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How to Get Started Prepping for a New VoIP Solution

How to Get Started Prepping for a New VoIP Solution

With communication rising to the top of many businesses’ priorities list, it’s no wonder that Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, is one of the most powerful ways to revitalize your company’s communications infrastructure. If you’re still using your old traditional telephony solution, buckle up because you’re about to find out how to ditch it for good.

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These Communications Tools are Driving Modern Businesses

These Communications Tools are Driving Modern Businesses

Imagine doing your job without the advanced communications tools that you have access to. It would make things much less efficient. Most organizations use all types of different solutions to be able to support their workforce and customers, but in today’s business, there are three solutions most organizations have come to depend on. Let’s take a look at these three today.

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Seven Ways VoIP Makes Business Better

Seven Ways VoIP Makes Business Better

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become an indispensable tool for businesses, with over 30 percent of them adopting it as their primary means of communication. Beyond its telephony capabilities, VoIP plays a pivotal role in modern collaboration by seamlessly integrating with various communication and collaboration tools. Here are seven ways in which VoIP enhances collaboration.

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Three Communications Tools Your Business Needs

Three Communications Tools Your Business Needs

In business, good communication is essential. If you do it right, you can streamline actions that can save your business a lot of money and build incredible efficiencies that can bring your vision to reality. Poor communication, on the other hand, can hinder a business’ ability to prosper. In order for your staff to be able to communicate effectively, they need the tools to do so. Here are three tools that most businesses should have in place to help drive business forward.

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VoIP Features Your Business Should Know About

VoIP Features Your Business Should Know About

Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VoIP, has revolutionized the way businesses manage their communications through the use of telephony. Employees who were once tethered to their landlines or their physical locations can now break free of these constraints, and it’s all thanks to VoIP and cloud-based communication tools. Here are some of the best features of VoIP solutions for small businesses.

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What is Coming After the Smartphone?

What is Coming After the Smartphone?

If you were to ask anyone under the age of 30 what the most important invention of their lifetime is, you may be surprised how many of them would say “the smartphone”. These devices have revolutionized the way that people communicate, work, and play, but like any other technology, the form factor may not be here forever. So what’s next after the smartphone? We unpack what technologies may replace the smartphone as the next big jump in personal computing. 

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4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Antiquated Telephone Service

4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Antiquated Telephone Service

The landscape of telephony for small businesses has changed dramatically. It’s likely that you don’t rely on your phone nearly as much as you rely on other technologies, like your Internet, communications solutions, and email. Still, an antiquated phone system can hold you back, so let’s explore the other viable option for your business: Voice over IP.

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Collaboration is More than Just Meetings

Collaboration is More than Just Meetings

Most business owners are looking for a way to cut their costs. One way that many firms can see some cost reduction is to increase productivity through solid collaboration. Today, there are many digital tools designed to get more eyes on a project, but they may not completely fit your strategy. Let’s look at some strategies that are used to promote collaboration, and some tools that can fuel these enhanced collaborative efforts.

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Solid Communications is Imperative for the Modern Business

Solid Communications is Imperative for the Modern Business

Ultimately, your employees are going to be the ones using your technology to accomplish their daily duties, so it helps to treat them like customers rather than end users. If you examine industry trends to make the best decisions possible with your technology and communications solutions, then you’ll allow your team to flourish in the process.

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Today’s VoIP Platform is Completely Customizable

What Exactly is Hosted VoiP?

Hosted VoIP is easily described as a communications platform that utilizes an Internet connection to function. Unlike traditional telephone systems that are purchased through the telephone company and have their own dedicated lines, hosted VoIP is hosted in the cloud and allows a business to build a strong, customized telephone system that meets a lot of a company’s communications needs. 

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Including VoIP Is a Solid Business Choice

With that, we’d like to introduce you to VoIP.

What Is VoIP?

VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a telephone system that uses your business’ Internet connection to fuel its telephone system. Rather than paying the antiquated telephone company an arm and a leg, you can now use your existing Internet connection to host a dynamic and reliable telephone platform. There are different tiers of VoIP, but today’s most cost effective, and popular, is a VoIP platform that is hosted in the cloud

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Video Conferencing Growing in Demand

The Basics of Video Conferencing

Many businesses typically hold periodic meetings, which is hard to do when an entire team is cooped up at home. As a result, the business slows down as tasks are prolonged and miscommunications create challenges. For efficiency to be preserved, businesses need to be able to continue their typical procedures… but how, if they aren’t all in the same place at the same time to meet? 

Video conferencing answers that question, enabling a virtual meeting to be conducted over an Internet connection, using webcams to broadcast video between participants. By unifying a team, ideas and data can be shared and co-workers can act more cohesively to accomplish organizational goals… and video conferencing makes it much easier than other, audio-only options.

