Category Archives: Unified Communications

Business VoIP Success Stories

Business VoIP is on the rise since it is a scalable and cost-effective option for leveraging telephone communications across an organization. Advocacy for VoIP services is all over the world of telecommunications not simply because of the hard data produced to support it, but because there are many real case studies of business VoIP success:

• NuVo Technologies, a Hebron, KY producer of high-end audio equipment, would have 20 – 30 callers hang up while on hold with its traditional phone system. With no abilities to project how long callers would be on hold or any real abilities to monitor the hold queue, the situation cost the company business. After transitioning to a VoIP system, NuVo can better analyze call patterns and field customer needs. Furthermore, the system aids in telecommuting which helps business continuity and emergency management.

• The Mennonite Mission Network, a religious outreach group which supported four offices and as part of its mission had nearly 30 long-distance employees and staff traveling all over the world, needed an effective replacement for its aging phone systems. Due to the need for mobility in missionary work, it was decided that as much flexibility as possible was needed in the solution. Ultimately, the MMM saved $15,000 to $18,000 a year with the new system and recouped its investment in 25 months.

• Sportsman’s Warehouse, a national chain of outdoor retailers, was achieving a 50% annual growth and had a phone system that could not keep up with that growth. The company needed a centralized phone systm to keep up with the rapid growth and new locations popping up across the country. Their goal is always to have customers in the store within two weeks of occupying a new building, a goal which the easy setup of a VoIP system helps achieve. With its new system the company is able to manage 2000 phones with an IT department of just 22 employees.

These are just a handful of business VoIP success stories. Contact InfoStructure and we will explain how we have assisted our customers in making this winning transition.

SIP Trunking: What Is It and How Does It Support My Business

Cutting costs and increasing productivity is the mantra of most businesses today. Taking advantage of new telecom technologies is a prime way to increase communication and collaboration inside and outside the organization. To take full advantage of your business telephone services consider utilizing SIP Trunking.

In traditional telephony a physical circuit is need to connect the telephone system (PBX) to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). If you have various locations connected to your PBX, you are probably paying for a T1-PRI (Primary Rate Interface) to each, or if your capacity is larger than 23 channels you may have to purchase additional PRI circuits. With SIP trunking you eliminate the need for the physical circuit and receive telephone service over the data network instead; voice simply becomes another service running on your data network. The SIP trunk can carry voice, data and video all at the same time.

There is more to the cost efficiency of SIP trunking. As mentioned above, PRI is sold in increments of 23 but with managed SIP trunks you only pay for the lines or bandwidth that you need and add additional capacity when necessary. SIP trunking can also include all of your local and long distance telephone usage allowing you to predict and control your monthly communication expenses better than ever before.

An added benefit and one that can be crucial, is the disaster recovery capability of SIP Trunking. When utilizing direct trunk overflow you have the ability to transfer inbound calls to an alternate location (phone number). This can be invaluable if for any reason connectivity to the PSTN from a location is lost. This will allow you to continue communicating with your clients and employees until the situation is resolved.

At InfoStructure we know what it takes to leverage the most out of your business communication investment. With our InfoSIP trunking solution you have the flexibility of our national plan or local plan with free installation for either. Check out our FAQ page then contact us for a complete quote or help in determining what solution works best for your objectives.

Webinars Made Easy

WebinarAdvancements in technology often come with a price, including a long learning curve in user adoption. Such is not the case with InfoConnect – a new web conferencing platform designed for quick set-up and ease of use, and it’s loaded with the most advanced features!

Smart mobile phones with full browsers and built-in cameras, social networks, IPTV, video compression, webcam innovation, and high speed Internet networks have all contributed to a new world of visual web communication, serving both business and consumer interests. It’s no surprise then that visual web applications continue to outperform traditional modes of communication, like voice and print, especially for collaborative, group purposes.

Web conferencing is part of this trend. The audio conference bridge of yesteryear is being outpaced by webinar technology which, not many years ago, required an IT employee to operate. But things have changed. With the latest webinar platform advancements, like those of InfoConnect, just about anyone can easily set-up and conduct a webinar like a pro! And with the economies of scale created in hosted webinar solutions, prices have remained very affordable.

