Credit and thanks to Denise Borel, who posted this in NEC Today on February 2, 2017.

You know your outdated communications system is way past its prime, and economic pressures have led you to delay its upgrade or replacement.

But there comes a point in time when it no longer makes sense to put off replacing your communications assets—from both a financial perspective and a business/productivity perspective. Retaining outdated equipment can essentially increase your IT costs and prevent your users from utilizing communications tools that help your business processes.

Plus, keep in mind; the greatest risk to your business if your communications go down is your business shuts down. This can lead to huge losses for your business, including customer dissatisfaction, customer loss, damaged reputation and costs related to regaining your reputation. These all can greatly affect your business and result in huge losses.

antique_phonePhone systems are one of the assets that many companies take for granted as long as they have dial-tone. They don’t think much about it and will definitely spend their budget elsewhere if they can. As a result, many of these organizations are sitting on archaic (or end-of-life) equipment that is no longer efficiently supporting their business while possibly putting it a risk.

Yet for some, the prevailing practice is to continue operating the existing system well past its useful life and beyond the end-of-support – not realizing the potential costs and the risk they are putting their business in.

We often hear the following reasons to avoid upgrading:

  • We don’t have the budget, or there is a higher priority budgetary request.
  • The lifespan on the last communications system was too short.
  • We’re afraid that if we upgrade tomorrow, something better will come out next week (a.k.a. the cycle of obsolescence).
  • We’re unclear on our unified communications plans and how our phone system should fit in with UC.
  • Newer phone systems are becoming too complex to use.
  • The buying cycle is too long, and we will have to get too many people involved who will all have different opinions.
  • We don’t know which approach to take—i.e. premises, hybrid, or cloud-based.

There’s a chance that the phones you think are supporting your business aren’t. While the value of your older technology may not have appeared to change—for example, the phones still work, and you can still make calls—the outdated system may be hurting your business.

We know the decision to move to a new telephony system is sometimes a difficult one to make. That’s why we’ve created the following list of 3 of the benefits of a modern unified communications system over an outdated phone system.

1. System Stabilization

If you are a business owner or decision maker, you have probably thought, “We save money keeping the old system. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Every day your business uses an analog, TDM, or older VoIP phone system that has reached end-of-life, you run the risk of having your phone system fail without access to support. If that happens, revenue will likely be lost as a result. How much? Well, you could lose what equates to hours, days, or even weeks of revenue—depending on the amount of time it takes to quickly repair or worst case find and install a new system. Not to mention what was previously stated about customer dissatisfaction and loss.

And hurrying to find a new system isn’t ideal. If your system fails, it could mean you are forced to make a quick replacement decision. Companies that don’t have the time or don’t take the time to research properly before purchase usually discover they’ve spent too much money or are unhappy with their purchase after it is too late to change it. Taking the time to find the right IP Telephony solution or Unified Communications solution will improve your business processes and efficiencies without over-extending your budget.

2. Improved Operational Costs

improve_costsMaintaining separate systems like directories, conferencing software, voicemail, and telephony is expensive and time consuming for IT departments to sustain. In fact, it can be so time-consuming that the IT department spends the majority of their day keeping these systems functional—time that can be better spent on more strategic IT projects.

The older the system, the higher the operational cost is when you don’t upgrade. Some of the costs businesses accrue using older systems include:

  • Proprietary hardware at each location (equipment, phones, PBX)
  • Installation
  • Licensing
  • Maintenance, repairs and upgrades
  • Additional services
    • Fax
    • Business SMS
    • HD video meetings
    • Audio conferencing

When you factor the lost IT time spent maintaining each separate communications system with the opportunity cost of not having the advanced applications and features that modern unified communications provides, you end up with a total cost that is just too high for most businesses to ignore.

3. Competitive Advantage

Have you stopped to think about whether your competitors are taking advantage of modern communications software? If they are and you’re not, then chances are they are able to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Working smarter gives them an edge by increasing their productivity and creating a competitive advantage.

Your competitors that are working with updated communications systems, most likely have these advanced features at their disposal:

Audio/video/web collaboration, white boarding and document sharing
Support for the mobile workforce with a consistent user experience across smartphones and tablets
UC clients that provide status, presence, call history, call control plus more
Integrated vertical applications through standard and open services
While the cost of upgrading may seem high, the advanced applications and features associated with modern communications systems will help re-gain lost competitive edge and offer companies an opportunity to better serve their customers.

Unified communications can help businesses re-gain competitive advantage in two ways:

First, a new system can help you increase your revenue by providing your business with the communications applications needed to be more productive and efficient. You could gain better advantages and increased competitive edge by choosing a modern solution with a lower total cost of ownership and features that enable collaboration across your business, improving the speed of your communications.

