Thursday, June 28, 2012

What an Avaya Contact Center can do for Your SMB

When operating a small to medium sized business, you obviously want to provide top of the line customer service, but creating and managing an entire contact center on your own is not affordable. If a contact center is to run properly, you will need hardware, software, phones, routers, staff, management, as well as much more. Most small or medium sized businesses do not have the vast capital to develop this type of contact center. Fortunately, an Avaya Contact Center can take these large costs out of the equation.

Avaya has made all of the investments into their hosted call center so that your business can benefit from all of the latest innovations without the hefty price tag. The Avaya System has recently implemented Hosted PBX call services in order to provide even more call center services to you and your customers. Avaya makes it easier than ever to have all of the benefits and resources at your disposal of a full service call center, and all you have to pay is a very low monthly cost, dependent upon the number of representatives you require.
This is another way that your SMB can benefit from implementing an Avaya Contact Center: scalability. Avaya understands that businesses can grow and change very rapidly, and now your call center system can scale along with it without costing you excess capital. You can easily switch from two call center representatives to a dozen representatives. Instead of having to purchase more equipment, software, or spend time and money on training and management, you simply pay a flat rate for each additional representative. The hassle is removed so that you can focus on running your business.

Businesses that use these hosted customer service solutions often see an increase in productivity among their company because the maintenance of the call system is no longer a burden. Customers of Avaya appreciate that they do have complete control over their customer service experience, and it can be easily monitored or modified from any location. At the same time, business owners do not have to invest precious capital or time, so more of their energy can be spent improving productivity within their own company.

Yes, businesses can try to create a similar call center in house, but they will most likely find that the costs are much too high, and the maintenance too demanding. Avaya products from BroadConnect Telecom offers small to medium sized businesses contact center solutions that are both state of the art, easy to manage, and affordable.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Benefits of a Virtual PBX Business Phone System

It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore all of the advantages that come with online hosting services, or backing your information using “the cloud”. More and more businesses choose to use hosting services for their websites and for other applications, and business owners are now seeing the many advantages of using a Virtual PBX business phone system. More and more business owners are choosing to forego traditional office phone systems in order to take advantage of constantly improving Voice Over IP technologies. With all of the benefits that come with a virtual phone system, this change certainly makes sense.

Cost Efficient and Predictable
When opting to use a hosted phone system, you will be saving your business capitol. You will not need to buy or maintain any start up equipment. Instead of investing in hardware, software, and management, all of your expenditures will be incorporated into a low affordable monthly lease agreement.
Budgeting for your business phone system will also be simple and easy to predict. The billing is always consistent and accurate. If you need to add extra features, such as automated systems, recording, or queues, you can do so for low set monthly prices. 

The security of your account is a high priority. There are may automated security checks in place to catch any potential risks as early as possible. All instances of fraud, or any other security issues, are taken very seriously.

VoPI vs VoIP

Increased Control
The Virtual PBX phone system gives you more comprehensive control over your business phone operations. You can very easily route your calls to your home, your cell, or any other location. The customer can control every aspect of the phone system, down to the number of rings the caller hears. 

Stay Up to Date
Technology is constantly evolving and improving. As a business owner, you do not want your competitors to have a more advanced phone system than you. In order to stay ahead, you must be able to take advantage of new upgrades and services. Moving to virtual phone systems makes upgrading easier than ever. Instead of spending vast amounts of capital every year to buy the latest software and equipment, you can access all of the latest features through your reliable hosting company at little extra cost. 

Flexibility and Scalability
Businesses are always changing and expanding. A virtual phone system can easily flex and mold to give your business the room it needs to grow, without wasting any precious resources. You only pay for exactly the services your business needs on a month to month basis. If your business is fortunate enough to see a boom in business during a particular month, it is easy to boost your phone service during that month, and it is also easy to scale it back the month after. Your business benefits from a phone service that is customized to its needs.
If you have more questions on Virtual or Hosted PBX Phone systems, please do not hesitate to call one of our highly skilled Account Managers.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Migrating to VoIP – Keeping Upfront Costs Down

(Originally posted by Ian Gomm at

Last week, I wrote about some of the hesitations that arise when companies look at VoIP migration (see Blog dated June 14, 2012). This week I want to continue in that vein and discuss how Citel can help keep the cost of migrating as low as possible.

