INTRODUCTION. Hosted VoIP Guide 2012

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2 INTRODUCTION VoIP, Hosted Telephony, SIP, Unified Communications or IP Centrex can all be used as terms to define Hosted VoIP, but what are the main business reasons for implementing Hosted Telephony in your business and how does it work? This guide has been produced to give an overview of some of the benefits of Hosted VoIP and how implementing a Hosted VoIP System can benefit your business. IP Solutions is the UK s leading independent telecoms provider. Our award-winning solutions help organisations reduce operational costs and improve customer service, productivity and efficiency. In a rapidly changing communications market, where a multitude of suppliers offer features, tariffs and conditions that seem to change daily, knowing what s what and how the technology can work best for you can be a daunting task. But effective and efficient communication is critical to the performance of most organisations, and the cost involved means it s not something you want to get wrong. We work closely with you to understand your business needs and help you make informed decisions about which voice and data solutions will add value to your business. The systems we provide have a positive impact on profitability, because we give as much consideration to what you ll need in the future as what you need right now. IP Solutions are experts in all types of communication technology. Our services cover: Cloud As one of the earliest adopters of hosted technology, we re perfectly placed to provide best-of-breed cloud-based IT services. Connectivity Working with the UK s leading carriers, we ll provide, implement and manage all of your data connections. Inbound We can help you manage inbound enquiries more efficiently and effectively using tools such as 08 and 03 numbers, call queuing technology and SMS messaging. Mobile With expertise managing international spend and a City location for unparalleled speed of service, we saved our customers 27% on average on their mobile costs last year. VoIP We have more experience and we ve completed more user implementations than any other independent provider, making us the UK leaders in VoIP. T F E

3 What is VoIP? Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) dates back to the 1970s when it was used as an experiment by the US Department of Defense, however the last 5 Years has seen unprecedented growth in Hosted Telephony and it is set to continue: VoIP Services are set to exceed $20 billion in the next five years. Source: ABI Research The market for IP Voice is rapidly maturing and it is anticipated that by 2011, IP will take over from traditional telephony as the primary transport medium for voice. Source: Cable & Wireless IDC predicts that the unified communications market in Europe will double in size over the next four years, from just over $8 billion in 2010 to $16.4 billion in Source: The IDC study, EMEA Unified Communications Market Forecast and Analysis VOIP is a means of carrying telephony signals - in other words, carrying phone calls and services - across digital internet networks. In terms of basic usage and functionality, VOIP is not too different to traditional telephony, and a VOIP-enabled telephone works exactly like a normal one. However, VOIP has a number of other advantages, such as cost, ease and future proofing. A hosted VoIP phone system replaces expensive phone systems, installation, handsets, BT lines and numbers with a simple, costefficient alternative. Hosted VoIP provides a powerful phone system, hosted in the cloud, which is available to use on a monthly subscription basis. Each user can use a softphone, mobile phone or handset which just needs access to the Internet to allow you to access features such as voic , forwarding, IVR and more, all from your control panel. Traditional Telephony Businesses requiring a telephone system have traditionally had to have a physical device installed into their premises. This system, or PBX (Private Branch Exchange), connects to all the phones within that site on one side, and connects to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) on the other - enabling calls to and from that site to be made. The PBX sat in the middle then provides all of the functionality required by the business, such as the ability to transfer and forward calls, voic services and more advanced features such as call queues or auto-attendants. Traditional phone networks use circuit switching that is when a call is made, circuits are switched in the intervening exchange creating a connection between the caller and the person being called. Upgrades to a traditional PBX for services such as Call Reporting, Call Recording, Remote Working etc, can be expensive to deploy and generally involve an upgrade to your telephone system. Traditional connectivity Each PBX requires a connection to the outside world so it can make and receive calls outside of the office. Typically a PBX will be connected by analogue or ISDN lines which attract monthly rental and call charges from the service provider. What is Hosted Telephony VoIP employs packet switching which has typically been used by data networks connecting computers. Within this network, data is divided into small packets which are given identifying information and are then transported across the network. At the end of the line, they are reassembled to provide the information to the receiver. Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) provides the telephone system functionality required by the business without having to have a PBX on-site. The intelligence is hosted within our network on carrier grade IP voice platforms and is delivered to the organisation s various sites across our IP network. Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) uses IP (Internet Protocol) rather than analogue or ISDN lines. This means that a single IP network can now be used for both your telephony requirements and your data / internet requirements as part of a converged network. This means that it is no longer necessary to have one network for data and another network for voice, offering tangible savings from line rental reductions and improved operational efficiencies. Guaranteeing Quality of Service (QoS) QoS (Quality of Service) gives voice traffic priority over your IP network, meaning there is no drop in voice quality when you are sharing data over the same network. Typically a professional installation would insist on using a private IP connection in order to provide End-to-end service quality. Further details on QoS are covered later in this document. T F E

