Category Archives: Video Conferencing

How to Chose the Right Business Telephone System Based on Your Company Size (Part 2)

company sizeAs we discussed in Wednesday’s blog, trying to decide on a business phone system can be challenging considering the vast array of options on the market. One of the biggest factors a business should take into consideration is company size. Your company size will largely determine the right business phone system for your business. In our last blog, we discussed the best business phone options for personal, small, and medium sized businesses. Today, we will examine the most popular choices for large businesses and enterprises. 

Large Business and Enterprise

Popular Options:

  • Business VoIP / Unified Communications
  • SIP trunking
  • On-premise PBX

Large businesses have entirely different needs than that of smaller or medium sized businesses. Large businesses have numerous office locations, unique sales and support operations, and executives with personal assistants. Usually large businesses will need unlimited calling packages, CRM and business software, and multiple local and toll free phone numbers. Most large businesses will also need call center capabilities.

The best option for large businesses are unified communications services. Most frequently these will come from business VoIP providers. Business VoIP has an online interface that permits account administrators to add users and configure features in real-time. They also offer web-based products that incorporate voice, video, and messaging, as well as other collaboration tools like multi-device compatibility and screensharing, to give a complete business communications solution.

Some large businesses prefer even more control over their business phone system. With SIP trunking and on-premise PBXs, companies have more customization options. The drawback is that SIP trunking and on-premise PBXs necessitate on-site servers and hardware. If you elect to go this route, you will need an in-house IT team to maintain and update the system.  

Customization isn’t the only advantage; on-premise solutions are often selected for security purposes. National companies, government agencies, and banks all have strict requirements to ensure secure communications. Doctor’s offices also need special HIPAA-compliant business phone systems to encrypt patient data.

Business Telephone Service: Finding the Right Fit

There are a plethora of business phone system options on the market, but recognizing the size of your business can eliminate a lot of options that simply won’t work. With that said, landline phone systems, in general, aren’t a great option for any sized business in the modern world. Besides being outdated and expensive, they have poorer call quality, less features, and are problematic in terms of scaling. Landlines will also typically require a business to sign a lengthy, non-negotiable contract.

Company size is one of the biggest factors when determining the best business phone system for your company, but it isn’t the only factor. A business will also need to consider their budget, as well as a business phone system’s reliability, user experience, and capabilities. Choosing the best business phone system will mean considering all of the above.

If you have any business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Facebook.

How to Chose the Right Business Telephone System Based on Your Company Size

company sizeTrying to decide on a business phone system can be challenging considering the vast array of options on the market. One of the biggest factors a company should take into consideration is how large it is. Therefore, your company size will largely determine the right business phone system for your company. We’ve listed some of the most popular choices below, organized by company size.

Personal or Small Business (1-5 users)

Popular Options:

  • Consumer VoIP
  • Residential VoIP
  • Dedicated mobile work phone

Most small businesses (or personal home offices) don’t require a complicated business phone system, and they can therefore usually suffice with a limited feature set. In some instances however, you might be able to get consumer or residential VoIP solutions (something like Google Voice) that are simple to maintain and setup.

There is always the option of getting a dedicated smartphone separate from your personal cell phone. If you only have one or two users though, this is an attractive option.

Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMBs)

Popular Options:

These types of businesses can’t get away with skimping on a business phone system. SMBs usually have moderate call volume and depend on good call quality, reliable service, voicemail management, and scalability for new employees. Many SMBs also have remote employees and multiple office locations.

Thus, SMBs on a budget might want to consider bundling VoIP and Internet services offered by their respective cable companies. These types of business phone systems will frequently have additional features like caller ID, voicemail, and conferencing.

Virtual business phone systems, on the other hand, have higher service reliability and more advanced features when compared to consumer VoIP solutions. These types of services operate directly from your computer, smartphone, or tablet to create a virtual phone network. In addition to inbound/outbound calling, these services also have basic call routing and call handling features.

Cloud phone systems are hosted business phone systems that offer web-based user portals and can be used with compatible deskphones and/or softphone apps. Cloud phone systems are a step up in terms of features, and they have video calling, extension dialing, queues, and conference calling.

On Friday’s blog, we will take a look at the best options for large businesses and enterprises, and then we will offer a few concluding thoughts.

Video Conferencing is the New Business Call

33803375 - professional team of multi-ethnic business colleagues having a video conference

No matter how big or small your business is, video conferencing can help you achieve many of your goals. When incorporating video conferencing into your company, you may be thinking it is a daunting task, but but nothing could be further from the truth! Here are a few reasons to add video conferencing to your company:

Limits travel time:

How many times have you tried to assemble all of your employees for that all important meeting, only to have a portion able to attend?  These days, with remote working becoming more popular, video conferencing eliminates the need for employees to waste work hours driving into the main office.   Employees can use their cell phones as a means to video conferencing.  Unlike a normal conference call, video conferencing has all of the benefits of an in-person meeting.

Increased productivity:

The majority of our communications come from body language. While phone calls are still important in the business world, face-to-face communication often prevents confusion.   Body language can aid in being able to see what a potential customer likes or does not like about your proposal, helping you to drive the meeting in the right direction.  Video conferencing offers a level of communication that doesn’t come from strictly verbal.

