Stop Buying Technology…The Wrong Way!

There are a few things in life that will remain constant till the end of time.  They include death, taxes, and the ever-changing world of technology.  As soon as we make a technological purchase today it unfortunately becomes outdated tomorrow.  Ignoring your company for a moment just think about the last time you bought a car.  The moment it was driven off the lot the value dropped instantly by a few thousand dollars.  This same scenario occurs in every technological purchase made by a company.  As a result, more and more owners and chief financial officers are being slapped in the face with a basic business 101 concept – why buy a depreciating asset.

The method of buying technology on a lease agreement is not new or even earth shattering.  Historically, both business communications providers and equipment manufacturers have offered leasing options.  However, within the last year or so, subtle changes by a select group of providers across the country have made leasing versus buying the right decision for any business.  These changes have eliminated technology’s two greatest risks – obsolescence and price (also known as outright ownership).

Voice and data communications is the heart and life-blood of every company and having the latest technology has a major impact on an organization’s efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness.  As a result, Prime Telecommunications launched the Prime Simple IP – Current Technology Assurance Plan (C-TAP) with the assistance of Technology Assurance Group (TAG), an organization of independently owned North American business communications providers with combined revenue of over $400 million in voice and data products and applications.

C-TAP ensures that the communications environments are refreshed with the latest advancements and value added solutions, thereby eliminating technology’s obsolescence.  For instance, updates (also known as refresh) to a company’s voice and data system can occur anytime after 24 months with no change in their monthly payment.  Additionally, both labor charges and software upgrades are waived.  If a product was purchased the old fashioned way from say Cisco or Avaya the business owner would get hit with thousands of dollars in software upgrade expenses.  A program like C-TAP prevents this type of situation.

Here’s a simple example that illustrates how C-TAP works. Companies are losing significant amounts of money on a daily basis because they don’t have sufficient technology to effectively manage their organizations.  For example, many businesses do not have data back up, message on hold, or unified messaging while others are utilizing antiquated desktop PCs.  Under C-TAP, companies that could not afford this technology before can now simply add it with no change in their monthly commitment.

Furthermore, C-TAP focuses on the cost of technology rather than its price, thus eliminating the second risk.  This is a mind set change for owners and many business communications providers not engaged in a program of this sort.  Because of C-TAP, companies are able to transfer technology costs from a capital expense to a fixed monthly expense absorbed by an organization’s operating budget.  This enhances the financial health from both tax and budgeting standpoints.

Programs like C-TAP have changed the way technology is purchased now and forever.  It has successfully eliminated the traditional risks associated with technology –  obsolescence and price.  By taking control of the purchase process in this manner, the owner is finally experiencing a true win for their business because they now have the means that will increase profitability, while giving them a competitive advantage in their marketplace.

Unified Communications for the New Year

As mobile technology and remote accessibility continue to evolve, businesses, their employees and their customers now have a variety of devices, media types and communication platforms to choose from when building or growing their mobile workforce. While these different technologies and platforms provide effective communication on their own, full efficiency cannot be achieved – both technically and financially – if there is a lack of integration among them. As a result, the demand for multi-device connectivity to enterprise systems has grown substantially.

So, how do you meet these expectations to increase productivity, quality and efficiency for a modern workforce? Unified Communications, of course.

Bridging the Gap

Unified Communications bridges the gap between VoIP and other computer-related communication technologies. Through the real-time integration of both voice and data networks, business are able to manage every aspect of their communications in one entity, versus several – including the integration of email, voicemail, instant messaging technologies, fax, Short Message Services (SMS), web/video conferencing, screen sharing and more.

Through these real-time collaboration features, UC not only empowers people to communicate and make decisions at the rapid pace that is demanded in today’s business environment (users can save up to 20 minutes per day,) but it also reduces common communication barriers, such as the need to return missed calls and manage multiple email threads.

UC also provides businesses with the flexibility to choose and tailor the amount, and what types of communications platforms they would like to integrate, depending on what works best for their specific needs.

Consolidated Communication Tools on any Device

With UC, users can communicate with colleagues and customers from a business VoIP number on any device, including smartphones, tablets, PC desktops and desk phones, regardless of location. This means that personal numbers can be kept private, and communication delays are eliminated.

