The Secret to Leveraging Mobile Devices at Work

Mobile devices like tablets, laptops and smartphones have transformed the way we communicate and share our lives, both professionally and personally.

How can you leverage this technology to your competitive advantage in today’s tough economy?

Watch the video MobileCollaboration Solutions from Avaya to learn about integrated, simple-to-deploy and easy-to-use tools to leverage mobile technology, regardless of your budget or bandwidth.

The benefits of mobile collaboration from Avaya include:

  • Flexible, adaptable and scalable solutions that create efficiencies and put critical resources at your fingertips.
  • Easy access and visibility into employee availability, keeping everyone updated.
  • Secure and quick information sharing using user-friendly, drag-and-drop functionality.
  • Predictable, solid return on investment.
  • Ability to effectively reach new customers and communicate with current clients.
  • Round-the-clock service and support so your IT team can focus on core business initiatives.

See how Avaya can find you a solution that works with your budget and helps you get ahead: http://bit.ly/101P4AL 

Case study: Launching 4,000 video conferencing accounts in 5 weeks

Today’s slate of personal video conferencing systems –when deployed to a critical mass of employees – have overcome the limitations andbad reputation of the past and have significant benefits beyond travel savings:

  • Improved team building
  • Better integration of resources
  • Faster decision making 
  •  Richer interaction

 To demonstrate the capability of video in the modernworkplace, Avaya implemented the SCOPIA desktop to 4,000 users worldwide,including the management team and field sales and marketing teams.

 In the new white paper (sponsored by Avaya) “The Viabilityof Large-Scale Personal Video Conferencing Deployments,” Wainhouse Researchtook a look at the results after two months, analyzing the early conclusionsand benefits after more than 35,000 meetings with 85,000 attendees were held.

Among the conclusions:

    •  
    • “Click-to-connect” conferencingsolutions can enable sales to connect with customers and prospects with aricher, more productive interaction experience.

  • Product development and marketingteams reported that having everyone video-enabled made the teams more cohesiveand improved overall working relationships.
  • Global logistics and supply chainmanagement teams used video to reduce on-site supplier meetings and to makein-person increasingly more productive since relationships can be establishedbeforehand.

To read Wainhouse Research’s recommendations andlessons learned when implementing person video into the enterprise, downloadthe free white paper here: http://bit.ly/VAqloa  

How Avaya Stacks up Against Enterprise Video Competitors

Video is changing the workplace, and by most expert accounts, will enable more remote workers than ever and even replace phone conversations someday. Several major factors explain why the rollout has been slower than originally predicted, including worries about cost, lack of sufficient bandwidth and trouble scaling solutions to meet the needs of individual businesses.

In “Pervasive Video in the Enterprise,” Constellation Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Dr. E. Brent Kelly examines these pain points and compares the five major vendors in the space: Avaya, Cisco, Microsoft, Polycom and Vidyo. The report gives you a real-world formula to compare the total cost of ownership of implementing universal video.

According to the report, the main reason desktop video can be so expensive and not yet pervasive lies in the cost of a hardware multipoint infrastructure and the network required to support ubiquitous HD video. Avaya’s solutions, with a software-based multipoint infrastructure and industry-low bandwidth needs, are the clear future of pervasive video.

Kelly’s conclusions find Avaya Aura Conferencing to be the most affordable, even balancing for different bandwidth requirements and vendor discounts. Avaya’s Aura and Flare solutions can also claim:

 

  • ·       Lowest bandwidth requirement of all compared vendors (1280 kbps)
  • ·       Lower one-time costs than Cisco, Microsoft and Polycom
  • ·       Exponentially lower total cost of ownership than Cisco, even when a 60% Cisco street discount is applied to the formula
  • ·       Integrated call control and integrated audio and video conferencing for full third-party integration with all competitors
  • ·       A system specifically designed to handle audio conferencing and video on the same platform, making it quite flexible to effectively scale for either audio, video or mixed deployments

 

Click here to see the multiple cost breakdowns from Constellation’s formula, compare total cost of ownership, read a thorough explanation of each vendor’s offerings and learn about the advantages of adding pervasive video to your business.

