Jul 15

BYOD: Solutions Must Solve Problems and Foster Adoption

Cloud photo 1

Given the challenges created when employees use personal devices for workplace communication, companies must take the time to explore all of their BYOD options. After all, whatever solution is chosen will have to do more than just address company concerns. It must be something that the employees will actually use.

So what does an effective Bring Your Own Device solution look like? It has to be more than a neat-looking app. It needs to actually be functional. We came up with four requirements of any top-line mobile app.

  1. It must closely mimic the phone experiences employees are used to. Recognizing that employees — whether they’re working remotely or in an office — are unlikely to abandon their personal phones, the challenge is how to extend all of the functionality of a company’s phone system to an individual’s mobile device. In other words, it’s a question of integrating the habits people have developed using their personal phones into daily business operations in a way that gives the company a visual representation of all of the calls made and received and allows the company to maintain ownership of the contact information. It is also important to provide these business functions in a way that is not cumbersome for employees and requires little or no training. It has to be seamless and familiar.
  2. Its features must simplify functionality. Adoption of new applications, especially for business purposes is often low due to usability. Employees are comfortable with familiarity and often are  set in their ways. That’s the reason businesses are exploring BYOD options in the first place. One way to encourage and drive adoption of the BYOD app is to make sure that it actually makes tasks easier and offers a familiar user experience
  3. It needs to address real business needs. A BYOD solution needs to be more than something that appeases demanding employees.   A business phone application must add value to the employees’ ability to be more productive or collaborate better.  If employees are in the field with customers, they want to make sure that other important calls can reach them no matter their location.  They want to make sure they never miss another important customer call.  In addition, the application needs to be able to help them view the availability and accessibility of those that are in the office.  There is nothing worse than being on the road and having to call that one important person back at the office, only to find out you don’t have their phone number handy.  A simple mobile online directory that offers presence and availability can improve productivity and define a great customer experience.
  4. It needs to be reliable. There’s nothing more frustrating for employees than to be told that they have to use a certain piece of technology and then have that technology perform unreliably. That’s especially true when it comes to something as important as a phone system. Employees know that their desk phone is going to work. They need to have the same confidence that their mobile app will also perform to their expectations. It’s this reliability combined with the improved employee experience that will lead to increased adoption and increased productivity.

No longer bound by geography, companies are increasingly turning to technology in order to ensure their employees are both happy and productive. Meeting the expectations of workers who want increased flexibility while also achieving the sort of business results companies expect requires sophisticated and always-evolving technology solutions. But with the right apps, employees can download the freedom they want while employers maintain the control they need.

Jul 15

Is your network ready for the cloud?


Organizations that want to have cloud phone solutions within their offices must make sure that they can send power over Ethernet to support the IP phones they will likely be using.

They should also have backup power for Ethernet switches, especially if they are plugged into outlets within the office. Endpoint registration (a legal issue) is necessary, along with location tracking, in order for 911 call responses to be as effective as possible.

But perhaps the most important thing to take care of is bandwidth. Cloud application performance can be very difficult without enough data for everyone on the network to use and operate their IP phones. PCs using software-based phones (known as softphones) will need to run fast and cleanly enough to support holding a call while performing other tasks as well.

For a WAN connection, smaller and larger organizations have different paths. Small organizations can simply connect to cloud providers over public internet in order to power their VoIP and other communications. They won't have an issue as long as they have fewer than 10 employees. However, groups that are midsized and larger may find that they need to leverage an ISP that can handle a commercial amount of traffic in order to get the best possible clarity,according to TechTarget contributor Irwin Lazar.

UC and cloud phone solutions offer a lot to the modern business. With fast, easy-to-use communication software, mobile access and always-on notifications, it's easy to see why many companies want to upgrade their business phone system. However, they must tend to the realities of their on-premises network in order to make this move worthwhile. With a little bit of ingenuity and attention to detail, it is possible to upgrade communications for an entire company fairly easily.

Apr 15

SIP Trunking lets you move at your own speed



The move from traditional landlines to a SIP Trunking VoIP service carries a dizzying number of options. Have you chosen the right carrier? How long should the transition process take? How much bandwidth will you need? What are all the requirements that need to be considered to ensure peak performance?  All of these questions can look like they are difficult to answer. The scary truth is that without thorough preparation and support they are difficult. Making a rash decision like cutting your entire business over to SIP at once can cost you time, money, and mental stability. One of the greatest advantages of SIP is that you can gradually phase in VoIP to allow time to adapt. It’s like an on-ramp to the cloud experience.

