What to consider when choosing a VoIP phone

From the title of this post, you may be thinking, “I never use my office phone, I am constantly on my mobile”. Although that may be true for some, large corporations and call/contact centers still rely on a desk phone or softphone. Do you still need your desk phone? Read this ebook that asked the same question. If you do think you still need your desk phone, keep on reading!

First things first. Do you want a desk phone or a softphone? Do you know the difference?

Deskphone
The standard, analog, hand-held telephone. If you haven’t switched over to VoIP you are probably using a desk phone. Often telephony providers are compatible with most phones on the market. The only difference would be is that instead of using a traditional landline, you would connect the phone to the businesses IP network. Businesses may prefer to keep their desk phones because they are familiar with how they work, easier to use and saves them money.

Softphone
You do not actually need the physical phone with a softphone. A softphone is a software application that the user can download onto their computer. They are able to make phone calls over the internet instead of using the physical hardware. You connect a headset and microphone to your computer and there is an on-screen dial pad.

Both
If you still prefer the touch and feel of a physical phone, you can purchase phones that are compatible with SIP. Some companies have a mix of phone desk phones and softphones in their office. This is beneficial for employees who may be traveling or away from their desk. VoIP is extremely flexible and allows you to switch from Deskphone to Softphone.

Now that you know the difference between the two, what option is the right choice for you or your business?

There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on many variables like your; needs, budget,  type of business, etc.

Nevertheless, whichever option you choose, there are many things to consider.

Your Budget
Softphones are the less expensive option. Especially if you have to supply many employees. But some employees may prefer a desk phone. Desk phones are known to have better voice quality which would ensure all calls to be clear. What do you choose, quality or quantity?

Product Stability
Are the desk phones sturdy? How is the hardware?
How is the application of the softphone? Is the software compatible with your device?
Has other customers had problems in the past?
Could the phone break? Could the program crash?

It is important to make sure what you do purchase is going to last. VoIP is an investment that will benefit your company in the long term, but only if you do your research before choosing the product.

Support
How is the support after you purchase your desk phone or softphone? Does the manufacturer offer a warranty? How do they handle technical issues? What happens if there is a glitch in the software for your softphone? How do you contact the support team?

Time is money. You do not want to waste time on the phone with support or unable to make calls because your system has failed. Make sure you choose a reputable brand with good reviews on their products.

Brand
Just because they are a well-known brand, that does not mean you have to choose them. But, what it does mean is that there are probably many customer reviews on their products. This is a chance to hear what real end users are saying about the product. Their likes and dislikes about the product and potential problems they had dealing with support teams. Sometimes new brands in the industry are the better choice over the Vets. Do your research.

Maybe you start off by buying softphones and slowly purchase desk phones for employees who prefer one. UC applications like Bicom Systems, gloCOM, and gloCOM GO are great for integrating your desk phone with your mobile so you can potentially eliminate your desk phone altogether. But, desk phones are not going anywhere anytime soon. Flexibility is the name of the game these days for companies. Businesses that make it possible for employees to work functionally wherever are going to go farther in the industry. Maybe you offer both, maybe you offer one or the other.

Our ebook will take you through the latest alternatives and complements to the desk phone so you can make an educated decision on how to go forward with your decision. Download it here.

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If you are having trouble choosing, send us an email at sales@bicomsystems.com. We would be happy to lend our expertise based on your situation.

Opus Codec. VoIP’s New Best Friend.

opus codec

 

Opus Codec.

No, it’s not a spell like hocus pocus. It is actually something you use everyday! To best explain it in layman’s terms, let’s start with some definitions.

Codec: a device or computer program used to encode or decode a digital data stream or signal. (digital signal / language)
Audio Codec: also known as a ‘sound codec’ is a codec that encodes or decodes audio.
Opus: an audio coding format

Now that we have the definitions, lets tie them together in an example.

When you go on YouTube and watch a video, Codec is working behind the scenes. If you do not have a strong internet connection, YouTube is going to deliver your video in the best possible quality. The graphic display resolution will depend on what your internet connection can handle. However, the quality of the audio will not be affected. Even though you have a low quality resolution video, you will still have good quality audio. The worse the internet connection, the smaller the codec needed.

YouTube engages with your internet capabilities and chooses the best resolution for you. Audio quality is a little bit different. Desk phones communicate with different codecs and Opus is an audio codec for phones. Opus Codec is capable of handling a wide range of audio applications like VoIP and video conferencing.

Another example to explain how Opus Codec works:

Say you are in a hotel. Often, the wifi in a hotel is slow, unstable or has a weak signal because so many consumers are sharing it. You are grasping for a good connection to make a phone call through your VoIP phone or UC application. Opus Codec is able to optimize the audio codec with the given bandwidth to provide the best call experience possible with the resources you have.