Seven Really Good Reasons to look at Hosted VoIP

Outrageously Affordable, Lower Total Cost of Ownership

Business is more unpredictable than ever––growth one year, contraction the next year. Ideally, you want to be able to secure the most advanced technologies without having to spend significant money upfront on hardware. Hosted VoIP makes this possible. With a Hosted VoIP solution, you save from  day one on your monthly communications service fees and upfront capital costs. All you need are VoIP-ready handsets. That’s right, no expensive boxes or systems required.

And the last thing you want to do in this economy, or any economic climate or that matter, is spend tens of thousands of dollars on a phone system. With Hosted VoIP, there are no large servers or systems to purchase. Other than the phones, there are no capital expenditures to depreciate over time. Which means it comes off of your books. And with low monthly communications service fees, you get an outrageously affordable solution that connects your business and employees to a host of capabilities thatdramatically improve productivity.

Minimal IT Support Required

Unlike the complex traditional phone systems that sit in a closet, Hosted VoIP requires very little IT support or training to administer. You can quickly add users, delete users, enable additional features––all without additional support or staff. The reason? A simple web interface. In fact, a Hosted VoIP solution is so simple, users can manage their own features right from their computers. It’s one management issue that can be taken off the shoulders of your IT or Office Manager. Who knows, maybe they’ll even thank you for a change.

Business Continuity

Let’s assume some worst case scenarios: Your building is flooded. Or an earthquake wreaks havoc. Or a fire knocks out power for miles around. Now, let’s assume you have Hosted VoIP. Want to know how things would be?

Business would go on––uninterrupted. Since no physical box resides on your premises––it resides in redundant and secure data centers––customers can still connect with your business because employees can work from anywhere.

The reason? A web-based portal that allows you to quickly forward calls to cell phones or other phones in unaffected locations. It’s an incredibly fast and easy way to take control of a disastrous situation and ensure that anything major becomes just a minor incident.

Scale Up/Scale Down

Five year projections? Ten year projections? Frankly, for most businesses, it has become nearly impossible to make accurate predictions. It’s why you need a highly-flexible technology like Hosted VoIP. Hosted VoIP is a sure way to give you the peace of mind that comes from not being constrained by a phone system that only supports a fixed number of employees and can be costly and complicated to expand. If resources become squeezed, you can quickly scale back. On the other hand, if you open a new branch office, or need to provide remote communications, or just need to prepare for a spike in demand around the holidays, it’s quick and easy to scale up without any disruption to your business.

Total flexibility. Easy to manage. Quick to deploy.

Hosted VoIP is a decision with only upside

More Functionality

Even if you’re jaded about technology, once you see all of the advanced features and functionality that are available from a Hosted VoIP system, you’ll be seriously impressed by the impact it can have on your business. And the best part is you can activate only those features that you need to make your company more productive. It starts with HD voice, the clearest a business call can get. That’s just scratching the surface. Through Hosted VoIP, you can have voicemails automatically forwarded to your email; you can make a call from a cell phone or remote office and have it appear as a call from the main office. You also have the ability to integrate with Outlook or Salesforce.com.

Basically there isn’t much you can’t do with Hosted VoIP.

Automatic Upgrades

With Hosted VoIP, there’s no box on your premises, so there’s no hardware to upgrade in order to take advantage of new features and technologies. Because your service is outsourced, upgrades are provided through software changes that happen automatically in the background. Of course, you’ll be made aware of any new capabilities as they come on line. That way, you can quickly utilize them to support your employees and better service customers.

So stay focused on your business and leave the upgrades to your Hosted VoIP service provider.

Focus on Your Business

One of the best ways to stay competitive is to focus on your core business. With a Hosted VoIP solution, the management of increasinglycomplex business communications is done for you off-site. It all happens in the background while you and your employees utilize advanced features and productivity tools like voice, web meetings, and internet fax to take up new goals and take down obstacles that stand in their way.

