PSTN, voice is easier and quicker to setup than video calling.

4 – Voice is More Compatible

VoIP Voice calls are almost always automatically compatible between different parties, offices, and even parts of the world. Different software and/or hardware work together seamlessly. Video, on the other hand, results in endless compatibility issues. Both parties must be using the same video tool on the same type of device to ensure an easy connection and optimal quality.

For a Unified Communications Voice application, check out gloCOM.

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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

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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5 More Benefits of VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, Softphone, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers, VoIP Software

Benefits of VoIP

We all know the two major benefits of VoIP: It saves time and it saves money. But as VoIP continues gaining popularity those become less exciting and more normal expectations. Fortunately, VoIP touts many other benefits too. Here are just a few…

1. Call routing & automation

Today everyone has experience automated menus on the phone. While we may complain about these systems at times, think back to before when calls would just go to voicemail, or, even worse, ring perpetually. Call routing is much more efficient.

2. Even playing field for SMBs

One of the best things about VoIP is that it evens the playing field for even the smallest companies. VoIP is scalable and can give a small company just what they need and then grow with them.

3. No geographic restrictions

VoIP can give you local phone numbers and inexpensive long-distance calling, breaking traditional geographic boundaries. Even the smallest companies can expand geographically with a simple VoIP system.

4. Less maintenance

Hosted VoIP is managed, at least partially, if not fully, but the service provider. This means no need for maintenance or big IT teams for your company. Updates will be taken care of by the provider, taking that stress off of you.

5. Mobility

An increasing popular option, VoIP allows for mobility. Our gloCOM business soft phone is available for desktop or mobile phone, making your office portable. Gone are the days of losing time and missing calls when on the road or at home.

Read more at VoIP News or contact us to get started on your VoIP journey today!v

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5 Forgotten VoIP Tools

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

voip tools

VoIP gives us so many features and benefits that it is easy to forget some and miss out. VoIP News reminded us of five great features that are too often forgotten.

1. Calling is not limited to the desk phone

Unlike in the past, making calls no longer means sitting at a desk with a telephone in your hand. VoIP allows users to call with soft phones on any kind of device – computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc. For example, gloCOM is a business soft phone for desktop or mobile.

2. Voicemail is flexible

Similar to calling, voicemail is no longer bound to a desk phone. With VoIP, you can access voicemail from any device or even via email. Whether as an audio file or a transcript, your voicemail could be delivered to your inbox along with all your other messages.

3. Transferring is easy

Transferring calls within a VoIP system is as easy as the click of a button. Ever called one number only to be given another number to write down, verify, and then hang up and call? VoIP makes transfers to other branches, remote locations, or even mobile phones possible.

4. Surveillance and security can be incorporated

VoIP and Unified Communications can even incorporate your office security system. Rather this means checking your surveillance cameras right from your soft phone or opening a locked entrance for a visitor, VoIP has you covered.

5. Fax can be VoIP too

Finally, users too often forget that VoIP can include more than just calling. Fax over VoIP (FoIP) functions much like calling and gives you all the same benefits. Fax to email eliminates the need for a fax machine altogether.

If you’d like these features, check out gloCOM, our business soft phone that offers many of these and more!

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5 Implications of Decentralization with Hosted VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Cloud Services, gloCOM, Hosted PBX, Softphone, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

hosted voip

Continuing our previous post on 5 Ways Hosted VoIP Supports Decentralization, today we discuss some of the implications of decentralizing your business with hosted VoIP.

1. You will need to outsource your telephony.

The first step in decentralizing with Hosted VoIP is accepting that you will need to outsource your telephony system. If you are hesitant to make this decision, consider how much progress VoIP has made and how popular it has become. VoIP is quickly surpassing legacy and is certainly a stable solution that is here to stay.

2. You will need to use the cloud.

Similar to the first, the second step is deciding to trust the cloud. There is no way around using the cloud for successful decentralization. Like VoIP, the cloud has become a prevalent solution that can be trusted. You will find that the cloud can serve your business even beyond basic telephony needs in the form of unified communications.

