The Future of Phone Systems

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1 1900 Wright Place, Suite 250 Carlsbad, CA (888) The Future of Phone Systems What features to look for in Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

2 The Future of Phone Systems: What features should you look for in 2015? Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems, a private telephone setup, have come a long way since its inception. With the introduction of widely available broadband and other high-speed Internet connections, the traditional PBX has evolved to be data dependent, transforming into a digital delivery system for voice and multimedia communications known as a Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) network. The VoIP system converts voice and multimedia messages into data and transmits them across the network as packets. Different types of VoIP phone system services VoIP Service Type Description Cost Typical Users Business VoIP Services and Solutions Deploying VoIP in any business not only replaces the existing phone system, but also provides features, prestige, quality and fluidity to the organization. Vendor Specific Businesses of all sizes, from Small to Enterprise Hosted VoIP A service provider hosts the main telephone system, offering the same advantages as a basic VoIP system while minimizing installation and maintenance costs for the businesses using it. Requires payment of a one-time subscription fee and monthly fees. Small and Mid-Size Businesses (SMBs) Subscription/ Hardware- Based VoIP Services Users are provided with an analog telephone adapter (ATA), a cord used to connect an ADSL line with a regular phone set. Requires payment of a one-time subscription fee and monthly fees. Residential and Small Business Users Software- Based VoIP Services Users can make calls by either (1) installing a softphone application on their desktop computers or portable devices, or (2) accessing a service provider's Web-based interface. Requires a computer or compatible mobile device. Free calling to other users of this kind of service; low rates are available for making calls to and receiving calls from fixed (public switched telephone network, or PSTN) and mobile (GSM) phones. SMBs and casual users who don't want to pay for VoIP communication Mobile VoIP Services Users download and install a softphone application to their mobile device, and use it to make and receive free calls to and from friends and colleagues who have the same service. Requires a portable computer or mobile phone. Free calling to people using the same service on their computer or mobile phone. Heavy mobile users like business people and travelers Device-Based VoIP Services Users buy a dedicated VoIP device and make calls using a wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. Often existing phones can be connected to these services. Requires an initial hardware investment. Users who don't want to receive and pay monthly bills for calls 2014 Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1

3 With innovations and advances, VoIP is emerging as the leading communications technology and the inevitable phone system of the future. By the end of this year, Gartner forecasts global IT spending will surpass $3.8 trillion, a 3% hike compared to Of this growth, researchers believe VoIP solutions represent at least 40%. If businesses sustain such spending habits, the VoIP market in particular could reach $80 billion over the next three years. VoIP Market Continues to Grow on Account of Small Businesses, 04 June 2014 Common features today Digital phone systems can enhance existing features 1 and add compelling new communication options and data services, including the following. Speed Dial: Useful for frequently called numbers, which can be stored and called by pressing a single number assigned to them. Last-Number Redial: A quick way to connect to the most recent caller. Auto Attendant: Helpful in routing missed calls, this feature is also called virtual or digital attendant. Call Hold: Allows a person on one call to be placed on hold while a second call is answered from the same device. Music on Hold: Allows music to be played while a person is on hold. DND (Do Not Disturb): Allows incoming calls to be routed to voic without disturbing the user. Call screening: Somewhat similar to DND but with the addition of having live active control over the phone with the ability to answer any call, or not, as you choose. Conference Calls: Calls in which multiple individuals participate together simultaneously from various locations using multiple devices. Automated Directory: Routes all calls to pre-set destinations and assists in finding the extension of a desired contact. Call forwarding: An automated mechanism for routing a call to a different phone number or to voic . Voic to transcription: Converts voic to , helpful when one is out of the office or doesn t want to be disturbed VoIP features that can benefit your small business Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 2