This information was taken from an article written for a leading hosted voice over IP provider. If you are interested in learning more, contact me and I will be sure to give you as much information as I can to assist in helping you make the right decision for your company

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How Mobile Collaboration Can Drive Innovation

For midsize businesses, implementing mobile collaboration is a particularly big challenge. You need an innovative way to get your employees an intelligent, secure and cost-effective mobile collaboration solution that will scale with your growth.

 

In “Getting Mobile Collaboration Right: A Guide for Midsize Enterprises,” a new white paper and guide from Avaya and TechTarget, you’ll learn how to choose and implement a mobile collaboration system specific to the needs of a business with less than 1,000 employees.

 

This in-depth guide breaks down the potential ROI when implementing mobile solutions, the specific benefits you will see in an empowered, flexible workforce and choosing a system that incorporates mobile, video, desktop and virtualized environments with built-in, cutting-edge security.

 

Make sure to consider these key criteria when evaluating mobile collaboration solutions for your midsize business:

 

·         A solution that protects your original investments and makes it easy to upgrade.

·         Costs of acquisition, installation, aftermarket products, upgrades, operation, maintenance and energy consumption over a five-year period.

·         A streamlined administration and management: browser-based tools can result in time savings of up to 75% over more cumbersome approaches.

·         A single, integrated solution with a complete set of voice, data and video capabilities.

·         The right devices for your employees and your business, including personal devices to increase productivity and offer flexibility.

 

Learn the other five factors to consider in our guide and see how Avaya can help find you a solution that works for you now and in the future: <a href=”http://bit.ly/Wnn5Kr&#8221; target=”_blank”>http://bit.ly/Wnn5Kr

Video Success Improved by Careful Planning

Target Key Business Processes to Maximize the ROI of Your Video Initiatives.

Simple is a powerful concept, in the right hands. Think of a pencil. A simple pencil in the hands of an artist can create breathtaking images that touch and inspire viewers. However, that same pencil in other hands might be lucky craft a credible stick figure.
In other words, success is more than choosing a great tool.

Simplicity does matter, of course—particularly when it comes to rolling out a video collaboration solution to a workforce that is not accustomed to connecting and communicating by video.

However, the real key to reaping the benefits of video collaboration is identifying the business processes you want to improve and then targeting the video solution to address those needs.

Lawrence Byrd, Director of Collaboration Solutions at Avaya recently sat down with industry Analyst Gary Audin, of Dephi Inc to discuss the current state of video collaboration technology, including several exciting new developments that are both simplifying and accelerating the introduction of video collaboration into the enterprise.

You can listen to the podcast here.

They also discussed the importance of identifying and targeting key business processes for improvement when selecting and deploying a video collaboration solution.

Where are the business bottlenecks? Could product development be accelerated with better collaboration solutions, including video? What about customer service. What would it mean to a business if service representatives could invite customers into a video conference to help solve tough issues? How about sales? Would bringing solutions experts into more sales meetings via video allow a company to close more deals, faster?

When companies are able to target specific business processes for improvement through video collaboration, they are able to make smarter decisions about product, implementation, rollout and support—and more importantly, achieve a faster, measurable ROI.

Avoid Spreading the Flu at Work. Use Video!

‘Tis the season. Flu season, that is.

Whether it’s traditional influenza paralyzing parts of the U.S. right now or the stomach flu that’s been crippling families in some states, there are ways to avoid getting sick. Of course there are the traditional precautions we should all be taking, but what happens when work gets in the way of our best intentions? If you’re on deadline, working on an important collaborative project or simply don’t have time to take off for illness, you can work without being infected, or infecting others. How…? Well, by using video conferencing, of course!

Keep your germs at home and avoid sick coworkers

We can’t protect ourselves from all the bugs out there, but by staying home when we or our loved ones are sick, we can help do our part to stop spreading germs. Video conferencing enables you to collaborate in real-time, face-to-face with your colleagues from anywhere, anytime and on virtually any device. It enables productivity even when you can’t make it into the office.