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Cloud Communications Are Helping Drive Business Forward

How the Cloud Helps Businesses Communicate

Having a strong communications strategy for your business can go a long way. With the options that are now available through the cloud, your business can significantly cut your communications costs by utilizing technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video conferencing. Today, there are complete communication platforms that integrate all necessary communications into one easy-to-control solution.

This comprehensive platform, called Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), combines your business telecommunications and messaging with your web and video conferencing and collaboration. UCaaS gives your business the technology it needs along with the following options:

  • Disaster recovery
  • Managed support
  • Thorough analytics
  • Management software integration
  • Regulatory support
  • Global service delivery
  • Available support 

...and more!

Available Technology

Below are some of the technologies a UCaaS platform offers:

Telephone

A powerful and feature-rich telephone system is one of the most important parts of a business’ communications platform. A VoIP system uses your organization’s bandwidth to deliver reliable voice services at a substantial cost reduction. Each VoIP platform can offer a whole cache of features, including:

  • Call Management/Auto Attendant
  • Call Queue
  • Call Routing/Screening/Transferring
  • Call forwarding/Voicemail
  • Call Park/Presence/Pulling
  • Call Recording
  • Custom In-Call Music
  • Custom ringtones
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Three-way calling
  • Extensions
  • SIP Trunking
  • Find/Follow Me
  • Voicemail services

...and more.

Aside from these features, a hosted VoIP platform offers users the ability to use the system on their own mobile phones through the use of a mobile app, effectively making any smartphone a work phone. 

Text and Instant Messaging

The UCaaS also integrates a lot of other useful messaging features. Many people would rather get a text than a call, and with a UCaaS, your organization’s messaging will integrate with other software to provide a useful collaborative option.

Video Conferencing

Today, having a video conferencing solution is a must. With more people working outside of the office, and with businesses outsourcing work to remote contractors, having a solution to run meetings over the Internet is extremely useful. 

Collaboration/File Sharing

Collaboration is the name of the game in the information age and a UCaaS can provide a solution for secure file transfer and document sharing. 

With integrations with CRMs and other management platforms a UCaaS can make your business be more efficient and productive. To talk to one of our IT professionals about the possibility of integrating a unified communication solution into your business, give us a call at (604) 513-9428 today.

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Business Communication Tools Your Business Could Use

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing can help business owners accomplish a plethora of tasks in the workplace. For one, video conferencing gives you the power to directly communicate with other parties, like vendors, customers, regulators, etc., without being in the same physical location. You also have the option to share screens, documents, presentations, and more through a video conferencing setup.

Chat Platforms

A chat platform will give users the ability to communicate both in and out of the office, whether it’s providing assistance to your clients or acting as a communication infrastructure for your employees. Some organizations have even taken to automating chat platforms to provide a more effective service to their clients. In fact, these services are often more cost-effective, and they come with a high level of customizability to provide an alternative to having a traditional support line.

Voice over Internet Protocol

Voice over IP has been around for quite some time, and it’s so popular that even cable companies are providing it these days. The biggest component of a successful VoIP platform is ensuring that you’re not overpaying for bandwidth. Your business’ phone system will run over your organization’s Internet connection, so it’s crucial that you’re not buying more than needed. A VoIP solution, when implemented correctly, can save you time and resources better spent elsewhere. VoIP systems can integrate well with other services, as well.

Mobile Devices and BYOD

Everyone has a mobile device of some sort, so businesses are beginning to leverage this to their advantage through the use of Bring Your Own Device. Organizations that have employees who often travel for work will find it beneficial for them to bring their own devices into the workplace so as to offset the cost of purchasing work devices for them… as long as there are limits in place, of course.

Of course, securing these devices is also of the utmost importance, which is why solutions such as mobile device management exist. These solutions give administrators the chance to limit a device’s data access based on user privileges, limit the kinds of software installed on them, and more. Mobile device management might be hard to implement for certain businesses with outspoken employees, so address these issues accordingly.

Intranet

Intranet solutions consist of a data system that can be used for file sharing. A company intranet can be used in various ways; they can be hosted on-site, in a private cloud solution, or implemented in a hybrid solution. An intranet hosted on your local area network can give any computer that’s connected to the network the ability to access the intranet. Given the right permissions, an intranet can enable collaboration utilizing this single point of storage.

A cloud-based solution can be hosted on private hardware, but it will depend on the integration and whether or not you’ve set up access control and authorization. Cloud systems are generally hosted outside the confines of your physical network, yet they offer a considerable amount of flexibility with access to data and applications.