4 Why hosted telephony rather than site based? Opting for a Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) service rather than a PBX at each site will offer significant reductions in capital expenditure as quite simply, it s no longer necessary to buy those PBX s. The solution will also benefit from being run over a single, converged IP network. Business Continuity A hosted solution also offers substantial benefits in terms of ensuring business continuity. In the event connectivity to an office is lost, or an office becomes unavailable (perhaps through fire or flood), calls can now be managed from within the network and diverted to an alternate office, a number of home-workers or even mobile phones. No longer is the continuation of your business dependent on a single site. Cost benefits As well as savings made on hardware, converged networks, maintenance and specialist resources, a hosted solution offers more. With a traditional PBX, the capacity for that system needs to be scoped in advance, ensuring it will meet the needs of that business in years to come. This is inefficient and forces the business into paying for capacity they may not use. PBX systems also often have hidden costs when it does come time to upgrade. Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) offers a clear upgrade path with fixed, pay as you grow cost increases, enabling the solution to scale with the business, meaning you only pay for what you need, when you need it. In addition, as all sites are linked over a single IP network, there are no charges for calls made between sites. Operational benefits With a Hosted IP Telephony (VoIP) solution, it is no longer necessary to have specialist resources brought in to make changes to the telephone system. Moves/adds/changes can now be carried out with ease via an intuitive web portal from any PC connected to the Internet. No longer is future proofing a concern; the worry of having expensive hardware becoming unsupported is a thing of the past with a hosted solution - IP Solutions continually upgrade and maintain their voice platform and continue to manage and support their voice services. Never before has the mantra Buy what appreciates and rent what depreciates been more apparent than with Hosted Telephony. T F E

5 Why will Hosted Telephony Benefit my Business? If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then it is almost certain that your business can benefit in some way from Hosted IP technology. Looking to provide your employees with a more flexible working environment with location independent telephony? With hosted IP telephony, new options become open to you that were previously the preserve of multinational corporates. Give your staff the ability to work remotely and maintain efficiency and conduct business communications on their own terms. Administering the phone system and user settings via the Internet increases the productivity of your staff by having them available to work anywhere. If the law states that staff must be allowed to work a certain amount of time from home, you can give them a softphone and they are connected when they log in. Thinking of moving office? One advantage of a VoIP system over the more traditional telephone systems comes if you need to move your office. Usually if you were to relocate to another building or area, you would have to change your numbers, or pay to have them transferred to your new premises (if you are still in the same STD code). With a hosted VoIP telephone system there is no need for any of that hassle. You simply install an Internet connection to your new premises and any cabling you require and, once your phones are plugged in, the phones will operate as they did in the old building. There is no need to spend money on call redirects, or on marketing campaigns to tell your customers your details have changed, which in turn can help reduce the risk of missing out on business. In theory with a VoIP telephone system your communications can be up and running when you need them to be, reducing your reliance on any third parties. Wanting to network multiple offices and employees? With traditional site based telephony a PBX is required at each and every site from the headquarters to the smallest satellite office. This will be of significant cost to the organisation in terms of the hardware purchase, the installation and ongoing maintenance. This estate of PBXs across the country will then need to be managed and administered (for example carrying out moves/adds/changes) requiring either a third party resource or an in-house specialist, again at a cost to the business. In need of a more flexible phone system with Advanced Call Features? With hosted VoIP your business will benefit from a suite of advanced features including FSA-compliant call recording applications and a reporting tool that provides access to vital management data regarding abandoned calls and call queue times. This is ideal if required by industry regulation or customer contracts to record calls or to provide management information to service providers. With all of these features provided as part of the Hosted VoIP Service you can simply add new features on a per user basis as and when you require them. For instance if you were required to add Call Recording to a traditional PaBX you could be looking at anywhere between a 10,000-20,000 Capital Outlay to implement and install additional on site equipment, you would then need to consider how this data is stored and whether you need it stored off-site and how long for. With Hosted Call Recording you can simply add call recording on a per user basis and calls by that user will be recorded and stored all in a centralised place. Questioning what will happen if your business grows? Most businesses need to buy new hardware every two years or so to allow for extra growth and extra users. With Hosted VoIP there is no need to worry. Additional users can be added instantly and remotely all you will need is a new handset. This means that your communication requirements can evolve as quickly as your business does, eliminating many common development problems and headaches. The technological advancements in the market will also be at your fingertips and available on a cost-per-user basis. If someone needs their calls recording, simply add this as a feature for that user. T F E