Whether you need to address your sales team in weekly meetings or launch a new product with your customers, InfoConnect web conferencing can handle both your basic and sophisticated requirements. Below is the InfoConnect toolkit that will make your webinars a success:

  • Video – launch up to 12 webcams instantly
  • Adobe Flash platform – no downloads required to operate
  • Record live meetings
  • Conduct PowerPoint presentations with annotation tools
  • Desktop screen sharing with remote control
  • Share files between users
  • Whiteboard presentations
  • Play streaming video or audio clips
  • Chat and other feedback tools
  • Personalize meeting with images, logos and contact information

For pricing information on InfoConnect, call us now at 800-419-4804. 

High Definition (HD) Voice

While iPhone app’s are stealing telecom headlines, another revolution is stirring in an ancient phenomenon – human voice. With the new VoIP codecs, significant telephony improvements in audio are being made, and hearing is believing!

With the rapid transition of traditional phone service to VoIP, enabled by the tremendous flexibility of IP technology, new applications are emerging to create a richer user experience. IDC research shows that “the end user experience in current implementations of VoIP can be improved in a manner that is simple yet clearly demonstrates the value and superiority of IP-based communications.” (IDC: “Can You Hear What I Mean? Polycom Delivers HD Voice”, Stofa, 2006). With most of the hype surrounding mobile data applications, texting and social networking, voice is still regarded as the most important communications vehicle for conducting mission critical business, as well as the first choice in addressing the most important personal matters.

Decades ago, FM radio trumped the clarity, depth and range of sound transmitted by AM radio. Its “higher fidelity” was the result, in part, of its greater bandwidth component. A similar evolution in voice quality is being made in VoIP communications. Phone line quality, standardized by the old Bell Telephone system, which was measured in Hertz (Hz), was designed for voice in a low frequency band at around 3,000 Hz or 3 KHz. This “narrow band” frequency remained the standard for more than half a century. While voice quality saw some improvements in the 80’s and 90’s with digital switching and the deployment of fiber optics in carrier networks, the difference in quality was slight, and it was mainly in voice amplification and ambient noise reduction.

Today, a “wide band” IP technology is emerging, which is known as high definition (HD) voice. With HD voice, a carrier network device called a codec samples the sound stream 8,000 times per second and more than doubles the width of the sound spectrum reproduced – up to 7KHz, which adds significant depth and range to the audio – a much broader difference over standard phone line voice than just loudness, like FM is to AM. Phone line audio becomes as clear as face-to-face conversation.

You can hear the difference through a simulation on our HD voice web page and separately clicking on both buttons for “Standard Voice” and “Polycom HD Voice.” In order for you to achieve this level of quality in your office phone communications, you must have VoIP service with an HD voice application built into the carrier network, like our InfoTalk Pro product (most VoIP providers still don’t offer HD voice). In addition, you will need HD-enabled IP phones, like the Polycom SoundPoint series. These phones, we believe, are the best in business VoIP technology and are affordably priced. And the best news is HD voice is available through InfoStructure at no extra cost.

Virtual Office

Virtual OfficeFor the sake of convenience, cutting costs, or accomplishing out-of-office tasks, many employees today work from remote locations, including their homes, airports, coffee shops, other offices or just about anywhere their work takes them where they can stay connected. The challenge of these “virtual offices” is having a level of communication that is as accessible, flexible and productive as that of an office environment with in-house systems optimized for business communications. An answer to this challenge has been emerging for a decade and is just beginning to reach critical mass – hosted VoIP.

Hosted VoIP has many names, like hosted PBX, IP telephony, managed VoIP, and others that all point to the same thing – unified voice and data applications that are accessible through the Internet. Because these applications are “hosted” (I.e. they reside on a carrier’s servers), and not maintained at a particular business office, they can be accessed from anywhere on the planet…sort of like mobile phone ap’s but without all the downloading and with greater business efficiency than a mobile phone. These applications range from advanced PBX features to local and long distance calling, web conferencing, speech-to-text messaging, video, point-and-click calling, Internet faxing and much more.

The versatility of hosted VoIP platforms enables carriers to integrate new ap’s without you having to purchase additional systems, hardware or software. And because the platforms are scalable, you can add, delete and modify phone extensions or calling features on the fly. Your office phone number follows you around, whether you use an IP phone or soft client (a phone function manipulated from your PC screen, along with a headset). In other words, all of your outbound calls carry your name and/or office number, providing continuity in identification, and your inbound calls are received on the same number. And through a web interface, you have the ability to manage all of your communications. In fact, you have all of the exact same communication features that you would enjoy from your office on the same platform; nothing is sacrificed in your virtual office. You just can’t accomplish these things with a typical phone system… a virtual phone system is a must!

