voip phone systems chicago
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Can You Hear Me Now? The VoIP Option: Pros & Cons Explained

Since VoIP came on the telecom scene back in the early 2000’s it has grown in popularity and become a commonly used term in the business community. With more and more technology moving to internet/cloud based delivery it makes sense that our phones do the same.

Now, VoIP offers many features that a legacy phone system doesn’t, but when it comes to choosing a system that connects your business to the outside world, you’ve got to take many factors into consideration.

That being said, we would like to provide you a brief list of pros and cons to VoIP systems. Remember, each business and each setup interact with VoIP differently. Some of these may or may not apply to your company. It is always important to consult a reputable vendor who understands both your telephone and your current IT setup first.

The VoIP Option: Pros & Cons Explained

Pros

Monthly Cost Savings: Perhaps the biggest advantage of choosing VoIP is the opportunity for monthly savings. Traditional systems depend on landlines (POTS lines) to connect your calls. Some VoIP systems allow you to cancel all landlines and connect calls via internet. This cuts out the middle (your phone company). Do not be fooled though. You still pay for service to this system on a per phone basis.

Lower Hardware Costs: VoIP systems are typically less costly up front. This depends on the type of system you are purchasing and the options your vender offers. Sometimes there is no upfront cost at all for these systems. However, we all know nothing in life is REALLY free. Many times when a company offers free hardware, they build that price into your monthly cost. Be sure to look into this before signing on the dotted line.

Versatility and Scalability: VoIP allows you to tailor your phones and features to your business needs. Systems come as basic or feature rich as you want. Do you need CRM features? Call parking? Auto attendant? Twinning? Presence Management? These are all features that VoIP can provide. It should be mentioned that PBX systems offer these functions too.

Portable/Professional: VoIP is great for people on the move.  Switching from an office phone to a mobile phone? VoIP can make a switch between phones seamless.  These features allow clients to transfer quickly between phones. Imagine you are on the phone with a prospect and don’t want to hang up but you’ve got a meeting you have to leave for . . . with enhanced features you can press a button and transfer that call to your cell phone without the prospect even knowing you’ve left your office.
VoIP Chicagoland Providers

CONS

Sound quality: When transferring calls over the internet instead of a landline, there can be a decrease in the sound quality. VoIP takes up more bandwidth and depends on a strong internet connection for best call quality.  Not only do you need a constant and steady internet connection, you also need to make sure that your bandwidth will support the demands of your office.

Power outages: VoIP requires power and an internet connection, so if power goes out you can expect service disruptions for your phones.  Having one emergency landline or call forwarding takes care of this problem, in case an emergency ever arises.

Hidden Costs & Hardware Ownership: While we mentioned cost savings as a plus for VoIP phones, those same savings can bite you in the end. Be wary of a provider offering free equipment. This typically means they are charging you EVERY month for hardware. On top of that, many VoIP providers entice customers with great deals on hardware but aren’t clear about who owns what. If you aren’t clear about those finer details you may find yourself paying every month for years on hardware you don’t even own only to have it taken away when you switch providers.

If you’ve made it this far into this article, I’m sure you’ve noticed that each characteristic has positive and negative elements to it. Phones are a very tricky topic for many business owners.

The one absolute positive you have is that by collaborating with Andromeda, you’ve chosen a technology partner that puts your interests above all else. We help our clients install all varieties of phone systems including PBX Systems, Hybrid IP Office systems, Cloud VoIP systems and more. The most important piece of the VoIP puzzle is choosing a vendor you trust.

If you are considering a new phone system for your business, give us a call today and let us guide you through your options.

Enhanced Phone Features for Enhanced Business Part 3
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Enhanced Phone Features for Enhanced Business Part 3 (3 part series)

For those of you following this series, this is the third and final installment of a 3-Part Series: Enhanced Phone Features For Enhanced Business. If you’re just tuning in, make sure to check out part 1 & part 2. In the last two articles we’ve covered twinning and the different functions it has in your office as well as hunt groups and the multiple forms they come in. Both of these features can increase communication within your organization as well as productivity. In this final article we are going to dive into two more enhanced phone features: Queuing and Hot Desking.

Enhanced Phone Features: Queuing

Queuing allows calls to a Hunt Group to be held in a queue when all extensions in the group extension List are busy.

