The advances in technology have been explosive and as we progress through 2017 this will be the year of digital transformation. Whilst some businesses are still reliant on manual processes others are actively servicing their clients via the internet and social media. Areas with the greatest potential for digital improvement include customer care, sales and billing with many contact centres now taking up multi-channel technology.
For the telecoms industry the landscape is constantly changing with the cloud as a first port of call for many, you will be asked “ do you even need a phone system” and “have you considered hosted” some may ask if you have any compliance considerations such as call recording or PCI and lastly at least one company will tell you that you should only consider SIP because traditional ISDN lines now has a sell by date. But rest assured that there is the right solution for each and every business and these can vary considerably in price and complexity.
ICA has built up a reputation for providing good honest advice with no catches, a minimum of 3 letter acronym’s (its impossible to do without any!) and realistic contract terms. We will also provide advice on the best way to purchase. Would you buy a car or a sofa on finance over 60 months without adding up the total amount paid?
Most phone systems offer a comparative feature set but some vendors maybe more suited to your business, you may need hot desking or mobility and you may choose handsets with built in VPN’s. ICA are on hand to provide as little or as much advice as you need with full on site demonstration suite to compare to try before you buy.
PSTN (Analogue Lines)are typically the “Bread and Butter” of any business telecoms estate. Although they are in reduced demand due to the uptake of various IP services and a reduced cost of managed connectivity services in the business space, they still play a crucial role in delivering cheap and effective connectivity via Fibre to the Cabinet or ADSL.
They also support additional services such as Redcare/analogue card payment machines and a variety of legacy equipment where neither ISDN or IP would be suitable.
ISDN or Integrated Services Digital Network – if you want to sound smart, is an aging but extremely reliable product that can deliver high volumes of calls at a very reasonable cost. ISDN is highly scalable and can be upped to an almost unlimited number of available lines, provided you can cover the costs!
As with PSTN, ISDN uptake is in serious decline because the cost of managed connectivity has come down significantly in the last 12 months, coupled with greater access to relatively cheap SIP products, has meant ISDN has suffered from appearing to be overly expensive and extremely dated.
This isn’t to say that ISDN is a bad product, it absolutely isn’t and definitely has a role to play in a varied telecoms estate. It also continues to serve many thousands of business throughout the UK but with BT looking to withdraw this product in 2025, it is only a matter of time before ISDN becomes end of life.
SIP or VOIP as some may know it, works to deliver high quality voice over your business’s internet connection by either complimenting or replacing the need for traditional lines like ISDN or Analogue.
The cost savings and added flexibility from SIP are substantial when compared to more traditional services like ISDN.
With almost all SIP Providers, SIP is bundled with FOC calls to UK Local and UK National destinations meaning your business should never have to pay for a call again.
SIP is also defined as a cloud product, therefore not bound to any geographical location meaning taking your telephone number to any destination and even choosing an out of area telephone number along with built in resilience are just some of the reasons SIP is now the number one choice for many businesses.
Inbound, Non-Geographic Numbers or Number Translation Services or any other fancy name that the industry has decided to give them are numbers that don’t fully identify the location of where a called party may be located.
They are often low-cost and low maintenance services. Inbound numbers are typically used by large businesses or government organizations seeking to project a national or international presence.
Traditionally inbound numbers are great when looking to present this image but have more recently come under a lot of scrutiny because users tend not to know how much it costs to dial them. This has meant that certain ranges of NGN numbers have become extremely unfashionable and are slowly being phased out or migrated to more fashionable ranges by many businesses who are looking to ensure their image is untarnished.
Inbound has evolved so significantly over recent years that you can now have Geographic Inbound Numbers (01xx/02xx) and even Mobile Inbound Numbers(07xx)
Mobility is something that almost all people are familiar with but almost always get wrong within the context of business.
For most businesses, mobility is defined as the ability to send and receive e-mail and make and receive business calls whilst in or out of the office.
Mobility should be the mechanism that allows business users to function as if they have all of the resources of the office whether they are there or not. It should empower it’s users to act as if they are in the office, despite being out on the road or away in a foreign land.
This state of converged mobile/office function is often achieved through the application of appropriate tariffing from the carrier to encompass the relevant airtime and data needs, installation of the relevant applications from the app store that support basic office functions and the ability to create and manage content locally on the chosen mobile handset.
It is often very easy to purchase business mobiles with free minutes/texts and a few Gigabytes of data. It is far more complicated ensuring that mobility provides a far richer mobile experience for its users and delivers greater productivity from its mobile workforce.