Sometimes audio on a mobile device is good and then bad and then the call drops. Opus is smart and does what YouTube does and adjusts the audio quality instead of dropping the call. It automatically adjusts based on the network, service range and other factors affecting the connection.

Another example would be talking on Bluetooth in a car. If you are driving at a fast speed, if it is raining or windy outside, or if there are other outside noises affecting your ability to hear, your Bluetooth will adjust the audio for you. Opus will help when you’re driving and will shift from one tower to another to ensure the best quality of your network connection. It will change minute by minute, without you knowing, and will adapt to give you the best possible quality for your current situation. Unfortunately, it can’t help with back seat drivers.

Opus Codec is very smart and adaptive to what your internet’s capabilities are. It gives you the best possible outcome for what you are capable of. This automatic adjustment is something that often goes unnoticed or taken for granted.

Although the concept is relatively new for the telecommunication industry, Opus Codec is a feature found in Bicom Systems PBXware and gloCOM version 5.2. Bicom Systems seeks to provide the best products for our customers. Poor audio quality is not considered ‘the best’.

To learn more about PBXware and gloCOM visit our website or contacts our sales team at sales@bicomsystems.com.

10 Things You Can’t Miss out on With gloCOM 5.2

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We’re back with another update! With constantly changing technology,our developers are always innovating. As soon as we release one version, we already have new ideas for the next.

Bicom Systems strives to give our customers the best versions of Unified Communications. Our newest version, gloCOM 5.2, will increase efficiency, productivity and support collaboration like never before. Here are 10 new things gloCOM can offer you and your customers.

1. Communicator Branding (BRM – Bicom Release Manager) 
Your company information. Your logo. Bicom Systems offers white label products to resellers who want to rebrand our products. This way your customers won’t get confused when they see another companies information plastered on their applications. This branding feature also benefits resellers so their customers won’t go directly to the manufacturer for their telecommunication needs, ensuring the customer remains with you.

2. New languages for GUI
Two new languages were added to this upgrade. gloCOM 5.2 is now offered in English, Italian and French. This update gives reseller’s a competitive edge in the market by offering their products in different languages.

3. Caller ID when Faxing
With gloCOM 5.2, users can now choose what caller IDs to send a Fax as. When you add a new contact you input their; name, phone number(s), email addresses and if applicable, their fax number. Now all the user has to do is right-click on the contact and they have the option to send them a fax straight from gloCOM.

4. Block Caller ID Notification
This new feature gives the user two options. They can either hide their Caller ID permanently or hide their Caller ID for the next call they make. An icon will appear during your call letting you know if your Caller ID is hidden.

5. Agents Pause Reason Codes
You can now see why and when an agent pauses their calls and what their current status is (ex: on a call, busy, paused, offline etc). When you hover over an agents name with your mouse, a tool-tip will appear with the agents status and why (ex: Paused: Smoke Break). Not only can supervisors see this information but other agents can too! This becomes handy in case they need to transfer a call to another agent or if they need to discuss a matter.

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6. Filter Queue Call Tab
This new feature is especially useful for clients with multiple locations and queues per location. The supervisor can choose to only see the calls for a specific location. This makes it easier to navigate and organize through wait times, service levels, amount of calls answered/unanswered, etc.

7. Default Ringtones
Before gloCOM 5.2 it was hard to distinguish whether it was an internal or external call because it was the same ringtone. Now, you can set different ringtones for internal calls (within the organization) and external calls (outside of your organization).

8. Add Users to Existing Chat
This new feature on the update makes collaboration even easier. You can instantly start a group chat by dragging a new user(s) into an existing chat. It saves users time and increases productivity.

9. Module Icons can be Personalized
The icons for the modules inside gloCOM can be personalized. The telephone icon must stay there but the following three icons can be chosen by the end user. The user can arrange the icons as desired to boost accessibility by simply dragging dropping.

10. Show/Hide Numbers Next to Contact Name
Having the ability to see the contacts name and number(s) can be very convenient or take up a lot of space. It is fast and convenient that you do not have to click on the contact and go into their profile to see their information. This is helpful when you are quickly looking for a phone number to give out or access yourself. But with all this information when you have a lot of contacts, it can look messy and cluttered. This new feature gives you the option to show or hide these numbers.

To read all of the new features added to gloCOM 5.2 read over the official release notes here. If you want to upgrade your gloCOM to the latest version, visit our website or contact your account manager.

‘…as a Service’ Part 4: CCaaS

CCaaSWhat is “…as a Service” and how can it help your business?