Integrated Voice

In UC strategies and solutions, hosted voice and Internet-delivered telephony services can be integrated. Hosted solutions, such as Hosted Voice, are becoming an increasingly popular choice as more companies adopt VoIP communications due to its inherent cost savings over traditional telephony, as well as the added convenience of fully managed services. These communication and collaboration features speed up almost every aspect of the business cycle, as well as provide workers with more freedom and flexibility in how they communicate and manage their communications.

Additionally, UC’s hosted voice services are a cost-saving, feature-rich, and scalable alternative to traditional and expensive phone services and equipment. With features such as self-service call routing, voicemail transcribed as email, call recording, and audio conferences, supporting a more mobile and productive work style is easily achieved.

Supporting the Needs of a Changing, Mobile Workforce

Having the ability to communicate and collaborate in real-time, no matter where you are, is advantageous for businesses of all sizes. From reduced total cost of ownership and travel time, unparalleled freedom, flexibility and productivity enhancements and more, UC solutions are an efficient way to embrace and benefit from the mobile, multi-device work style of today’s workforce.


The True Pros & Cons of VoIP for Your Business

Over the last several years, great strides have been made to improve communication capabilities through Hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions—a series of transmission capabilities that make communication over the Internet possible. This cloud-based phone system not only provides significant cost savings and superior flexibility, but also offers businesses of all sizes productivity, mobility and functionality features that are unmatched by traditional telephony.

What is VoIP?

VoIP converts analog audio signals into digital data, which can then be transmitted over the Internet. Implementing a VoIP system eliminates the pressures and costs of managing and maintaining a PBX, while giving your employees enterprise-grade features and other common features, including:

  • Voicemail
  • Call waiting
  • Toll-free numbers
  • Call forwarding
  • Visual voicemail (voicemail to email transcription)
  • Simultaneous and sequential ring
  • Audio conferencing
  • Auto attendant
  • Call Recording

Additional features are also available that allow users to specify how incoming calls are routed and/or forwarded, ensuring no important calls are missed. Furthermore, employees can make and receive phone calls on their cell phones through various mobility features through the VoIP business number. This means that VoIP long-distance calling plans can be utilized while working remotely, even from a mobile phone.

Scalability and Flexibility

Utilizing VoIP means that even as a company grows, there is no need to worry about installing new phone lines. Instead, businesses can use their existing broadband and simply purchase new handsets as needed.

In addition to scalability, the flexibility of VoIP is also a unique benefit. Since VoIP phone systems work through computer-to-computer connections, users can make calls and hold conversations anywhere there is an Internet connection. In addition to audio calls, VoIP also allows for video conferencing, meaning businesses can stay in touch with their employees or clients, regardless of their location.


When it comes to cost, VoIP is a winner. Most VoIP services are offered through a subscription-based cost model, allowing businesses to purchase only what they need, and then allocate funds that would normally be spent on traditional phone expenses to other parts of the business. Additionally, VoIP runs on the same network as the data, versus traditional phone packages that require businesses to manage separate networks and hardware for voice and data. This not only brings considerable cost savings and streamlines management, but also delivers more efficient communications.


While VoIP can certainly increase productivity, efficiency and collaboration efforts, reliability is a common drawback – especially if you frequently experience downtime or hiccups with your Internet. These types of issues can cause users to experience latency, jitter, and packet loss during VoIP conversations. Doing your home and finding the right provider for your business needs is crucial in guaranteeing reliability.

The Bottom Line

When considering VoIP services, it’s important to understand how a service provider manages quality of service across their network, how features compare, if and how voice traffic is prioritized, and what kind of post-sales support you’ll receive. For more information, contact us today.


The Right Tools Make Switching to VoIP Easy!

You’re the IT Manager. It’s a big job. Servers, routers, and firewalls, budget cuts and smaller staff.  And then the CEO tells you they have just purchased a new IP phone system and you find yourself switching to VoIP. The sales manager is excited about the unified communications YOU will provide her team. Or maybe the CIO heard about Microsoft Lync and is thinking about using it for IM and presence.