Secondly, UC provides communications software that makes enterprise-level communications applications available on an ad-hoc basis. This either gives you access to applications that you might not have previously been able to budget for, or, saves your organization money as you no longer have to pay the fees required to utilize multiple services. Replacing hosted web, audio or video conferencing services is a perfect example. The accrued savings can boost the return on your unified communications investment, and expand your competitive edge through re-investment into other IT projects that help your business grow.

Increased Productivity

productivityIf you fear that your new technology will become obsolescent and use that as an excuse to avoid upgrading, you shouldn’t. Look for vendors that offer software assurances and extended warranties for hardware that will provide your business with more security and less risk in the long run.

With a modern communications solution, you ensure that your system has the flexibility to handle rapid growth, giving you the ability to provide support to your increasingly mobile and distributed workforce. Your IT team will re-gain some of their time, allowing them to focus on other strategic IT initiatives. And, your employees will re-coup benefits that improve the speed of communication from access to applications that positively impact your daily business—whether it’s through more efficient collaboration with colleagues, or improving customer response times.

Options Available to Your Business

Ultimately there is a high cost, in terms of inefficiencies and operational cost, when you continue to operate an outdated or end-of-life phone system.

Some organizations struggle with selecting the best model (premises, hybrid, or cloud-based) to meet long-term communication needs. Ultimately you’ll look for the platform and vendor that has the flexibility to customize the right solution to meet your specific needs.

More information

 

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a prevalent buzz word in the telecommunications industry today. VoIP includes technologies that use the Internet Protocol’s connections to exchange fax, voice and other forms of communication that were traditionally completed on Public-Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN).

There are several factors to be considered to successfully complete the Voice over Internet Protocol puzzle.

    Quality of Service (QoS)

Quality of Service (QoS) is one of the most important factors for VoIP. The term refers to the perceived quality of speech and the methods used to provide good quality speech transmission.

QoS specifies rules about which traffic has priority on your network. Used correctly it is awesome, but it could render your router useless if done incorrectly. Be sure to choose a solution that offers you the critical control you require for successful VoIP deployment.

There are several factors that affect speech quality, and several mechanisms that can be used to ensure QoS:

    Latency

If at any point the usage on the network exceeds the available bandwidth, the users will experience delay, also known as latency. In more traditional uses of an IP data network, the applications can deal with this latency. If a person is waiting for a web page to download, they will accept a certain amount of wait time. This is not so for voice traffic. Voice is a real-time application, which is sensitive to latency. If the round-trip voice latency becomes too long (250 ms, for example), the call quality would usually be considered to be poor. Another important thing to remember is that packets can get lost. IP is a best effort networking protocol. This means the network will try its best to get your information there, but there is no guarantee.

Delay is the time required for a signal to traverse the network. In a telephony context, end-to-end delay is the time required for a signal generated at the talker’s mouth to reach the listener’s ear. Therefore end-to-end delay is the sum of all the delays at the different network devices and across the network links through which voice traffic passes. The impact of latency on network throughput can be temporary (lasting a few seconds) or persistent (constant) depending on the source of the delays. Many factors may contribute to end-to-end delay. The buffering, queuing, and switching or routing delay of IP routers primarily determines IP network delay. Specifically, IP network delay is comprised of the following:

    Packet Capture Delay

Packet capture delay is the time required to receive the entire packet before processing and forwarding it through the router. This delay is determined by the packet length and transmission speed. Using short packets over high-speed networks can easily shorten the delay but potentially decrease network efficiency. Packet delay variation (PDV) is the difference in end-to-end one-way delay between selected packets in a flow with any lost packets being ignored. The effect is sometimes referred to as jitter.

    Jitter

Delay variation is the difference in delay exhibited by different packets that are part of the same traffic flow. High frequency delay variation is known as jitter. Jitter is caused primarily by differences in queue wait times for consecutive packets in a flow, and is the most significant issue for QoS. Certain traffic types-especially real- time traffic such as voice, are very intolerant of jitter. Differences in packet arrival times cause choppiness in the voice.

All transport systems exhibit some jitter. As long as jitter falls within defined tolerances, it does not impact service quality. Excessive jitter can be overcome by buffering, but this increases delay, which can cause other problems. With intelligent discard mechanisms, IP telephony/VoIP systems will try to synchronize a communication flow by selective packet discard, in an effort to avoid the “walkie-talkie” phenomenon caused when two sides of a conversation have significant latency.

Some systems incorporate a Jitter Buffer to avoid these problems.

    Switching/Routing Delay

Switching/routing delay is the time the router takes to switch the packet. This time is needed to analyze the packet header, check the routing table, and route the packet to the output port. This delay depends on the architecture of the switches/routers and the size of the routing table.