As I stated previously, cost and reliability remain major considerations for companies when they are looking at their telephone systems. There are a lot of costs involved with operating a PBX and those costs are one of the reason companies are looking at their alternatives. One company with whom we are working has a large installed DMS100 (Centrex) base in the Tropics and is faced with exceedingly high cooling costs for the buildings where their switch units were installed. Their operating cost concerns are more than just monthly service charges, charges per call and the cost per service.

Additionally, many companies are being forced to make decisions sooner than they would like about new telephone systems as more and more of the older PBXs out there are being End of Lifed by their manufacturers. A number of those companies are looking at more expensive hybrid systems (with both digital and IP capabilities) to keep their existing telephone infrastructure in place until they are ready to venture into the IP telephony marketplace. This is certainly an option but with associated maintenance contracts, support, etc., that can be a very expensive solution that is unnecessary.  

Many sellers in the marketplace are promoting a “rip and replace“ solution.  Those companies exhort the benefits of moving to VoIP but at what upfront cost to the end user. If a premise based solution is recommended, there is the cost of the IP PBX, IP phones, Category 5/6 cabling to be installed and Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches to be installed to power the IP phones. There are also the intangible costs of work interruption in terms of down time when the system is being put in place and the training required to use the new phones. If multiple buildings are involved, the whole migration process can take years rather than months. If hosted services are being proffered, even if these costs are built in to the monthly per port price, these same costs have to be paid if only through a higher than necessary monthly rate.  It is to deal with these issues that many companies look at Citel’s Portico TVA.  Why go through the cost of a “rip and replace” solution and the time delays involved when with the TVA you can migrate all of a customer’s end users to VoIP literally overnight.

By incorporating the Portico TVA into the VoIP migration process, you can unplug your handsets (digital, analog or P-Phones) from their PBX, plug them into the Portico TVA, then run them directly or via a router to your on-premise or cloud based IP PBX. The system utilizes the existing cabling and as the phones remain line powered there is no need for PoE switches. There is no disruption of the work place as most of the time the configuration of the units can be done prior to installation (or via a simple Web GUI if done remotely after the fact) with most back end change-overs being done after hours. There is also no retraining for the end-user except as new services are introduced. How much simpler can it get? If you are looking at your options for your telephone system, give Citel a call. We work with many cloud based and premise based IP PBX’s and softswitches and would be pleased to work with you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is Avaya Flare?

As technology plays an increasingly important role in business presentation and communications, in order to keep up, you may need to juggle many different interfaces at one time. What do you do when you are participating in a video conference, but you also have instant messages and other social media alerts flooding your way?

This is when the innovative Avaya Flare software can be a lifesaver. This Avaya IP office software allows you to create an all-inclusive multi-modal collaboration platform. It allows you to integrate all of your different video, audio, messaging, and other tools into one program. You no longer need switch between several different interfaces or contact lists in order to handle your communications.

You can stay connected easily on the go by taking advantage of the Avaya Mobility services. Integrate all of your communications programs, such as email, messaging, or voicemail to your iPad by simply downloading the Avaya Flare Communicator program.

The Avaya IP Office experience is made possible by using the SIP-based Avaya Aura communications platform. The Aura platform allows you to conduct multiple real-time communications sessions, using various interfaces, right on your desktop. You can conference and collaborate between many different networks at the same time without having to use multiple devices or switch between different types of software or programs. Everything you need to conduct business efficiently is right at your fingertips.

Features and Benefits

Quick and Easy Conferencing – This software makes assembling a team faster and simpler than ever. The interface is intuitive and incorporates instant messaging, voice, video, and social media into one platform that can be accessed regardless of your type of network. All users can connect with one another simply by dragging the appropriate contact information into the communications spotlight.

Communication Face to Face – Make your digital conferences more personal using video conferencing. You can see body language, expressions, and make eye contact, which can lead to a more meaningful interaction with your colleagues and clients.