Where do you begin? Can your network handle the additional traffic? Is that traffic any different from the email, web and other application traffic that exists now?

When it comes to switching to VoIP, there are some questions you’ll need to answer. Questions like:

  • How many calls does your organization make a day? A Week? A month?
  • Do you have a busy time of year?
  • What is the highest call volume you have in a 30-day period? When is that usually?

Don’t have the answers to these questions? Then it’s going to be a slow and bumpy ride.

Is it Really Any Different?

The answer to the question asked earlier is, Yes. The VoIP call traffic is different from the email, web and application traffic you already deal with. It’s persnickety and more sensitive to network interruptions.

Luckily, there are tools out there that can make the life of an IT Manager a LOT easier when switching to VoIP. Looks for tools to assess your current phone utilization, test your networks ability to provide quality VoIP calls, and allow you to monitor changes to network performance as the new system is deployed.switching to VoIP

Answering that first question of what does your network look like now can be tough. Where do you start? Do you have a call accounting system that can pull numbers for you, like number of inbound, outbound and internal calls per day? Could you ask your VAR or carrier for a traffic study? They’ll usually do it over a week and let you see things like total calls, trunk utilization and so on. Then, based on the codec you’ll be using with the new system, you’ll be able to calculate how much bandwidth you’ll need based on your current traffic patterns.

Once you are ready to choose a system, you’ll want to decide who runs it? Do you and your team answer alerts? Does your VAR? Or is it a combination based on severity, type of alarm, etc?

Find a vendor with a support system you are comfortable with. Ask questions like how much training is available? What type of training is it? Is there a charge?

System optimization is made possible with performance monitoring reports that help ensure that you continue to deliver quality of service and system performance.

The more work you do upfront to get things under control the easier life will be. You’ll look good. The CEO looks good. Win win.

If Space is the Final Frontier, what about China?

My colleague, Steven Weiss, is with China Telecom. China Telecom is the largest telecommunications provider in China. With 80% of China’s local access and transmission facilities and ChinaNet, the largest internet backbone in China, their network solutions are core foundations for business growth. I asked Steve to write some posts for us about the nuances of working in China. Here is his first post…


Space the final frontier… we still have a while until it is a viable place for commerce.  So, why not China? The air is slightly more breathable and there are plenty of people to build or buy your products.  With over 1.3 billion people, even a small hit for a product there would be a huge hit for any company.  In addition, relations with the US and China have never been better and continue to go in that direction.

Why not open up an office or a plant in China, purchase some internet and start growing your business like you would in most other areas of the world?  With the upside, there really is no reason not to.  China is poised to surpass the US in the next few years to become the world’s largest economy.  Although the GDP growth is slowing it was still 7.7% in 2013 compared with 1.9% for the US.  China has over 19% of the world’s population.  From 2000 to 2012 China’s middle class has grown from 4% of urban households to 68% and is continuing on that trend.  Middle class people make good money and spend most of what they make.  Selling your product to just .3 percent of the population would mean that you have put it in the hands of 4.2 million people.  Because of the government, the language and the culture, however, it is not that simple. It does not have to be that complicated either.  Like many things in business it comes down to making well advised decisions.

If you are currently doing business in China you have probably become aware of “The Great Chinese Firewall.”  This is not typically a big deal for traffic within the Middle Kingdom but when you are accessing content outside of China on an internet VPN it can range from excruciatingly slow to not working at all.  In addition, depending on the services and applications you use, you can be subject to whether or not the application provider is in the good graces of the government.  For instance, Google and China have differing views and because of that, Google’s products have been very limited there.  Just recently, Gmail was completely blocked in China and is slowly coming back up.  If you leverage Gmail and other Google products to run your business and are looking to do business in China, it is probably best to look at some alternatives or speak with someone that consults on such things to advise on how to get it to work.  The same rings true if you use YouTube (owned by Google), Facebook or other social networking sites in your day to day business.  If your employees will need access to these sites there are ways to do this and provide a good user experience.  The bottom line is the Great Chinese Firewall is something to be aware of but it does not mean that your internet access and the ability to leverage the applications that you depend on needs to suffer.