3. You will use SIP Trunking.

Yet another modern technology, SIP Trunking has many advantages over legacy trunking. Much like the cloud, you may be surprised to find what else SIP trunking can do for you. The use of these technologies will open the door to unified communications and collaboration in more ways than you anticipated.

4. Your office will change.

With all of these technological advancements, it is no surprise that the office itself is changing and transforming. While one large, central office was the norm for years, hosted VoIP and decentralization allows for many smaller remote locations of even home workers. Consider the advantages this can afford to your employees and customers.

5. Your business will change too.

Finally, hosted VoIP and decentralization will cause your business to change and progress. Whether this means expanding to a few new geographic markets or becoming an entirely virtual company, hosted VoIP is bound to lead to growth for your company.

Ready to get started? Contact us today!

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5 Ways Hosted VoIP Supports Decentralization

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Cloud Services, gloCOM, Hosted PBX, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

hosted voip

Most businesses want to grow. In today’s global market an important part of growth is geographical expansion.

This type of growth has not always been easy or even possible, especially for SMBs with a tighter budget. Legacy telephony would have required a new, expensive phone system for each new office or location.

But Hosted VoIP has made geographic growth possible for even the smallest budgets. Ziff Davis came up with five ways that hosted VoIP supports decentralization:

1. Hosted VoIP offers the ability to work from home.

While working from home was previously undesirable to employers and detrimental to collaboration, cloud VoIP makes it an ideal situation. Modern VoIP tools like gloCOM make it so that home workers perform as if they were in the office, or maybe even better. Clients will not know the difference and coworkers or supervisors can be in constant, real-time collaboration.

2. Hosted VoIP makes growth more cost-effective.

With hosted VoIP, telecoms can add new locations without investing in a new telephony system for them. With as little a local Internet connection, offices across the world can connect to the central hosted VoIP system and function immediately. This makes growth less of an economic risk.

3. Hosted VoIP is flexible.

Along those same lines, growth with a hosted VoIP system is more flexible. The low economic risk means lesser consequence in case of slow or no growth. With SIP trunking, it easy to scale up or down and use only as much of the system as needed. For example, during peak times it would be easy to add temporary extensions that would later be removed.

4. Hosted VoIP gives you peace of mind.

Another benefit of hosted VoIP and decentralization is continuity. With on-premise systems, disaster recovery is up to the company. But with hosted VoIP, the system is in a remote data center and mirrored and different locations. In case of natural or other disasters, service should continue uninterrupted in all locations.

5. Hosted VoIP necessitates less IT.

Finally, hosted VoIP takes the burden of IT maintenance and support off the company. The provider can do as little or as much as needed. This is particularly useful for companies with multiple locations and home workers that do not want to hire IT staff all over the world.

If you are a telecom that wants to grow, hosted VoIP may be the right option for you. Sign up for a FREE account to learn more today.

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5 Steps to VoIP

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers, VoIP Software

voip

VoIP is quickly replacing premise telephony. Now is the time to take the leap and migrate to VoIP. While it may seem a daunting task, a little planning and preparation make it plausible. Ziff Davis wrote Five Key Success Factors to help you get started on the road to VoIP. We summarize those steps below.

1. The first step towards VoIP is considering each involved party: the executives or owners, the employees, and the IT team

The first will want to be assured that VoIP will be worth the cost and stress of migrating. Study up on the benefits of VoIP so you can win their support. Employees will be the primary users of the system. Think about their daily communicating habits and how VoIP can benefit them. Finally, consider your company’s IT team and what type of system it can support. Some deployment models call for more IT support than others. Which brings us to the next step…

2. Choose a deployment model: Premise, Cloud, or Hybrid

Premise VoIP is the most similar to legacy and thus a less radical transition. However it is also more expensive and requires more maintenance and support. We talked about the benefits of Cloud or Hosted VoIP in our previous post. It is a less costly and less involved option. Finally, Hybrid is just what it sound like – a combination of the previous two. This may be ideal for a company that is not ready to part with their premise hardware, but wants to add some VoIP capabilities.