    Queuing Time

Internet-phoneDue to the statistical multiplexing nature of IP networks and to the asynchronous nature of packet arrivals, some queuing, thus delay, is required at the input and output ports of a packet switch. This delay is a function of the traffic load on a packet switch, the length of the packets and the statistical distribution over the ports.

Designing very large router and link capacities can reduce but not completely eliminate this delay.

    Packet Loss

IP is an unreliable protocol which means that in some circumstances packets of data can be discarded (dropped) by the network. This usually occurs when the network is particularly busy. Loss of multiple packets of a voice stream may cause an audible pop that will become annoying to the user. To maintain voice quality, packet loss should not exceed around 1% of all packets. Obviously this figure should be as close to 0% as possible.

    CODEC Selection

A CODEC, which stands for coder-decoder, converts an audio signal (your voice) into compressed digital form for transmission (VoIP) and then back into an uncompressed audio signal for replay. It’s the essence of VoIP.

The CODEC used will affect the voice quality due to the different compression algorithms used, and the amount of bandwidth required. For example, on a low bandwidth WAN link, using a high bandwidth CODEC (such as G.711) may cause “choppy” speech as the WAN link will suffer from congestion. In this case, a lower bandwidth CODEC (such as G.729) may be more appropriate.

    Bandwidth

Available bandwidth has a major influence on voice quality in VoIP networks. Bandwidth is usually expressed in the number of bits per second (bps) that can be transmitted over a network link. The amount of bandwidth is usually limited by the service provider or the physical cables that are used for transmission.

on-target-for-voipSo, now can you answer this: “Are you ready for Voice over Internet Protocol?” Let us help you with the details!

Get the RoIP Advantage

Many traditional communications services have been enhanced thanks to IP technology in recent years. Radio is just one platform that is more flexible and functional when handled over a digital network connection. So what are the main advantages of RoIP (Radio over IP)?

The benefits of radio over IP are relevant to a surprisingly large audience. ~ Shaun Richards

Aside from cost, the main reason to adopt RoIP in an organization results from endowing radio communications with much greater possibilities.

It is easy to see why so many businesses in different industries are starting to jump on the RoIP bandwagon. From enterprises with operators who need to handle radio dispatching to contractors who require a quick way to communicate with colleagues while they are out in the field, RoIP offers an affordable and flexible platform through which this can be achieved.

Empower your business operations easily and license-free with IP two-way radios!

These are great for:

– Warehouses
– Restaurants
– Hotels
– Manufacturing
– Museums
– Shopping Malls
– Department Stores
– Universities
– Security Guards
– Hospitals
– Care Centres

How does it work?

WLAN

Communications are distributed across WLAN access points in an IP network which makes it easy to expand the system. Many users in the system can transmit simultaneously. When headsets are connected to the radios, users can talk concurrently in full duplex – similar to talking on a regular telephone.

An IP radio system for wireless networks is a product that bridges the gap between license-free and licensed radio devices. The system is easy to connect to an existing wireless network and allows full duplex communication with reliable sound quality.

Get in touch with Nutec Electro Tel today toll-free at 1-800-898-3336 or email: sales@nutecelectrotel.com to schedule your no-obligation assessment and consultation.

How’s your connection?

Is it time to assess the value you’re getting from you business telephone system? Are you maximizing customer service and productivity?

Today’s telephone systems offer the opportunity to maintain the all-important personal connection with customers while effectively utilizing new features available with current technology.

canstockphoto34343287

If you are considering upgrading your telephone system, it’s important to cover the bases to ensure a solution that will fit your business needs and budget.

Evaluation Process

When planning to purchase a new telephone system, it is wise to thoroughly analyze your specific business needs. A well thought-out process will help ensure quality results and a solution that meets your expectations. Don’t fall into the trap of paying too much, selecting the wrong technology or the using the wrong vendor. Most business telephone solutions are long term commitments, so a mistake lives on for years. Be sure to employ an effective process that helps you select the best solution possible.

The following questions will assist in determining your business communications requirements.

What is motivating you?

While the most frequent answer is to replace an obsolete phone system there are actually several factors that could affect your final decision.

Outdated Technology. Perhaps adequate service, support and parts are difficult to obtain for your current equipment.

Available Features. If your current system is simply lacking the features that contribute to improving productivity and enhancing customer service, it may be time for a new solution.

Monthly Telephone Bill. Once a system is deployed, your costliest telecommunications expense may be the monthly telephone bill. Proper planning and coordination with your new system can often lead to lowering monthly costs, resulting in improved ROI.

VoIP. These days, with everyone relocating business services to the cloud, it might make sense for your company to consider a virtual PBX.

Expansion. If your company is in a state of growth, you may have outgrown your current system.

Relocation. When moving to a different location, it might be a good time to replace your technology instead of sinking money into moving an old system.