For example, when you call your local pharmacy and direct your call to the pharmacist, you are placed in a specific call queue for that department. That is a combination of the hunt group and queuing feature.

When an extension becomes free, the queued call is then presented. Queue limits can be set so that only a certain number of callers can be in line at any one time. While queuing, a caller can listen to a recorded message or be directed to leave a voicemail for call back if this is configured in your system.

Enhanced Phone Features

Enhanced Phone Features: Hot Desking

Hot Desking allows multiple users to use the same extension on your phone system. Every user is assigned their own identity so they can receive calls and can access their own Voicemail as well as other functions.

For example, your outside sales staff who visit the office infrequently can be provided with telephony and Voicemail services without being permanently assigned a physical extension. This is also a valuable tool for remote workers. If you have employees in multiple states etc., they can still have a physical extension.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is the final portion of a three part series on phone features and how they can enhance your business. Make sure to check out the first two sections:

You have a phone system already (we hope) but there’s a strong chance you aren’t leveraging it to full potential. This month we are offering a free consultation meeting to review your current solution and what features best compliment your business. This offer expires 9/15/17 so make sure to take advantage!

Fill out the form below to get in touch with a representative or give us a call today to schedule your consultation.

Enhanced Phone Features For Enhanced Business | ATS
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Enhanced Phone Features For Enhanced Business Part 2 (3 Part Series)

Last month we brought you the first portion of a three part blog series dedicated to enhanced phone features and what they can do to enhance your business. If you missed it, please check it out here. As we mentioned in our first article, your phone system can and should do a whole lot more than simply ring. There are many features that can make your day to day simpler as well as more productive. Today we area going to focus solely on hunt groups and their functionalities.

Phone Features: Hunt Groups

A Hunt Group is a collection of users, typically users handling similar types of calls, e.g. a sales department. An incoming caller wishing to speak to Sales can ring one number but any number of extensions assigned to that Hunt Group can answer the call.

There are several styles of Hunt Group and each phone system has different options. For the purpose of these examples we are going to use an Avaya IP Office phone system and the phone features available. If you would like to learn more about the different Hunt Groups available on your specific phone system, feel free to reach an Andromeda rep at (815) 836-0030.

  • Sequential

    One extension at a time rings sequentially always starting at the top of the list.

  • Collective

    All extensions in the Hunt Group ring simultaneously.

  • Rotary

    Start with the extension in the list immediately following the extension that answered the last Hunt Group call.

  • Longest Waiting

    Start with the extension that has been free for the longest time.

There are more extensive features available as well such as “Assign Call On Agent Alert” that allow for overflow or after hours call forwarding features such as night service/out of service modes. If you would like to learn more about these specific features or want to discuss how they can fit into your daily operations don’t hesitate to reach us. Feel free to fill out a contact us form or give us a quick call.

enhanced business phone features
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Enhanced Phone Features For Enhanced Business Part 1 (3 Part Series)

We regularly reach out to clients for feedback on our products and service. Over the twenty plus years we have been in business, at least one thing has remained constant. Phones are a necessity for every business and professional phone systems remain a mystery to most users. Just like the other technologies in your office, your phone system changes with time and modern phone systems have many new enhanced phone features. These phone features can improve productivity, improve accessibility and assist with client relations. There are many different enhanced features available to you. With this in mind, we are bringing you a three part series focusing on enhanced phone features for enhanced business.

 4 Enhanced Phone Features You Didn’t Even Know You Needed

Twinning

The first in our phone features list is Twinning. Twinning allows a primary extension and a secondary number (extension or external) to operate together as a single telephone. When a call presents to the primary phone the secondary will ring. If the primary telephone does not ring, for example in Do Not Disturb, the secondary phone will not ring. For example, imagine you have twinning set up for your mobile phone and your office phone. When a call comes through, both phones ring so you can receive calls whether you are in the office or on the road (of course, as mentioned, you may set your phones to Do Not Disturb because you are gone for the day, or in a meeting so you aren’t interrupted by phone calls 24/7).

Internal Twinning

This next phone feature is typically used in large spaces like workshops or warehouses where team supervisors may have a desk with a fixed phone but also have a wireless extension (e.g. DECT). When a call is made from either internally twinned phone, the call will appear to have come from the primary phone (when the secondary is an extension on the IP Office system). Other users of the system need not know that the supervisor has two different phones.