4 Business impacts The impact of future phone systems on business is far reaching. 2 Significant cost savings: These systems reduce the costs of long distance calls and overhead associated with traditional line rentals. Businesses with branch offices can make free phone calls by connecting phone systems between branches. We have cut our phone bill by 80%. The features that our VoIP phone service provides, along with the system clarity and reliability, are a blessing to our business, Matt Roberts, VP and GM, C & S Precision Machining, Inc. Six Ways Your Small Business Can Save with Internet Phone Service Scalable and Flexible: Switching to a phone system of the future can enable a business to increase productivity by combining and simplifying communication tools. The flexibility of the system makes it easy to add, move, or change phone connections to accommodate a growing and increasingly mobile workforce. Work at any time, from nearly anywhere: These future phone systems can be used by the workforce from home or on the road. Users can connect to their communications system and data resources through wireless IP phones for customer information, while they are in the warehouse, on the sales floor, or anywhere they have an Internet connection, and they can be enabled to easily access the company s entire data network wirelessly. Employee is able to work from home with the same office phone extension she had previously. The employee was able to plug her phone into her home Internet connection to receive incoming company calls. Tabarka Studios Nextiva Advanced VoIP Phone System Case Study Easy to configure and manage: These new phone systems are easy to install, configure, and maintain compared to current proprietary phone systems. Simply plug in and a call can be placed from anywhere with an Internet connection, and Web interfaces for system configuration can give you control right from your computer. Hardware installation and maintenance is minimal for the businesses using these systems, as a service provider hosts the main telephone system. This is something I love about my VoIP system, it s so easy to administer by myself. I can log in, see a complete picture of our setup, and make any tweaks I want without calling my IT consultant for support. Dr. Angelique Andrews MD, pediatrician and owner HAPPI pediatrics Practice Six Ways Your Small Business Can Save with Internet Phone Service 2 3 Reasons Businesses Are Changing to These Phone Systems of the Future-http://www.virtualpbx.com/3-reasons-businesses-are-changing-to-thesephone-systems-of-the-future-2/ 2014 Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 3

5 Features to look for in the near future While many features in existing phone systems provide unprecedented levels of control and connection, future phone systems are likely to regularly include features that will not only make communication easier and efficient, but also take phone systems to a new level. Technology Enhancements: Rapid enhancements are taking place in phone technology overall, leading to innovations that will help SMBs improve their performance and productivity. Softphone Applications: Using an Internet-connected computer with audio capability and Softphone application software, this system delivers a phone image with an interactive display panel, keypad and buttons to the user s computer screen. Phone system commands can often be accessed using a mouse, keyboard or touch interface. This VoIP system is flexible and altogether replaces the need for traditional copper-wired phone services, easily allowing setup of extensions, voic boxes, fax numbers and much more. A typical softphone system includes standard business telephony features such as Teleconferencing, Call Forwarding, DND, Mute, Hold, and Transfer, and often offers advanced features such as User Presence Indication, instant messaging, video, and wide-band audio. Softphone applications are well suited for business users like telecommuters, mobile workers, and sales representatives, who need the capability to access their office phone system, with all of its features and secure, instant connections, from somewhere other than the office. Software Integrations: Technology advancements are making systems easily adaptable and responsive to other business applications within SMBs. Web Link Interface: Web Link Interface is an advanced integration feature that provides an online access point to manage the phone system from any machine having Internet connectivity. One can quickly change call forwarding times and phone numbers, add new users, modify call queue and so on. Administrators can more effectively manage and control their telephony environment through Web interfaces, which can generate real-time reports of all call activity within that environment. Phone-based Business Analytics can be assessed using detailed reports and customized dashboards. Integration with Outlook and CRM applications: Outlook integration allows users to easily access their Outlook contacts for phone connectivity. Users can make calls directly to their contacts from within their account or look up a contact on an incoming call with one simple click of a mouse. Users can also merge their contact list with other lists and be able to dial all contacts directly from Outlook. Integrating CRM applications with telephony systems allows businesses to unify their data streams and enhance the functionality of both CRM and phone systems. One key feature of this kind of integration is Click to dial, which allows sales executives to initiate a call from within CRM. This feature can save seconds on every call, and minimize human error. Integration also allows businesses to easily manage caller experiences, including setting up VIP numbers, placing a block/stop on spam callers, and automatically connecting calls to the right contact in the organization, such as an Account Manager Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 4