6 Finance Options: What will it cost to implement a VoIP system? If you opt for a Hosted IP solution, your up-front costs are minimal-to-nothing. The capital investment has already been made by the provider their own hardware, their own phone systems and their own servers. You simply access their technology and then pay for what you use. With Hosted IP telephony now offering the resilience, security and quality of traditional systems, there really is no need for companies to buy their own phone systems any more. CapEx CapEx gives you the option to purchase the equipment outright and pay a monthly service fee. OpEx OpEx gives you the option to finance any upfront costs, with 0% finance available, into a simple manageable monthly fee. Upfront costs can include hardware, software, services and support. There are many ways a Hosted solution can keep your initial and recurring costs down. No initial investment or setup costs for hardware or expertise No on-going maintenance, servicing and upgrade costs Your provider or host shoulders all the risk, work and complexity The system is shared by numerous companies bringing down costs with scale Add one user and only pay for one user as opposed to adding multiples of 8 or 16 If your buildings connection drops out your users can carry on working using any internet connection Disaster recovery options are therefore intrinsic to the system T F E

7 Building Blocks of a Hosted VoIP Solution Hosted VoIP user licence Seat Description: This typically provides you with the licence required for each user in your organisation to make and receive calls via the hosted system. This is through either a hardphone (handset), softphone (software on a PC) or a smartphone (app), all with the full range of business grade features, remote working, online and advanced directories. Personal Phone Manager Description: Online phone management application that provides browser-based access and management capabilities for individual phone settings. Manage Features and benefits: Online browser application, unique login for each number/user, remote working and business mobility. Hosted Call Recording Description: FSA-compliant hosted call recording application that records all calls made from assigned numbers. A secure online interface is provided for viewing, managing and downloading recorded audio files. Record Features and benefits: Always-on inbound and outbound call recording. T F E

8 Building Blocks of a Hosted VoIP Solution cont d MIS Hosted Call Reporting Report Description: Advanced call administration tool providing detailed reporting data on allocated numbers call activities. Basic Always-on online web interface providing instant access to call intelligence, aiding financial planning and business management. Advanced Offers basic call centre working for ACD groups, log-in and out facility and is supported by advanced management information. Console Assistant Description: Console Assistant is an application that is used to manage incoming calls to a main telephone number at a particular site. Assist Features and benefits: The Console Assistant application allows for central call control of the hosted solution across sites regardless of locations. SIP Trunking SIP Trunking Description: SIP connects your business PBX to your carrier providing the benefits of IP Telephony and enabling communication without limitations. Full range of business grade features including remote working, multi-site connectivity, disaster recovery and much more. T F E

9 Internet Connectivity & QoS If your current broadband connection does not meet satisfactory quality for VoIP, it s imperative you arrange a business grade broadband system tailored to your specific data traffic needs, complete with QoS (Quality of Service). There are a number of broadband products that offer a highly effective package for small to medium sized businesses, providing guarantees on the amount of voice channels per broadband connection, covered under a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Enhanced Care offers a business 24 hour resolution time. Security features protect your communications from external internet traffic access to the DSL circuit. Products typically come in 3 packages dependent on business usage requirements: The primary goal of QoS is to provide priority services including dedicated bandwidth, controlled jitter and latency (required by some real-time and interactive traffic), and improved loss characteristics. Also important is making sure that providing priority for one or more flows does not make other flows fail. QoS technologies provide the elemental building blocks that will be used for future business applications in campus, WAN, and service provider networks. Voicestream 4 (Services 2-12 seats) Voicestream 7 (Services seats) Voicestream 14 (Services seats) For higher grade medium to large business solutions, a corporate bespoke grade connectivity product is designed to meet the quality and stability requirements. These products can deliver MPLS traffic separation, which ensures the network is secure and your data remains confidential. Available MPLS service features: Delay sensitive prioritising voice and video Business critical data SAP, Oracle, Citrix applications etc. Standard data , web, file transfer. Comes in a range of solutions dependent upon specific business needs, requirements, size and usage. Quality of Service A communications service for your business needs to be a proven and reliable system. VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) mechanisms, with a hosted VoIP service, ensure the smoothest transition of data, and peace of mind. When using office computers and telephones, applications send data by submitting it to the operating system, to be carried across the network. Once data is submitted to the operating system, it becomes network traffic. Network Quality of Service (QoS) refers to the ability of the network to handle this traffic so it meets the service needs of certain applications. This requires fundamental traffic handling mechanisms in the network, the ability to identify traffic that is entitled to these mechanisms and the facility to control these services. T F E