Starting with SIP Trunking
The easiest way to begin your journey to a new business phone system involves moving non-critical traffic first. SIP migration for customer-facing contact centers can be the best option, according to No Jitter contributor Mark Allen, because the average contact center architecture is already equipped with multiple providers and line types. Voila: adding SIP to the traditional networks becomes a simple matter. The major benefit, of course, is that it lets you determine exactly when and where you move; you can continue to use your traditional voice network as you migrate all non-essential lines to SIP trunks then move everything else over once your company understands the new system.

Following up with network improvement
Moving to your new SIP service in a controlled manner isn’t just about allowing employees to adapt. The key reason for taking a staged approach is to test your network configuration and connection points to ensure security and call quality are both optimal. Depending on the bandwidth needs of your business ensuring call quality can be as simple as switching voice compression algorithms to traverse the network faster or as complex as instituting Quality of Service (QoS) network routing to ensure prioritization of voice traffic. Taking lines a few at a time allows you this flexibility without serious disruption to your business.

Similarly, security concerns can be addressed when using only a few lines in a controlled environment, preventing possible business-affecting breaches. As with evaluating call quality enhancements finding and resolving security issues can range from complicated firewall configurations to simple toll restriction passwords. Security is an often overlooked concern but before neglecting it keep in mind that a coordinated hacker can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent calls in a matter of minutes.

Moving your business from traditional landlines to SIP Trunking takes dedication and planning, but that doesn’t mean it has to be daunting or disruptive. Taking the time to do it right allows you to gain all the advantages of SIP easily and painlessly.  Webco Communications can help you create a strategy and deploy the right solution for your business from SIP Trunking to a full Cloud PBX, Webco has the right solution.

Nov 14

Hold your breath and take the SIP trunking plunge


It should be no secret by now that VoIP is a valuable business asset. When it first appeared in the '90s, it was more of a novelty than anything else. Some companies may have invested in it, but for the most part people were satisfied using landline connections. But the technology behind VoIP has made leaps and bounds in the way of progress, leading to an explosion in popularity - namely with enterprises. According to industry expert Tak Sato, this is chiefly thanks to modern VoIP's ability to save an organization significantly on their communications bills.

"Before the Internet, telephones were connected to a web of wiring that crisscrossed nations and continents around the globe," Sato stated in the Westlake Bay Village Observer. "When calls were made from point A to point B every city, county, state and country between those two points added fees and tariffs that our telephone companies collected. Those fees and tariffs, especially on long distance and overseas calls respectively, made the 'per minute' cost of a phone call quite expensive."

But while VoIP is the ultimate asset for business phone systems, many people are still hesitant when considering this upgrade. Many legacy voice networks must remain in place for countless organizations, and moving to VoIP may seem complicated and ultimately futile. But all it takes is an understanding of how VoIP works and how it can be achieved through SIP trunking.

Overcoming resistance
VoIP telephony, SIP trunking... sometimes it seems like the acronyms never end. There may be an aversion and anxiety that comes along with trying to keep everything straight, but things are not as complicated as they seem. SIP trunking is simply the act of taking landline connections and re-routing them over the Internet. From there, VoIP can be achieved. According to No Jitter contributor Andrew Prokop, this has been happening for years - even if it has only recently gained steam as a potential answer to the status quo.

"If you call something that was invented in the 1990s new, then SIP is new," Prokop wrote. "That's not the way I see it, though. I call SIP battle tested and combat ready."

The fact of the matter is that VoIP will need to be in some way obtained for businesses of all sizes. There is an increasing need for things like single source communications software that can be accessed through smartphones, and failing to embrace change will lead to lost finances, operational time and employee satisfaction. SIP trunking is a way to meet these modern needs, and as such it shouldn't be shied away from.

Ready, set, VoIP!
A SIP phone system can be a game changer for any organization that uses it. While there are many instances where legacy systems are better abandoned or replaced with hosted services, this course of action is not for everyone. For those businesses that are tethered to their existing networks, a SIP trunk can be a saving grace for mobile-minded companies everywhere.