3. Choose a VoIP Provider

Once you know what kind of VoIP solution your company wants, it is time to find a provider. Today’s market allows you to shop around, so take your time and find a provider that fits your needs.

4. Prepare for implementation

The implementation period can be stressful and long, so make sure your company is prepared beforehand. Work with your provider to establish a clear plan with deadlines, contacts, and sufficient testing. Do not accept that implementation is complete until the service is functioning as you expected. Make sure all of the users know how to use the system as well.

5. Prepare for journey

Finally, the last step is to adopt an open-mind and prepare yourself for the inevitable bumps in the road. In the scheme of things VoIP is still a relatively new technology; and more importantly, it is ever-changing. Remember that the changes and risk mean new features and capabilities. These will be not only beneficial to your company, but vital to keeping up with the market.

Are you ready to start? Contact us today!

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Huawei Handsets & PBXware

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Huawei, PBX, PBXware, Support, VoIP Phone

huawei

One of our newest partners ran into a problem with Huawei phones and PBXware, so we did interop testing and were able to fix the problem.

They were testing with a PBXware demo and nearly ready to make the purchase, but there was one problem: They could not register their Huawei PBX handsets.

Our support team quickly set up a test extension and the customer was able to successfully register and use two phones. At first, the handsets had no sound, but this was fixed quickly by adding huawei.com to the whitelist.

Moral of the story? If you are having any trouble, just ask! We are more than happy to discuss any problems and will do whatever we can to create a workaround.

Contact us today!

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gloCOM – What’s Not to Love?

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in gloCOM, gloCOM GO, VoIP Phone

business softphone

There is no doubt that gloCOM is a favorite with our partners and clients. And it’s easy to see why – vast features that we quickly come to rely on, a simple yet powerful interface, extraordinary flexibility – what’s not to love?

We recently received emails from two separate gloCOM users that seemed worth sharing.

The first wrote to tell us that ‘gloCOM’ has become a verb within his company. For example, “Peter, will you gloCOM me that IP address?” Before long, we’ll be in the dictionary!

The second user was testing gloCOM GO and appreciating the versatility of the app. He sent us this:

What are you doing with gloCOM?

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

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Cloud Services, Hosted PBX, Phone Systems, Telephone Systems, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers, VoIP Software

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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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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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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Paying Too Much for Call Center Software that Doesn’t Even Give You Results?

Written by Kevin Langford on . Posted in Call Center PBX, gloCOM, Hosted PBX, IP Phone, PBX System, PBXware, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

call center software

Support and maintenance cost you an arm and a leg. Your call center software operates like something straight out of The Flintstones. You’re itching to handle more calls and grow, but old software is holding you back. Worst of all, you’re losing calls and customers for a lack of ‘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 call centers update their software and take the first steps toward higher call volumes and growth. We cut the support and maintenance costs so you can focus your budget on what really matters – powerful and feature-rich software 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 make it possible to efficiently handle a much higher volume of calls. gloCOM, the most advanced softphone on the market, brings the latest in Unified Communications to desktop and mobile devices. gloCOM will give your angets all of the tools they need for effective call handling, 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 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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5 Reasons Why Even SMBs Should Use VoIP

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

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 IP Phone, PBX System, Phone Systems, Telephone Systems, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System

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 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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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

voip

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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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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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

nortel

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

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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Call Back Option

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in IP Phone, Phone Systems, Products, Support, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Providers

It is often difficult to provide lucrative and cost-effective solutions to end users in more distant or remote locations. Whether it’s a lack of infrastructure, government-regulation of VoIP, or a major difference in costs, these discrepancies and distances sometimes lead to a loss of potential clients. Unless you use Bicom Systems Call Back Option, that is.