Even if you are feeling fine, you might appreciate the option to go the video conferencing route if you happen to work with heroic colleagues who drag themselves into the office no matter how badly they feel, and proceed to infect everyone else. 



Perhaps you have even been that “hero.” Have you ever gone to work when you had sick family members at home – only to “share the wealth” with your coworkers? If you have, please STOP! Get healthy and stay healthy by limiting contact with colleagues when the flu virus is floating around in the air (not to mention on your desk and in the office kitchen, rest rooms, conference rooms, etc.).

Think twice before flying

Planning a business trip? You may want to reconsider… when it comes time to travel for business, video conferencing looks more attractive than ever at the moment. According to a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, 40 percent of Americans would knowingly get on an airplane for a work trip while infected with the flu. 45 percent would board the plane to go on vacation! Video conferencing is a great way to stay out of the path of any flu virus that might happen to be recirculating through the airline cabin on your flight. If you don’t have the ability to video conference today, sign up for a free trial of Scopia Desktop and Scopia Mobile.

Simply click here and test it out!  Nervous about using video? Don’t be – relax, be yourself, and check out these funny, but helpful Top 10 Tips for Mobile Video Conferencing.

How to sell your management on a new IP based phone system

An Internet Protocol (IP)-based phone system is much more than a few new phones plugged into your network.
It transforms your phone system into a next-generation communications hub, complete with cutting-edge
technologies that let your organization deliver better customer service while cutting costs. An IP-based phone
system piggybacks on your IP-network, connecting to the public-switched telephone network (PSTN) via your
Internet connection. Use this checklist to sell management on a new IP-based phone system:
1. Reduce the cost of phone charges.
IP telephony can significantly reduce the cost of your long-distance charges. It also reduces the
number of circuits to the PSTN you must pay for; for companies with several branch offices, this can
be a significant savings.
2. Reduce the cost of network management.
Moving to an IP-based phone system lets you consolidate your data and voice networks onto one
network, which translates to less money and time spent on network management.
3. Provide better customer service.
An IP-based phone system can be integrated with other business applications you use to provide
customer service, particularly a customer relationship management (CRM) program.
4. Simplify phone system management.
An IP private branch exchange (PBX) has an easy-to-use, Web-based interface that can be used to
make changes to any extension on the network. Your IT team can even move and add users remotely.
5. Gain enterprise-scale features.
IP-based phone systems include sophisticated features that are otherwise out of reach for all but the
largest companies. You can add an auto-attendant, integrated conferencing, and even a call center to
your phone system.
6. Leverage new technologies.
IP telephony enables more than VoIP (Voice over IP) phone calls. It also enables advanced communications applications like unified messaging, which integrates voicemail, e-mail, and texts, and Unified
Communications (UC), which integrates real-time and non-real communication media with collaboration tools.

Awareness- it’s not just for New Age Boomers anymore!

In the old, old days of business communications you would call someone on the phone and hope to reach them. Statistically, your chances of connecting to someone on the first try were quite low and you often ended up leaving a message with an assistant and waiting for a callback.

Then along came voicemail—now you could leave a message.  No assistant was needed, but your chances of reaching that person live probably worsened and you ended up playing “phone tag” and getting stuck in “voicemail jail.” The mobile phone helped, but also added a new problem: what number do you use to reach someone? When texting and Instant Messaging began to become popular, “presence” began to make an impact.  No one wanted to undergo the labor of typing out a message and hoping for the best. Instead, a little status indicator light next to a name or avatar indicates whether someone is available to receive your message. Now you can also get geo-presence—you can see exactly where a person is located.

According to Avaya, the next step beyond presence is “awareness.” A communications solution equipped with awareness will pay attention to not just where people are located and whether they are online, but also to their “real connection” to the matter at hand and what content needs to be shared.
Brett Shockley, Avaya’s senior VP and general manager for applications and emerging technologies, likens a communications-aware system to an executive assistant who parses and analyzes your email and other communications to arrange a meeting on your calendar, finds and delivers the documents you will need and then, when it’s time to connect, dials the number for you.