Communications History – All communications in which you participate in will be logged in your easy to read communications history page. You can very quickly look into all of your correspondence with a particular contact, including all emails, voicemails, and instant messages, in chronological order. All of your past communications are organized for you and easy to access.

Participate in Simultaneous Conferences – While participating in one conference, you can start or join multiple additional conferences using audio, video, or instant messaging. The additional conferences can be added without interrupting the current conference.

Bring Experts into Your Communications – Within your contact list, experts can easily be labeled and identified using their contact information. If at any point you would like to insert an expert into your communications, you can do so by dragging their contact information into the communications spotlight.

For more information on the Avaya Flare® please visit our website or contact us today!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Benefits of BroadConnect Becoming your Business VoIP Provider

Introducing BroadConnect

BroadConnect is a Canadian-based private voice and data network. There coverage encompasses all of Canada, allowing them complete control over every facet of the communication services provided. Calls completed using BroadConnect are always secure and delivered with great audio quality. BroadConnect has quickly become a leader in the private voice and data industry thanks to our high quality and affordability.

The Benefits of Using an Office Phone System from Broad Connect

Expand Your Reach – The fiber optic Internet network allows you to implement communications solutions across the entire country. No matter your location, BroadConnect support is easily accessed.

Access to the Communications Experts – Thousands of Canadian businesses rely on BroadConnect because of the company’s prominent history and vast experience. There are very few communications issues that their knowledgeable and experienced staff have not faced and solved before.

The Greatest Value – The experts at BroadConnect are always looking for not only the most innovative, but also the most efficient communications solutions. They develop comprehensive voice and data networking solutions that will provide real benefits that will save you, the customer, time and money.

VOIP and Business – If Voice over IP has one flaw, it is that your business information is communicated through public internet space. BroadConnect uses a VOPI system or Voice over Private Internet, which reduces many of these issues. The VOPI system uses its own private communications network, therefore the IP over voice information does not enter the public space, and there are fewer security risks. VOPI is also much more reliable, practically eliminating any voice packet loss, and delivering higher quality audio.

The BroadSoft Platform – The Broadsoft Platform is groundbreaking software that has been integrated into the BroadConnect network. This software allows you to unify all of your communication tools. The platform allows you to collaborate between your various telephones, email, instant messengers, or any other communications applications that you use.

Adaptability and Affordability – BroadConnect delivers all of the most up to date communications services with a higher quality of service than the big three. We create our solutions to be more flexible and cater to the unique needs of each customer, which allows us to our keep rates lower. BroadConnect can offer a state of the art office phone system that can easily be modified or scaled to fit the changing demands of any business.  Call one of our skilled technicians today for more information on our products or a quote.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Migrating to VoIP - Why The Hesitation?

I am constantly amazed by the number of emails I receive monthly providing rationale for why companies should move their phone service to some form of IP telephony. Having worked in the environment for a number of years one tends to forget that not everyone understands the benefits available to them for using VoIP. A recent white paper I looked at stated that “there are business owners the world over who, for whatever reason, haven’t caught on to VoIP’s new status in the business world. They still remember a time years or even decades ago when Internet phone calls were a gimmick, unsupported by the bulk of users.”  I still remember the poor service I got as a business with a local phone company over the PSTN but in those days that was just a part of doing business and was accepted and long forgotten. Why is that not the case with VoIP, especially as there are so many ways to ensure the service is better than ever before available?

Everyone discusses the cost savings available with VoIP, be it on monthly service charges, charges per call or the cost per service (call waiting, forwarding, caller ID, etc.) so why has not everyone already migrated to VoIP. The fact is that cost savings is not the only factor other than quality of service that is being looked at.

I speak with a lot of people about VoIP migration in my day to day activities. I have also spoken at numerous conferences and in conversations afterwards am fascinated by the number of people who are reluctant to change out their desk phones. There are so many changes in the business world these days, Cloud computing, Smartphones, Tablets, SaaS, Computers in general etc., that the standard office desk phone is one of the one few items remaining in the office that people have not had to change. It is an island of stability in an ever changing world. A lot of companies are saying no to migrating to VoIP because they don’t want to change.