Our Call Back Option gives Service Providers a way to offer inexpensive calling options to end users without the installation of hardware and phone lines in their home country. By using the Call Back Option, end users in other countries can still access the U.S. or Europe-based solution without special equipment or phone lines.

To start saving and reaching more customers today, contact us at sales@bicomsystems.com.

 
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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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IP PBX System Part 1: Introduction

Written by Laura Espinosa on . Posted in Cloud Services, Hosted PBX, IP PBX whitepaper, IP Phone, PBX, PBX System, PBXware, Phone Systems, Virtual PBX, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, Whitepapers

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 ONE

INTRODUCTION

As the IP PBX market has evolved in the past ten years, it has grown to include more ‘virtual’, ‘internet-based’, and ‘in the cloud’ solutions. IP PBX support infrastructure has become increasingly reliable and hosted options have become a real option. Today, more than ever before, end users are able to choose the exact features and services they want at an afforded price.

In the past, hosted solutions were typically limited to Centrex – they were based on a central system that was controlled by the local incumbent service provider. Remote extensions or branch offices had to be linked to the central system by the service provider using their copper lines. However, IPPBX systems based on VoIP and using Internet as the transport have caused a paradigm shift in the telecommunications industry both on-site and hosted.

The following paragraphs will outline the different types of IP PBX systems available for end users today and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. While hosted systems are a new and exciting option with many advantages, there still remains a significant need for onsite systems. Given the increasingly varied end user setups, requirements, and often unique requests, any solutions provider needs to be able to offer all possibilities if they are to remain in business; you simply do not know what your next customer will want.

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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New Inquiries for VoIP MultiTenant PBX and Switches

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in IP Phone, PBX System, Phone Systems, Press Releases, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

Of recent times the messages we have been receiving from new prospects have been becoming ever clearer. If you are considering to join us in the great movement to liberate the world from Traditional Phone Systems or simply to put together your own VoIP offering you may find some comfort that you are far from alone.

Here’s a few and I’ll add as more come in:

I looked at your software a few years ago and thought I’d take another look since you now have an office in the US.

We currently sell VoIP using another problems software interface for Asterisk and its time for a change / upgrade. My contact info is listed below.

Thanks

George, CO

 

We currently use VoipNow from 4PSA. We are looking at alternative options for our Business VoIP offering. We currently run 60 simultaneous calls over 2000 sip trunks and growing by 15% per month. Can you provide a scalable redundant solution for our needs?

Dave, Europe

 

We are working with 2.5.X version of 4psa’s VoipNOW and our frustration is generated by:

  • Too many asterisk crashes (yes, also in 2.5 version, not only in 3.0 version)

  • A lot of bugs of 2.5 version reported a lot of time ago (some of them more than one year and a half) and not solved. The bugs are recognized by them and given a BUG number.

  • They do not solve bugs in 2.5 and are forcing you to move to VN3. But VN3 has a lot of problems: stability, quality and our main problem: NEW API IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH PREVIOUS ONE.

So we have invested a lot integrating our applications with the API and also the new API lack of some features that the old API had.

I requested to incorporate old features without success (they said yes, but after several months we continue in the same state).

We are searching for Multi-Tenant PBX with a strong API in order to integrate our applications.

Please, send me information about how to integrate our applications with your software.

Javier

 

Read more about 4PSA and our upgrade offer: How to upgrade from 4PSA VoipNow?

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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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IPSMARX vs. PBXware and How to Upgrade

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in Competitors, IP Phone, Multi-Tenant PBX, PBX System, Phone Company, Phone Systems, Softphone, Support, Unified Communications, VoIP, VoIP Phone, VoIP Phone System, VoIP Software

We received an email from a customer a few days ago asking how the IPSMARX product compares to our own? (IPSMARX offers an IP-PBX solution similar to our Multi-Tenant PBX and has even tried to pose as Bicom Systems.)