At a recent industry conference, Shockley showed a demonstration of awareness in action, using a smart filter in the Avaya Flare® Experience to set up a conference call. Starting with a display of his most recent and frequent contacts, he dragged and dropped contact cards for each potential participant.  As he made selections, the Avaya Flare software analyzed the connections between those people to identify the common project they were all working on and then pulled in documents related to that project.

Shockley said this kind of solution is designed to help “save the first 10 minutes out of every hour,” meaning the time you might waste pulling together the people and information required for the meeting to actually get started.

Figuring out Total Cost of Ownership for an IP Phone solution

For more than a decade companies large and small have been taking advantage of the new IP-based communications solutions.  Being able to unify all your communications—voice, e-mail, Internet and more—delivers a wide range of advantages. But do those advantages really put dollars on your bottom line?  What is your true total cost of ownership (TCO)?

Using years of data to collect on thousands of IP implementations, the consulting firm Nemertes has come up with some answers.

Savings —IP telephony does produce some real hard dollar savings that you can take to the bank:

  • Wiring: By making it possible to consolidate Ethernet connections, IP systems typically deliver savings of about 40% on cabling costs in new buildings. Smart use of WiFi phones can cut the costs even further.
  • Administration: As a company grows and changes, the office communications system inevitably needs some TLC, e.g., moving, adding or changing extensions. IP-based systems are much less expensive when it comes to day-to-day administration. According to Nemertes, many companies have justified their entire IP telephony rollout on administrative savings alone.
  • Conferencing: Because IP systems have the ability to route a single call to multiple destinations simultaneously, this can eliminate the need for third-party conference call services, delivering a significant savings.
  • Centralizing servers:  By centralizing servers at the data center, organizations report savings in the number of servers they need to buy, along with reduced tools and resources to manage applications such as unified messaging, conferencing, and even the communications system itself.
  • Connecting offices: If you have multiple offices, linking them via SIP trunks as opposed to traditional PRI lines can save about 40% off the monthly circuit costs, though this varies based on calling requirements and the existing architecture.
  • Mobile costs: Companies with many mobile employees eliminate roaming charges by routing mobile calls through the IP system (typically this involves first calling a local number and routing the call from the IP PBX through the corporate WAN).
  • Staff: Many companies see savings in support staff, (i.e., using the automated attendant to replace a receptionist.)

Costs—IP systems aren’t all a one way street to savings—there are some extra costs.  According to Nemertes:

  • Getting started with IP telephony takes more effort—implementation costs during the first two years run higher than with traditional communications systems.
  • LAN upgrades –If you don’t have Power-Over-Ethernet switches on your LAN, you will need to get them. IP phone deployments typically require Power-Over-Ethernet switches to function in the event of a power failure. This can be an extra cost
  • Many companies don’t budget for voice quality management and monitoring tools, which Nemertes says is a mistake. These management and monitoring tools cost more upfront, but pay for themselves in efficiencies over the long run.

Softphones: A Killer App?
A key advantage of IP systems that is increasingly coming into focus is the ability to equip employees with a softphone. A softphone essentially duplicates the capabilities of a deskphone on the screen of a PC or laptop. You get a dialpad, buttons for Hold, Conference, Transfer, etc., plus you can easily see a directory of contacts. Add a USB headset and you have everything you need to handle all your calls—no need for a phone. In addition to being less expensive than a deskphone, the softphone/headset is ideal for employees who are on the move a lot and also makes it unnecessary to upgrade LAN switches for PoE. A big variable, however, is the cost of the headset. Some companies are fine with a $20 to $100 headset; others say they can only get by with a much more expensive model.

Which Vendor: 
The Nemertes report provided some vendor-specific cost data, primarily for Avaya and Cisco, the only two companies for which it had enough data. Based on several scenarios, Nemertes found Avaya’s annualized cost savings to be consistently higher than the competition. The Nemertes study is available at: https://bitly.com/Sa8Qn4+. We recommend trying both Allworx and SNET Hosted Solutions in calculating total cost of ownership. In case you’re interested, give us a call or send us an email – and we would be happy to work with you on your solution!

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