Now, many of you are probably wondering why I am going on about remaining the same when this blog has highlighted some of the benefits of VoIP. Well that’s easy. You can still obtain the benefits of VoIP without changing out your phones. With Citel’s Portico TVA, you can SIP enable those existing legacy desk phones so that they can remain in place even when you move to VoIP. You can get the costs savings from VoIP without having to change anything on your users’ desks. You can set up the phones to do exactly what they did when tied to the PABX and the PSTN so your end users do not know that they are helping their businesses save money. In my next blog we will look at how those savings are magnified by adopting the Portico TVA as part of your VoIP migration.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What is a Virtual Assistant?

An automated attendant or auto attendant is a way to utilize technology to assist callers.  Auto attendants typically provide greetings and allow callers to choose between several or more routing options. The virtual assistant is much more than a simple auto attendant.  It is a virtual feature package that can be programmed as needed.  For example, the virtual assistant can transfer calls to any phone extensions including those that are located in the office as well as out of the office and even mobile numbers and virtual phones.  The “Call me Now” feature allows calls to be initiated through a special hyperlink.  These and other features offer advanced solutions to creating an innovative office phone system.
The virtual assistant enterprise provides a management toolbar through Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Mozilla Firefox to let users manage in and outgoing messages, set up availability information and organizes call controls. The virtual assistant is literally a combination of IVR and auto attendant functions rolled into one. The IVR (integrated voiceresponse) is a more complex way to allow interaction while the auto attendant offers a way to route calls and replaces a live operator. The IVR generally performs additional functions and is used for such things as account inquiries and online banking.
An auto attendant offers a phone directory that allows callers to connect with people based on their name rather than extension number. You can often set up the system to use first name, last name, or both. Some of the most common routing options include:
  • Extension transfer
  • Voicemail transfer
  • Offer a message (such as directions or hours)
  • Transfer to another menu for more options
  • Repeat option choices
  • Reach a live operator
  • Send callers to a default mailbox
  • Provide an option for callers who do not make a choice
The virtual assistant is utilized with a hosted PBX to provide the solution that works best for your specific needs. The office phone system is becoming a more integrated solution that can help rather than hurt your business. You can use the virtual assistant in any number of ways to provide callers with the best possible options. Use hosted solutions with SIP trunking to give you the most comprehensive business solutions possible. Office managers should consider using a virtual assistant to improve business communications. The new virtual assistant offers a much more sophisticated approach to call processing than traditional auto attendants provide. A virtual assistant will provide you with a high degree of help while keeping callers happy, saving you money and improving customer relations. 

For more information on features or Office Phone Systems, please visit our website or call us today! 

How Does Bonded ADSL Work? Is it the Right Choice for your Business?

Bonded ADSL is a helpful option for many businesses.  Using  Bonded ADSL offers an easy and affordable way to improve your Internet connection speed. The bandwidth is able to be increased when your need increases. The use of a DSL modem connects the computer (or router) to the bonded ADSL phone line. While similar to a voice modem of 20 years ago, the data transfer rate is much improved.
There are many important features of the bonded ADSL. ADSL broadband requires only a single phone circuit to provide voice and data use at the same time. The ADSL provider (like BroadConnect Telecom) typically offers a modem that is used to connect the ADSL broadband circuit to the computer or LAN. The bandwidth of the bonded ADSL is much greater than a dial-up connection, making it a very good option for businesses that want to increase their connection speed. The data rate of transfer for the bonded ADSL allows for much faster access, allowing employees to be more productive.
One of the best things about bonded ADSL is that it can be utilized over a regular circuit. Business broadband service can be leased on a monthly or yearly basis from ADSL providers. Bonded ADSL is the best way to use a boned line is to increase bandwidth and speed. The bonded ADSL combines two ADSL lines together to allow a faster and more useful connection.
The ADSL broadband connection can be scaled to the size of your business. This offers a great advantage for many businesses that are in need of a better business broadband service. Companies have the option of adding or removing ADSL broadband connections as they are required. This means that you’ll be able to pay for only the ADSL broadband lines that you require. The ADSL broadband service provider will work with you to help you determine the best configuration of ADSL broadband to meet your needs.
Another important benefit of using ADSL broadband is the reliability factor. The bonded ADSL is a highly reliable communication solution yet it offers a high speed that is not available with dial-up service over standard lines. Business broadband service is a fantastic option and offers a great savings for your company. You’ll find that we here at BroadConnect Telecom offers you, high quality of service at competitive prices.
In summary, bonded ADSL is an option that is very adaptable for businesses. Your company can connect additional modules to accommodate growth as it occurs. This allows you to scale up when you are in need of increased bandwidth. Bonded ADSL is a good option for those who need improved data transfer speeds and want to get the services they need at an affordable price. Call BroadConnect Telecom for a quote, today! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Improving Business Meetings with Video Conferencing Solutions