Our response: while the two products may appear similar at first glance, we’ve noted some significant differences.

  • IPSMARX is not open standards, Bicom Systems is.

  • IPSMARX may appear simply an adapted prepaid calling system turned into a Multi-Tenant Service Platform, we have created a specialized product to give SMBs huge feature functionality, not adapted.

  • IPSMARX platform does not always integrate with other platforms via SIP trunks, ours does. We know – that’s why their customers have come to us !

  • IPSMARX being closed means that sooner or later to do things that open systems allow requires their intervention and payment.

  • IPSMARX does not have the largest Telco’s driving their development. A good example is the softphone that has delivered a simple dialler but not taken communications to a unified extreme.

To find out more about the difference with PBXware and GLOCOM … please contact us : sales@bicomsystems.com

UPDATE: How to upgrade from IPSMARX?

Since I posted the above blog we have been slightly taken aback with the response we have had. Some customers of IPSMARX were so dissatisfied they asked for their monies back. Credit must be given where it is due. For example, Ikon Telekom in Turkey felt their investment in IPSMARX was a huge mistake.

IPSMARX came forth and were very honourable about the matter. However the numbers of customers contacting us seems to be growing a quite a rate. Many at the brink of decision, some having just placed deposits, others already with established customer bases. One such company claims that IPSMARX is a fraud.

At first we could not understand why this was so prevalent. However the more we speak with customers the more we come to understand that sooner or later that wall is hit and there seems no way round or beyond.

The Breeze Unified Communications offering is a good and recent example, certainly it makes a first attempt. Beyond the basics there seems though no further goal plan. However we’ll leave you to your own conclusions compared with :

gloCOM

To see is to believe.

The problem also is clear that the longer this goes on the more customers will be stuck in one set of infrastructure and dissatisfied to the point they must look elsewhere.

So – what can we do to help ?

Here’s our offer:

Any deposit paid to IPSMARX in the past 3 months we will refund on purchase of a PBXware TELCO Solution from Bicom Systems.

Any existing deployment : we will provide conversion credits to assist.

We will also provide a transition roadmap to assist with the process.

Sign up for a free account today and ask for a call from a dedicated and experienced Account Manger.

Other Articles on IPSMARX:

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APIO SIP security analysis

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

Network Topology

As you can see in the above schematic diagram, the network has a star structure. Remote locations are directly connected to one central location. Remote Call Shops are connected to a central location over the Lottery network infrastructure. Aside from the call shop network infrastructure, there is also a lottery network infrastructure at remote locations. These two networks are not separated at the moment. Phones and PCs will be installed at each remote location for use in billing and administration. Remote locations are connected to the network using Cisco 1940 series router.

Our recommendation is to build a central location around the following 4 major components:

– SWITCHware / Multi-Tenant PBXware

– SIPProxy / SBC

– Border Firewall

– Monitoring subsystem

Every one of these components is important, but SWITCHware is the “heart” of the system.

SWITCHware provides SIP security options.

– SIPProt is a SIP security module that can be installed on SWITCHware and provide some security options for SWITCHware. SIPProt has been designed to provide protection in case of SIP attack attempts.

– IP address registration

The next most important part of the infrastructure we suggest to be installed on the central location is SIP proxy. SIP proxy has few major roles:

– Call routing

– SIP protection

The firewall is an important part of the infrastructure. It is the first line of network defend. The most important task of the firewall is to control traffic according to the configured ACL (Access Control Lists).

Possible SIP security scenarios

Here is a list of situations in which SIP security can be compromised:

– SIP DOS attack from internal and external network

– Stolen SIP authentication details

– Network threats from public / Lottery network

– Network security threats to Lottery network

SIP DOS attack from internal and external network

Major consequence of the SIP attack attempts can be that your SIP service is unavailable for your phones from Call shops. The source of this kind of threat can be a PC in your network (Lottery network) or from an external network. (See picture)

Because this is a serious problem, we have two places where we can defend our network from this kind of threat.