Do you have a date for completion?
Often, the buying decision gets delayed in deference to handling day to day business operations. The result could be a system failure that makes the decision a more urgent priority and unduly hastens the decision process.

What parameters are important to you?
These days, most phone systems offer the same features. It’s more a matter of whether you would prefer to purchase it as a product or a service. Regardless, there are still plenty of considerations to keep in mind, such as:

1. Up Front Price
2. Total Cost of Ownership
3. Vendor Location & Reputation
4. Fit
5. Brand Recognition

Defining and weighing these parameters narrows your focus saving both you and potential vendors lots of time

Do you have a budget in mind? canstockphoto20338595
It can be hard to be transparent with this information. You may fear that it will be used against you when it comes to making the purchase. However, having a budget in place beforehand can often save you time when it comes to looking for solutions within your price range. Also, vendors know that most customers are looking at multiple solutions and a solution with an inflated price won’t be considered.

Do you have any preferences?
Would you prefer an on-site Premise PBX or a cloud-based virtual PBX? Both have their advantages.

Have you already considered any solutions?

Do you have a preferred provider?
Often, customer loyalty rests with the equipment manufacturer, the product brand or the local value-added reseller. Do you care about the brand name, or are you open to considering all providers?

Is There an Implementation Time Frame?
If you’re working against a hard deadline, it may affect the time you have to explore potential vendors or compare different technologies and therefore change your evaluation process.

Get in touch with Nutec Electro Tel today toll-free at 1-800-898-3336 to schedule your no-obligation assessment and consultation.

What to do

It can be a challenging process to select the right telephone system for your business. Several factors should be considered. Here are a few thoughts that may help you with this exercise.

Reliability is a critical component to any business telephone system. Traditional PBX systems with analog or digital (PRI) connections to the outside world provide proven and reliable service for voice connections with your customers and suppliers. VoIP (Voice over IP) on the other hand is increasingly becoming a popular choice. However, VoIP is dependent upon a reliable internet connection. Before selecting a VoIP service, be sure to have your internet service analyzed for suitability for use as a voice path. Remember, a great internet service for file transfers and email communication may not be suitable for voice transmission.

Cost

Whether your business is small, medium or large, cost is an important part of the equation. Obviously, you will want to ensure an appropriate ROI (return on investment) while maintaining a reasonable TCO (total cost of ownership). Things for you to consider include the value of features best suited to meet your customer service and productivity objectives. Do your requirements include a telephone system that delivers voice communication and multimedia sessions such as video over the internet. Enterprise organizations that have offices spread out across the world may prefer VoIP systems because your location ceases to be an issue.

Flexibility with Modular Options

Both hosted (cloud) and premise based VoIP services can combine web conferencing, fax, voicemail to email, instant chat, and web conferencing with the traditional process of just picking up a phone and making a call. With VoIP smartphone apps, users can now take their office extensions with them wherever they go. You may want to consider a modular system that can combine premise based digital and VoIP components along with a cloud based system that offers the best of both worlds. Whatever choice you make, be sure to ask about an available managed services program to include peace-of-mind and reliability.

Given the growing complexity and options in the field of telecommunications, it is important to keep an eye on developments if you expect to keep a reasonable handle on planning for your short and medium term needs. Of course, defining your requirements is much more involved today than, for example, “I think we need 15 lines and 30 telephones.” Other considerations may include:

  • Voicemail

  • Voicemail to email integration

  • Unified Communication

  • Integration with CRM software

  • Contact centre users

  • Mobile users

  • Remote/work from home users

  • Multiple branch communications

  • Conversation recording

Premise Systems

Premise based telephone systems are well suited for larger organizations and those with the resources to support and administer on-site hardware. These are available in either Digital or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions.

Digital Systems

Premise based digital telephone systems may be equipped to support both analog and digital connections (trunks) to the outside world. Digital trunks or PRIs(Primary Rate Interface) will each support up to 23 voice channels. Internal workstation and other end points will be equipped with digital telephones. The system may also have analog station ports to connect other devices such as fax machines, door phones, etc.

Digital systems may also be configured as hybrid systems and include support for IP end points. This is often useful for the remote/work from home users.

VoIP Systems

VoIP (Voice over IP) systems may be equipped to support both analog and digital trunks as well as SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunks. Both IP telephones and analog devices may be supported internally. IP telephones would normally be supported by PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches rather than connecting to a power source at each end point.

Before ordering a VoIP system, have a network assessment performed to ensure your network is suitable.

Hosted Systems

Hosted, or Cloud-based VoIP systems offer sophisticated features without a capital investment. UCaasS (Unified Communication as a Service) is quickly becoming a popular option and certainly worthy of consideration. The ability to deploy this system using the operating budget makes it particularly attractive to small and medium businesses.

As in premise-based VoIP systems, a network assessment is a pre-requisite for a cloud-based system deployment.

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