Meetings are supposed to be utilized as a way to get things done. In today’s busy business environment, you need to find a better way to improve communications. The business meeting can be greatly improved when you use video conferencing. Video conferencing is a way to allow participants to hold live meetings no matter where they are located. Video conferencing is a necessity for facilitating a more efficient work environment.
Video meetings can take place at a work station, in a conference room, or even from a laptop at home. Video conferencing gives your business the flexibility to schedule meetings anywhere and anytime. The option is a great way to increase the efficiency of your employees. There is no longer a need to attend meetings in person. Employees can attend from any location including the conference room, their own work station, or their home. The flexibility allows you to include experts, and other individuals that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Added efficiency means better use of your employee’s time and improved customer service. Your company will be able to use video conferencing in a number of ways that will increase operations. Managed video conferencing solutions provide more flexibility along with affordability.
The use of video conferencing affords your company the ability to utilize a lot of innovative features. Additionally, a hosted solution gives your company access to the latest technology and advanced features as they become available. Best of all, employees are able to use their time more wisely. Flexible work from home plans gives you virtual options that increase the flexibility you have over your operations. Access to the hosted video conferencing solution is done through the network. You won’t need to worry about taking care of an on-premise option.
Video conferencing gives you the ability to better utilize your employee’s time. You’ll also be able to include experts and other people as they are needed. Flexible access, improved communications, and better efficiency gives your company better utilization of resources. You’ll also be able to provide better customer service as a result of the improved communications.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Avaya one-X Communicator: The Ultimate in Unified Communication

Avaya one-X desktop software application
Today’s employees are flooded with various types of communications and requests including calls, voicemails, meetings, emails, instant messages, and faxes that come from a variety of sources.  These requests can be quite overwhelming.  A better way to reduce the stress and improve productivity of employees is by utilizing a more sophisticated communication system.  Employees will now be able to manage their time more efficiently to improve productivity and responsiveness.

The Avaya one-X Communicator is a unified communications client that gives users the ability to simplify tasks using specialized tools. It allows employees the ability to better manage all of their communications tasks no matter where they are working. The client uses either SIP or H.323 that allows access to IP telephony options. Integrating with the one-X communicator provides the ability to use the preferred desktop productivity tools such as Lotus (IBM), Office Communicator (Microsoft), and Presentation Server (Citrix).
Benefits of the Avaya one-X Communicator
The Avaya one-X offers many benefits for business communications. You’ll find that the system allows you to:
  • Improve customer communications – allows more personal communications.  Access and manage voice, video, voicemail, email, IM, and conferencing from one interface.
  • Streamline responsiveness – users can easily determine availability of co-workers to improve the immediate responsiveness of others.
  • Improve productivity – adding face to face communications allows employees to more easily communicate and eliminates the need to schedule meetings when they can be immediately completed.
  • Allows employees to work from anywhere – configure the system to optimize call control.  Have the system contact you on your mobile or home phone when a call is received at the office.
  • Client Standardization – allows you to choose between IP and SIP protocols to help businesses use one phone type for all their communication needs.
Main Features of the Avaya one-X
There are many features that are part of the Avaya one-X.  Here is a list of the most popular features and how they are used.
  • Integration of communication services – Allows access to all the essential tools from one client such as messages, conferencing, and communication history. Use just one click to access essential options such as email and instant messaging through Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, or Microsoft Office Communicator.
  • Provides Intelligent Presence – You’ll be able to instantly know the availability and communication options for your colleagues. See whether they are currently online, on the phone, ready for IM communication, on a conference, away on vacation or out of the office.  Status is obtained through the integration of Avaya Aura Presence Services.
  • Allows Visual Voicemail – Users can access and sort voice and fax messages easily using filters. This allows the ability to quickly and easily prioritize options to allow for better time management.
  • Visual Conferencing – Enter and initiate conference calls and immediately see who is on the call as well as identify who is speaking. Those moderating the calls can provide music on hold, mute, and can drop specific lines from the call.
  • Video Calls – Unified communications allows you to make and participate in video calls. Utilize features such as call, transfer, forward, conference, hold, mute, and call coverage while on a video call.
  • Click to Call – Use Microsoft Outlook to call anyone in your directory with a simple click. Call anyone in your contact list or email. You can also return calls easily from voicemail, call logs, or buddy list.
  • Variable Usage Modes – Users can choose the connectivity mode they prefer in order to improve performance while still part of the all-in-one client. For example, you can choose to make and receive calls from your desk phone, your mobile phone, or home phone, or utilize VoIP.
  • Multi-Protocol Support – Support for SIP and H.323 protocols allows your business to choose the client option that they want to standardize on.
For more information on this, and other Avaya products, please visit our website.