SIP DOS attack problem solution The first place is SIP proxy and the second place is SWITCHware. On SIP proxy it is possible to configure it to answer only known (our remote) IP addresses. In this case, attacks will not find any SIP service on our side.

In case that attacker has somehow found the IP address of our SIP server, we have a second line of defense, which is SWITCHware. On SWITCHware it is possible to install SIPProt, our SIP protection module. SIPProt is able to recognize and block SIP attacks. As a mechanism to recognize SIP attacks, SIPProt uses the following techniques:

– Pattern recognition

– Brute force detection

To be able to prevent “false alarms” and to avoid situations where a “friendly” IP is blocked, SIPProt uses white lists. Also, a black list is supported which will allow permanently blocked IPs.

SIPProt will log any attack attempt in the appropriate log file and generate the appropriate email notifications.

So using the above two SIP protection mechanisms we are able to protect your SIP services from SIP attacks no matter from which side attacks come, whether internal or external networks.

Stolen SIP authentication details / phones

There are a few possibilities for someone who wants to steal sensitive SIP authentication information:

– To steal phone from a call shop

– Sniff SIP traffic

– Pick up information from the provisioning server These are most common situations in which your SIP security is endangered.

Situation when phone is stolen from Call shop The first major problem that you may have when a phone is stolen from the call shop is the possibility to make calls without your control. If the stolen phone is connected to another part of the public network, is there a possibility to make calls from it?

This situation is not such a big problem because of two facts: If the call shop uses static IP to connect to the public network, only that IP will be enabled, based on appropriate extension configuration. So, if someone connects the phone to some other network with another IP, SWITCHware will deny all these SIP registrations. The other consideration is: If the phone is stolen it is possible to take SIP authentication information from it. It is very difficult to read SIP authentication information (password) even if you know login information for the phone web GUI. Also, the phone is not enabled to place calls before the operator has allowed it through the application. So even if the phone is registered from some other location, calls are disabled until the operator allows it.

Solution for stolen phone situation

Use static IPs for remote call shops on the public side Change SIP credentials every time the phone is rebooted This will guarantee that if the phone is stolen, the next time powers on Configured daily / monthly limit on every extension Even if someone successfully registers the stolen phone on SWITCHware, every extension will have configured a limit per day / month, so the potential financial risk will be limited.

Sniff SIP traffic There is a real possibility for SIP traffic be sniffed on the network in two places: On the LAN network on the remote side (Call shop network) On the public network, along the public provider’s infrastructure.

In this situation, when an intruder is able to pickup SIP traffic, a SIP registration request that contains authentication details, can also be sniffed. SIP registration requests contain an authentication secret that is encrypted using an MD5 algorithm. This means that intruder will not be able just like that to pickup registration secret from sniffed SIP traffic.

Solution to prevent the risk of SIP traffic sniffing To avoid this kind of problem, our recommendation is to use a SIP TLS protocol. Unlike ordinary SIP protocol which uses “plain text”, SIP TLS exchange encrypts messages during communication. SIP TLS is supported with SIP proxy and SBC setup.

Stolen files from the provisioning server Auto provision of configuration files will allow the phone to pick up configuration and read configuration from a file. So the phone can be automatically configured. But this brings some security risks. Theoretically, if someone has some information, he will be able to pick up the configuration files and use the authentication information to register a phone and place uncontrolled calls. Fortunately, this is not so easy. To be able to do that, the intruder has to know the following information: Authentication details of the auto provisioning server (https service) MAC address of phone The MAC address of the phone is not so difficult to get, but the auto provisioning server login details are not so easy to obtain. If https service is used for auto provisioning, all data in communication between the phone and the server will be encrypted.

Solution for prevent risk of stolen auto provisioning files There are a few things which will have to be done to avoid this kind of threat: Dynamically generate auto provisioning authentication information for every phone (different authentication details for every phone). This will make it very difficult to break in to the auto provisioning server. The auto provisioning file has to be encrypted, every file will be generated with a different encryption key. So if someone breaks in to the auto provisioning server he will be able to pick up encrypted files. Every file will have a different decryption key.