Finally, we have reached the end! Our last “…as a Service” acronym in our What is “…as a Service” and how can it help your business?’ blog series is CCaaS. If you are just joining this 4 part blog series, visit our blog to catch up on Part 1-Part 3. Now, without further ado let us introduce CCaaS, also known as Contact Center as a Service.

CCaaS is a simplified, cloud-based service that improves customer service for contact centers. One would think a call center and a contact center are the same things, but a call center only focuses on incoming and outgoing voice calls. A contact center does that as well but also uses data applications like e-mail, chat/instant messaging, CRM integration etc.

CCaaS is the ideal option for many contact centers! Why?

  • They can be scalable when needed
  • Companies can be more flexible
  • Companies will only pay for the technology they need which
    • Reduces Expenses
    • Reduces IT monitoring Staff
    • Creates Flexibility
    • Allows Easier Innovation

Cloud solutions such as ‘as a service’ provide the same abilities as on-premises does, but they are delivered from a single vendor who is responsible for maintenance and upgrades. The vendor can release these upgrades and do maintenance all through the cloud.   

CCaaS ensures not only a better customer experience but also a better agent experience!

  • Additional programs seamlessly integrate
  • Agents save time on solving problems
  • Agents have the ability to collaborate with other team members like never before
  • The overall cost savings for the company are tremendous.
  • Agents can solve problems quickly resulting in a lower talk time and more customers served.

CCaaS guarantees flexibility, better responsiveness and service quality. This software is useful to even customers that are not call/contact centers. Customers are realizing that they need the contact center features to enhance their customer service. CCaaS features are appealing to:

  • A small business with order taking
  • Any company with customer service agents
  • Growing companies who are seeking integration
  • Startups that want the best communication platforms

As a vendor, selling CCaaS has many benefits! There are many opportunities in this new industry and you should take advantage of them! Read this detailed info-graphic on 7 Reasons to Start Sell CCaaS to learn more.

  1. 80% of the market cannot access traditional contact center solutions
  2. Your customers are realizing they need contact center features
  3. You will earn more from contact center customers
  4. The whole comms industry is moving toward the Cloud
  5. CCaaS will increase your stickiness
  6. The competition is still low
  7. CCaaS will help you build your brand

If you want additional information on Bicom Systems CCaaS products like our PBXware Call Center Edition or our gloCOM Call Center Agent, send us an email at sales@bicomsystems.com.

Thank you for joining us on this blog series journey and we will see on our next post!

‘…as a Service’ Part 2: UCaaS

What is “…as a Service” and how can it help your business?

Welcome back to Part Two of our ‘as a Service’ and how can it help your business?’ blog series. In our last post we introduced Software as a Service, also known as SaaS, and if you have not got a chance to read it, check it out here! Today we will be learning about UCaaS, better known as Unified Communications as a Service and what it can do for your business.

Unified means ‘to make or to become united’. So, UCaaS connects all the methods you or your company uses to communicate, such as chat, messaging, conferencing etc. with all the devices you use to communicate like, mobile phones, desk phones, and laptops seamlessly.

UCaaS can help your business greatly!

  • It can help employees and businesses stay connected and productive across the globe.
  • It can be accessed from any internet connection, allowing employees to work remotely.
  • It is:
    • BYOD friendly
    • More reliable
    • Easily scalable
    • And collaboration has never been easier!

Everything you need to communicate is connected through a cloud-based system and the ‘as a service’ part is that you have it all together, like a bundle. Companies who offer communication software link all their products to integrate together to ensure for a seamless transition. It is like setting up your Home Phone, Internet and Cable through a telecommunications provider and they offer you a bundle. It is not mandatory to use the same provider for your telecommunication needs, but it would be cheaper, easier and more sensible.

UCaaS is helping businesses all over the world stay connected but it also is benefiting resellers! Customers will be able to ‘bundle’ their needs and wants from one vendor, aka you, and this will ensure a bigger payoff. By adding UCaaS solutions to your offering, you will strengthen your brand awareness and customer loyalty. The UCaaS industry is growing and companies are looking for new ways their employees can stay connected. When you offer all the products they are looking for, you will see long-lasting partnerships.

As mentioned above, the UCaaS platform is easily scalable for customers. This benefits reseller’s because they have the ability to add or remove applications when needed for their customers. Customers and vendors will grow together, maximizing productivity for the customer and profit for the reseller.

Organizations today are discovering the many benefits “as a service” technologies. Companies are reaping the benefits by purchasing services through providers. The company will only have to pay for the services they need, resulting in easier flexibility, scalability and a reduction in expenses. Resellers are gaining long-term, quality, commitments from their customers and ensure earnings more frequently.

If you want to learn more about Bicom Systems UCaaS applications like gloCOM or gloCOM GO, visit our website. Thanks for reading and we will see you on Part 3 of our ‘as a Service’ series when we learn about CPaaS.