Monday, June 4, 2012

How a Virtual PBX can hlp during Disaster Recovery

BroadConnect ExpertiseWhen every telecommunication or IT manager is engineering their communication system they know that disaster recovery is one of the most important considerations. IP communications systems are increasingly popular options for office telephony, however, there must be thought given to the solution for disaster recovery. A voice over IP solution is certainly a good choice for most businesses. Safeguarding security of the IP telephony system is essential.
“Hot desking”, the ability to log onto a telephony instrument from anywhere in the network, allows the flexibility and reliability necessary in a business communication solution. If an office location must close due to a disaster, employees can log into the system using a broadband connection through BroadConnect Telecom. The disaster may be a natural disaster such as a snowstorm, earthquake, flood, or hurricane or any type of disaster like a fire or evacuation. No matter the reason, hot-desking allows your business to continue functioning throughout the crisis.
Hot desking is the solution that is preferred because there is no need to do anything at the location in order to connect phones. The solution is seamless to your customers, who don’t need to know anything about the situation at hand. Your company won’t lose business due to the disaster and the phones can be used for any length of time whether it’s just an afternoon or two weeks.
The use of a virtual PBX offers plenty of advantages over other types of telephony options. A virtual PBX gives you with ability to add telephone support when and where it’s needed, without the need for costly and time-consuming change orders. Users have access to all the features of the system including voicemail. This keeps your business going strong no matter what is happening around it.
One of the most important things about an IP telephony system is the architecture. BroadConnect Telecom offers you the luxury of a distributed network.  This means that you can effectively have a network of telephony systems that can each function alone as well as networked. When one system goes down, another can easily take over without a problem. Where IP-PBX solutions have caused headaches for managers in the past is the possibility of outage. A networked solution gives you peace of mind to control your business operations and keep communications running smoothly no matter what happens.
BroadConnect Telecom virtual PBX solutions support SIP trunking.  You can provision multiple SIP trunks to provide various types of PSTN access.  This gives you the flexibility to utilize PSTN at multiple locations if you choose. Multiple PSTN gateways are possible because you can set up SIP trunking in the configuration that works best for your application.
Another option for potential disaster recovery with an IP telephony system is the utilization of wireless LAN stands, known as WLAN stands. The WLAN stand can function as an access point or as a client on an existing WiFi network. This option allows you to quickly arrange an office location to take over the function of another that may be experiencing a disaster. Any location can be used as long as it offers a WiFi or broadband connection. One of the phones will act as the access point for the others in the group, which are set up as clients. This can be completed very quickly and in almost any location such as a hotel or conference location.
In the past, managers needed to try to find solutions for disaster recovery but were hampered by the need to stay connected physically to the telephone system. Today, with an IP telephony system, geography is no longer a concern. Managers can more easily facilitate action plans to keep communications intact even during an outage or amidst a disaster.