LIGHTPATH HOSTED VOICE HELP REDUCE COSTS, INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AND STREAMLINE COMMUNICATIONS

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2 Contents Abstract... 3 Research overview IP voice vs. traditional telephony Benefits of hosted voice... 4 Increasing employee productivity High Availability... 5 Network reliability... 6 Selecting a trusted provider... 6 Lightpath provides the services and security you need

3 ABSTRACT In today s competitive business environment, voice communications can no longer be viewed in isolation from the rest of your organization. As media integration increases and workforces grow more mobile, Internet Protocol (IP)-based voice can be a critical component to help meet your company s communications demands. IP-based voice services are gaining in popularity as more businesses look to have dynamic global connectivity. Traditional private branch exchange systems (PBXs) once the industry standard have become increasingly limited in the digital age. Instead, today s business environments require a complex combination of voice and data capabilities to serve their customers properly. In addition to cost savings, IP voice systems provide communications features previously available only to large organizations, including: Lightweight desktop PC integration that simplifies the user experience Auto attendant to route calls to the proper employees or departments Call forwarding so employees can receive calls at any location or be reached at any of several phone numbers Remote connectivity and user applications for mobile devices Depending on your company s needs, you can choose from two IP voice systems: A hosted service in which a third party provides installation, the phones and the service, but the system is maintained and managed at the third party s location; or a premise-based service in which the equipment is physically located at your business and you or a third party are responsible for system management and operation. 3

4 RESEARCH: INTEREST IS GROWING After putting technology purchases on hold because of the recession, many businesses are now looking to update their communications networks in order to take advantage of cost savings and productivity-enhancing features, according to new research from AMI-Partners*. AMI also found that the hosted IP voice market continues to show steady growth: 30% of companies with fewer than 100 employees and 50% of companies with 100 to 1,000 employees said IP voice services are critical to their transactions. IP VOICE VS. TRADITIONAL TELEPHONY When considering an IP voice system, it s important to understand how it differs from traditional telephony: Traditional telephony. A dedicated circuit is established between two phones via circuit switches. Traditional PBX-based systems must make individual, separate connections for voice and data. IP voice. Some IP voice providers (hosted and/or premise-based), convert voice and data into digital signals that are broken into packets and transported across the Internet; others use private networks to securely transport IP packets to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and ensure high-quality connections. Done correctly, IP voice can eliminate many of the problems and performance issues associated with traditional PBXs. For example, equipping companies with traditional PBX telephony involves expensive phone equipment and installation costs, as well as maintenance and monitoring. As a company grows, upgrading a standard telecommunications system to compete in today s digital business environment can be expensive and time consuming. BENEFITS OF Hosted voice helps reduce security concerns because messages and call data reside on the service provider s facilities. Setting up a hosted voice service with a trusted provider means that content on its private network is always accessible and always protected. Hosted voice also frees companies from the burden of managing their telecommunications systems. Other benefits: Simplified vendor management because the provider can offer Internet, voice and phone service. Easily support a distributed workforce, a boon for companies with multiple locations or many remote employees. 4

5 INCREASE EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY Having a hosted voice platform, unlike traditional PBX systems, can increase flexibility for internal communications and customer response, as well as ensure that businesses are available 24/7 by allowing access from cell phones and other mobile devices. For businesses that have multiple locations or that rely heavily on a mobile workforce or remote employees, a hosted voice service provides a variety of productivity-enhancing features so they can complete tasks more easily, including: Unified messaging: Integrate , fax and voic into a single interface and access them from a variety of devices. Mobile access: Use a mobile phone in tandem with a desk phone, or replace the desk phone entirely. Simultaneous or sequential ringing to multiple phones: Have your phone ring in your office and your cell phone so you don t miss a call. Call pickup: Users can answer calls for each other. Abbreviated dialing: Make calls faster by clicking on a contact list to dial out. AVOID MAINTENANCE HEADACHES Unlike traditional PBX-based systems, hosted voice solutions enable businesses to: Eliminate hardware ownership and future proof so the hardware doesn t become obsolete Outsource maintenance Provide employees with effective mobile communications Eliminating telephony hardware ownership means removing the headaches and expenses that go with equipment upgrades. Since the hosting provider supplies the equipment, it is responsible for providing all maintenance and repairs. These benefits can help ease management issues and enable companies to focus exclusively on business concerns. The high-functioning mobile communications provided by a quality hosted voice service ensures that employees can immediately respond to the needs of their colleagues and customers alike. Moreover, the hosted IP voice provider s secure network can eliminate issues relating to poor voice-quality connections and dropped calls. 5

6 REVIEW NETWORK RELIABILITY It s important to consider the complexity of an IP voice telecommunications infrastructure when deciding between a premise-based or hosted voice solution. The decision to choose a premisebased system may hinge on whether your company has the resources and capital to develop a telecommunications infrastructure using pre-established IT personnel or by making new hires. Be sure to review the features of the service providers you re considering. Some premise-based solutions require companies to invest in equipment and personnel to maintain the network, while others supply all the necessary equipment, phones, installation and software so you can avoid that initial investment. SELECT A TRUSTED PROVIDER Not all hosted voice services are created equal. Some share allocated resources for voice, Internet and video, which can adversely affect the ability to maintain consistent levels of connectivity across all media. In the case of IP-based voice systems, one of the main factors that affect connection quality relates to bandwidth. Some providers use shared bandwidth to split channel usage among multiple customers instead of a dedicating service to a single customer. As the connection speed decreases, download times may increase or applications may not work properly. With a dedicated service, the service provider sets the bandwidth aside so it s always available and so a customer s data needs don t take away from voice quality. When calling through a service that doesn t maintain its own network, hosted voice users are subject to the limitations of the service provider they connect to. For example, if a system is overburdened with simultaneous access requests, users may receive a busy signal when trying to call out. The number of disparate bandwidth allocations for IP connectivity used by some service providers also means that serious degradation in voice quality can occur. Therefore, it s important to select a provider that owns the service and the network. LIGHTPATH PROVIDES THE SERVICES AND SECURITY YOU NEED In today s increasingly technology-driven economy, companies require a versatile and media-rich connectivity solution that helps enable them to flourish. A hosted voice service can successfully move your telecommunications infrastructure into the digital age. Lightpath Hosted Voice provides a complete turnkey solution to reduce overall telephony costs and to simplify communications management for businesses. It offers a range of voice IP benefits that are integral to a company s continued growth and viability, from a fiber-optic network and security to customization and scalability. 6

7 As possibilities increase for integrating telephony and communications, your company can choose from a range of hosted options to achieve a competitive edge. Lightpath s secure network and hosted services can eliminate any worries about connectivity. Lightpath can handle all the telephony complexities while you benefit from the productivity enhancements. *AMI s 2010 VoIP Update U.S. SMB Market. ABOUT LIGHTPATH Lightpath, a division of Cablevision Systems Corporation, is an industry leader in providing advanced Ethernet-based data, Internet, voice, video transport solutions and managed services to businesses across the New York metropolitan area. Exclusively focused on meeting customer business communication needs in the world s largest business market for 20 years, Lightpath has been continually recognized for its high level of customer service. For 12 straight years, the New York State Public Service Commission has given Lightpath its Commendation of Excellence. Its Metro Ethernet network is a highly reliable, resilient and scalable fiber-to-thebusiness-premises network extending more than 4,000 route miles connecting more than 4,000 buildings. The most cost effective of all solutions, Metro Ethernet enables customers to increase bandwidth dynamically without requiring customers to purchase or install new equipment. 7

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