Above all, hosted VoIP is an economical alternative. When you consider the huge capital cost, maintenance costs, and peripheral equipment expenses required with in-office phone systems, along with monthly phone line and long distance costs, hosted VoIP will usually save your business a bundle. Most providers offer hosted VoIP as a managed service billed monthly.

For more information on hosted VoIP, visit our web page on InfoTalk Pro – an innovative hosted VoIP solution from InfoStructure.

When Disaster Strikes

Disater RecoveryIt’s unlikely but possible that your business may experience a disaster that disables all of your communications for more than just a couple of hours. Cable cuts, power outages, building fires, flooding, tornadoes and earthquakes are realities of life that can and will take place. Is your business prepared for any of these?

A 2009 study by Business Research Institute revealed that of all the recovery points necessary in the event of a disaster (data loss, employee management, notifications, etc.), 65% of the businesses surveyed said telecommunications was the weakest link. The fact is that an outage in telephone communications lasting several hours, or even days, can cost a communications-intensive business substantially in lost revenue, good will, and credibility with its customers. An extreme example of this was the 911 event in NYC, which disabled communications in hundreds of businesses for several days, resulting in extensive financial damages. Fortunately, terrorist events don’t happen frequently in the US, but what about a simple cable cut that takes eight hours to be located and repaired or a power outage that requires a failed transformer to be completely replaced or a building fire that damages or destroys your phone system, which are much more common occurrences?

While most businesses recognize the exposure in not having a disaster recovery plan, they also realize that there’s a cost in having one, and it’s not usually low-budget. Implementing redundant, fail-over phone functionality with traditional TDM phone system, as well as maintaining alternate transport facilities, can be an expensive proposition. Many believe that not spending dollars on implementing a plan is worth the risk…until a disaster strikes. It’s like going without health insurance to save on expenses, which works for as long you are not seriously sick or injured.

However, with the the latest IP technology, an excellent solution for disaster recovery now exists without your having to invest in redundant systems or diverse network facilities. Business class “hosted” VoIP, by which phone functions are housed on a carrier’s servers, is a viable solution by the very fact that your phone functions are maintained remotely – not at your office location. This means that in the event of a disaster at your office building, at the minimum, your inbound calls will roll over to voice mail and not be lost as they otherwise would be on a traditional phone system; you can leave your office and with Internet access make outbound calls on an IP phone with the exact same features that you enjoy from your office and receive your office calls at the same number as well; and you can still access and reconfigure your call management functions through the web. Because these disaster recovery features are inherent with a hosted service, which will also reduce your standard phone expenses, they are well worth considering.

InfoStructure has recently introduced a new hosted VoIP solution for business – InfoTalk Pro, an effective alternative for disaster recovery. InfoTalk Pro is a powerful PBX replacement alternative with a rich array of PBX features, a unique browser interface for quick and easy call management, and desktop integration of PC and IP phone, making it scalable, user friendly, economical and manageable. For more information, please visit our InfoTalk Pro web page.

Voice in the Cloud

What do you have when you integrate business class IP phones, a PC interface with advanced PBX management functions plus a wide array of user features, high definition voice, as well as local and long distance service, all provided from the cloud on a unified platform?…InfoTalk Pro.

InfoTalk Pro, the latest product of InfoStructure, represents a new era of IP cloud communications, where voice and data are uniquely unified on the desktop to provide a powerful communications application. With extensive telephony functions accessible through your browser interface, you can now simply point-and-click your way to making new calls, accessing your call history, dialing an employee’s extension, managing your user features, originating a conference call, administering new phone numbers, receiving calls, and much more. All of the functionality is “hosted” in the InfoStructure network, relieving you of the standard PBX maintenance responsibility and associated costs. And because InfoTalk Pro is provided as a managed service, not a phone system, you don’t incur the huge capital cost in purchasing a traditional PBX system!

In addition to cost savings, InfoTalk Pro translates into many other benefits:

 Flexibility – real time moves, ads & changes
 Productivity – ease and speed of use
 Scalability – grows with your business
 Mobility – usable via the Internet anywhere on the planet
 Reliability – maintained by InfoStructure 7 X 24 for you
 Controllability – user and management system controls

To receive a quote for your business on InfoTalk Pro, give us a call at 541-842-8214 or visit our website section on Unified Communications.