Staying Competitive:

While video conferencing is increasing in popularity, a fair number of companies haven’t made the switch yet. Therefore, you will have an edge on them in that regard. When customers know that your business is on the cutting edge of technology, you’ll make a great impression!

How to Maximize Tech Tools to Keep Your Business Productive During Bad Weather

31750423_sStorm season is fast approaching the D.C. Metro area. During these unpredictable months, it is vital for a business owner to plan ahead.   Power outages and office closures can lead to a disastrous dip in profit and productivity.  In many cases, technology can help keep you and your company operational, even during the worst of storms.

 

  • Be sure that all employees have e-mail access. Even if it is just through their Smartphone, having e-mail capability can prevent any missed communication regarding whether the office is open or regarding what work still needs to be completed during a snow day.
  • Video conferencing. A power outage or inaccessible office doesn’t mean you have to postpone a meeting.  Simply have all employees connect to a video conference, and face to face communications can still occur. You can even use this feature to show presentations that you had prepared for the meeting.
  • Share documents. In the middle of a vital project and don’t want a snow day to interrupt?  With a cloud-based file sharing application, you can still work on a shared document. Employees can see who is making changes and what those changes are, which will keep employees on the same page.
  • Rerouting calls. Cloud based business phone systems can reroute calls from your office phone to your mobile. This means that if you are out of the office, anyone calling your office number can still reach you. You can even take it a step further with a softphone. Softphones, or virtual phones, allow you to check your voicemail, receive calls, and make calls from the safety of home. Best of all, your clients won’t know that you aren’t in the office!
  • E-Mail Faxing. If you have clients who prefer faxing, don’t worry if you can’t get to the office due to inclement weather. With an e-fax number, you can receive faxes right to your e-mail inbox!

5 Benefits of Cloud Communications

Businesses are rapidly changing with the way they communicate with the advent of new technology. The cloud has perhaps contributed the most when it comes to altering the way a company does business. The cloud not only assists with a company’s business phone system, but also comes with a host of other benefits.

Conference1

 

  • Smartphone or Tablet Work Stations—In the past, those who used smartphones or tablets could not rely on them for the entirety of their workload. Now, with access to the cloud and 4G data networks, smartphone and tablet users now have quality voice calls at their disposal. Many tablets and smartphones can also access business software once available only on laptop or desktop computers.
  • Outsourcing—Thanks to the cloud, employees in remote locations now have access to quality phone calls and a plethora of data. With these advances, staff members can work together on projects that were once difficult when in separate locations.
  • Cost Savings—A cloud based communications system doesn’t require the cost of installation and maintenance. Instead, business phone systems are hosted via the Internet and businesses only pay for what they use. The great thing about these systems are that, while cheaper than a traditional system, they are not limited to the basic features. Many systems come with call forwarding, hold music, etc.
  • Heightened Customer Satisfaction—With the cloud, businesses now have a broader customer reach. Having staff members available around the globe allows customers to receive assistance 24/7. Cloud technology also allows for employees to be reached via video, email, instant messaging, and social media, giving your customer service a greater feel of personalization. Data analytic capabilities can even allow for reflexive service and performance by employees, furthering the ability of employees to assist customers.
  • Reliability—Unforeseen circumstances can strike at any time. However, if power goes out or service goes down, the cloud will store your company’s communications. This means that downtime will have much less of an impact.

Getting Connected with Conference Phones

38927542_sPhone conferencing is a vital tool for all businesses. It saves money, time, and resources by allowing employees to avoid needless business trips and pre-meeting arrangements. Virtual meetings and Web conferencing even allows your business to share files and give visual presentations.

VoIP business phone systems have raised the bar when it comes to conference phones. Wireless phones that connect to VoIP networks eliminate the need for cables and bulky transformers and create the ideal blend of form and function. Conference phone systems transmit and receive calls as easily as a mobile device or VoIP softphone and often include high-resolution displays.

Providers of wireless conference phones usually offer businesses the option of making calls remotely (even without a cell phone) for a flat fee or reduced rate. Added options include the ability to download files, incorporate video messaging, and send emails.  Telecommuting in the DC Metro area is extremely popular and utilizing wireless conference phones is fast becoming an integral part of everyday business.  Many are finding that conference business phones are the ideal way for a business to reduce overhead and streamline employee communication as well as synergy.

Introducing a Video Contact Center: Do’s and Don’ts

Gone are the days when customers were content with one option for getting in contact with your company. Rather than only offering an email or phone call-based contact center, more and more businesses are electing to adopt video contact centers as a method of reaching out to their valued clients. Video contact centers provide your customers with all of the benefits of an in-person consultation and all of the convenience of a phone call at once. If your business is interested in introducing a video contact center option, read on for a few tips!

What To Do To Make Your Video Contact Center a Successvideo-contact-center

Do… be strategic about where you set up your video contact center. If it is set up in a high-traffic of your office, you run the risk of noise pollution affecting the calls. Find a quiet, out-of-the-way area to set up instead so that your call quality remains high.