Network threats from public / lottery network

As a transport network between call shops and the central location, you use part of the lottery network infrastructure. The lottery network uses the public network to connect to remote locations. This means that voice traffic will pass through the lottery network infrastructure and also through the public network. Because of this, the central location has to be protected from possible intrusions and attacks. The best way to do that is to use a firewall to protect the central location, as is shown on the topology schematic diagram.

Solution to prevent the risk of network threats from the public / lottery network To provide additional protection, the firewall has to provide the following functions: IP filtering, allow only public IPs to belong to remote call shops. This means that you have to provide static IPs on remote locations. Traffic from all other IPs will be denied. Port filtering, allow only VoIP traffic and management traffic from remote Call shops to a central location internal network Allow traffic management only from “known” IPs. Using the above recommendations, the central location will be safe from possible intrusions and attacks from the public network. On the remote call shop side, the local private IP will be NATed to the public IP. This situation will provide some kind of security because there is no need to open any port from the public side to the local side of the network. So local IPs will not be directly visible to the public network. But because the Lottery network devices and your network devices (phones, admin PC) will be in same local network, this can be a potential security problem. Because of that you have to try to separate these two parts of local network. Our recommendation is to use different IP subnets connected to different local network ports of a local router and if it is possible to use different VLANs.

Network threats from our network to the lottery network

The main consideration when talking about the possibility to prevent intruders from our network to the lottery network infrastructure is the fact that we share the same network infrastructure. So the only way to provide security to the lottery network is to separate these two networks.

Solution for provide protection to the lottery network So on the remote location, the networks have to be separated in the following way: Separation of network segments on network layer 2. This can be provided using VLAN segments on local networks. Separation of network on network layer 3 using different IP subnets. Appropriate ACL on router that will block traffic between these IPs subnets.

This situation is shown in the following pictures:

Different VLANs will allow the separation of traffic on network layer 2, which means that the only way to have traffic between two segments is over the router. Of course this kind of traffic will be blocked on the router so these two network segments will be totally separated.

Conclusions

To provide a high level of network security, our recommendation is to provide the following: Build network topology according to the topology shown in the picture from the beginning of the document. This means that the central location has to be built from the following components:

– Firewall

– SIP proxy

– SWITCHware with SIPProt installed

Use static IPs on call shop remote locations. This is important because in the case that the central location will be appropriately protected from intrusions from unknown public IPs. And this will be implemented on the firewall. Also, by using static IPs we will be able to allow SIP registrations only from known IPs. This will be configured on SIP proxy and SWITCHware. So if a phone is stolen, you do not to need worry about possible financial loss. Call administration/billing for every remote Call shop will be allowed only from known IPs. Use SIP TLS protocol (not needed if each location has a static IP). Use encrypted auto provisioning files. Use different encryption keys for every phone. Generate GUI / SIP URL provisioning and SIP authentication credentials dynamically and different for every phone. SNMP network monitoring. We can provide you with this. SIP/RTP monitoring. We can install our voipMON solution. Use daily / monthly call spending limits. Separate the lottery network and your network on a remote location. This will prevent the lottery network from being a potential threat to your network security. Also, this will protect the lottery’s network from potential threats from your network. Make sure to have dedicated staff for all of the above.

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VoipMON SIP Monitoring

Written by Stephen Wingfield on . Posted in IP Phone, Products, Support, VoIP, VoIP Phone

Can VoIPmon be stand alone and work with other servers? Say a straight asterisk server? Soft phones? Etc?

VoipMON for your deployment would be on one VPS. You then choose which other servers on that network (VPS or other) mirror their data to voipMON.

Can voipMON be used for pre-sales testing of a site / network?

Yes – in so much as it comes through the server and its data is mirrored to the voipMON.

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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

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.