Telecom Cost Savings are Within Reach


Calls are cheap, right? With long distance rates in the sub two-cent range, many telecom managers are not concerned with lowering the telecom bill. But cost savings can be achieved because the call is just one piece of the puzzle.

Employee Cost Savings

Employees are the most expensive part of your business. A mid-level employee may cost $45 per hour loaded with benefits. If that employee is on the phone for an hour unnecessarily, that is lost money. Cut out that wasted hour, and productivity and cost-savings are added back to the bottom-line. When call log reports are distributed, the visibility and accountability of staff phone activity means employees make fewer – and shorter – personal and other unnecessary calls.  This lowers costs, in some cases as much as 30 percent.

Toll-Free Numbers

One of the smartest marketing moves the phone company ever did was naming these calls “toll-free.” Nothing in life is free, and there certainly is no such thing as a toll-free call. Someone pays somewhere. In the case of a “toll-free” call, the person or organization being called pays. It should have been called “automatic collect” because in essence, a caller is calling someone who has already agreed to pick up the charges.

Typically businesses have these toll-free numbers for customers and prospective customers to reach them. Better decisions can be made when a sales manager or marketing department can use reports to show:

• Where those calls are coming from (city/state)?
• Who is calling you on those numbers?
• Who is answering those calls?

Stop Fraud

telecom cost savings

Many employees think these “toll-free” calls are really free and give this number to family and friends. VXTracker can deliver a report to show who is receiving calls on these lines. Is it someone in customer service? Perfect. Is it someone who is not customer facing? There’s loss that should be stopped.

Reduce Directory Assistance Costs

Directory assistance calls can be as much as $2.50 per call and are often hidden in the phone bill. VXTracker call accounting reports show a summary of these costs, and identifies who is using this service. Are these numbers they could look up on an internet phone directory? Spot the worst offenders easily with a compliance report for telecom cost savings.

Optimize Phone System Configuration

Cost savings can be realized by capturing live call data. It allows managers to:

•    Verify the correct routing of calls.
•    Monitor and report on VoIP bandwidth usage.
•    Confirm if all trunks are operating properly.
•    Show if you have too many trunks.
•    Identify unused extensions.
•    Lower Usage Costs.

VXSuite helps businesses realize telecom cost savings. Set a plan to reduce this misuse of company resources and lower costs.

What do you do to achieve telecom cost savings?

Mobility in the Cloud: 5 Reasons to Make the Switch

With the increasing number of smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices proliferating the tech world, businesses are grappling with the question of how to incorporate these new technologies into their operations. Rather than outfit entire workforces with company-owned tech, BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives are integrating employee-owned, personal hardware into day-to-day business functions.

While proprietary software and unified communications systems can fully integrate all devices into the daily workflow, the practical problems of large-scale IT management begin to raise red flags. How does a company manage mobile devices, apps, and security on a network that includes both corporate and employee-owned devices? The answer is often overlooked: cloud mobile management.

Below are some advantages to a cloud-based mobile device management system.

1) Device Options: With such a broad array of mobile devices on the market operating on various platforms such as Apple’s iOS, Android, and Blackberry, it’s important that IT management solutions can cover each platform equally. Cloud-based management solutions can support all operating systems, offering a company flexibility and diversity when choosing hardware and software.

2) Rapid Deployment: Cloud-based MDM services can be rolled out faster than ever. This allows companies to deploy management services almost instantly rather than the weeks or months required for a traditional MDM system. Policies and access controls can be put into place and calibrated with easy, no-fuss configuration.

3) Single Console Management:Management of a broad range of hardware devices typically requires multiple control consoles, often requiring extra deployment time and longer development windows. With cloud-based MDM, all operating systems can be monitored and managed through one console that can be regularly updated to account for new developments in mobile technology.

4) Instant Updates: As the pace of new technologies quickens, the ability for mobile IT systems to shift at a moment’s notice is the new forefront of managed mobile systems. Traditionally, IT responses to software and OS updates can lag days, or even weeks behind. With cloud-based management, providers can update their services almost in an instant, allowing for real-time support that stays abreast with ongoing developments.