Mobile (external) Twinning

A typical use for Mobile Twinning would be for a salesperson or other employee who has a desk extension but is often out of the office. They can give out one phone number to clients, but it will ring their mobile/cell phone as well as the desk extension. External mobile devices can be set as twinning targets even if the primary telephone is logged out.

Mobile Call Control

This enhanced phone feature allows a user who has answered a twinned call on their mobile phone to use features they would normally only be able to access on their desktop phone (i.e. transfer calls, park calls, conference etc.) There is traditionally a sequence such as ** (star star) that the user must enter to engage this functionality.

If any of the above look like something your business is missing, feel free to give us a call. Make sure to check back in for part 2 of the Enhanced Phone Features series next month

3 Benefits For Upgrading Your Phone System to VoIP In Less Than Two Minutes
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3 Benefits For Upgrading Your Phone System to VoIP In Less Than Two Minutes

 

We wanted to bring you something a bit new this month for our telecom blog. See below for a 2 minute video clip on 3 Benefits For Upgrading Your Phone System to VoIP. (Full transcript below)

 

Technology and the way we communicate with people has changed leaps and bounds over the last ten years. In business today, staying connected is no longer a luxury but is an expectation to meet goals and drive success.

Why Upgrade Your Phone System to VoIP, Voice Over Internet Protocol?

Let’s look at 3 major benefits of upgrading your phone system to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

  1. Lower overall cost than a traditional phone system – VoIP greatly reduces calling costs. Whether you make long distance/international calls, have multiple locations or make lots of calls locally. VoIP can utilize the internet and new phone services to transport calls while saving you money.
  2. Mobility – many new voice over internet protocol systems have the ability to integrate with mobile solutions, to provide consistent availability and access no matter where a user is located. What does this mean? Users no longer remain tethered to an office desk phone and become reachable whether they are on the go, remote or outside of the office.
  3. Feature rich communicationsVoIP phone systems allow for a much broader range of features then a traditional phone system provides. For this reason, total cost of ownership is significantly lowered. Features such as integrated fax, voicemail to email, click to call, “find-me-follow-me”, video conference calling as well as user presence remain easily available through feature enhancements rather than hardware add-ons previously required in the past.

If you have been thinking about upgrading your phone system or interested in lowering your business costs, call us. One of our team members can assess your current situation and often times, the phone system and features you are looking for can easily be financed through the cost savings VoIP offers alone.

To find out more about VoIP for your business, visit our website or give us a call today!

ats telecom acronyms for phone systems
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Phone Systems Decoded – 8 Commonly Used Telecom Acronyms & What They Actually Mean

Have you ever spoken with a telecom salesman? If you have, you probably noticed they speak in what appears to be code. PRI . . . POTS lines . . . PBX . .  .VOIP? What does any of this even mean?

Lucky for you, we decoded some of the most common telecom acronyms so that even you can speak phone system.

 Most Popular Telecom Acronyms

  • VoIP – (Voice over Internet Protocol) is an alternative way of making phone calls. VoIP transmits the sounds you make over the standard Internet infrastructure. There are different styles of VoIP systems but the two most common are cloud based and on premise.
  • SIP – (Session Initiation Protocol) is an industry standard method of achieving VoIP.  Telephone Systems and many communications devices now have the ability to perform SIP protocol by way of trunk access (dial tone), video, etc.
  • PRI – (Primary Rate Interface) a multi-channel digital circuit that brings 24 lines of telephone system communication for incoming/outgoing dial tone. Essentially, it allows multiple inbound and outbound calls at one time. This is often a less expensive approach for a company that has more than 10 analog (POTS) lines.
  • PBX (Private Branch Exchange) This is typically a physical box on location at your business that holds all the programming required to make calls, transfer calls, host Voicemail and many other key functions.
  • POTS – (Plain Old Telephone Service) also known as analog telephone lines.
  • IP-PBX – (Internet Protocol-Private Branch Exchange) is a telephone system that integrates with Internet functionality such as VoIP and SIP services.
  • PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is known as traditional telephone lines.
  • ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) is a set of communication standards for simultaneous digital transmission of voice, video, data, and other network services over the traditional circuits of the PSTN.

Got more questions? No worries, check out our Telecom Phone Systems page and let us help answer some of your additional questions!