Cloud Services

There are countless cloud services out there that your organization can use to establish lines of communication, including email, instant messaging, collaboration software, and more.

Unified Communications

If you can unify your business’ communications, you will see quite a lot of benefits. Centralized software gives you the opportunity to host all of your applications in one location, like VoIP, Instant Messaging, Video Conferencing, etc., and it all reports back to one location where it can be tracked. Unified communications are a great way to monitor transparency and increase the value of your solution.

Coleman Technologies’s IT experts can present you with the best communications solutions for your organization. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Collaboration Tools for SMBs

Cloud Productivity

One option a business can take is by adding in a cloud productivity suite. Options like Google’s G Suite and Microsoft’s Office 365 can bring a business a lot of value, without the typically massive capital outlay the yearly software license would command. Besides, you probably already need licenses for a word processor and spreadsheet app anyway. Inside the software there are integrated collaboration options that allow your team to work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations together in real time.

Communication

Efficient collaboration is not possible without strong communications. Today, there are options out there where an organization doesn’t necessarily need to invest huge sums in replacing their normal communications strategy to get the benefits that innovations made in the solutions can bring. By utilizing instant messaging, web-based conferencing, and cloud-based email companies can improve their top-to-bottom communication without taking on a lot of extra cost.

Collaboration Apps

New innovations in communication software are now available that provide advanced collaboration options. Developed like a forum, but with direct communication options, and integrations with third-party applications, collaboration apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams have a lot of options to help drive team productivity forward.

If you are looking for ways to improve your organizational productivity, call the IT experts at Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428. 

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VoIP Can Present Some Unexpected Value

Voice over IP is a service that utilizes something that you already pay for to eliminate the costs of telephone providers from your budget. VoIP uses your internet connection to make and receive calls, so in a way your business is saving money and consolidating its infrastructure.  VoIP is also customizable to make sure that it suits the specific needs of your business. Here are some of the major benefits that you can expect to reap from utilizing a VoIP solution.

Cost Savings

Telephone providers tend to bundle services together as a way to increase billing and increase usage of services. You might get your telephone service from a local provider that also bundles cable channels and other services you have no interest in. To avoid this, you can use an Internet provider for your phone service to consolidate costs and make managing your infrastructure easier.

Scalability to Suit Your Organization

New employees in your office always create a certain sense of excitement, but they also mean that you’re investing time and resources into accommodating them with services, including giving them a phone terminal and extension. Now, you may remember running cables and reorganizing your business to make this happen, but with VoIP, it’s as easy as creating an account and giving them a handset or headphones. It certainly makes implementing a telephone more flexible.

More Features and Dynamic Services

VoIP is a very dynamic communication solution, giving you access to multiple services like messaging, voice chat, conference calling, and so much more, all to supplement your voice chat system and give you a ton of control over your services.

Coleman Technologies can help you implement the best VoIP solution on the market. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Tip of the Week: Using Digital Signage

When we say digital signage, what we mean is having digital displays in your office. You may have seen them out and about in other locations, such as fast food restaurants using monitors as menu boards. In essence, digital signage solutions give your business the opportunity to broadcast content to screens around your office for a variety of reasons, and they are great opportunities to make your workplace a more dynamic experience as a whole.

Showcase Important Information or Statistics

Sometimes you need your employees to see announcements, but you want to make the information known in a more public location. Otherwise, you can use it to display statistics, like the number of sales or a countdown to a certain date or time. Either way, digital signage can be used to keep your staff informed.

Digital signage is also helpful for navigating the office. You can have signs indicating where important locations, like a conference room or bathroom, are located. 

Display Upcoming Dates and Events

All businesses have deadlines of some sort, and digital signage is a perfect way to broadcast it to your entire office… or at least the locations where digital signage is used. It’s an easy, supplemental way of drawing attention to certain times, dates, or events that are arriving in the future. 

Monitor Goals More Effectively

Digital signage can help your organization keep its employees accountable through the display of goals and key performance indicators. You might even be able to foster some healthy competition between your organization’s employees, as their performance will be displayed in an easy-to-understand format.

Does your business need assistance with setting up or acquiring resources for digital signage? Coleman Technologies can equip you with all the assets you need to make effective use of digital signage. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Considerations for Your Business’ Collaboration

Hardware

Fortunately, the biggest hurdle to collaboration isn’t usually having the right solutions in the office, it’s primarily making sure that these solutions are being put to use properly.

Consider your Internet setup - is it strong enough to wirelessly provide your entire office with connectivity, or would you be benefitted by implementing additional access points? Do you have the hardware needed to communicate and share data with mobile employees, and most importantly, can you properly secure all of it? Speaking of mobility, you will also want to consider if you want to provide your staff with company-owned mobile devices instead of leveraging a Bring Your Own Device Policy. There are options out there to procure these devices for well below retail rates, as long as these devices are bought in bulk.