5) Adjustable Payments: Unlike fixed-fee MDM systems, cloud-based services allow companies to adjust their payment plans as they grow for optimum scalability. With convenient cloud systems in place with single console monitoring and easy updates and rollout, consistent IT resources can be devoted to any growing company, no matter the size. The efficiency and usefulness of a cloud-based MDM is unmatched.

Cloud mobile device management is the comprehensive and up-to-date answer to the widespread technological advancement occurring around the world. With complex software and communications systems keeping businesses running, Cloud MDM allows companies to run smoothly and focus their attention where it matters: on the customer.

Want to know more? Get your head in the cloud! FREE eBook

Hang-Up on Your Traditional Telephone System: 3 Advantages of VoIP

Along with adopting cloud services, many businesses are taking advantage of progressive technological developments to further save money and allocate resources elsewhere. By implementing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), businesses are enabling vocal communication over the Internet, and reaping the many benefits of the system.

In essence, VoIP—colloquially referred to as Internet telephony—is a series of transmission capabilities that facilitate communication over the Internet. The technology converts voice vibrations to compressed digital signals, and then transfers them into regular telephone signals—thus, playing the part of a conventional telephone.

But enough with the tech talk. Here are three quick tips that illustrate why VoIP services will make you want to hang-up on your traditional telephone system.

Costs Savings

The most obvious—and arguably most attractive—feature of VoIP is the money you will be saving from the get-go. For starters, moving away from public telephone networks makes long-distance calling affordable. VoIP also reduces the cost of equipment, manpower, lines, and maintenance. Despite the initial setup costs, businesses save immensely by managing only one network and not having to bear the financial burdens of a telephony system. Gone are the days of needing a team to manage your data network and your voice network.

Flexibility & Mobility               

Sure, VoIP increases savings by lowering your businesses initial communication costs. However, it does so much more. Internet telephony enables users to access software programs—think common features such as email, fax, and remote conferencing—over the Internet. In short, users can utilize voice services while accessing other applications simultaneously.

And what’s even better? VoIP users can use their adapters anywhere that Internet is offered, including their mobile phones. This is mobility, people—and a feature that is proving to be extremely relevant in a workforce that has become more mobile and remote.


VoIP requires very little technical knowledge. In fact, the installation process is simple compared to traditional telephones. With VoIP systems, businesses are no longer required to use separate cabling (which also greatly reduces clutter and fire hazards associated with electrical wires!). Once installed, VoIP systems are easy to maintain—after all, the transfer of voice to digital signals requires no specialized hardware. Finally, VoIP is scalable, meaning that it’s simple to add extra components with very little hassle.

Sound enticing? These are only a few of the benefits of switching to VoIP services. Much like transferring to the cloud, making the switch to Internet telephony is a no-brainer. For more information, contact us today. old phone

5 Ways Business VoIP Makes Cloud Integration Easy & Accessible for SMEs

As telecommunication businesses continue to embrace cloud-services, it becomes increasingly important that these services are integrated and operate smoothly. We have seen a growing trend of businesses that first explore cloud services, and then realize that services must be integrated in order for them to work seamlessly. By integrating communications, business VoIP helps SMEs maximize potential and grow business.

Below are five reasons that Business VoIP makes integration to the cloud easy and accessible for SMEs.

1) Assists with two essential types of integration

There are two primary types of integration that enterprises look for: unified communications and collaboration (UC&C). Businesses need to have features in one place with collaboration options that support numerous company needs, including:

• Phone services
• Chat
• Fax
• Meetings
• Call & contact centers

UC&C services work together with other services, so day-to-day operations are completed.

2) Delivers CRM and call center integration to enterprises

By offering midsized enterprises CRM and call-center integration in one location, business VoIP increases productivity. UC&C services handles everything from phones and meetings to customer service in one area, and employees are able to use any device to access the network: desktop, mobile, tablet, etc. (run-on sentence)

This enables your company’s IT department to focus resources on core business operations rather than phone systems. Furthermore, integrated systems offer employees the power of specialized features that help monitor and manage customer communications. UC&C functions allow companies to leverage information in CRM systems, all while utilizing preexisting business VoIP services that are already in use with other operations.