10 Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity The overall resilience of any service depends on the resilience of its constituent parts. Below we have outlined where failures could occur, what impact that would have and how this is minimised. Failure of the your Internet Connectivity DSL is very cost effective, but it is not as reliable as say, a leased line. You can of course purchase another DSL line for use in an emergency. There is also the choice of ISDN backup. If the DSL fails, and there is no backup, all phones on that site will not work. However, incoming calls will be diverted to mobiles, or to whatever out of service destination you define. The impact can be reduced to low by building an on-site backup plan or solution. This can be as simple as moving the phones to the data link (albeit with quality issues), or installing a redundant router which can operate in hot standby, such as two Cisco routers running HSRP. All of these approaches have been deployed and proven effective at live customer sites. Failure of your Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) or LAN equipment We have a policy of recommending preferred routers, and we deliberately choose those in the mid to high end. This type of hardware exhibits very long mean times to failure. Our recommendation is as follows: 1. ADSL : Draytek Vigor or Cisco series 2. SDSL : Cisco series 3. Leased lines (EFM, Ethernet, Fibre) : Cisco series Failure of a specific user s IP handset We recommend Cisco handsets because they are extremely reliable. If a phone fails, it is straightforward to move the user to another phone. This is even possible under user control, by placing the new phone s MAC address in the phone manager portal for that user. The login to a new handset takes seconds. Failure of a server within the hosting centre Platforms should be selected that run on best-of-breed servers. With Sun servers, the hardware and software has the highest mean time between failure (MTBF) in the industry. Every server should have dual power supplies, and dual Ethernet feeds to different LAN switches. They should be DC powered from independent supplies. All the servers should be logically duplicated, and because of the above, the chance of a failure impacting the user is minimal. Power failure within the hosting centre Co-location facilities should have dual DC power feeds to each rack. Each feed should be independently supplied from multiple UPS systems backed up by multiple on-site generators. The generators should be fuelled for at least 48 hours with continuous 4-hour refuelling. Should the router hardware fail, the resiliency options are as above for the connectivity. It s also crucial to take advice on the network design and redundancy of the LAN (firewall s, switches and DHCP servers). T F E

11 Using VoIP with Microsoft Lync Businesses want communications tools that make their work easier and can be accessed anywhere, anytime including within the context of other applications. Microsoft Lync 2010 is a next generation unified communications (UC) technology that integrates seamlessly with IT infrastructures to provide enterprise class voice, secure business messaging and conferencing capabilities from a single unified client, transforming every communication into an interaction that is more collaborative, engaging and accessible from anywhere. Microsoft Lync 2010 communications software creates a virtual connection between you and the people you work with. It lets you talk, share your desktop and programs, and work together in real time, all from your computer. Benefits Features Integrated Telecoms & IT full PBX capabilities integrated into Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and Dynamics CRM, and bringing carrier-grade voice communications to your PC/laptop Control Costs reduce travel and communication costs by routing calls through your IP network using inbuilt video and voice conferencing capabilities of Microsoft Lync 2010 Improve Productivity use presence to see availability of colleagues and choose the most effective way of communicating including desktop sharing in real time Support your mobile workers access vital business tools and information through any internet enabled device via Microsoft Lync 2010 without the implementation of expensive VPN s Unified experience access presence, instant messaging, voice, video and Web conferencing in a single interface Communicate from within the applications you use every day, including Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft SharePoint Collaborate more effectively with built-in desktop and application sharing, PowerPoint upload and rich white boarding Schedule and join meetings with a single click in Microsoft Outlook or the meeting reminder Microsoft Lync 2010 delivers Enterprise voice features, giving users the ability to work in the office, at home or on the road Be more responsive Instant messaging and group chat allows disparate groups to communicate instantly, eliminating or reducing delays when answers to questions are needed quickly T F E

12 SUMMARY In essence, choosing the right Hosted IP Telephony switch offers true business efficiencies. No requirement to purchase expensive or outdated hardware The system should offer diverse functionality Software upgrades should be included within the monthly seat charge Multiple locations are seen as one integrated system allowing 4 digit extension dialling and integrated call handling Remote working is made simple Disaster & Recovery is assured Market leading IP Handsets guarantee the highest possible quality of voice transmission Flexible contract periods to suit any budgetary plan Service Level Agreements to meet all requirements QoS offered on connectivity Optional applications can be supplied i.e. Call Recording, management Information and call logging, all viewable via a web interface for ease of accessibility No charge typically offered for any UK Local or National landline calls We trust you have found this guide useful and has covered the key information you required. We can take you through in more detail the processes and procedures that we have at IP Solutions. Don t forget you can always contact us on or and speak to one of our account managers who will arrange an appointment or answer any questions you may have. T F E

13 T F E IP Solutions 2012 Copyright in this work is vested in IP Solutions. This work may form part of a proposal by IP Solutions and may not be used for any purpose other than the furtherance of such proposal. No part of this document nor the information contained herein may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any way or by any means including photocopying or recording, nor may this document or any part or parts hereof nor the information contained herein be released to any third party without the prior written consent of IP Solutions, application for which should be addressed to the Company Secretary at IP Solutions.

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