Introducing a Video Contact Center: Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t… forget to tidy up! Whatever is behind you will be visible to the customer during your video call, and messy piles of files can leave a bad impression. Keep your background clean and free of clutter to ensure your customer retains a positive image.

Continue reading Introducing a Video Contact Center: Do’s and Don’ts

Increasing Profits with Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing
Find out how videoconferencing can boost profits.

If your company has yet to adopt videoconferencing into its day-to-day operations, not only are you missing out on increased productivity, but also you’re missing out on increased profits as well.

Organizations that refuse to adapt to technology that streamlines communication and efficiency will be left in the dust. While it may take some time to get accustomed to a new practice, videoconferencing improves the effectiveness of any organization.

Adopting to Technology

When a new idea comes around, how often does a boss or owner say that they want to stick to the way things have always been done?

Reinventing the wheel isn’t always necessary, but getting an organization to adapt and evolve to effectively help customers and grow is crucial to success. There may be those who are resistant to change, but the organization needs to get every employee to buy into practices that increase effectiveness and profits. Continue reading Increasing Profits with Videoconferencing

Impress During Your Next Video Conference Call

Video Conference CallWe are always on the go so naturally there’s always scheduling conflicts when arranging a meeting. Instead of holding a conference in person, make it easy on everyone (including yourself) and schedule a video conference instead.

Technical difficulties or awkward pauses are common fears with video conferences, but there are a few easy ways to make your next video conference go smoothly. In order to impress during your next video conference it is important to make sure you prepare ahead of time and follow these simple guidelines for a successful video conference call.

Impress During Your Next Video Conference Call

Position the camera correctly.

Simple is always best with a conference call as business should be the focus. Make sure that the camera is centered on your face and at eye level. Also ensure that the camera is close enough to you. A camera that is too far away can distract the other people on the video conference. Correctly positioning your camera will surely impress during your next video conference call.

Dress to impress.

You may think that because it is a video conference call instead of a meeting in person you don’t have to dress up in typical business attire, but that is not the case. Even over a video conference it still matters to look professional. Although you should look professional during the video conference, feel free to wear pajama pants on the bottom where the camera can’t see.

Use extra features.

On most video conference programs there are additional features available to enhance a conference call and make it as efficient as possible. For example if you want to show a colleague something on your screen it just takes the click of a button to share your screen. Another important feature is the mute button. Mute is especially useful when flipping through paperwork or for taking an outside call during the conference. Don’t distract the other participants with nosy background noise if instead you can just press one button to mute yourself. Using these features can impress during your video conference by making the call as efficient and enjoyable as possible.

Get the right equipment.

Nothing is worse than discovering the day of that you don’t have the necessary equipment for a video conference you’ve been planning for weeks. Don’t end up in this situation and call Advanced Communication Systems today at 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com for more information.

All About Advanced Communication Systems

Advanced Communication Systems, located in Maryland, is a national vendor of a wide variety of telecommunications products. We are here to help you select the communication system for your business. We have experience in every major industry sector and business size, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, and can help you select the right phone system for your business.

For more information on pulling off the perfect Video Conference Call, please contact Advanced Communication Systems by calling 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com today! You can also follow Advanced Communication Systems on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to stay up to date with all of the latest developments and news in communication systems.

Common (and False!) Complaints About Videoconferencing

When it comes to business communication innovations, one of the best and most beneficial ones to emerge over the past years is videoconferencing. But as the bloggers over at Avaya very astutely point out, there are still misconceptions about this highly helpful solution that makes people believe it will not work well for them or their company. But Advanced Communication Systems is here to help and explain why the common complaints about videoconferencing are actually based on false assumptions!

Complaint #1: Complicated and time-consuming, video conferencing is simply not worth it.

We beg to disagree. With the right kind of materials and products on hand, the abstract complexity of a videoconference is just a thing of your imagination! Think of ideal communication solutions, like Avaya’s Scopia system, that makes the videoconferencing process clear and direct- just like the call will be! As for time-consuming? Scopia’s system takes less than a minute to join in, meaning you can get right down to business as soon as you would like.

Complaint #2: You can’t access everyone that you need to.

Au contraire, my friend: With Scopia, you are able to extend the videoconference to people on any network. Coordinating with colleagues across the country has never been easier!

Complaint #3: The quality of videoconferencing is unreliable at best, and downright fuzzy at worst!

Whatever gave you that idea? Avaya’s advanced system provides high-definition video imaging; it’s so good, it’s like you’re really in the room with your fellow conferencers! Don’t worry about the picture cutting out or looking low-quality, we’ve got you looking picture perfect, guaranteed.

video conferencing

All About Advanced Communication Systems

Advanced Communication Systems, located in Maryland, is a national vendor of a wide variety of telecommunications products. We are here to help you select the communication system for your business.

And we have experience in every major industry sector and business size.

For more information, please contact Advanced Communication Solutions by calling 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com today! You can also follow Advanced Communication Systems on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to stay up to date with all of the latest developments and news in communication systems.

Source: http://www.avaya.com/blogs/archives/2014/09/4-video-conferencing-lies-everyone-thinks-are-true-but-arent.html