Software

Depending on your type of business, you may have more or less to do in order to promote collaboration in your organization. A brick-and-mortar establishment will likely have its resources centralized, which means that employees will need to have access to these resources in order to properly communicate with one another, sharing progress on their work. While a private cloud platform would serve this need quite well, these solutions are typically far too expensive for the average SMB to consider.

These SMBs do have other options. Cloud-hosted software allows a business to leverage just about any computing resources they need, whether its a productivity suite, a business management platform, or a communication tool. Adding to these benefits, these resources can be accessed wherever an Internet connection can be established thanks to an integrated access management system. This same system allows administrators to keep threats out of their network as well.

Policies

Finally, for there to be collaboration, there needs to be the policies in place that “encourage” (enforce) the stress-free sharing of pertinent data with team members. In other words, you need to know that you have a way for your employees to access the data they need to complete their tasks as the need arises.

Having these policies can be to your organization’s advantage. While some of your data needs to be kept on a “need-to-know” basis, giving your employees some guidance to navigate how other data should be shared can help you to keep your business’ data that much more secure. It also doesn’t hurt that digital communications are becoming more of the norm, so it only makes sense to give your employees an outlet to communicate in what is likely their preferred manner.

In short, businesses are communicating in new and exciting ways. Not only should you not want to be left behind, you can’t afford to be. For assistance in expanding your internal collaboration and business communications to fully embrace today’s capabilities, reach out to Coleman Technologies’s IT professionals at (604) 513-9428.

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Tip of the Week: Use Mobile to Improve Your Work Relationships

An infographic by Newsweaver suggests that businesses rely on smartphones for many reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • One out of five employees for large organizations are equipped to work away from their desks.
  • As of 2013, three out of five small businesses in the United States have a Bring Your Own Device policy in place.
  • By 2020, four out of five small businesses will have a Bring Your Own Device policy in place.
  • One out of five businesses have found that mobile workstyles have resulted in productivity increases of over 30%.

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to provide the tools needed for your employees to be productive, whether it’s an application or a mobile device. After all, if you don’t provide your employees with the technology to be successful, they will find other ways to make productivity happen. This could mean them finding their own solutions, opening the floodgates to malware and other data disasters. Any devices used by your business should adhere to its BYOD policy and monitored to ensure they aren’t lost or stolen, along with the data on them.

To this end, we recommend you work with your employees to find the tools they need to be most productive in the workplace. Collect their feedback and apply the knowledge you gain to your business’s current technology situation. Here are some ideas for solutions to consider:

  • Productivity suite software like Microsoft Office and Google’s G Suite
  • Your email client
  • Cloud storage
  • Voice over Internet Protocol for telephony and communication
  • Instant messaging
  • Project management
  • Collaboration suites

Coleman Technologies can help your business equip itself with all of the best technology solutions for mobile communications and productivity. For more information, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.

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Is Cloud-Hosted VoIP a Good Value?

It goes without saying that having a comprehensive communications strategy is critical for the functionality of your business. Many businesses use traditional phone systems, and they pay handsomely for them. VoIP is a great way to utilize the bandwidth you already pay for to facilitate a business phone solution.

A VoIP system works by transferring sounds into data packets and then transferring them in real-time over an Internet connection. The sound is simply unpacking the data packets. The reason so many small businesses are switching to a VoIP system is that it allows an organization to manage their telephone system cost more effectively.

Nowadays there are hosted VoIP options that present companies with a virtual call center of sorts. Essentially, instead of hosting a stand-alone server at your place of business, the telephone system is hosted in the cloud and accessed through a web client.

Before you can consider either VoIP platform, you’ll have to determine what type of control you need over the technology. If you are someone that wants to play with settings and configurations, hosting your own PBX phone server may be the way to go, but if you are someone that doesn’t mind spending a little more per month to have these systems managed for you, a cloud-based VoIP solution should be right for you.

Your average VoIP solution provides your business with a path to cut the often-substantial capital costs of buying, housing, and maintaining an onsite telephony server. Since the provider will absorb the costs of maintenance and the outward reliability of the platform, you can spend less time focusing on managing your telephone system and more time relying on it.

Since VoIP downtime is not an option for the average business, you’ll want to consult with Coleman Technologies IT professionals to help you find the right solution to fit your business’ needs. Our staff are experts at designing, implementing, and managing computing networks that work for the modern business, so relying on us to help you deploy the right communications platform makes a lot of sense.

For more information about hosted VoIP or any other communication used to improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction, call Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.

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