3) Brings the power of integration to midsized enterprises

Because integrated cloud services are affordable—and more importantly, do not skimp on power and services—SMEs have access to the same great services as their larger counterparts. Because all your resources are in one place, it is easier for SMEs to take advantage of the numerous services, which are often integrated with other cloud-based technology platforms that leverage the power of the Internet to increase available features and speed-of-deployment.

4) Integrates with CRM essential to enterprise success

Like many organizations, we think it is critical for CRM integration to take place. CRM can be used with any system, has multiple uses, and is easily integrated with the cloud. Companies are able to keep track of customer information, the customer contact history appears on your screen when the system recognizes the caller’s number; and if the data is not in the CRM database, the information is captured for later use.

CRM and unified communication can also be used for corporate interfacing, including time tracking. With CRMs, businesses can easily keep track of calls and time, which again, increases company productivity.

5) Enterprises increase customer relations

While CRM systems provide crucial information for previous customer contacts that are immediately accessible, they increase customer service relations. Integrated communications allows sales or customer service agents to immediately see all previous customer contact data, which is beneficial for support, cross-selling, and up-selling purposes.

Integration also has the possibility to simplify enterprise resource planning. By offering options entirely based in the cloud, integrated services offer enterprise resource planning and access to information. For smart business VoIP users, this data can be used to create a competitive advantage that will maximize potential and grow future business.


Read our new White Paper on Cloud Implementation!


Why Not Just Use Skype for Business Video Teleconference? Let me count the ways!

I came across this post from AGT. I thought it would be beneficial to repost it.

“Why not just Skype?”

Being a video conferencing solutions provider, we get this question a lot. And to be frank, why would you not use Skype? It’s easy to use, well-known and for the most part, free. While all those characteristics are ideal, Skype is ripe with limitations when used as a business tool versus a consumer tool. In this post we will dig into a quick comparison of Skype and business video conferencing services.

Point-to-point vs. Multi-point

A key difference is simply what each solution is designed for. Skype is optimized for point-to-point audio and video calls, which means it is designed to support two computers and two participants. You have probably seen the Skype ads showing a traveling working mom or dad speaking with their child back at home (I have to admit, those ads get me every time.) On the other hand, video conferencing is optimized for multi-point calls, which means multiple parties on multiple devices can participate in a single call. While I do not have a TV spot to reference, imagine your weekly sales meeting where you have a few co-workers in a conference room at the headquarters, a couple of people working from home on their laptops, and an executive calling from his personal Telepresence system – all in a single call.


Fortunately, video interoperability has made tremendous strides over the past two years. Thanks to smaller vendors breaking barriers, there are video conferencing services that can interoperate with standards-based video conferencing systems, in addition to a wide variety of video-enabled devices, such as tablets, smartphones and desktops. Unfortunately for Skype, their users can only connect with other Skype users and cannot connect to your traditional video conferencing equipment.


Skype requires a significant amount of bandwidth. A five-way Skype video call, which is the maximum number of participants Skype recommends, requires four times the bandwidth of a business video conferencing service. The substantial amount of bandwidth required for Skype calls can reduce or interrupt critical network performance since the Skype video traffic cannot be prioritized through the use of Quality of Service (QoS) settings. This leads to a degraded network and meeting disruptions, such as choppy audio, frozen video and dropped calls. Administrators and end users want to avoid these scenarios at all costs.

Advanced Features and Reporting

Since Skype is designed for consumers, it only offers basic features. Business video conferencing services include advanced features, such as streaming and recording, multiple screen layouts, full conference controls and real-time reporting.

Security and Control

All you have to do is Google “Skype + security” and article after article will show the security vulnerabilities associated with Skype. Business video conferencing services make security and control a top priority. Seamless firewall traversal, video call encryption, conference controls and real-time management of bandwidth are just a few capabilities that businesses should consider when seeking a video solution.


Last but not least, support services are unavailable for Skype users. There is no one to contact when a problem arises. Business video conferencing services offer a wide variety of help desk and onsite services to ensure a high level of customer service.

In conclusion, Skype is an excellent tool for keeping in touch with long distance loved ones. If you are seeking a solution that requires secure video communication, low-bandwidth and interoperability across multiple platforms and participants, I recommend a business video conferencing service.

What about you, what do you use for your business video communications?

Want to know more? 


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 782 other followers