6 Other advantages of integrating phone systems with Outlook and CRM applications include the availability of contact screen pop-ups, call logs, call recording, call reporting, automatic note taking, and more. Reports: Reporting is a great way to analyze the performance of the phone system in a single look. Realtime reporting is imperative to managing the system in the most effective way. Visual Call Reports: This feature generates, filters, and exports detailed call reports online with easy-toread spreadsheets and graphs. The real-time status of the system can be viewed at any time, including a display of employee login and activity status. This allows users to better manage, for example, call traffic through configuring call distribution settings. It even provides listening on any live call. Automatic Reports and Alerts: These allow users to define levels of adequate performance (like voice quality), and then generate alerts (either audible or visual warnings) when those particular thresholds are reached. Managers can analyze call traffic patterns over time, and generate visual reports for specific filters like date range, call duration, call nature, call number, and source of phone calls. Lead Generation: Phone systems in the future will help manage the sales cycle and provide high leadgeneration rates. Name & Address Capture: As soon as a call is received, built-in caller ID attempts to capture the caller s phone number. Once the phone number is identified, the Name and Address capture feature looks for other information about the caller, like name and address, which it does at a very high accuracy rate. This feature provides businesses with detailed records about their callers, including time and date of each call, helping generate qualified leads for sales. All information captured can be stored in a spreadsheet or database. When linked to other features like Smart router, Name & Address Capture can also help organizations enhance their customer service delivery. By identifying service preferences based on records of previous calls, businesses can offer their customers top efficiency and satisfaction. Unified Communications (UC): Advancements in UC have enabled SMBs to employ many kinds of communication using a single number. Presence: Presence can be integrated across all communication devices, including desk phones using Internet Protocol (IP), , IM and IP softphones. Through integrated applications like Outlook, Presence empowers users to see other users telephone busy/idle status and calendar status, and allows calling and instant messaging by simply clicking on a name. Unified Voice & Fax Messaging: Using a single number for both fax messages and voice calls means voic s and messages can be directed as an attachment to an , and can be retrieved at any time through the Web. The system will automatically change the mode according to the type of communication. Integrated audio/web conferencing: Provides users with multiple features of audio and video conferencing, including meeting scheduling, application and desktop sharing, audio and video recording, and more. Social Media Integration: Social media software, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, integrated with a UC client delivers high value for SMB marketing and customer relationships. One scenario is first to leverage social media to find people and resources based on their expertise or communities of interest. Then utilize a UC client to view their presence and availability. Finally, communicate directly from the UC client via IM, voice 2014 Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 5

7 (using click to call), or a Web or video conference call. Another example is being able to not only read a Twitter feed from a UC client like Lync, but also to be able to follow hashtags, post tweets, and even click to connect, without having to leave Lync. Smart Routing: Smart routing is an efficient call routing mechanism that can reduce the time it takes for callers to get to the right person or department in your organization, and enhance customer service overall. Smart Call Routing ensures that callers are speaking to the best person each time they call, allowing easy routing of incoming calls based on departments, extensions, skill set, language, or any other pre-defined criteria as needed. Smart Routing applications provide an array of customization capabilities, as well. For example, callers can be routed to an automated voice announcement that asks for a customer account number. Based on search results from the database, the caller can then be further routed to the appropriate department or person. For unwanted marketing calls, Smart Routing enables Spam call blocking, allowing individual caller ID numbers to be blocked or routed to general voic boxes. This mechanism helps ensure that customers receive excellent service with minimum effort, while exploiting the low costs of bandwidth and SIP trunking. It s an essential feature of a modern business phone system: robust, reliable and scalable Business.com Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 6

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